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The Best Desktop Computer

Last updated on October 14, 2019

We looked at the top 13 Desktop Computers and dug through the reviews from 80 of the most popular review sites including Slash Gear, The Verge, Hot Hardware, Windows Central, Game Revolution, ABT and more. The result is a ranking of the best Desktop Computers.

Best Desktop Computer

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Look for the DWYM seal for products that are the best in a category.

Our Picks For The Top Desktop Computers

Show Contents
Our Take
Experts Included
Pros
Cons
  The Best Overall
10.2

HP

Pavilion All-In-One Desktop

Overall Take

Great GraphicsWith top-notch graphics, the HP Pavilion All-In-One Desktop is perfect for gaming.

Experts Included
DWYM Electronics Experts plus Consumer Reports, BestReviews, Tech Radar, IO Techie. Along with user reviews from QVC, Amazon, Walmart and Best Buy.
Pros
" It is suitable for high-performance gaming."
Cons
"An annoying amount of bloatware comes with this PC. Not enough USB ports for many users. DVD cart is difficult to access. Keyboard and mouse can suffer from spotty operation."

Dell

Inspiron All-in-One Desktop, 27"

Overall Take

Versatile DesktopThe Dell Inspiron All-in-One Desktop, 27" can do it all — gaming, streaming and more.

Experts Included
DWYM Electronics Experts plus Tom’s Guide, PG Magazine – SE Asia, Tech Spot, Hot Hardware, Digital Trends, Tech Radar and 3 more. Along with user reviews from Best Buy and Amazon.
Pros
" However, it offers solid performance, allows some upgradability and definitely appeals to AMD fans with its Ryzen- and Radeon-powered performance."
Cons
"The unsophisticated stand is less of a drawback in itself than it is a reflection of the fact that the Inspiron 27 7000 is not touch-enabled, another downside compared with the XPS 27."

Intel

NUC 6 Mini MC Kit

Overall Take

Ready for LinuxIf you want to build and customize your own computer, the Intel NUC 6 Mini MC Kit is the way to go.

Experts Included
DWYM Electronics Experts plus PCVerge, Engadget, PC World, Tom’s Guide, Wired, Digital Trends and 12 more. Along with user reviews from Amazon and Best Buy.
Pros
" Can seamless perform content-creation without hurdles. Iris Pro Graphics 580 suffice for 1080p on most recent games. Sports a bunch of high-end hardware and features"
  The Best Value

ASUS

CHROMEBOX 2 Mini Computer

Overall Take

Affordable OptionThe popular ASUS CHROMEBOX 2 Mini Computer won't make a huge dent in your wallet and it uses the Google Chrome operating system.

Experts Included
DWYM Electronics Experts plus CNET, Tom’s Guide, BestReviews. Along with user reviews from Amazon and Walmart.
Pros
" The Asus Chromebox puts the Cloud-based world of Google's Chrome OS into a compact, attractive black box. For its low starting price, you get a decent performance for everyday tasks and a good assortment of ports and connections."
Cons
"Chrome OS means no Windows programs"
Don't just take for granted what one reviewer says. Along with our own experts, DWYM analyzes the top expert reviews of the leading products and generates a score you can actually trust.
20

Products Considered

We identified the majority of the desktop computers available to purchase.
13

Products Analyzed

We then selected the leading and most popular products for our team to review.

View All Product Rankings

80

Expert Reviews Included

In addition to our expert reviews, we also incorporate feedback and analysis of some of the most respected sources including: Slash Gear, The Verge, Hot Hardware, Windows Central, Game Revolution.

15,500

User Opinions Analyzed

We also incorporate user reviews from the leading retailers including Amazon, Best Buy, Walmart, QVC and 6 others.

Our experts reviewed the top 13 Desktop Computers and also dug through the reviews from 80 of the most popular review sites including Slash Gear, The Verge, Hot Hardware, Windows Central, Game Revolution, ABT and more. The result is a ranking of the best of the best Desktop Computers.

DWYM is your trusted roduct review source. Our team reviews thousands of product reviews from the trusted top experts and combines them into one easy-to-understand score. Learn more.

Look for the DWYM seal for products that are the best in their category.

