The 8 Best Desktop PCs of 2019

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Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.

Our Top Picks

Most Popular: 2018 HP Flagship Pro at Amazon

"One of the fastest work stations in its price bracket."

Best Overall: Dell Alienware Aurora R7 at Walmart

"One of the first gaming desktops to offer a tool-less upgrade."

Best All-in-One: Apple iMac at Amazon

"Remains the same stunningly designed all-in-one desktop computer that’s been impressing for almost two decades."

Best for Creatives: Microsoft Surface Studio 2 at Amazon

"The ultimate solution for digital artists, architects, and other serious content creators."

Runner-Up, Best for Creatives: Lenovo Yoga A940 at Amazon

"A convertible all-in-one desktop that offers a touch screen you can tilt upward to act as your monitor."

Best for Families: Dell Inspiron 24 3477 Touch at Dell

"From a trusted line of affordable all-in-one desktops, this can make a valuable addition to many homes."

Best Portability: Acer Aspire Z3 at Amazon

"With battery life listed at five hours, you can carry it around the house like a large tablet."

Best for Home Offices: Dell Inspiron 22 3000 All-in-One at Dell

"The 21.5-inch 1080p IPS panel provides you with supreme display options and interactive qualities."

Our Top Picks

Most Popular: 2018 HP Flagship Pro

4

Maximize your work output with the Flagship Pro. HP’s latest desktop model prides itself as being one of the fastest work stations within its price bracket. This PC comes equipped with a 3.6 GHz Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM (expandable to 32GB), and 512GB of storage. Although its memory capacity is slightly lower compared to other models, the Flagship PC makes up for it with its processing power, which is well-suited to daily tasks and browsing.

The Flagship Pro also comes with a plethora of port space including a DVD slot, six USB 2.0 ports, four USB 3.0 ports, as well as connectors for VGA, Display Port, RJ-45, and PS/2. The Flagship Pro comes with a one-year warranty and a 30-day trial for Office 365 software.

Best Overall: Dell Alienware Aurora R7

Dell Alienware Aurora R7
Courtesy of Walmart 
4.7

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

Best All-in-One: Apple iMac

4

Apple’s iMac remains the same stunningly designed all-in-one desktop computer that’s been impressing for almost two decades. The 2017 model shines in a lot of the same ways as the previous version, but with enough improvements to make it the best desktop computer for most people.

The super-slim 21.5-inch 4096 x 2304 pixel Retina display is crisp and brighter than ever, backlit with 500 nits of brightness. (A 1080p non-Retina option is available as well.) It boasts great color range with the cinema-quality DCI-P3 color gamut. The iMac also comes in a 27-inch 5K version, but for a lot of people, the extra screen real estate won’t be worth the jump in price.

The value of the latest 21.5-inch iMac comes through in its upgraded performance as well, allowing it to stand up against pricier competitors. You can equip it with up to a 3.4GHz 7th-generation Intel Core i5 processor and 8GB of RAM (expandable with advanced hardware work). In terms of storage, you can opt for a 1TB Fusion Drive that combines a higher-capacity hard drive with speedy flash storage for commonly used apps.

Other new features include support for Thunderbolt 3 via two USB-C inputs and virtual reality capabilities with certain graphics cards. Included with the iMac are two excellent Bluetooth accessories: the Magic Keyboard and Magic Mouse 2.

You can also check our picks for the best all-in-one desktop PCs available today.

Best for Creatives: Microsoft Surface Studio 2

3.1

The Surface Studio is designed to be the ultimate solution for digital artists, architects, and other serious content creators who count on an all-purpose touch- or stylus-based display. It doesn’t aim to match the performance of gaming or workstation-level desktops, but the second generation of Microsoft’s unique machine does make many improvements to its inner workings. With an Intel Core i7 CPU on all models, improved NVIDIA GTX graphics cards, and faster solid-state drives of 1TB or 2TB capacity, your creativity can flow through it at a quicker pace than ever.

What remains unchanged in this iteration is the Surface Studio’s position as the top digital drafting table out there. It all revolves around the gorgeous and massive (yet thin) 28-inch PixelSense display, with 4500 x 3000 pixels of resolution that now boast 38 percent more brightness and 22 percent higher contrast ratio. You can work with ten points of touch or the included Surface Pen stylus that attaches magnetically to the sides when not in use. Then there’s the Zero Gravity hinge, which lets you smoothly and effortlessly adjust the screen’s angle from vertical to flat to anywhere in between. 

