Why pay too much for a laptop or PC when you can get a quality one for a fraction of the price? It's true, the cost of buying a computer can seem staggering at first. But that's where the fun begins! You can save a lot of money on a new computer by carefully evaluating and comparing different models and brands. This article will help you identify the best value, performance, and build quality when you shop for the best PCs.
Matilde Asensi’s top experts will tell you which models they consider best value today, which ones will hold up over time, and which ones have the most innovative features.
Our Top Picks
Best Overall: Alienware Aurora R13
Best Budget gaming PC: HP Omen 25L
Best Premium gaming PC: Acer Predator Orion 7000
Best Ryzen gaming PC: Alienware Aurora Ryzen R10
Best Mid-range gaming PC: HP Omen 30L
Best Compact gaming PC: Corsair One i300
Best Mid-range Alienware gaming PC: Alienware Aurora R12
Best Mid-range gaming PC: Acer Predator Orion 3000
A desktop PC is a computer that is made to stay in place. Typically, PCs need an external monitor, a keyboard, and a mouse.
It's crucial to know how components like the CPU and RAM impact system performance when you purchase a new desktop computer.
The following are the important considerations when buying the best PCs:
Your Needs and Budget
Ideal computer specs are determined by your particular use case. For instance, the speed of your PC is dependent on the tasks you intend to perform with it. A gaming PC must have a quick processor, enough RAM, and a potent graphics card. If you only want to use your computer for online browsing and basic productivity tasks like word processing, a lower-tier budget desktop should be adequate.
Less than $200: Capable of doing a few things, including web browsing, email checking, video chat, and streaming video.
$250-$1,000: Great for using office software, playing light games, and browsing the web.
$1,000-$2,000: Powerful enough for the majority of commercial software, live streaming, and video editing programs.
$2,000+: Can execute resource-intensive data processing and graphics-intensive gaming programs.
While there are many other desktop CPUs available, AMD and Intel are the two companies that produce the majority of them. Generally speaking, Intel processors perform better but cost more than AMD processors. However, the amount of cores each CPU offers and its corresponding speed are what really set them apart from one another.
The majority of manufacturers rate the performance of their desktop PCs, although it can be challenging to compare different brands. The best course of action is to search for PCs within your budget and then check the CPUs to make sure they are adequate for your needs.
A PC's speed and performance are significantly influenced by memory, or RAM. The performance improves as RAM increases. At least 8 gigabytes of RAM is advised by experts, however 16 GB enables faster performance. 16 GB is the bare least you should think about for power computing applications like gaming.
While DDR3 memory was once the industry standard for desktop PCs, DDR4 is now favored. To allow for future memory upgrades, acquire as few DIMMs as you can when purchasing memory.
While some desktop computers still use hard disk drives, the majority of contemporary PCs come with solid-state drives as standard equipment for data storage and caching. Since SSDs outperform HDDs in terms of speed, effectiveness, and durability, they should be used instead.
When purchasing a hard disk, size and speed are the two key factors to take into account. At least 1TB of storage capacity should be available on a contemporary desktop hard drive. The majority spin at 7200 RPM, however certain green or variable-speed drives use less power. Nowadays, the majority of motherboards allow you to install multiple hard drives on your computer using RAID.
Optical Drives (CD/DVD/Blu-Ray)
While many desktop computers still have DVD burners, several compact form factor PCs are ditching optical discs. To watch new movies in HD on your desktop, you need a Blu-ray drive. Buy an external CD, DVD, or Blu-ray player if the computer you want lacks optical drives.
Video and Graphics Cards
You don't need to bother about a specialized graphics card if you don't play PC games with 3D graphics. A DirectX 11 GPU with at least 2 GB of onboard memory is recommended for gamers. If you want to speed up non-3D operations, get a cheap video card. Performance, memory capacity, output connectors, and the Direct X version supported are all things to take into account.
External Peripheral Connectors
Check the computer's external ports to see how many and what kind are available for use with future accessories. Different high-speed peripheral connectors are now readily accessible. The ideal PC should have at least six USB ports. Thunderbolt and eSATA are two additional faster connectors that are particularly beneficial for external storage. SD card readers are also common on PCs.
Despite the fact that some all-in-one computers come with built-in monitors, you still need to think about the screen's quality. The majority of monitors on the market today are based on LCD technology, with price and size being the only real variations. If you intend to utilize the desktop for graphical work, several additional aspects, including color accuracy, may be crucial. Due to its accessibility and capability for full 1080p high-definition video, 24-inch LCDs are the most popular. The cost of larger screens, including 27-inch LCDs and 4K displays, is also declining.
A desktop computer is a smart choice if you want a family computer that everyone can use. Because they have more ports for various monitors, keyboards, and other devices, desktops are more adaptable than laptops. You need a desktop with one or more huge monitors if you're a graphic designer or visual artist.
Desktop PCs have better gaming power than the majority of laptops and even specific gaming consoles. A desktop computer and a cozy gaming chair are a must if you enjoy virtual reality (VR) games or online games with 3D graphics.
Once all of your peripherals are plugged in and your computer has started up for the first time, take precautions to protect it from outside threats before you connect to the internet. For a stronger signal, directly connect your PC to your modem. It could be necessary for you to register your PC if it came with a guarantee.
Although you might be tempted to get the cheapest desktop PC you can find, it is preferable to invest money on a machine that is a tiny bit more powerful than what you want. Just bear in mind that, unless you purchase an all-in-one desktop, you'll also need to purchase a lot of peripherals.
Last update on 2023-02-08 / Affiliate links / Images, Product Titles, and Product Highlights from Amazon Product Advertising API
Why buy a prebuilt PC?
The freedom to carefully select each and every component in the system is one of the biggest benefits of creating your own PC. This gives you the freedom to take your time comparing prices and assembling the ideal set of components to meet your demands for both performance and affordability. This method can be time-consuming and stressful if something goes wrong, which is a drawback for the majority of new builders. The best prebuilt gaming PCs excel here since you only receive warranties for the individual parts, not your entire product.
What does a prebuilt PC provide you for your money?
You pay more than just the parts when you pay a premium to customize or buy a prebuilt PC. You pay for warranty servicing, support, and the confidence that your system was assembled by experts. When determining the best gaming PC, we place a high weight on a number of factors. We also consider additional selling aspects, such as design, upgradeability, and anything you couldn't do yourself when building it.
Which PC Should I Buy, Then?
You are almost ready to shop now that you have the information and considerations mentioned above. The performance of a desktop PC is the last thing to think about. Every year, we review hundreds of PCs, analyzing their features and benchmarking their performance against those of competitors in related fields. So you'll know which are best for gaming, which is our favorite all-in-one computer for general use, and which is the best if all you need is a portable, potent machine that you can set up quickly.