The Best Overall

HP Pavilion All-In-One Desktop

Our Expert Score
10.5
4 expert reviews
User Summarized Score
8.3
173 user reviews
Our Take

AMD Radeon R5 graphics makes the HP Pavilion All-In-One Desktop ideal for gaming, along with everything else you plan to do. The affordable price makes it appealing to the typical user, and the all-in-one design streamlines it to make it easy to fit on your desk. One of the best features of this desktop, though, is that it's touchscreen.

What other experts liked
It is suitable for high-performance gaming.
- Consumer Reports
Runs quietly and handles operations quickly. Streaming video is no problems for this all-in-one.Screen is good-sized with clear, crisp display.
- BestReviews
April 1, 2019 | Full review
the Pavilion All-in-One is highly configurable with different options for processors, discrete graphics, RAM and storage.
- Tech Radar
May 4, 2015 | Full review
It comes installed with Windows 10 and includes AMD Radeon R5 graphics, which enables up to 4,333 MB total graphics memory. It also arrives with the keyboard and mouse. This set up saves on space since all the components are...
- IO Techie
January 3, 2019 | Full review
What other experts didn't like
This desktop has fewer USB ports than others.
- Consumer Reports
An annoying amount of bloatware comes with this PC. Not enough USB ports for many users. DVD cart is difficult to access. Keyboard and mouse can suffer from spotty operation.
- BestReviews
April 1, 2019 | Full review
Plastic back looks cheap
- Tech Radar
May 4, 2015 | Full review
Some Users May Not Like Touch Screen
- IO Techie
January 3, 2019 | Full review

The Best Bang For Your Buck

ASUS CHROMEBOX 2 Mini Computer

Expert Summarized Score
7.2
3 expert reviews
User Summarized Score
7.7
20 user reviews
Our Take

The affordable ASUS CHROMEBOX 2 Mini Computer has become very popular with consumers looking for an alternative to pricey Windows and Mac-based computers. It comes with the Google Chrome operating system, which may take some adjustment if you prefer Windows. You'll also need a monitor, keyboard and mouse to go with it.

What other experts liked
The Asus Chromebox puts the Cloud-based world of Google's Chrome OS into a compact, attractive black box. For its low starting price, you get a decent performance for everyday tasks and a good assortment of ports and connections.
- CNET
March 12, 2014 | Full review
This machine is compact and inexpensive
- Tom's Guide
November 15, 2017 | Full review
Sacrifice the latest processors for a cheaper computer with the Chromebox 2.
- BestReviews
January 1, 2019 | Full review
What other experts didn't like
You need to supply your own keyboard and mouse, which might not be as easy as it sounds. Only 16GB of storage might turn off some potential users, while power users will want to step up to the Core i3 version.
- CNET
March 12, 2014 | Full review
Chrome OS means no Windows programs
- Tom's Guide
November 15, 2017 | Full review
users transferring from a non-Chrome computer may find file organization difficult.
- BestReviews
January 1, 2019 | Full review

Overall Product Rankings

1. HP Pavilion All-In-One Desktop

Overall Score: 10.2
Reviews Included: 11

2. Dell Inspiron All-in-One Desktop, 27″

Overall Score: 9.0
Reviews Included: 12

3. Intel NUC 6 Mini MC Kit

Overall Score: 9.0
Reviews Included: 23

4. Dell Inspiron All-in-One Desktop 23.8″

Overall Score: 9.0
Reviews Included: 8

5. HP Envy Desktop Computer

Overall Score: 8.7
Reviews Included: 13

6. ASUS ZenAiO Desktop, 27″

Overall Score: 8.4
Reviews Included: 9

7. Lenovo Legion Gaming Tower Desktop Computer

Overall Score: 8.4
Reviews Included: 4

8. Apple Mac Mini

Overall Score: 8.2
Reviews Included: 13

9. HP ENVY All-in-One – 27-b245se

Overall Score: 8.1
Reviews Included: 5

10. ASUS CHROMEBOX-M004U Computer

Overall Score: 8.1
Reviews Included: 14

11. ASUS CHROMEBOX 2 Mini Computer

Overall Score: 7.4
Reviews Included: 5

Our Findings

Dell Inspiron All-in-One Desktop, 27″

What We Liked: For serious computer users, the Dell Inspiron All-in-One Desktop, 27″ is the route to go. In one attractive monitor, you get all the power you need for gaming, streaming video or anything else you need to do. The 4K matte display also ensures the images on your screen come to life in vivid detail.

