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Desktop Reviews

Updated: Sep 16, 2014 03:27
Graphics Card
alaScore 100

Zotac ZBOX Sphere OI520

ZOTAC has priced the ZBOX Sphere OI520 Plus model at Rs 32,219 whereas the non-Plus ZBOX Sphere...

7 expert reviews

alaScore 99

Digital Storm Bolt II

With its attractive copper paint job, and powerful components, the Digital Storm Bolt II ($3,489...

3 expert reviews

alaScore 99

Intel NUC D54250WYK

When we reviewed the first iteration of Intel's NUC (Next Unit of Computing) do-it-yourself kit...

16 expert reviews | 129 user reviews

alaScore 98

Asus M70AD-_001S

The Asus M70AD-US003S ($1,199, as tested) is a midrange tower that offers the best of two worlds...

2 expert reviews | 12 user reviews

alaScore 98

HP Envy Rove 20

The HP Rove 20-K014us ($979.99 list) is a portable all-in-one desktop PC. That means that it has...

15 expert reviews | 101 user reviews

alaScore 97

Apple iMac Core 2 Duo (Late 2009)

This is all quite a hassle considering Boot Camp has worked so smoothly on most other Apple...

291 expert reviews | 7096 user reviews

alaScore 97

Dell XPS 18

On paper, the Dell XPS 18 all-in-one/tablet hybrid shouldn't work, with its massive 18.4-inch...

18 expert reviews | 130 user reviews

alaScore 97

Apple iMac (21.5-inch, Mid 2014) MF883 / ME086 / ME087

The 21.5-inch iMac is a beautiful all-in-one desktop Mac, starting at a reasonable £899. For that...

2 expert reviews | 1077 user reviews

alaScore 97

LG Chromebase

Plenty of PC manufacturers are jumping onto the Chrome OS bandwagon, with several Chrome-based...

2 expert reviews

alaScore 97

Dell OptiPlex 9030

The Dell OptiPlex 9030 Touch ($1,324.30 as tested) is a competent business all-in-one desktop...

3 expert reviews

alaScore 97

Lenovo C260

Penny pinchers in need of a very inexpensive all-in-one desktop PC will be happy with the Lenovo...

4 expert reviews | 5 user reviews

alaScore 96

HP Z1 G2

The HP Z1 G2 is an all-in-one workstation desktop for those who need professional-grade computing...

4 expert reviews

alaScore 96

Maingear Epic Rush X79

When it comes to competitive gaming, there are some things that no level of practice or skill can...

2 expert reviews

alaScore 96

Acer Predator AG3-605

The Acer Predator AG3-605-UR39 midrange gaming desktop ($1,299.99 as tested) not only looks...

4 expert reviews | 43 user reviews

alaScore 96

Asus G10AC

Original review gave 1 star because it arrived DOA, replacement works great.

2 expert reviews | 7 user reviews

alaScore 96

Lenovo Thinkcentre M93P

This diminutive business PC is smart enough for the office, and tough enough for the factory floor.

4 expert reviews | 2 user reviews

alaScore 96

Lenovo IdeaCentre Flex 20

The Lenovo IdeaCentre Flex 20 is a 19.5-inch portable all-in-one desktop that marries ultrabook...

10 expert reviews | 25 user reviews

alaScore 96

Acer Aspire U5-620

The Acer Aspire U5 (AU5-620-UB10) all-in-one desktop PC ($999 as tested) is aimed at the user who...

2 expert reviews

alaScore 95


The Zotac ZBox IQ01 Plus is a superb mini PC. It may be bigger than the competition, but there's...

2 expert reviews | 9 user reviews

alaScore 95

Zotac ZBOX ID45 Plus

The ZOTAC ZBOX ID45 Plus is an interesting product specially because of the presence of the...

2 expert reviews

alaScore 95


A uniquely upgradable design, plenty of power and a great screen make the high price worth paying.

4 expert reviews

alaScore 95

ASUS Chromebox M004U

Although its lack of portability is a bit antiquated, the M004U's performance is perfectly...

4 expert reviews | 23 user reviews

alaScore 95

Intel ® NUC

How cheap is too cheap?

5 expert reviews | 3 user reviews

alaScore 95

Dell Inspiron 3000

For less than $500, the affordable and sleek Inspiron 11 3000 serves as both a laptop and a tablet.

2 expert reviews | 366 user reviews

alaScore 95

Lenovo Ideacentre Horizon

This cart is a very handy accessory for Lenovo's IdeaCentre Horizon, but you'll want to be aware...

