The 8 Best $400 to $1,000 Desktop PCs to Buy in 2018

Find the top desktop computers in the $400 to 1,000 range

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Mainstream desktop PCs are now more of the high-performance category than they once were, thanks to improving technology. In general, these systems will provide the best overall value for your dollar. Below are our selections for the various systems depending upon what your usage for the computer will be. The systems in this list cost between $400 and $1,000 and do not come with a monitor.

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Dell Optiplex 7060

Dell Optiplex 7060

Courtesy of Walmart

With a huge range of PCs spanning from full-featured powerhouse laptops all the way to gaming desktop tanks, there really is something for everyone in Dell’s desktop line. The Optiplex range gets our nod here for versatility, slim profile, and all those features dovetailing under a pretty impressive price point.

This 7000 configuration gives you a lot for a sub-$1000 PC. There’s an 8th gen 3GHz Intel i5 chipset that’ll serve you well for most tasks (and because it works well in the chassis, it most likely won’t give you any throttling trouble). The machine can accommodate up to 64GB of DDR4 RAM to support your temporary storage needs, and there’s an internal solid state drive with 128GB of headroom for amazingly fast boot speeds. The Intel UHD Graphics 630 card provides good visual support, though it’s important to note that it shares its RAM needs with the computer’s central memory (although, with the aforementioned 64GB available, you’ll probably be good to go).

The Optiplex 7060 has 10 USB ports with a combination of 2.0, 3.1 and type C options, plus a Display Port connection to cover a pretty decent swath of the I/O expectations for most use cases. And with the 64-bit Windows 10 loaded on, you’ll be ready to roll right out of the box.

Runner-Up, Best Overall: Dell Inspiron 3000

Dell Inspiron 3000
Courtesy of Amazon.com

Dell’s Inspiron's 3000 combination of a plug-and-play setup, 6th generation Intel Core i5 2.7GHz processor paired with 12GB RAM and a 1TB hard drive all make for a great unit. Its black casing doesn’t stand out nor is it extra thin or extra compact. However, this Dell offers a happy medium between the high-end and low-end of desktop pricing, with a fantastic combination of price and performance. Fortunately, you’ll still find the standard fare of components with 2 USB 3.0 ports and 4 USB 2.0 ports.

One area where the Dell falls down is the lack of 802.11ac, which offers next-generation internet speeds over the 802.11n, but it’s a tradeoff worth making as long as you aren't downloading exceptionally large files daily. The overall combination of the turbo boost i5 processor to 3.30GHz paired with the 12GB of RAM provide more than enough power for day-to-day performance that stands out from the pack. At 16.45 pounds, it’s not the lightest desktop, but you probably won’t be moving it around all that often, so the weight is hardly a limitation.

Best Budget: Lenovo Ideacentre 300

Finding the right combination of price and performance in a budget desktop is no easy task. You’re likely to find items that are too cheap and underpowered or overpowered and too expensive. Fortunately, the Lenovo Ideacentre 300 is a fantastic combination that meets right in the middle of performance, price and brand name reliability. Powered by a 6th generation Intel i3 3.7GHz processor, 8GB RAM and a 1TB hard drive, it has more than enough computing power for everyday tasks, all at a wallet-friendly price.

The desktop feels perfect for either the home or office, with plenty of storage and memory all at a value price. Unfortunately, at budget pricing levels you don’t always get as much room for expansion in the future in terms of additional RAM or extra hard drives. What it lacks in expansion, it more than makes up for with daily use that is perfect for the budget category.

See more reviews of our favorite budget PCs available for purchase.

Best for the Office: HP Pavilion 2016

HP Pavilion 2016
Courtesy of Amazon.com

HP’s 2016 Pavilion desktop might not look like much, but when it comes to office work, it’s a must own. It offers a 6th generation quad-core Intel i7 2.8GHz processor, 8GB of RAM and a 2TB hard drive. You’ll typically find plenty of space available in computers that fit in the office desktop world, but the 2TB hard drive offers ample space for the inevitable buildup of files, documents and PowerPoints that will accrue over the years. Beyond the hard drive, there’s a DVD burner, multi-display support for both HDMI and VA output as well as two USB 3.0 and four USB 2.0 ports.

