The best computers offer power and affordability right on your desktop, with systems suited to everything from remote work and school to photo and video editing, gaming, and even virtual reality.
Whether you want the uncluttered design of an all-in-one computer, the compact size of a mini PC or a gaming desktop that can handle the latest titles with ease, we've got you covered. Be it Windows or Mac, these are the best desktop computers we've reviewed.
To help you choose the right PC that meets your unique needs we've got recommendations for systems that will meet your budget, whether you need lots of power for content creation or a more affordable system for projects and education.
The best computers we recommend right now
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The Apple iMac 2021 (24-inch) is a breath of fresh air for the aging iMac line, arriving with a beautiful display, an excellent webcam and an array of bright new color schemes. This is also the first iMac to incorporate Apple’s M1 chip, a custom bit of silicon that’s already proven itself to be powerful and efficient in the M1 MacBook Air, the M1 MacBook Pro, and the Mac mini with M1.
Here it gives this 24-inch all-in-one enough power to handily run all your favorite apps with power to spare, though if you want to play the latest games you're probably better off with the 27-inch iMac and its discrete Radeon graphics card. But if you just want a powerful, beautiful machine for getting things done, this M1-powered iMac is more than capable of handling whatever tasks a family, student, or working stiff might throw at it.
Read our full Apple iMac 24-inch review.
The Alienware Aurora R15 is an excellent gaming PC that can be configured to fit a broad price range, and its whisper-quiet performance make it one of our top recommendations for folks buying their first gaming PC.
If you can afford it, Alienware will fill the Aurora R15 with top-of-the-line components that make it a top-tier gaming PC. At over $4,000 our review unit is far from cheap, but it's powerful enough to play the latest and greatest games for years to come.
Make sure you check our Dell coupons page to find the latest discounts!
Read our full Alienware Aurora R15 review.
Apple's Mac Studio M2 looks identical to the original Mac Studio 2022, but if you peek under the hood you'll find an all-new set of Apple M2 chips that deliver more power than ever in the same squat silver chassis.
Configurable with up to 192GB of RAM, up to 8TB of storage and a top-tier M2 Ultra chip ((20-core CPU, 64-core GPU), the Mac Studio M2 sets a new high-water mark for power in Mac desktops. It has more than enough ports for most creative pros, but beware: If you want the power of M2 Ultra (which starts at $3,999) this pint-sized Mac gets pricey fast.
Read our full Mac Studio M2 review.
The Acer Predator Orion 3000 ($829 to start, $1,949 as reviewed) is a mid-sized gaming PC that's attractive, (relatively) affordable, and great for playing games at 1080p to 1440p.
It's not a great choice if you're looking to play games at 4K, however, and its packed-in keyboard and mouse leave much to be desired. The Orion 3000 also fared slightly worse in our suite of performance tests than some similarly-priced gaming PCs, perhaps because our review unit arrived with just 16GB of RAM.
The case is well-organized and easy to open though, so it should be pretty easy to upgrade this machine with more RAM when you need it. With its sub-$2,000 price, beefy components, and stylish, accessible case, Acer's Predator Orion 3000 is a great first gaming PC for someone looking to get into the hobby.
Read our full Acer Predator Orion 3000 review.
The Dell XPS 8960 (starting at $2,749) proves that a gaming PC doesn’t need to have an ostentatious design to be worth buying. As with its predecessors, the Dell XPS 8950 and Dell XPS 8940, this desktop seems more suited to an office setting than a LAN party. But despite its boring appearance, the XPS 8960 has more than enough power to run the best PC games—if you pay for the right components.
As usual, Dell offers a slew of configuration options for this desktop that let you put up to the latest and greatest PC parts inside, including the latest Intel Raptor Lake 13th Gen chips and Nvidia GeForce RTX 4000 series GPUs. While the 8960 initially went on sale at a much higher price than its predecessors (from $2,749 up to $5k if you splurge), that's likely because Dell launched the higher-end configs first. We expect to see less powerful, more affordable XPS 8960 models hitting the market throughout the year, so keep an eye out if you want a gaming PC this subtle but don't want to pay for all this power.
Read our full Dell XPS 8960 review.
Apple outdid itself with the Mac mini M2 ($599), a pint-sized powerhouse that’s cheaper and faster than its predecessor thanks to the speedy M2 chip. The option to upgrade it with an M2 Pro ($1,299) sweetens the deal, turning this into a decent Mac for gaming or light photo/video editing.
Of course, you get more than just speed when you pay for Pro: the entry-level Mac mini with M2 Pro is not only more powerful, it also has more memory and storage than the entry-level Mac mini, as well as more ports. It’s a great mini PC for Mac fans, one that delivers nearly as much power as the Mac Studio M2 in an even smaller chassis.
Read our full Mac mini M2 review.
The Microsoft Surface Studio 2 is the best thing around for anyone who does digital art, thanks to a gorgeous touchscreen that drops down low for comfortable touch and pen use. The better-than-4K display looks amazing, the touch screen supports both the Surface Pen and Surface Dial and the design is top-notch. The design alone would make this the best touchscreen all-in-one for drawing, but the addition of best-in-class pen support takes it up another level.