16 expert reviews | 67 user reviews


    Buying Guide

    Buying Guide - Desktops

    Although other formats are gaining, desktop computers remain a popular choice for many consumers. Desktops still offer a slight advantage in price when compared to laptops, and this is an important consideration for any consumer. When it comes to the ultimate in performance, memory, and screen size for your personal computer, there is no substitute for a desktop model, and these computers will remain the biggest kids on the block for the foreseeable future.


    Desktop Advantages

    Performance: Higher end desktops offer advantages over laptops in all areas of performance. Desktops can handle larger processors, more RAM for faster computing, expanded hard disk size for storage of a huge amount of files, and unrivaled ability to accommodate larger screen size.

    Upgrades: Desktop PCs offer the most flexibility to accommodate upgrades in hardware and software. This extends the life of the computer, and reduces the need to buy an entirely new computer to substantially enhance performance.

    Connectivity: If you have a number of different accessories, hardware add-ons, memory managers, or gaming devices, the plethora of connectivity options provided by desktops will be essential to give you an optimized computing experience.

    What to Look for in a Desktop

    PC vs. Mac – PCs are still the market leaders, but Macs have a core of enthusiastic followers that continues to grow. PCs have a huge selection of hardware and software add-ons to choose from, but the bulky operating system may require a more powerful computer in order to run smoothly. Macs are efficient and easy to use, but your choices for hardware and software are constrained to a handful of providers. Ultimately, the difference is increasingly becoming one simply of personal preference, rather than performance.

    CPU/Processor – The processor is the powerhouse of a computer, and affects all aspects of your computing experience. As the power goes up (measured in GHz), so does performance – if you anticipate needing to run a lot of high-end applications, you will need a more powerful processor, and most new mainstream and high-end PCs come with dual-core or quad-core chips in them, with six-core chips just hitting the market recent years.

    RAM – This will provide the speed of your desktop. The amount and type of memory you choose goes a long way toward dictating your system's level of overall performance. 4GB of RAM is becoming standard recently, replacing 2GB of RAM, which matches a much quicker machine. Desktops are not constrained by issues of portability, and thus have an advantage versus laptops with the ability to allow 4GB of RAM and beyond. When buying RAM, try to buy as few DIMMs (Dual Inline Memory Module) as possible to allow for future RAM upgrades if needed.

    Graphics Card – For basic computing tasks, such as emailing, browsing and watching video from the Web, and giving the occasional photo slideshow, you can get away with integrated graphics. If your video application go beyond the basics, however, you'll be best served by choosing a dedicated graphics card with its own graphics memory. Gamers, digital media makers, and anyone who wants to use more than two monitors will all benefit from adding a discrete graphics card. You should consider performance, the amount of memory on the card, output connectors and the version of Direct X supported. Those looking to play games a lot should really consider a Direct X 10 card with at least 512MB of memory onboard. The vast majority of new 3D graphics cards require a PCI Express slot. PCI Express 2.0 doubles the bandwidth, and PC Express 2.0 cards are backward compatible with PCI Express 1.0 slots. Make sure you get a card that suits your expansion slot type.

    Hard Drive – The hard drive stores all of the information on your computer. Mainstream users should aim 500GB hard drives at minimum, and will likely find a system with 640GB, 750GB, or even 1TB that fits comfortably in their price range. Desktops offer the most robust storage available, with hard drive sizes of 1TB+ becoming increasingly common for professional music, graphics, and video applications. If you demand much higher, you'll find single drives with capacities up to 2TB. In terms of speed, they are pretty much all running at 7200rpm now. A few high performance 10,000rpm drives are available. Most drives use the Serial ATA interface now for ease of installation.

    Screen Size – Desktops have a huge advantage in screen size, allowing for sizes far in excess of other formats. Based on performance and price, 22” LCD screens offer the best value, but consumers interested in the best display characteristics are upgrading to 24” and beyond. Desktops even allow for multiple screens to be used, a convenience for users who require multiple windows to be accessible at all times.

    Popular Desktop Brands

    Dell has a huge number of available desktops, and their business model allows consumers the convenience of selecting components to 'build' their computer. Lenovo, HP and Gateway are familiar names with a legacy of outstanding value, and they offer desktops at all levels of price and performance. Asus and Acer have established themselves as the place to go for entry-level models at bargain prices.

    Apple has a wide range of models in its iMac line and has something for all levels of users, from casual computer enthusiasts to dedicated media professionals who require a media design, editing, and storage machine.

    Popular Desktop products

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    Desktops on alaTest has collected and analyzed millions of reviews from 2736 sources to help you choose the best Desktop from top brands like Hewlett-packard, Dell, Acer, Ibuypower, Lenovo and more.

    Buying Tips Read our Buying Guide
    before you make your purchase

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