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Desktop Reviews

Updated: Nov 26, 2021 16:12
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#1
alaScore 100

Apple iMac 24-inch 4.5K M1 (2021)

Reinvented as the iMac for a new generation. It has to be seen in person to truly appreciate its...

17 expert reviews

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#2
alaScore 99

Apple Mac Mini M1 (2020)

The Mac Mini is the first desktop Mac with Apple's M1 chip inside. That means a lot of changes...

21 expert reviews

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#3
alaScore 99

Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Founders Edition

Consoles have stolen the attention of the gaming world, but Nvidia's RTX 3080 proves that the...

11 expert reviews

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#4
alaScore 98

Lenovo Legion Tower 5i (2021)

Lenovo's entry-level Legion Tower 5i gaming desktop delivers improved performance and style at a...

2 expert reviews

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#5
alaScore 98

Alienware Aurora R10 Ryzen Edition

Alienware's 2021 reboot of the Aurora Ryzen Edition R10 brings AMD's very latest Ryzen 5000 power...

10 expert reviews

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#6
alaScore 98

MSI Modern AM241 24"

Better acoustics, plus the addition of USB-C ports and a high-res webcam, are steps in the right...

4 expert reviews

#7
alaScore 97

ASUS Mini PC PN50

But we shouldn’t pigeonhole this flexible barebones system. Its brushed metal looks mean it would...

2 expert reviews

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#8
alaScore 97

Apple iMac 27-inch 5K (2020)

Apple Silicon Macs are coming, which puts the new Intel 5K iMac in a strange position. It may be...

15 expert reviews

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#9
alaScore 97

Asus Chromebox 4

The Asus Chromebox 4 is a noteworthy upgrade to the previous generation box. This Chrome OS...

2 expert reviews

#10
alaScore 97

HP Omen 30L

HP's beautiful new gaming desktop looks amazing with its minimalist design aesthetic. But how...

6 expert reviews | 15 user reviews

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#11
alaScore 97

Maingear Turbo

Naturally, that’s all very subjective. You’ll get a better bang for your buck looking at other...

3 expert reviews

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#12
alaScore 97

MSI Modern AM271 27"

The MSi Modern AM271P is certainly not the ugliest machine you can put on your desk. And it is...

3 expert reviews

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#13
alaScore 96

Raspberry Pi 400

Forget about having to buy cases and accessories, the Raspberry Pi 400 is everything you need...

5 expert reviews

#14
alaScore 96

Apple Mac mini (2018 / 2020)

The $30 Fire TV Stick Lite is the most affordable way to add streaming media and Amazon's Alexa...

29 expert reviews | 7 user reviews

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#15
alaScore 96

Acer Predator Orion 3000 Series

The Acer Predator Orion 3000 is compact, robust and reasonably quick, but rivals are faster and...

6 expert reviews | 91 user reviews

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#16
alaScore 96

Intel Hades Canyon NUC

Finally, Intel has a NUC that'll satisfy tinkerers and gamers alike. It's the sort of machine you...

63 expert reviews | 292 user reviews

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#17
alaScore 96

Lenovo ThinkStation P620

With up to 64 processor cores, Lenovo's new Ryzen Threadripper Pro-powered ThinkStation P620...

3 expert reviews

#18
alaScore 96

MSI Cubi 5 10M

Tiny and quiet, MSI's Cubi 5 10M preconfigured mini PC is a versatile if plain-looking option...

5 expert reviews

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#19
alaScore 96

Lenovo IdeaCentre Mini 5i

Lenovo's fabric-faced IdeaCentre Mini 5i breaks free from the underpowered mini-PC mold, but such...

4 expert reviews

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#20
alaScore 96

Microsoft Surface Studio 2 (2018)

So is the Surface Studio 2 worth it? For a certain type of creative consumer, one who demands a...

27 expert reviews | 1 user reviews

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#21
alaScore 95

Apple iMac Pro 27-inch 5K (2017)

Bottom Line: The Apple iMac Pro is a beautiful ode to creative professionals, combining...

24 expert reviews | 1 user reviews

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#22
alaScore 95

LG 27" GL850

The LG 27GL850-B is a very good monitor for pretty much any use. It's a great gaming monitor...

5 expert reviews | 1 user reviews

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#23
alaScore 95

Synology Disk Station DS220+

Compact and inconspicuous, this NAS proves that small is mighty.

3 expert reviews

#24
alaScore 95

Apple iMac 27-inch 5K (2019)

It's something of a miracle that Apple can continue to cram newer (and hotter) components into...

18 expert reviews | 6 user reviews

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#25
alaScore 95

Acer Predator XB3 - XB273UGS

Should you buy a 4K 144Hz monitor? Well, choosing a 1440p monitor is the more practical option...

5 expert reviews

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    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.



    Contents

    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.

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    Desktops on alaTest

    alaTest.com has collected and analyzed millions of reviews from 2570 sources to help you choose the best Desktop from top brands like Apple, To Be Defined, Lenovo, Msi, Asus and more.

    Buying Tips Read our Buying Guide
    before you make your purchase