Sizing up at 7 x 14 x 14 inches, the 13-pound Pavilion is no lightweight, but it’s small enough to fit underneath a desktop and be completely out of sight. The inclusion of 802.11ac offers a higher-speed connection, which is ideal for computers in an office environment where faster speeds are essential for downloading and uploading large files.

Best Gaming: Dell Inspiron 5676

Dell Inspiron 5676

 Courtesy of Walmart

Dell isn’t often the first choice for gaming computers, but with the inclusion of their new Ryzen graphics processors, you’d be making a big mistake to overlook this Inspiron model. And for right around $700, this gaming PC delivers quite a bit of processing power.

This particular configuration offers the AMD Ryzen 3 processor with up to 3.7GHz of speeds, AMD’s Precision Boost to update clock speeds no matter what you’re doing, an extended frequency range to optimize cooling for intense gaming sessions, and even a Pure Power mode to streamline your draw. It has up to 32GB of internal memory, 1TB of hard drive space to store your installed games, and the option to include a solid state drive for faster data recall.

If you're going for full gaming immersion, you'll appreciate the option to connect a pretty intense surround speaker system with the dynamic audio setting. Dell has even optimized the system to ensure quiet operation, so this tank won’t disrupt your environment even when you’re doing quiet work instead of gaming. The whole thing comes in a well-designed chassis with blue accents to complement your gaming station.

See more reviews of our favorite gaming PCs  available for purchase.

Best for Families: Acer Chromebase AIO Touch Desktop

The space-saving Acer Chromebase AIO Touch Desktop won’t take up too much space in your family room, but soon you’ll wonder what your family did without it. This stylish all-in-one has a generously sized screen at 23.8” even though its footprint is small, and it comes with the Google Chrome OS that works perfectly with all your favorite Google apps such as Gmail, YouTube, Hangouts and Docs. The touchscreen conveniently features 10-point touch, making it easy for even little hands to use for watching educational videos or playing simple games. Parents will love it, too, for its stunning full HD visuals and user-friendly accessibility. With a 5th Generation Intel Core i5-5200U Processor (Up to 2.7GHz) and 8GB DDR3L Memory & 32GB SSD, this machine has plenty of power. A 30-degree HD webcam and four built-in microphones make it ideal for video-chatting with friends and relatives as well.

Best Design: Acer Aspire S24

With a striking black and matte gold design, Acer’s latest model is a testament to why mid-range prices can equal high-end appearances. With an Intel Core i5-825OU, it might not be the most powerful desktop on the market, but the 12GB of RAM is still significant, and it differentiates itself with a super-slim, futuristic design.

While its insides are pretty mainstream for the price bracket — although the Qi built-in charging pad is a nice surprise — the outside matters quite a bit, too. The 23.8-inch full HD display measures a slim 0.23 inches, creating a statement piece for your home or office, though 4K and touchscreen options are not available. The bezel is equally thin at 0.12 inches, resulting in a 90 percent screen-to-body ratio, and the display can tilt between -5 and 25 degrees. Though its UHD 620 graphics are best just for casual use, Acer has included features like Acer ExaColor to increase color saturation and Bluelight Shield to diminish blue light at night. 

Best for Photo/Video Editing: HP Pavilion 27-a230

HP Pavilion 27-a230

 Courtesy of Walmart

If you're using your computer for any sort of visual work, it's extremely important to consider how the screen looks, behaves, and how it interacts with the computer itself. Getting an all-in-one from HP’s Pavilion line ensures that your screen is as in-tune with the computer as possible — because it’s built in. For just under $1,000, this machine gives you an Intel Core i5 quad-core processor that delivers the power required for basic video editing. Plus, you have the option to increase up to 16GB of DDR4 RAM (actually pretty impressive for such a slim machine).

The 1TB SATA hard drive can store high volumes of media files, and there’s an HD Graphics 630 card for decent visual rendering. Of course, that screen we mentioned gives you 27 diagonal inches of real estate, and even though it is only full HD, the bright IPS display tech gives you great viewing angles for the pixels you have. There are a ton of USB ports, HDMI, Ethernet, etc. HP even includes a wireless keyboard and optical mouse to get you started right out of the box. This sleek powerhouse will give you plenty of features and will be a welcome addition to any creator’s desk.