HP Pavilion All-In-One Desktop

What We Liked: AMD Radeon R5 graphics makes the HP Pavilion All-In-One Desktop ideal for gaming, along with everything else you plan to do. The affordable price makes it appealing to the typical user, and the all-in-one design streamlines it to make it easy to fit on your desk. One of the best features of this desktop, though, is that it’s touchscreen.

Intel NUC 6 Mini MC Kit

Best for Customization

Intel NUC 6 Performance Kit (NUC6i7KYK) - Core i7, Add't Components Needed (Personal Computers)


List Price: $540.00 USD
New From: $608.99 USD In Stock
Used from: Out of Stock

What We Liked: For those who want to customize a computer, the Intel NUC 6 Mini MC Kit is a great start. You’ll have to add a hard drive, RAM and an operating system, but this option often appeals to Linux enthusiasts. It’s not powerful enough for intense gaming applications, but you will find video streaming is very impressive.

ASUS CHROMEBOX 2 Mini Computer

Best for Google Chrome OS

ASUS CHROMEBOX2-G095U Mini Chrome OS Computer (Personal Computers)


List Price:
New From: 0 Out of Stock
Used from: 0 In Stock

What We Liked: The affordable ASUS CHROMEBOX 2 Mini Computer has become very popular with consumers looking for an alternative to pricey Windows and Mac-based computers. It comes with the Google Chrome operating system, which may take some adjustment if you prefer Windows. You’ll also need a monitor, keyboard and mouse to go with it.

Our Expert Consultant

Patrick Ward 
Editor-in-chief of High Speed Experts

Patrick Ward is the editor-in-chief of High Speed Experts, a broadband connectivity-, search engine- and IT-industry education blog that empowers consumers by open-sourcing information about tech services. He earned his bachelor’s degree in commerce with an emphasis on communications at the University of Sydney. His expertise spans the digital, emerging tech and telecommunications fields.

Our Desktop Computer Buying Guide

The PC market has definitely shifted — today, you see more laptops and tablets in people’s homes than desktops.

“What used to be a staple of households, has now been taken over by the convenience and portability of laptops and tablets,” DWYM’s resident technology expert Patrick Ward, editor-in-chief of IT industry education platform and search engine blog High Speed Experts, says. “The key reason why you should buy a desktop over a laptop is simple: power.”

Desktops have come a long way over the years. You no longer need a large tower connected to a monitor. Instead, you can get peak performance from a small box tucked away in the corner of your desk. You also have the option of an all-in-one desktop, with the processing power packed into the display itself. These options free up your workspace, leaving plenty of room on your desk for stacks of forgotten reports and junk mail.

Don’t be fooled by the space savings, though. Technology companies have simply found a way to do far more in a smaller space. There’s a reason for that. Today’s applications require peak performance. You’ll need to search for a computer with the processing power to handle what you’ll be doing.

Playing games online specifically requires high-quality graphics and computing power, which makes desktops essential. More than that, they allow you to improve various elements without buying a whole new unit: “Not only can desktops be more powerful when you initially purchase them, they also can be upgraded with increased memory space and processing power,” says Ward.

One of the major components to consider is RAM, or random access memory.

“RAM speeds up your computer by storing real-time system information that you request,” Ward explains. “In other words, if you are using a video editing software or playing video games that make many requests a second, you’re going to want a lot of RAM. 8GB is the recommended minimum, but consider getting higher RAM if you’ll be running multiple programs at once (e.g. rendering a video while playing a video game).”

Next, you’ll want to explore storage capabilities. You’ll likely come across two main types of storage devices, internal hard-disk drives (HDD), and internal solid-state drives (SSD). An SSD can house 120-240GB, while an HDD holds 400GB-2TB. Many desktops will have both types of drive, but only need one.