The updated Surface Studio 2 gets beefier processing and graphics hardware, switches to all-solid-state drives for storage, and gets an even better version of the PixelSense display that offers enhanced brightness and contrast. It's one of the best all-in-one computers we've seen, and our top pick for media creators and artists.
Read our full Microsoft Surface Studio 2 review.
The first thing you'll notice about the MSI MEG Trident X is that it's absolutely gorgeous. This small, angular machine fits easily into just about any gaming nook, and is ideal for either desktop or living room setups. The second thing you'll notice is that it runs games absolutely beautifully, whether you want to experience them at full HD, QHD or UHD settings. With a variety of processor, GPU and RAM options from which to choose, you'll be able to customize a machine that works for your games, and for your monitor.
Just be aware that no matter how you design the MEG Trident X, it's going to be expensive. Furthermore, the accessories it comes with — the MSI Clutch GM11 Mouse and MSI Vigor GK30 Keyboard — are mediocre at best, and disappointing at worst. Still, in terms of both physical design and raw performance, the MEG Trident X is one of the most gorgeous and functional gaming PCs on the market today.
Read our full MSI MEG Trident X review.
The Raspberry Pi ushered in a new era of DIY tech, and the latest model, the Raspberry Pi 4 Model B, pushes that to new heights with a more powerful processor, 4K video output and an improved part selection. The latest model, the $35 Raspberry Pi 4 Model B offers enormous value for projects ranging from simple to complex, from its enhanced processing and graphics to offering broad compatibility with older accessories.
If you want to do something different with your technology, the Raspberry Pi 4 Model B is the best mini PC for tinkering and experimenting. Whether you buy it alone or in a kit, the Raspberry Pi is hard to beat.
Since our review, the Raspberry Pi 4 Model B has been updated with a new model that has 8GB of RAM, significantly improving on the 2GB memory of the base model.
Read our full Raspberry Pi 4 Model B review.
How to choose the best computer for you
Finding the right computer is mostly about form and function: What do you want it to look like, and what do you want it to do? In our roundup of the best desktop computers, we look at a free different styles of computer, each offering unique designs and tailored to specific use cases.
Standard PC towers are often the most affordable desktop option, as well as the most basic. With simple designs and plenty of configuration options, a basic desktop tower is still the best option for cost-effective computing power. And thanks to the flexibility of the design you can outfit these standard computers for everything from basic web browsing and media streaming to incredibly demanding uses such as gaming and animation.
All-in-one desktops, as the name suggests, provide a combination of PC and monitor in the same device. These all-in-one designs give you a powerful desktop without the bulk of a tower or the tangle of cables that come with a separate monitor. The best all-in-one computers range from budget-friendly systems to high-powered workstations, so check out our in-depth reviews of the best all-in-one computers.
Gaming desktops, by and large, use the traditional tower design, but are outfitted with powerful components optimized for high performance gaming. These high octane systems are built to accommodate the latest discrete graphics cards, potent processors, large volume storage, and all of the cooling necessary for a high performance machine. There are several options for gaming, whether it's your choice of hardware, or the stylized design that fits your taste. check out our in-depth reviews for all of the best gaming PCs.
Mini PCs take a very different approach, leveraging the tiny components used in laptops and tablets to provide a desktop experience that fits in the palm of your hand or into a pocket. These pint-sized or smaller desktop computers can be easily stashed out of sight or incorporated into less traditional arrangements, such as into a home theater system for streaming movies. Whether it's a small box on your desk or a stick PC in your pocket, our reviews layout the features and performance of the best mini PCs.
Once you know what type of computer you want to get, it's a question of what you want to do with it. While any of the systems on the list above can be used for web browsing and basic productivity uses like typing up documents or putting together a PowerPoint presentation, different use cases have slightly different demands.
The best desktop for gaming will feature graphics cards built for gaming performance, while systems for video editing or animation may use equally powerful GPUs, but with models that focus on reliable performance and certification for different applications. A great desktop for kids will keep things fairly basic, focusing on speedy web browsing and streaming capability, with less of an emphasis on raw horsepower.
How we test computers
As we evaluate and review all sorts of computers, we run a series of standardized tests to measure how each machine performs, what uses it's best suited to, and what sort of capability you get for the price.
These standard tests include generalized performance benchmark tests, like Geekbench 4 and 5 (for processor performance), 3DMark Fire Strike Ultra (for graphics), and a custom file transfer test to measure hard drive performance.
Gaming-oriented benchmarks test the performance of systems using current games, measuring the frame rates each desktop will produce in games like Tomb Raider, Far Cry: New Dawn, Red Dead Redemption 2 and Middle-earth: Shadow of War. We'll also run individual game tests and the SteamVR performance test to evaluate how well-suited they are to the unique demands of virtual reality.
Most importantly, we spend a ton of time simply using each desktop computer for everyday activities. We watch movies, do work, play games, and blast music on the speakers, all to get a better sense of which ones are worth your money.
For more information, check out our how we test page for Tom's Guide.