Runner-Up, Best for Creatives: Lenovo Yoga A940

The Lenovo Yoga A940 is a convertible all-in-one desktop that offers a touch screen you can tilt upward to act as your monitor. It includes a stylus, Precision Dial, full-size keyboard, and mouse to ensure you're ready to go as soon as you unpackaged the system. Its super-slim 27-inch IPS touch display panel features native 4K resolution, which looks fantastic whether you're sketching out design ideas or enjoying your favorite show or movie.

It comes packing an 8th-gen Intel Core i7-8700 hexa-core processor, 16GB of DDR-2666MHz RAM, dedicated AMD Radeon RX 560 graphics with 4GB of GDDR5 VRAM, and a 256GB Samsung PCIe M2 SSD as well as a 1TB Seagate HDD, delivering astounding performance and storage capabilities. Its flexibility, space-saving format, and various use cases make it a fantastic option for desktop users who want a little variety from their setups. 

Best for Families: Dell Inspiron 24 3477 Touch

Dell Inspiron 24 3477 Touch

Dell

The Dell Inspiron 3000 series is a trusted line of affordable all-in-one desktops, and the Inspiron 24 3477 model with a touchscreen option can make a valuable addition to many homes. Its 23.8-inch full HD (1920 x 1080 resolution) display uses in-plane switching (IPS) technology, which offers wide viewing angles so every family member can gather around to see. The sharp-looking desktop makes movie-watching a focus, incorporating the company’s new Dell Cinema features: CinemaSound delivers rich audio with dynamic highs and lows from the built-in speakers, and CinemaStream prioritizes bandwidth and resources to provide smoother video and audio streaming experiences.

With 8GB of RAM and 7th-generation Intel processors as a base configuration, the Inspiron 24 3477 won’t have any problem keeping up with standard day-to-day use. For heavier users and multitaskers looking for more performance, a high-end build with a 3.5GHz Core i7 CPU and 12GB RAM is available. There’s also an option for a NVIDIA GeForce MX110 graphics card for the gamers in the family. As a smart bonus design touch, the webcam pops up from the top when it’s needed, keeping it out of the way and maintaining privacy when it’s not. 

Best Portability: Acer Aspire Z3

We don’t often talk about portability when it comes to desktop computers, since laptops, tablets, and even laptop-tablet convertibles usually have that space covered. But the Aspire Z3 (model number AZ3-700-UR11) by Acer is an all-in-one desktop that’s designed to move. The 17.3-inch 1080p touchscreen is 0.61 inches thin and weighs 4.4 pounds. With battery life listed at five hours, you can carry it around the house like a large tablet. You can also lay it down flat or with a slight tilt and use the touchscreen or a passive stylus (not included). When you want it to serve as a traditional desktop, you can prop it up on its two rear kickstands and use the included wireless keyboard and mouse.

The downside to the unique build, though, is fairly limited hardware that can lead to some sluggish performance. Its 4GB of RAM is essentially the minimum for modern PCs—upgrading to 8GB may be a good idea. Even then, it probably doesn't have the right level of power for extensive gaming. The Aspire Z3, with its nice touchscreen and affordable price, is at its best when passed around among family members to watch movies and browse the web. 

Best for Home Offices: Dell Inspiron 22 3000 All-in-One

Dell Inspiron 22 3000 All-in-One

 Courtesy of Dell

Ideal for any home work station, the Dell Inspiron 22 3000 all-in-one PC is our pick for your home office. The computer, monitor, and speakers all existing within one unit limits the amount of space this PC takes up on your desk. Complete with an edge-to-edge touchscreen, the 21.5-inch 1080p IPS panel provides you with supreme display options and interactive qualities. In addition, the built-in Dell Cinema features enhance audio and video quality even further.

As for hardware, the 3000 is equipped with 4GB RAM, 1TB hard drive, and up to a 2.3 GHz Intel Pentium dual-core processor, which suit day-to-day office work perfectly. The selection of inputs include three USB 3.1 ports, one HDMI port, and a universal headphone jack.

To help with home office needs, the Inspiron 22 3000 is available with a discounted one-year McAfee Safe Connect Security subscription to help keep your work encrypted and protected. You can also opt for a business-oriented configuration with a year of Dell’s ProSupport service bundled in. 

Tested by

How We Tested

We bought and tested five top-rated desktop PCs. Our reviewers spent 180 hours doing work, playing games, and streaming videos. We asked our testers to consider the most important features when using these computers, from their display to their power. We’ve outlined the key takeaways 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.

