The 13 Best Desktop PCs of 2019

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The Rundown

Our Top Picks

Most Popular: 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 Overall: 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 Gaming: 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 Basic: HP Pavilion 590

HP Pavilion 590

HP.com

 

3.3

Desktops like the HP Pavilion 590 show that you don’t have to make too many compromises even on a limited PC budget. The ash silver box sports a stylish design and measures a compact 6.69 x 10.9 x 13.3 inches. A number of its ports are right in front for quick access, including USB 3.1 inputs and a USB-C input.

Running the Pavilion 590 on an AMD Ryzen 5 2400G processor means you get an excellent, modern quad-core CPU for your money. AMD CPUs are generally a better value than Intel ones, and any performance differences at this level will hardly be noticeable for most users. Plus, with an AMD Radeon RX 550 dedicated graphics card, it can perform decently as a gaming machine. It also comes with 1TB of hard drive storage space and 8GB of RAM, which can be upgraded to 32GB if you find yourself slowed down. But for basic usage — including moderate gaming, video watching, and multitasking — the Pavilion 590 comes with enough hardware to get the job done reliably. 

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 Overall: Corsair 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.

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 the Home Office: Dell Inspiron 22 3277

Dell Inspiron 22 3277

 Dell

The Dell Inspiron 22 3277 all-in-one PC offers value and features ideal for the home workstation. Having the computer, monitor, and speakers all together provides a small footprint and more flexibility in how you set up your desk. Thin bezels surround the 21.5-inch 1080p IPS panel that serves as an edge-to-edge touchscreen with 10 touch points. It’s overall a great-looking display, and built-in Dell Cinema features enhance audio quality and video streaming even further.

The hardware—8GB RAM, 1TB hard drive, and up to a 3.1GHz 7th-generation Intel Core i5 processor—suits day-to-day office work perfectly. (If your work is heavy on graphics and media editing, though, you may look for the better specs and bigger screens of higher-end all-in-ones offered by Dell or other companies.) The selection of inputs include three USB 3.1 ports and one HDMI port.

To help with home office needs, the Inspiron 22 3277 comes with a one-year McAfee Small Business Security subscription to help keep your work protected. You can also get a business-oriented configuration with a year of Dell’s ProSupport service bundled in. 

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 U27

Acer Aspire U27

 Acer.com

Acer’s Aspire U27-880 all-in-one PC does a lot of things well for a lot of people, and looking good is one of these things. The attractively designed silver-and-black housing measures only half an inch thick, slimmer than other premium competitors. The 27-inch ten-point touchscreen provides a big, bright display in full HD, though an option for 4K resolution would’ve been nice.

Another unique design feature is Acer’s “LiquidLoop” cooling system, which keeps the heat down without the use of fans, thus keeping the noise down as well. Also benefiting the Aspire U27’s acoustics are a pair of down-firing speakers with strong volume, crisp audio quality, and rich bass thanks to an integrated subwoofer.

Rounding out the features is an infrared camera for Windows Hello facial recognition security and a decent port selection that includes three USB 3.0 and one USB-C. The Aspire U27’s hardware falls in the middle of the road: its 7th-generation Intel Core processor was designed for laptops, but in this versatile all-in-one PC, it performs nicely for daily work and streaming. 

Best Refurbished: 2018 HP Flagship Pro

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.

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.

Test Results: Acer Aspire S24 (Most Popular)

5

What We Like

  • Easy setup

  • Attractive design

  • Fast speed

What We Don't Like

  • Wireless keyboard too small

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

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.

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.

Test Results: Apple iMac 21.5-inch (Best Overall)

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: Dell Alienware Aurora R7 (Best for Gaming)

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: 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.”