The 12 Best Desktop PCs to Buy in 2018

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The Rundown

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: iMac Core i5

5

The 21.5” 4K Apple iMac pairs great value with hardware that will last. Thin, gorgeous, and classy, Apple’s value for the money is definitely something the average desktop buyer should consider. The retina display is beautiful to look at day-in and day-out and will immediately win you over.

Watching videos, from YouTube to iTunes movie downloads will immediately grab your attention, thanks to the 4,096 x 2,304 display that has 4.5 times the resolution of a 1080p HD display. The combination of the Magic Keyboard and Magic Mouse 2 complete the characteristic Apple no-fuss setup. Pull it out of the box, press the “on” button, and away you go.

With an Intel Core i5 processor, the iMac is more than capable of handling any of the daily tasks you throw at it. From the office to the home, the iMac is ready to handle photo and video editing, spreadsheets and everything in between.

Best for Families: Dell Inspiron 24 3000

3.9

This popular all-in-one desktop PC from Dell is a perfect blend of laptop functionality and desktop productivity, making it the ideal in-home computer for most families. The 24-inch Full HD wide-viewing-angle screen is an attractive display for the Windows 10 tile app interface at 1920x1080 resolution. The computer boasts Intel Core 2.3 GHz i3, 8GB RAM and a 500GB internal hard drive, giving you enough computing power to smoothly run most applications without driving up the price tag with the most powerful hardware.

Families will also appreciate that everything they need comes included in the unit. The thin computer includes integrated speakers, webcam, and 802.11 ac wireless, so you don’t have to worry about a cluster of wires on your desk. Other connectivity options include USB 2.0 and 3.0 ports, HDMI, Ethernet, Bluetooth 4.0, and a 4-in-1 Multicard Reader. Setup is as easy as a laptop, and you can take it from one room to another as you see fit. If you need a hassle-free solution that can please everyone, this is a great bet.

Best Style: Acer Revo One

Acer Revo One
Courtesy of Amazon.com
4

The Acer Revo One, our choice for the best desktop design, is immediately going to catch your eye. The small, white box is unlike anything you’re used to seeing when it comes to a desktop computer. All too often we associate clunkiness with the desktop world and that’s definitely not the case with the Revo One.

The Revo One is the perfect union between affordability, design and functionality. Paired with an Intel Core i3, 4GB of RAM and Windows 10, there’s a media machine hidden beneath the glossy white casing. Unfortunately, you can’t upgrade the RAM which is slightly disappointing and you might want to replace the plastic keyboard.

But the wallet-friendly price tag is surprisingly offered with a host of connectivity options, including an SD card reader, two USB 2.0 ports, and a Mini DisplayPort that can be connected to a 4K monitor. PC users looking for an attractive mini desktop that is perfect for media, browsing and the rest of the desktop basics will fall in love with the Revo One.

Read more reviews of the best-looking PCs available to purchase online.

Runner-Up, Best Style: Acer Aspire S24

5

The Acer Aspire S24 knows how important it is that your technology augments your décor: the ultra-thin, 23.8-inch display is just 0.24 inches thick, and with bevels that are just 0.12 inches, boasts a 90 percent screen-to-body ratio. The black and matte gold color scheme and wireless keyboard and mouse enhances the sense of sophistication.

However, achieving the super-slim appearance means cutting back on a few other features: the 1TB 5,400rpm SATA hard drive can be slow, apps are prone to loading sluggishly, and the UHD 620 graphics aren't the best compared to its more high-end competitors. Acer tries to make up for a lack of 4K or touchscreen options with the screen’s in-plane switching technology, which reduces glare from ambient light. The Intel Core i5-825OU might not be the most powerful processor, but it comes equipped with 12GB of RAM and the ability to rotate the screen between -5 and 25 degrees. A Qi built-in wireless charging pad is an additional bonus.

Best for Home Office: Dell i3265-A643WHT-PUS Inspiron 3265 AIO Desktop

Looking for a well-rounded desktop PC that performs strong across the board? Look no further than the Dell i3265-A643. It houses an AMD A6-7310 APU with Radeon R4 Graphics, plus a 1TB 5400 rpm hard drive, which delivers impressive performance given its highly affordable price tag. Its 22-inch 1,920-by-1080 IPS display may not be as jaw-dropping as Apple’s 4K Retina display, but assuming you’re not a professional designer or videographer, it’s more than satisfactory for your home office setup.

