As mentioned above, desktop computers are now available in all kinds of shape and size. It may be confusing to comfort with much variety. Here’s the thing: thanks to this diversity, there will always be one machine that caters to your specific need. Read more to know everything you need to know about choosing a desktop computer.
Consider the following factors when you want to buy one of the best desktop computers:
1. Determine your needs
First thing first, you need to identify what you need. Ask yourself what you are going to do with your desktop. How heavy or intensive is the workload? Will I use my desktop solely for working, gaming or both? Consider which of the below categories describe you best:
Entry-level: You want your pc to cover only the basics such as email, web browsing or productivity software. Light usage users don’t need a desktop with high specs to get the job done.
Mid-range: You like to do a lot of things at the same time, you also want to do some photo-editing or gaming. Desktops for users in this type are able to run most software and games.
High-end: You are a creative professional or a games enthusiast who wants the best of the best. You want to play the latest games at the ultra setting, do some video-editing or 3D rendering.
The majority of people such as students and business people often fall into the second category. Read more on the section 4: Power & Performance below to find out which specific specs can meet your needs.
One thing to keep note is don’t just consider your current needs. Look to buy a system that will last you at least another three years. Make sure that you can upgrade your desktops for future-proofing. Check which components can be swapped out and upgraded for later.
2. Operating systems
After making sure of what you want to do with your desktop, you need to choose an OS. This is another important decision because it will affect your software and hardware choices. For instance, if you go for MacOS, your computer's choice is narrowed down to Apple’s Mac family.
So remember to choose an OS that caters to your needs as you may have to stick with it for a long time. Let’s take a look at the most popular OS on the market:
The most well-known and familiar operating systems to users. Windows have the largest liberty of software and games. If you are a gamer, choosing this OS is a no-brainer. Thanks to its popularity, it’s highly likely that you’ll find a rig that suits your needs.
This operating system is exclusively available on Apple's product. if you want to use it, you’ll have to buy a Mac machine. The major advantage of MacOS is its amazing support for creative software such as Photoshop. Thus, making it the creative professionals’ favorite. That’s why people keep buying Apple’s mac machines in spite of their expensive price tag.
It’s free and has a library of alternative programs to its Windows counterpart. Linux is best known for being compatible with virtually all major programming languages. Therefore, it’s the best choice for coders and programmers.
The thing about Linux is that it can be installed on almost every desktop. Pre-installed Linux desktops are almost non-existence. Most people would just buy something like Intel NUC 7 Mainstream Kit and install linux on it.
3. Desktop types & Form factor
Desktops are generally available in three different form factors:
Tower: This is the most common size of the pcs in the wild. They have enough space for you to install and upgrade any components. Most high-performance computers like Acer Aspire TC-885-UA92 or Dell Inspiron 3471 are in this form factor thanks to its large size and expandability.
Compact: Often referred to as mini or SFF (small form factor) pcs. These slim form factor houses just the right components that can run what you need. All the while saving some space on your desk and retaining some portability. HP Z2 G4 and Lenovo ThinkCentre M710q are two examples of this form factor.
All-in-one: As the name implies, this type has everything you need in a desktop, from the system, mouse & keyboard to even the monitor. They are perfect as a general-purpose desktop computer. Apple’s iMac is a prominent name of this type.
4. Power & performanceP
After you consider the needs, the OS and the form factor, the specifications are next on the list. Your rig’s specs are strongly dependent on what kind of workload or games you want your computer to handle. Here are some components you need to consider:
Choose the specs that suit you the most depend on your needs:
Choose the specs that suit you the most depend on your needs:
For light users and office tasks, you don’t need a graphic card while it is another story for a gamer or a multimedia professional. Great news for folks who belong to the former group is that integrated graphics have become powerful in recent years.
The Vega graphics on ryzen lineups or Intel’s Iris Plus graphics is pretty adequate. You can do some light photoshop and running games at low-medium settings on these. Check out some desktops featuring these integrated graphics: CUK Continuum Micro Gaming PC or Intel NUC NUC8i5BEK.