“The generally accepted best practice is to place large media files on the HDD (videos, music, family photo albums) and essential programs, plus the operating system,” Ward says.

Video streaming quality is also a consideration. If you plan to stream video from your computer to a TV or large monitor, you’ll want to make sure you choose a computer with the power to handle the video resolution you desire. Some desktops have the graphics power to support high-definition displays. It’s important to look for this functionality upfront in case you’ll want it down the road.

No matter what your level of tech proficiency, setup can be a big consideration. Many all-in-one computers are designed to be put together quickly, so that may be a bonus. A kit is for those who want to put serious time into building a computer to be exactly how they want it. But a device like the Chromebox is also very simple to set up, as long as you have the monitor and peripherals ready to go once you get it home.

Peripherals are also worth considering. Your all-in-one computers will probably come with a keyboard and mouse in the box, giving you everything you need to get started. However, these accessories aren’t typically of the highest quality, so if you’re picky about peripherals, you may end up replacing them anyway. With a device like the Chromebox, you’ll have to purchase a keyboard and mouse to go with it.

Lastly, there’s price. All-in-one pricing runs the gamut, but if you’re a gamer, you may find yourself paying more. For a bargain, you can’t go wrong with the Chromebox. Just make sure you factor in the cost of a monitor, mouse and keyboard. A kit setup requires so many add-ons, you’ll want to price everything before you make the decision to go that route.

DWYM Fun Fact

The first computer was the ENIAC, which stood for Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer, which was introduced in 1942 by physicist John Mauchly. The U.S. Army, looking for a way to compute wartime ballistics tables, saw ENIAC as the perfect solution. Unlike the computers of today, this computer was enormous, taking up the entire 50 X 30-foot basement of the school where it was housed. It was by far the most complex set of electronics ever built at the time. The government shelled out $400,000 to purchase ENIAC in 1946, and it ran calculations until 1955, when a lightning strike interrupted its winning streak. Today, you can see parts of ENIAC at the Smithsonian.