The white chassis is a refreshing departure from many of the other dark and drab designs on the market. Not to mention, its compact footprint leaves ample deskspace for other peripherals. On top of it all, this computer comes packaged with a one-year subscription of Office 365 for up to 5 users, and 60 minutes of Skype calls per month.

Runner-Up, Best Overall: Corsair CS-9000011-NA ONE PRO

Corsair is one of the best-known gaming equipment manufacturers out there with a reputation for building powerful and stylish machines. The One Pro is Corsair’s first PC and, true-to-form, Corsair has created a beautiful machine that packs a lot of power into a small space. This computer comes fully loaded with an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 graphics card, an ​INTEL Core i7-7700K processor and CORSAIR's award-winning DDR4 memory. Even if you’re not a gamer, this PC provides stunning power and graphics presentation all while running extra-quietly – when idle, the One Pro operates at just 20 dBa. Custom liquid-cooling technology keeps this computer running fast even when using a demanding VR program. 

Best Budget: Lenovo ThinkCentre M600

Gone are the days of unattractive big box computers — the Lenovo ThinkCentre M600 is a budget-friendly PC with the power to handle your daily computing, all in a super-compact package. To keep things streamlined, Lenovo opted not to include any VGA or HDMI ports and went instead with dual DisplayPort inputs (be warned that this may require an extra adapter if you want to hook up a monitor).

On the inside, the M600's Intel Pentium J3710 2.64 GHz processor is perfectly suited for day-to-day computing tasks. It's outfitted with a 500GB solid-state drive for ample storage space, as well as 8GB of RAM to help out with multitasking between applications. The included Intel HD graphics 405 GPU is more than capable of running or streaming videos, but is not designed for 4K or VR gaming.

To help extend the life of the M600, Lenovo met military specifications for durability and added a dust shield to further reduce the need for maintenance. Its longevity, combined with suitable performance and a wallet-friendly price tag, make this PC a solid budget option.

Need some more help finding what you're looking for? Read through our best budget desktop PCs​ article.

Runner-Up, Best Budget: HP Pavilion Desktop Computer

Stylish, space-saving and affordable? The HP Pavilion desktop computer might not be the most cutting-edge machine on the market, but it checks all the boxes you need for a versatile, functional and good-looking home computer. With a 7th Generation Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-7700 Processor and Quad-Core, 3.60GHz, this computer can keep up with you even when multitasking and can stream 4K video. With 12 GB DDR4-2400 SDRAM, the HP Pavilion is made for dependability. With a 1 TB hard drive you’ll have all the room you need for your favorite songs, pictures, videos and files with room to spare. The Pavilion is peppered with ports, including a headphone/microphone combo, three USB 3.0, one USB 3.0 Type-C, HDMI, VGA, as well as an HP 3-in-1 media card reader. Windows 10 comes standard and a built-in DVD writer, wired keyboard and mouse are included with purchase, too. 

Most Compact: Apple iMac Mini

Apple Mac mini

 Apple.com

If you’re looking for a compact desktop computer and don’t want to pay the hefty price for the all-in-one PC iMac, look no further than Apple’s Mac Mini.

The small device, measuring 7.7 inches by 7.7, is compact without sacrificing power. The Mac Mini can still handle heavy duty photo and video applications with a desktop-grade 3.0GHz 6-core Intel Core i5 processor. Apple claims the 2018 Mini is five times faster than the company’s previous model. For extra money, you can get an even faster 3.2GHz 6-core Intel Core i7 (with Turbo Boost up to 4.6GHz) processor. For multitasking, the Mini can come with up to 64GB of RAM.

One of the most exciting parts of the Mini is the sheer number of ports. The device comes with four USB-C Thunderbolt 3 ports, an ethernet port, a dedicated HDMI port, two regular USB ports, and a 3.5mm headphone jack.

The only thing the Mini is lacking is a standalone, discrete graphics card. So if you’re doing creative work that’s heavy on graphics, the Mini might not be for you. Still, if you’re an Apple fan who wants a small, speedy CPU, the iMac is a great choice.

