The 7 Best Desktop Computers Worthy of Your Home Office
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The advent of laptops marked the end of desktop computers as we know them, or did it? Laptops are of course practical because they allow you to work from anywhere. No longer chained to a desk, productivity ninjas can work from the bedroom, a cafe, or even the beach, and laptops are, for most people, comparable in speed and performance to a computer. Office. But in today’s COVID-era world, where people are spending more and more time at home and off the road, desktops are showing their strength.
For starters, desktops are spacious. The computer itself can be stored discreetly under your desk, reserving more space to distribute your work. There are also ergonomic considerations to take into account. If you’re using a laptop at your desk, you’ll likely squint at a small screen and tilt your neck down. It’s not ideal for long periods of work. And sure, you can get an external monitor and hook it up to your laptop, but also consider that for the same price as a 17-inch laptop, you can get a more powerful desktop computer with a bigger screen. Portability is great, but desktops are woefully underrated. If you can afford to have both, it’s worth considering. Maybe ask your boss for a work-from-home allowance?
Below are some of the best desktop computers available on the market today. Whether you care about customization or just want a simple, plug-and-play all-in-one computer, there’s something for everyone.
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Best Overall Desktop
If you want a desktop PC but don’t want a huge tower in your workspace, Apple’s Mac mini is worth a look. The extremely compact computer is the most affordable desktop computer offered by Apple with a starting price of just $699. That’s partly because there’s no included monitor, keyboard, or mouse – you have to bring them all yourself. But desktop its minimal footprint, the Mac mini’s specs are nothing to scoff at. Freshly updated last year, the latest Mac mini features Apple’s industry-leading M1 processor, the same found in its latest MacBook line, along with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of SSD storage, all of which can two be upgraded upon purchase. This computer won’t let you play high-end games, but you’ll be surprised how well you can do most other general computing tasks, like photo and video editing or web design, with lag or minimal slowdown. Four USB ports and an HDMI input allow you to connect all your peripherals. macOS now supports running iOS apps, so you’ll be able to enjoy not only desktop apps, but also the two million apps Apple offers through the App Store.
Because the Mac mini has a small footprint for a desktop computer, it can live unobtrusively in your office without taking up much space. Keep in mind, however, that this computer doesn’t allow for much customization after purchase, so you should make sure to configure it with the right amount of RAM and storage for your needs.
Read more: Home office essentials
Best Gaming Desk
25L gaming desk
HP’s Omen 25L is a great choice for those who are interested in gaming but aren’t experienced enough or don’t want to build a gaming PC themselves. The Omen 25L is a pre-built gaming PC. -Built with a high-end processor, graphics card, and large fan to help internal components stay cool during intense gaming. We recommend the model priced at $1,499 for its NVIDIA graphics card which will allow you to play games at 1080P performance. It won’t offer blazing 4K graphics – for that you’ll need one of Nvidia’s 30-series graphics cards, which are currently in short supply. But the Omen 25L will keep you very happy until these become more readily available, at which point you can easily open the computer and swap the board. Of course, Omen 25L will easily accomplish any general purpose calculation.
One remarkable thing about the Omen 25L is that it includes both a 256GB SSD hard drive and a secondary 1TB (1000 Gigabyte) spinning hard drive. Used together, PC users can quickly access important files from the SSD, while media like game files on the other drive.
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ThinkCentre M70q Tiny Desktop Computer
The ThinkCentre M70q is similar to the Mac mini in its low profile. It’s a bit more expensive than Apple’s offering but features the latest generation of Intel i5 processors and allows for greater customization upon purchase, such as the ability to add up to 64GB of RAM, versus 16 GB in the Mac mini. It also has 256GB of SSD storage like the Mac mini, which helps ensure files open quickly. It’s great if you do a lot of multitasking. If you’re someone who needs Windows to use a particular application, this Lenovo desktop PC is a solid workstation choice.
As with the Mac mini, this computer won’t be ideal for gaming – it has integrated graphics suitable for occasional use – and there’s not even space in the ThinkCentre M70q to add a better graphics card though you wanted it. Lenovo has a range of other small desktop PCs at varying prices that are also worth checking out.
Alienware Aurora R12 Gaming Desktop Computer
Alienware is a mainstay of pre-built gaming PCs, and the Aurora R12 is a solid choice. This computer can be configured to your exact needs, and the computer is designed for flexibility. The company says components can be replaced without the need for special tools – just open the case and components can be added or removed with just your hands. Features like a dual-axis fan and “vapor chambers” will keep the computer cool at all times. We recommend the model that costs $1,549 and includes Nvidia’s 3060 graphics card and 8GB of RAM. This computer only comes with a 256 GB hard drive, which is not ideal for storing large game files. You may want to add more.
Apple iMac 24″
The iMac is Apple’s consumer desktop computer. It’s an all-in-one machine, which means the computer and the screen itself are one cohesive piece. It’s great for its simplicity: just plug it into a wall outlet and you’re off to the races. The latest iMac is also very attractive, with its brushed aluminum design, ultra-slim profile and suite of available color options. The new computer ditches Intel processors for Apple’s M1 replacement and comes with a keyboard that has Touch ID so you can unlock the machine and authorize Apple Pay purchases online, with just your fingerprint.
Unfortunately with the latest iMac, Apple decided to ditch the SD card slot, much to the chagrin of people who transfer a lot of media to their computers. Otherwise, the iMac is a great all-in-one option for those who don’t mind expanding and tinkering with their computers. There is no upgradability of this computer after purchase, so be sure to specify this when purchasing.
Best Windows All-in-One
24″ touchscreen all-in-one
For those looking for a Windows all-in-one, HP stands out. The company makes attractive all-in-ones that will look great in your home office. This 24-inch model has a 1080P HD screen as well as an AMD Ryzen 5 processor and 8 GB of RAM. This processor was originally designed for laptops, but benchmarks have shown that the AMD processor holds up well in tests against the competition, namely the Intel Core i7 processor for laptops. This computer will be capable of doing general computing, including light photo and video editing, but more professional creatives might look elsewhere.
Best Affordable Touchscreen PC
21.5-inch Chromebase touchscreen all-in-one
Google’s Chrome operating system is most common in schools, where IT departments can easily deploy and manage computers in young children’s classrooms. But they can also be useful at home, if you’re someone who really only needs to use a web browser for day-to-day work, because Chrome OS is really just a web browser. We like the HP Chromebase because it’s affordable at just $549 and has a 21.5-inch high-definition touchscreen, an area where Chrome-based PCs often fall short. You can run Android apps on this computer, and its touchscreen can be rotated vertically to better accommodate apps designed for a smartphone.
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