Dell Alienware Aurora R7 (Best Overall)

Alienware
Courtesy of Walmart
4.7

What We Like

  • Extremely powerful

  • Super easy to upgrade

  • Quick setup

What We Don't Like

  • Expensive

  • Difficult to remove dust from vents

Dell Alienware Aurora R7
 Lifewire
Dell Alienware Aurora R7
Lifewire 
Dell Alienware Aurora R7
Lifewire 
Dell Alienware Aurora R7
Lifewire

The Dell Alienware Aurora R7 came highly recommended by our testers as a powerful gaming desktop PC. Our reviewers loved the simple setup, with one noting, “It's ready to roll out of the box with Windows and within 10 or 20 minutes you can be gaming (assuming you have a screen on-hand).” Other highlights, according to our testers, include how easy it is to upgrade and how well it keeps up with frame rates no matter what game you’re playing. In terms of negatives, one of our reviewers noted it’s difficult to clean dust out of the vents. Overall? “If you need a VR-ready gaming PC and want simplicity and convenience above all else, the Aurora R7 is absolutely worth purchasing,” one of our testers declared. He did add, “However, if you're looking for maximum performance on the smallest budget, this isn't your best option.”

Test Results: Apple iMac 21.5-inch (Best All-in-One)

4

What We Like

  • Gorgeous 4K screen

  • Incredible design

  • Extremely user-friendly

What We Don't Like

  • Difficult to upgrade

  • Pricey

  • Not ideal for gaming

Apple iMac 21.5-inch
Lifewire 
Apple iMac 21.5-inch
Lifewire 
Apple iMac 21.5-inch
Lifewire
Apple iMac 21.5-inch
Lifewire 
Apple iMac 21.5-inch
Lifewire 

“If you love the Apple ecosystem and prefer macOS over Windows, this is the easiest way to get a solid computer that has everything you need in one beautiful, minimal package,” raved one of our testers. In particular, our reviewers loved the “gorgeous 4K display,” the “ridiculously simple” setup, and its overall ease of use. On the other hand, one of our testers described upgrading the computer as an “incredibly unnerving and time-consuming process.” Plus, our reviewers pointed out it’s not designed with gaming in mind. However, one of our testers concluded, “It's not cheap for what it is, but it delivers everything it promises and does so in a design that's good enough to be sitting in MOMA.”

Test Results: HP Pavilion 590 (Best Basic)

HP
Courtesy of HP
3.3

What We Like

  • Simple

  • Nice selection of ports

  • Plenty of space for moderate updates

What We Don't Like

  • Boring design

  • A little too big

  • No tool-less access to the internals

HP Pavilion 590
Lifewire
HP Pavilion 590
Lifewire
HP Pavilion 590
Lifewire
HP Pavilion 590
 Lifewire

“It's worth buying if all you need is a standard desktop computer for productivity work and the most basic of games,” one of our testers said of the HP Pavilion 590. “It's everything you need and nothing you don't in a standard desktop PC,” he added. However, one of our reviewers cautioned, “If it's power and performance you're in search of, you're better off looking elsewhere.” The positives? In addition to a nice selection of ports, one of our testers liked that “for modest updates, it leaves plenty of space internally to tweak and alter the internals.” Still, aesthetically the computer is lacking, according to our reviewers. One of our testers also wished for easier access to the internals, saying, “A simple lever or handle to open the side of the case would be a nice addition.”

Test Results: Microsoft Surface Studio 2 (Best for Creatives)

3.1

What We Like

  • Incredibly responsive touchscreen

  • Easy switch from desktop to drawing mode

  • Massive, gorgeous screen

What We Don't Like

  • Extremely underpowered

  • Placement of ports isn’t ideal

  • Expensive

Microsoft Surface Studio 2
Lifewire 
Microsoft Surface Studio 2
 Lifewire
Microsoft Surface Studio 2
 Lifewire
Microsoft Surface Studio 2
Lifewire
Microsoft Surface Studio 2
 Lifewire
Microsoft Surface Studio 2
Lifewire 

Our testers were blown away by the design of the Microsoft Surface Studio 2. “The screen is absolutely massive and crystal clear and the machining on the entire product is nearly flawless,” one of our reviewers reported. The spring-loaded hinge system is another major plus, according to our testers, with one explaining, “For such a massive screen it takes little more than a finger to switch from desktop mode to drawing mode.” One of our reviewers added, “The touchscreen is incredibly responsive and the pen is a wonderful inclusion that brings the whole experience together.” However, our testers were quick to point out that if you aren’t an artist or illustrator, this computer doesn’t make much sense: “For how much it costs, the CPU, GPU, RAM, and storage inside are abysmal,” one explained. He added, “On a similar note, as beautiful as the screen is and as impressive as the touch and drawing is on the beautiful 28" screen, Windows just doesn't make use of touch functionality enough to make the computer truly worthwhile.”