The Desktop Computer Tips and Advice

  • Before you start shopping, consider the type of desktop you want. Both the Dell Inspiron All-in-One Desktop, 27″ and HP Pavilion All-In-One Desktop are all-in-one units. This means everything you need is in the monitor. Simply connect the keyboard and mouse to the monitor and you’re ready to go.
  • The ASUS CHROMEBOX 2 Mini Computer connects to a monitor in the traditional sense, but it’s only 4.9 x 1.6 x 4.9 inches. You’ll have to attach it to a monitor or TV, so keep that in mind. You’ll also have to buy a keyboard and mouse that’s compatible with Chromebox.
  • The Intel NUC 6 Mini MC Kit is designed to be part of a do-it-yourself desktop setup. You’ll need to purchase RAM, a hard drive and an operating system, but it works with Linux if you want to avoid the hefty price for Windows 10.
  • If you’re a gamer, the Dell Inspiron All-in-One Desktop, 27″ and HP Pavilion All-In-One Desktop are the best options. They both offer solid gaming performance. The Dell Inspiron All-in-One Desktop, 27″ has an 8-core, 3 GHz processor that will easily handle the upcoming increase in virtual reality games. The HP Pavilion All-In-One Desktop has AMD Radeon R5 graphics designed to tackle even the most intense games.
  • Although the ASUS CHROMEBOX 2 Mini Computer isn’t the best for intense applications like gaming, it holds its own, especially considering its price. For your everyday tasks, you’ll find it more than capably handles the job. However, if you plan to push it to its limits, you may consider upgrading to the Core i3 version.
  • The performance of the Intel NUC 6 Mini MC Kit is best for non-gaming applications. It has a 6th-generation Intel Core i7 processor, as well as an Intel Iris Pro Graphics. If you’re a casual gamer or just use it for work, though, you’ll find it suffices.
  • One of the best uses of the Intel NUC 6 Mini MC Kit is streaming TV shows and movies. Intel Iris Pro Graphics powers higher resolutions, making it perfect for watching video on 4K displays. This feature is also great for video and photo editors.
  • Your computer naturally becomes part of the aesthetics of the area where you set it up, so design can be an important consideration. The Dell Inspiron All-in-One Desktop, 27″ is the first Inspiron all-in-one to feature the InfinityEdge display, which minimizes the bezel around the edge of the screen. The HP Pavilion All-In-One Desktop has a thicker, more standard bezel, but it’s still very attractive.
  • The display on the Dell Inspiron All-in-One Desktop, 27″ is impressive as well, offering a vibrant 4K matte display that makes images pop. You’ll get more color contrast, thanks to the HDR 10 screen.
  • You’ll also get impressive video with the Intel NUC 6 Mini MC Kit, which provides Iris Pro 580 high resolution, giving you crisp images and offering 4K resolution even when spread across multiple monitors.
  • Another big decision you’ll need to make is whether you want a touchscreen monitor. The HP Pavilion All-In-One Desktop has a touchscreen, while the Dell Inspiron All-in-One Desktop, 27″ doesn’t.
  • Neither the Intel NUC 6 Mini MC Kit nor the ASUS CHROMEBOX 2 Mini Computer comes with a display, mouse or keyboard, so you’ll need to have to be prepared to purchase those separately. With the Dell Inspiron All-in-One Desktop, 27″ and HP Pavilion All-In-One Desktop, a mouse and keyboard are included. However, these aren’t top-of-the-line peripherals, so you may end up replacing them anyway.
  • The Intel NUC 6 Mini MC Kit looks portable, but its power brick is surprisingly heavy. If you’re looking for portability, you may be disappointed.
  • When purchasing any computer today, ports are a big part of the decision. The Dell Inspiron All-in-One Desktop, 27″ has an HDMI in, HDMI out, seven USB ports and a universal headset jack. The HP Pavilion All-In-One Desktop has only three USB ports. The Intel NUC 6 Mini MC Kit has a full-sized HDMI port, Thunderbolt 3, a Mini DisplayPort and two USB ports. The ASUS CHROMEBOX 2 Mini Computer has an HDMI and DisplayPort, as well as two USB ports.
  • As far as setup’s concerned, the easiest is likely the Dell Inspiron All-in-One Desktop, 27″, which only requires you to screw on the base to get started. A single screw does the job. You don’t even need a screwdriver. The Intel NUC 6 Mini MC Kit is not geared toward the novice or even intermediate computer user. You’ll need to purchase peripherals and parts and ensure they’re compatible, then hook everything up and track down an operating system to install.
  • As complex as the Intel NUC 6 Mini MC Kit can be to set up, it does offer more compatibility than other desktop options. With the HP Pavilion All-In-One Desktop, though, you can upgrade the processor, graphics, RAM and storage.
  • The Dell Inspiron All-in-One Desktop, 27″ uses Windows Hello login, which utilizes the computer’s infrared camera to log you in using facial recognition.
  • It may not be a top priority, but if you plan to sometimes use the webcam, you’ll want to check to make sure your desktop has that feature. The Dell Inspiron All-in-One Desktop, 27″ tends to provide odd angles. With the HP Pavilion All-In-One Desktop, Intel NUC 6 Mini MC Kit or ASUS CHROMEBOX 2 Mini Computer, you’ll have to purchase a camera separately.
  • If you’re looking for a budget-friendly option, you can’t go wrong with the ASUS CHROMEBOX 2 Mini Computer, although you’ll also need to budget for a monitor and peripherals if you don’t already have them. The HP Pavilion All-In-One Desktop is the more budget-friendly all-in-one option. The Dell Inspiron All-in-One Desktop, 27″ comes with a hefty price tag.
  • One benefit of the HP Pavilion All-In-One Desktop is that it runs quietly.
  • ASUS CHROMEBOX 2 Mini Computer and other Chromebox devices come with Chrome OS installed. This means you won’t have Windows preinstalled. Still, you can fully operate using the Chrome operating system once you get used to it.

About The Author

Avatar
Stephanie Faris 

Stephanie Faris is a former information technology professional who spent most of her career working with computers and printers. Now a novelist and professional writer, her writings on electronics have been published on Online-Tech-Tips.com and Switching to Mac, among many others. When she isn't writing about technology, she's often checking out the latest news on the upcoming iPhone release.