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Desktop Reviews

Updated: Nov 29, 2022 16:30
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alaScore
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CPU
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#1
alaScore 100

Apple Mac Studio M1 (2022)

Apple sent along two Mac Studio models for testing: one with an M1 Max chip and 64GB of RAM, and...

30 expert reviews

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#2
alaScore 99

Dell XPS 8950

“The Dell XPS Desktop (8950) takes an already great design and updates it with modern furnishings.”

7 expert reviews

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#3
alaScore 99

Synology DiskStation DS1522+

The Synology DiskStation DS1522+ is an excellent five-bay network attached storage (NAS) device...

4 expert reviews

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#4
alaScore 98

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...

35 expert reviews

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#5
alaScore 98

HP Omen 45L

“The HP Omen 45L is the result when a manufacturer delivers on every promise it makes.”

9 expert reviews

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#6
alaScore 98

Intel NUC 12 Pro Kit NUC12WSKi7

Outfitted with an Arc mobile GPU, Intel’s NUC 12 Enthusiast Kit delivers gaming-laptop-grade...

3 expert reviews

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#7
alaScore 97

GEEKOM MiniAir 11

Given the specifications and performance of the GEEKOM MiniAir 11, you are limited in what you...

3 expert reviews

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#8
alaScore 97

Acer Predator Orion 7000 Series

“The Acer Predator Orion 7000 would be among the better gaming desktops, if only it were a bit...

4 expert reviews

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#9
alaScore 97

Flexispot Kana Bamboo Standing Desk

The Kana Bamboo is a sturdy and gorgeous desktop with a reliable E7 three-stage frame, and if you...

2 expert reviews

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#10
alaScore 97

Falcon Northwest Tiki (2022)

Falcon Northwest's Tiki packs full-tower power into a small-form-factor chassis without...

3 expert reviews

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#11
alaScore 97

HP Z2 Mini G9

“The HP Z2 Mini G9 Workstation is both amazingly small and surprisingly powerful.”

3 expert reviews

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#12
alaScore 97

Corsair One i300 (2022)

Corsair's compact, liquid-cooled One i300 reaches new performance highs thanks to an "Alder Lake"...

7 expert reviews

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#13
alaScore 96

Asus mini PC PN51

Bottom line: Going with AMD's 5000 series processors, ASUS was able to pack some serious...

4 expert reviews

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#14
alaScore 96

Maingear Turbo

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

4 expert reviews

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#15
alaScore 96

Acer Predator Orion 3000 Series

But if you're looking for more power out of your prebuilt gaming PC, you'll likely be better off...

12 expert reviews | 91 user reviews

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#16
alaScore 96

MSI Pro DP20Z 5M

The MSI PRO DP20Z and MD271QP make a great pairing for creatives wanting a well-priced PC and...

2 expert reviews

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#17
alaScore 96

Lenovo ThinkStation P620

Thanks to an epic 64-core AMD Threadripper Pro CPU, Lenovo’s ThinkStation P620 can outrun even...

5 expert reviews

#18
alaScore 96

Intel Hades Canyon NUC

“The NUC 12 Enthusiast delivers desktop-grade performance in a tiny form factor.”

78 expert reviews | 292 user reviews

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#19
alaScore 96

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...

27 expert reviews | 1 user reviews

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#20
alaScore 96

iBuypower Revolt 3

Still, I can't help but like the Revolt 3. Our review unit ran every game I could think of...

2 expert reviews

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#21
alaScore 96

Dell Alienware Aurora R13

The redesigned Alienware Aurora R13 brings the heat with Intel’s impressive 12th Generation...

4 expert reviews

#22
alaScore 95

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 | 24 user reviews

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#23
alaScore 95

MSI Trident X

MSI’s MEG Trident X packs gaming-tower power into a chassis a fraction of the size, without...

21 expert reviews

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#24
alaScore 95

HP Omen 30L

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

7 expert reviews | 15 user reviews

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#25
alaScore 95

HP Envy 34"

One of the few big screen all-in-ones delivers on the looks and features but disappoints -- like...

26 expert reviews | 91 user 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 2624 sources to help you choose the best Desktop from top brands like Apple, Hp, Dell, Msi, Acer and more.

    Buying Tips Read our Buying Guide
    before you make your purchase