Last updated date: July 9, 2019

DWYM Score

Why Trust The DWYM Score?

DWYM is your trusted product review source. Along with our in-house experts, our team analyzes thousands of product reviews from the most trusted websites. We then create one easy-to-understand score. Learn more.

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

We looked at the top Desktop Computers and dug through the reviews from some of the most popular review sites. Through this analysis, we've determined the best Desktop Computer you should buy.

Overall Take

In our analysis of 90 expert reviews, the ASUS ASUS CHROMEBOX-M004U Computer placed 8th when we looked at the top 11 products in the category. For the full ranking, see below.

Editor's Note October 14, 2019:
Checkout The Best Desktop Computer for a detailed review of all the top desktop computers.

Expert Summarized Score
10 expert reviews
User Summarized Score
1,294 user reviews
Our Favorite Video Reviews
What experts liked
This machine is compact and inexpensive.
- Tom's Guide
November 15, 2017 | Full review
In our tests, using the Chromebox M400U was as easy as it was to use a Chromebook: The system boots up and wakes up in seconds, you can easily get to your home pages with your Google account (once you've logged in the first time), and all your work in Chrome auto-saves to the cloud.
- PC Magazine
March 12, 2014 | Full review
Physically, the Asus Chromebox is one of the more compact Chromebox options available: It measures just 4.9 inches by 4.9 inches by 1.67 inches. And if that footprint isn’t small enough, Asus includes a bracket for mounting it on a wall.
- PC World
March 12, 2014 | Full review
Great performance given the workload is one thing, but we often see inordinately high power consumption from small form factor desktops as many OEMs aren’t as focused on driving low power consumption. Thankfully that isn’t the case for ASUS’ Chromebox.
- Anand Tech
March 12, 2014 | Full review
The Asus Chromebox puts the Cloud-based world of Google's Chrome OS into a compact, attractive black box.
March 12, 2014 | Full review
On the Chromebox-M004U everything runs on the full version of Chrome browser, including most, if not all, of the x86-based browser plug-ins and Web apps you’ve become accustomed to. No longer will you have to struggle with office document creation and editing, it has been made as easy as bringing up Google OS.
- PCVerge
May 20, 2016 | Full review
It may not offer the flexibility of a traditional desktop, but the ASUS Chromebox offers a refined version of Chrome OS suitable for households in need of a secondary desktop with little overhead.
- Engadget
In our ASUS ChromeBox M004U review we saw it has four USB 3.0 ports, which means you can connect whatever peripherals you want without any struggle.
- Smart Home Beginner
October 20, 2015 | Full review
The Chromebox M400U boots up very quickly and feels more like being stuck in a Chrome browser than a traditional operating system. It is pretty easy to hop between the Google aps but takes some getting used to.
- Gadget King
May 30, 2014 | Full review
ASUS Chromebox M004U Desktop is a simpler and smarter. This is an ideal family device as it provides an option of parental control personalized access and an easy switch between the accounts for a safe and secure web surfing this 2GB DDR3 RAM with a memory speeds of 1600 megahertz is enough for light computing and essential family needs such as watching movies emailing browsing the web or working in the Google Drive.
- Jnex Tech
June 22, 2018 | Full review
What experts didn't like
Obviously, without the software support that a Windows or Mac might offer, we were somewhat limited in what benchmark testing could be done.
- Tom's Guide
November 15, 2017 | Full review
Only 16GB local storage. Keyboard and mouse not standard.
- PC Magazine
March 12, 2014 | Full review
Subjectively, the Asus Chromebox felt snappy, both while browsing the web and playing a few Flash games.
- PC World
March 12, 2014 | Full review
The learning curve is an issue. As is the fact that there’s no elegant handling for dealing with files you might download.
- Anand Tech
March 12, 2014 | Full review
Keyboard and mouse not standard.
- PCVerge
May 20, 2016 | Full review

From The Manufacturer

Easy out-of-the-box setup, integrated virus and malware protection and feature-enhancing updates, ASUS Chromebox starts up in seconds to get you to your favorite websites and apps instantly. It houses a processor powerful enough for ultrafast multitasking performance and the connectivity options to choose your own screen size, connecting to multiple displays at once and even attach to any VESA-mountable monitor or HD TV. ASUS Chromebox is the always-new computer that just makes sense. ASUS Chromebox can act as a data center for your desktop, phone or tablet meaning you always have access to the files you need including your favorite Google services. With 100GB of free Google Drive space, you're always connected to your data in the cloud simply by logging into your Gmail account anytime, anywhere.

Overall Product Rankings

1. Dell Inspiron All-in-One Desktop, 27″
Overall Score: 9.0
Expert Reviews: 9
2. HP Pavilion All-In-One Desktop
Overall Score: 8.9
Expert Reviews: 4
3. Intel NUC 6 Mini MC Kit
Overall Score: 8.7
Expert Reviews: 18
4. ASUS ZenAiO Desktop, 27″
Overall Score: 8.4
Expert Reviews: 6
5. Lenovo Legion Gaming Tower Desktop Computer
Overall Score: 8.4
Expert Reviews: 1
6. Apple Mac Mini
Overall Score: 8.2
Expert Reviews: 10
7. HP ENVY All-in-One – 27-b245se
Overall Score: 8.1
Expert Reviews: 3
8. ASUS CHROMEBOX-M004U Computer
Overall Score: 8.1
Expert Reviews: 10
9. HP Envy Desktop Computer
Overall Score: 8.1
Expert Reviews: 10
10. Dell Inspiron All-in-One Desktop 23.8″
Overall Score: 7.9
Expert Reviews: 5
11. ASUS CHROMEBOX 2 Mini Computer
Overall Score: 7.4
Expert Reviews: 3

An Overview On Desktop Computers

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.

DYWM 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 Buying Guide

  • 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.