Best Features: Acer Aspire AIO

Acer Aspire AIO
Courtesy of Amazon.com

Do you work from home a lot and need a dependable desktop? Good news: the 23.8” display Acer Aspire AIO is probably exactly what you’re looking for. Powered by Windows 10, the Acer is priced just right, not too expensive and not budget to the point of feeling underpowered. The 6th generation 2.2GHz Intel Core i5 is paired with 8GB of RAM, a 1TB hard drive and a NVIDIA GeForce 940M graphic card with its own 2GB of dedicated video memory.

The 23.8” Full HD (1920 x 1080 pixels) display is beautiful, with clear and crisp colors at a 16:9 aspect ratio. The all-in-one body is just 1.4-inches slim which offers a low footprint space in the home office. Connectivity is assisted by 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0 alongside four USB 3.0 ports, one USB 2.0 port and two HDMI-in ports. The included keyboard and mouse are fairly generic, so if you’re already using a pair you enjoy, we’d see no reason to unpack these out of the box.

Making movies, playing games and editing photos are a snap with the discrete NVIDIA memory card, which is an extremely nice addition for the Acer’s mid-range price tag. Acer’s built-in TrueHarmony high-performance sound won’t win any awards, but you’re not going to complain if you pop a DVD into the included drive, kick your feet up and watch a movie.

Best for Creatives: Microsoft Surface Studio Computer - Intel Core i7 (6th Gen)

When you close your eyes and imagine a designer, you probably picture someone hunched over behind a sleek white Mac computer. But don’t discount Microsoft’s Surface Studio just yet. Its beautiful 28-inch touchscreen is 4,500 by 3,000 pixels and has a near-perfect color gamut and contrast. Combine that with a 2.7GHz Intel Core i7-6820HQ, a Nvidia GeForce GTX 980M chip plus 32GB DDR4 and 2TB of storage, and you get a very worthy desktop.

Perhaps its most defining feature, though, is the Zero Gravity Hinge that lets you easily lower the screen to the angle of a drafting table so you can naturally sketch, using Microsoft’s Surface Pen, of course. Another feature unique to the Studio is the Surface Dial, which lets creatives scroll through a menu of options to adjust volume, screen brightness, zoom. It’s also compatible with a host of third-party apps like Photoshop, Illustrator and even Spotify. It takes some getting used to, but in no time, graphic designers will get the hang of using the Dial to tweak brush settings, adjusting for size, opacity, hardness, flow and smoothing, making them drastically more efficient.

Best for Gaming: Dell Alienware Aurora R7

Dell Alienware Aurora R7
Courtesy of Walmart 

With cutting-edge performance and future-proof upgrading abilities, the Alienware Aurora R7 is the complete gaming desktop. Certified to handle HTC's Vive and Oculus' VR hardware, the Aurora handles 4K gaming with ease thanks to an 8th generation Intel Core i7 processor, 16GB of RAM, a 1TB hard drive combined with a 256GB solid-state drive, and an NVIDIA GeForce 1080 Ti graphics card. It has been re-engineered from the ground up to support not one but two 300W graphics cards like the NVIDIA — it's even powerful enough to support up to 12K gameplay in the future.

In terms of build, the Aurora is one of the first gaming desktops to offer a tool-less upgrade, which makes it an upgrading dream. It pops open with the push of a button for access to the graphics card, hard drive, and memory. A total of 15 USB ports adds connectivity inputs for any form of gaming accessory, and Alienware users can also rest assured knowing that the air intake and exhaust fan will keep things cool during even the most intense gaming sessions.

Want to take a look at some other options? See our guide to the best gaming PCs

 

Tested by

How We Tested

Our reviewers spent 114 hours testing four of the most popular desktop PCs. They went through the setup process on their own, did work, played games, and streamed video to find out what the flaws and strengths really were. We asked our testers to consider the most important features when using these desktop PCs and we've outlined them here so that you, too, know what to look for when shopping.

What to Look for in a Desktop PC

Monitor - If you buy an all-in-one computer, the monitor comes packaged in. However, if you’re customizing your setup yourself, there are a few points to consider, like size and resolution. Twenty-four-inch monitors are most common now, but if you want a multi-screen setup or don’t have much space, you might want to deviate from that. Most monitors also use LCD technology, which has support for full 1080p high-definition video.

