The 5 Best Desktop PCs of 2023

Desktops are the workhorses for when you need ultimate power

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Desktop PCs come in a mind-boggling array of shapes and sizes, from streamlined all-in-ones to giant towers. Their functions are as varied as their forms, from the affordable Chrome-based PC built for lightweight productivity to liquid-cooled gaming rigs that can pump out buttery smooth frame rates or fast render times for high-resolution video editing.

We researched and tested some of the top options from well-known brands. Here are the best desktop PCs.

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Best Overall

Alienware Aurora R12

Alienware Aurora R12 desktop computer


What We Like
  • 11th generation processor

  • Plenty of customization options

  • Mature design

  • Easy to upgrade

What We Don't Like
  • Upgrades get expensive

  • Generates a lot of heat

  • Loud fans

Dell's Alienware desktop comes from a long legacy of top-quality gaming hardware. Shortly after Intel announced its 11th-generation processors, Dell upgraded its Alienware to take advantage of them. We haven't had the chance to go hands-on with the Alienware R12, but we did look at the R11, and we're confident enough in the Alienware brand to conclude the R12 is a beast.

The hardware is capable, with an 11th generation Core-i7 processor, a solid NVidia GeForce RTX 3080 Super GPU, 64GB of RAM, and two SSDs for a combined total of 3TB. That means you can store basically anything and access it very quickly.

Put all that under a load, and this computer will spit out heat and fan noise, but that's consistent with many gaming PCs. It's essential to make sure this PC is in a place with good ventilation and airflow. But overall, this computer will happily take on any demands you care to throw at it.

CPU: Intel Core i7-11700F | GPU: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 | RAM: 64GB | Storage: 1TB SSD, 2TB SSD

Best Value




What We Like
  • Great price-to-performance ratio

  • Good-looking

  • High build quality

What We Don't Like
  • Noisy

The ASUS ROG G10CE is our pick for the best bang for the buck. It offers a respectable setup with the latest hardware, including a powerful graphics processing unit (GPU) and plenty of storage capacity. That’s enough to max out settings in the latest games at 1080p or do power-hungry graphic design or video editing tasks.

While the case is flashy-looking, its build quality is a cut above what most of us have typically seen from an officer tower PC. The only downside is that it gets pretty loud when playing particularly demanding games, but overall you’re getting a lot of power in a well-built package at an attractive price point.

CPU: Intel Core i7-11700F | GPU: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 | RAM: 16GB | Storage: 512GB SSD, 2TB HDD

Best Apple

Apple Mac Mini

Apple Mac Mini


What We Like
  • Relatively low price

  • Small size

  • Minimalist design

What We Don't Like
  • Small selection of ports

  • Not upgradeable

In late 2020, Apple introduced the M1 Chip, its first ARM-based processor built specifically for Apple hardware. That hardware included the Mac mini, making it a formidable little machine. However, the design of the Mac mini is a little disappointing, given that it's less upgradeable and has fewer available ports than the previous generation of this PC.

If you prefer Apple's operating system, the Mac mini is a great minimalist PC. It'll fit almost anywhere and isn't intrusive like many desktop machines. It's also relatively affordable for a Mac, but it's worth spending more at the outset for a more capable configuration because you won't be able to upgrade it down the road.

CPU: Apple M1 | GPU: Integrated 8-core GPU | RAM: 8GB | Storage: 256GB SSD

Apple Mac Mini

 Lifewire / Jeremy Laukkonen

Best for Students

HP Pavilion TG01-1120

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What We Like
  • Affordable price

  • Dedicated GPU

  • Great looking design

What We Don't Like
  • Not much storage capacity

However, the ability to handle demanding digital content creation is a must for many. The HP Pavilion TG01-1120 hits the sweet spot for price and power with its competent components at a price point that won't break the bank.

With it, you get reasonably powerful components that can handle graphic design or other demanding tasks for almost any class or curriculum. On the downside, this PC doesn't have much storage. Now, its solid-state storage offers a serious speed boost over a hard drive, and because it's expandable, adding an internal or external hard drive won't set you back that much should you need extra storage.

CPU: Intel Core i5-10400F | GPU: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 | RAM: 8GB | Storage: 256GB SSD

Best Design

Alienware Aurora Ryzen Edition R14

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What We Like
  • Stunning exterior

  • Powerful up-to-date components

  • Plenty of customization options

What We Don't Like
  • Build is more form over function

Desktop PCs come in many shapes and sizes, but few stand out quite as much as the Alienware Aurora Ryzen Edition R14. It’s hard to say whether the Aurora R14 looks more like an alien spacecraft docked on your desk or a jet turbine from some futuristic fighter jet.

Either way, the unique streamlined design of the R14 makes it instantly stand out from the crowd of glass-paneled RGB-lighted towers. Unlike previous generations of Alienware’s Aurora PCs, the R14’s interior is worth showing off with a transparent side panel and higher-quality components. It can also be outfitted with all the latest and greatest hardware at a price.

CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 5800 | GPU: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 TI | RAM: 16GB | Storage: 512TB SSD

What to Look for in a Desktop PC


While some people can get by with a more basic PC for web browsing and simple productivity tasks, if you do anything like video editing or play the latest games, you will want a dedicated graphics card (GPU). Nvidia makes the best GPUs now, and most people will find that any of their latest 30-series GPUs provide excellent performance. If you’re on a tight budget, settling for an older, less powerful GPU is fine.


Having enough Random Access Memory (RAM) on your PC is essential. Typically, you want to have at least 8GB unless you're considering a low-power Chrome OS device. If you're going to do more multitasking, content creation, or gaming, then you want a minimum of 16GB.


Most people will want at least 512GB. Ensure the primary storage is solid-state (SSD) rather than a hard drive (HDD), as an SSD is much faster than an HDD. You can always add more internal drives if your PC has the space for them; if not, external hard drives or Network Attached Storage (NAS) is an option. However, be aware that external storage is much slower.

  • Do desktop PCs come with a monitor, mouse, and keyboard?

    Except for all-in-ones and some bundle deals you might occasionally find at retailers, desktop PCs usually don’t include a monitor. They do, however, almost always come with a mouse and keyboard. However, these accessories are typically low quality; you’ll probably want to invest in upgraded peripherals for a better experience.

  • Should you build your own PC?

    Building your own PC can be a rewarding and cost-saving experience. You get to pick out components, and a PC's assembly isn't as daunting a task as you might think. However, it is time-consuming, and if you're doing it for the first time, it can be scary, and there is some risk of damaging expensive components. If you don't want to invest the time into part sourcing, installation, and troubleshooting, you might be better off buying a pre-built system.

  • What should you do with your old PC?

    There are several ways you can recycle your old PC. Some people use older PCs as a media server to store and stream videos. Some people install Chrome OS or Linux onto older PCs since they often run well on lower specifications. You can also see if your local school district takes donations or if there's a computer recycling center nearby. If you go that route, be sure to scrub all of your personal data off the computer first.

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