For graphic intensive tasks, you will need a discrete GPU. I recommend you to get at least a GTX 1060/ RX 5600 XT for mid-end gaming. Check out this Centaurus Andromeda A3 for reference. For high-end gaming, you should opt for a pc with at least a RTX 2060/ RX 5700 like this Skytech Shiva.
1. Is buying a refurbished desktop a good idea?
Refurbished desktops in the $200-500 range are the best bang of your buck. Most of them are in tower form factor, so they’re easy to upgrade in case some components malfunction. However, one major drawback is that their components often belong to the older generation.
What’s important is who you buy it from. Aim for the trusted sellers with positive reviews and high-quality assurance policies. Your risk is further minimized through a good warranty or return policy. For maximum assurance, you should find those machines that are refurbished by the manufacturers themselves.
Overall, it is not too risky to buy a refurbished machine. As long as you research carefully and buy it from a reputable seller or company. It is definitely a great choice for those who enjoy a good bargain.
2. How long should my warranty be?
Most desktop producers offer one-year warranty with the option to extend it at an additional charge. It is advisable to extend warranty to reduce the cost of replacing or fixing your computer throughout its life span. You don’t have to pay more to repair outside of warranty. You can replace the malfunction part though warranty to keep the pc going on for a few years.
Here is some information of the well-known brands and their typically standard warranty:
How long and what is covered by the warranty differs from products to products. You need to consult the sellers or manufactures to know all the information.
3. Why choose Desktop over laptop?
Desktops are typically not as mobile as a laptop. However, they offer better performance for the price and are less costly to repair or upgrade. Speaking of which, the expandability and upgradability on a desktop is far much better than on a laptop. Furthermore, a pc allows for a more ergonomically working style, you have to keep your posture correct while using it.
4. What can I do to protect my system?
So you’ve acquired your desktop and treat it as your daily drive. You wouldn’t want anything unexpected to happen with your data or lose the control of your computer. Here are some things you need to keep in check to keep your pc healthy:
Keep all software up to date.
Use antivirus and anti-spywares software.
Install a firewall program.
Backup all of your important data (make at least 2 copies).
Always be suspicious of fishy emails and attachments.
Turn off and keep your desktop being covered when not in use.
Clean the ventilation system.
Clean your whole computer every few months.
5. Can I connect my desktop to TV and use it as a monitor?
Yes, but first you have to make sure you can connect your desktop to the TV. Fortunately, most modern TVs nowadays come with an HDMI port which is compatible with most desktops. On older pcs, check if your TV has a VGA or DVI connector. If it doesn’t, you’ll have to buy an adapter.
The TV is best suited for entertainment purposes. For those who love to watch movies and TV series on a big screen, you just hook your desktop to the TV and you’re good.
For gaming purposes, a TV is a no-go. Due to low refresh rate and response time, gaming on a TV is disappointing. You’ll see screen tearing, low-quality graphics and jitter in your games.
What about for work and productivity stuff? The TV’s great for multitasking thanks to its big screen. As long as you don’t do image/video editing which requires a high resolution and color accuracy, you’ll be fine.
The best overall desktop is Dell XPS 8930. This latest XPS tower product boasts a 9th Generation Intel i7 and 64 GB of RAM. Another major advantage of this machine is its total 4TB of storage, a very spacious disk option.
For those who tend to favor all-in-one desktops. You can’t go wrong with the New Apple iMac. Featuring a 5K retina panel and a 27-inch display, you have the best image and color quality possible for multimedia or editing tasks.
As for gamers out there, we’ve picked the Alienware Aurora R10 for you. This model houses ryzen 7 and RX 5700XT. You will get to experience all the best AMD has to offer while still on a budget.
All in all, we hope reading this has helped you trim down the list. Armed with all the above information and knowledge, now you’re ready. Let’s go out there and choose the best desktop computers for yourself.