Processor - AMD and Intel are the two main manufacturers you have to choose between, with the former being better for efficiency and budget, while the latter is better for performance. After that, it comes down to how many cores each processor has, and their relative speeds — the more cores and the faster the speeds, the more powerful the processor. Depending on your use, though, you may not need the most powerful processor out there.

RAM - For years, desktops used the standard DDR3 memory system, but many are now upgrading to DDR4. DDR4 is more expensive but also hits much higher clock speeds. We recommend at least 8GB of memory, although 16GB will perform better over long-term use.

Test Results: iMac Core i5 (Best Overall)

5

What We Like

  • Includes fast Intel i5 Core Processor

  • Hard drive has 1TB of storage space

  • Design looks sleek

What We Don't Like

  • Silver exterior is easily scuffed

  • Keyboard looks dirty quickly

iMac Core i5
iMac Core i5
iMac Core i5
iMac Core i5

With a perfect five-star rating, it’s clear that this iMac impressed our testers. One reviewer said, “I absolutely would recommend this product to a friend or family member. I loved it as soon as I took it out of the box. Even the way it's packaged so carefully makes it feel like a special item.” She also described the retina display as “snazzy” and noted that the computer is “fast and very responsive.” It also comes with 1TB of storage space — which wowed our reviewers — so you’ll never need to buy an external hard drive again.

Plus, our testers found that even tech novices could set up this iMac. “The overall setup experience was easy and painless,” one person said. “You turn on the power and then follow all of the onscreen prompts (you can also turn on spoken directions, if that works better for you). It took less than 30 minutes to get everything ready for use!”

Test Results: Dell Inspiron 24 3000 (Best for Families)

3.9

What We Like

  • An all-in-one computer that comes with a mouse and keyboard

  • Simple setup process

  • Large screen

What We Don't Like

  • Performance and specs not suitable for gaming or heavy multimedia use

Dell
Dell Inspiron 24 3000
Dell Inspiron 24 3000

This model is perfect for families that need a computer for web browsing, email, streaming, and other everyday tasks. According to one tester who used it for “basic daily functions and schoolwork,” the computer is quick to set up and “simple and easy” to use. She described the Dell Inspiron 24 3000 as a “good computer for general usage.”

One reviewer, who characterized herself as a “power user,” found that this model just didn’t meet her needs. Unfortunately, the computer couldn’t fit her 150GB library of music and 200GB video and photo collection without slowing it down.

Test Results: Acer Revo One (Best Style)

4

What We Like

  • Easy setup

  • Lots of storage space

  • Small footprint

What We Don't Like

  • Lag in speed

  • Lower-quality mouse and keyboard

Acer Revo One
Acer Revo One
Acer Revo One
Acer Revo One
Acer Revo One

According to our testers, this PC would be the best fit for someone with basic needs like word processing, writing emails, or online banking. One highlight was its design, with one reviewer noting that it “looks very good and takes up no space. I positioned it behind my monitor and completely forgot it was there. It made having a desktop computer pleasant again.” However, our testers weren’t as impressed with its speed, nor with the quality of its mouse and keyboard.

Test Results: Acer Aspire S24 (Runner Up, Best Style)

5

What We Like

  • Easy setup

  • Attractive design

  • Fast speed

What We Don't Like

  • Wireless keyboard too small

According to our testers, this PC would be the best fit for someone with basic needs like word processing, writing emails, or online banking. One highlight was its design, with one reviewer noting that it “looks very good and takes up no space. I positioned it behind my monitor and completely forgot it was there. It made having a desktop computer pleasant again.” However, our testers weren’t as impressed with its speed, nor with the quality of its mouse and keyboard.

Acer Aspire S24
Acer Aspire S24
Acer Aspire S24
Acer Aspire S24
Acer Aspire S24

This desktop computer’s sleek look was a big plus for our testers: “I love the design,” raved one reviewer. “It’s so compact but has a beautiful and thin display. It fits so nicely on my desk without taking up a lot of room.” One tester also found it to be “super fast and easy to use.” Our testers had only one complaint: They wished the size of the keyboard that came with the device was a little larger.