The Top 10 Rated Windows Desktop Computers For Every Need

bestdesktops   The Top 10 Rated Windows Desktop Computers For Every NeedAs an IT technician, some of the most common questions I get are about which computer to buy. The answer can be fleeting, because new models come out regularly with new features and specs, but the core of what to look for remains the same: processor type and speed, amount of RAM and hard drive space, video card and a general knowledge of what to need it for. So that is how this list of top rated desktop computers was created.

Certain companies still boast about having ethernet cards or DVD re-writable drives, which are standard on all models now. I won’t list those, but will mention any additional feature that seems out of the ordinary, such as liquid cooling or a very large monitor included.

Below is a list of 10 top rated Windows desktop computers. They are divided into 3 categories: Office or Home Use, All-in-One and Gaming computers. Prices range from $500 to $8000, and everything in between.

Office or Home Computers

Asus – Essentio Desktop model CG5275-AR00

Asus9699025 ra   The Top 10 Rated Windows Desktop Computers For Every Need

Specs:
Intel Core i5-650 processor
8GB DDR3 memory
1TB hard drive
NVIDIA GeForce GTX260 graphics card
Built-in wireless

Review:
This Asus is incredibly affordable, but without compromising features. Asus has been known for making good motherboards and generally strong hardware. They have come up with a very affordable line of machines to compete with companies like Dell and Gateway, and are certainly giving them a run for their money. They also tend to go overboard on flexibility, with this particular model coming with 10 high-speed USB 2.0 ports and a media reader that can read almost all of the major media formats.

Price:
Between $600 and $700

Dell – Inspiron Desktop I580-5108NBC

dellinspirion   The Top 10 Rated Windows Desktop Computers For Every Need

Specs:
Intel Core i5-650 processor
8GB DDR3 memory
1TB hard drive
Built-in wireless LAN
NVIDIA GeForce GT220

Review:
This nice desktop has a lot of features and it’s very affordable. With one TB of space and 8GB of RAM, it is sure to last you a while. The dedicated video card and the Intel i5 processor are major pluses for this price range.

Price:
Between $700 and $800

Dell Studio XPS 8100 model SX8100-1986NBC

dellstudio   The Top 10 Rated Windows Desktop Computers For Every Need

Specs:
Intel Core i7-860 processor (8MB Cache, 2.8GHz)
8GB DDR3 SDRAM
1TB – SATA
ATI Radeon HD5770 1GB
Built-in WiFi

Review:
An overall decent machine with a good video card and fast processor. It can handle most home and office use needs and it’s highly expendable, which means you can get a few more years on it by making simple cheap upgrades, like RAM in a year or two.

Price:
Between $1000 and $1100

Gateway – Desktop with Intel® Coreâ„¢ i3 Processor model DX4831-01e

gateway   The Top 10 Rated Windows Desktop Computers For Every Need

Specs:
Intel Core i3-530 processor
6GB DDR3 memory
1TB hard drive
10 high-speed USB 2.0 ports

Review:
This is a good and solid basic machine for those who don’t need to play video games or do anything that demands a lot from their video cards. At an exceptional price, is a good acquisition for most offices and home offices.

Price:
Between $500 and $600

strong>All-in-One Computers

All-in-one machines are convenient and usually pleasant looking. They do tend to be more expensive and being an all-in-one limits to a certain degree the number and kind of upgrades you can do, but since they use much less desk space, sometimes the compromise is worth it.

Sony Vaio L Series All-in- One model VPCL116FX/B

SONVGCJS450FS.PNG   The Top 10 Rated Windows Desktop Computers For Every Need

Specs:
Intel Core 2 Quad Q8400S (2.66GHz)
24″ Touch LCD
6GB RAM
500GB (7200rpm)
NVIDIA graphics (1GB dedicated VRAM), TV tuner, HDMI in
HDD, Blu-ray player
Bluetooth

Review:
Complete all-in-one system, with a large 24 inch touchscreen monitor, good speakers and built-in camera.

An independent HDMI input lets you connect compatible cable/satellite set-top-boxes, Sony PS3 systems or other HDMI -enabled devices without booting up into Windows. You can also record shows on your PC. It comes with a collection of Sony software for multimedia management and movie creation.

The price is a bit steep but not too high for what you get. Sony also has a reputation for using strong and reliable hardware in its computers, so you would probably enjoy this computer for a long time. One thing that keep this from being a perfect all-in-one machine is the fact that 500 GB isn’t a huge amount of space anymore. It is a gorgeous machine though, so if looks matter, this is certainly a great computer to get.

Price:
Between $1700 and $1800

HP – TouchSmart All-In-One model 300-1120

HP all in one   The Top 10 Rated Windows Desktop Computers For Every Need

Specs:
AMD Athlon II Dual-Core Processor
20″ multitouch, high-definition LCD display with Brightview technology
4GB PC3-8500 DDR3 SDRAM
750GB (7200 RPM)
ATI Radeon HD 3200 graphics
Wireless built-in

Review:
At about half the price of the Sony Vaio, this is a very nice computer. It does not come with the same multimedia features, as big a screen, as much RAM or the hardware Sony does but it’s a very nice alternative for those who want to keep it below $1000 though.

Price:
Between $800 and $900

Gateway – One All-In-One model ZX4800-02

gateway ZX4800 02   The Top 10 Rated Windows Desktop Computers For Every Need

Specs
Intel Pentium processor T4300
20″ touch screen
4GB DDR2 memory
750GB hard drive
Built-in webcam
Wireless LAN

Review:
If you are looking for a basic All-in-One computer that can handle most office and home work in one attractive package, this one might be the one for you. I would personally like to see a bit more RAM, a separate video card, and one of the newest processors, and Gateway does have a model with a newer chip for a few hundred dollars more, but for the price range this is a great machine.

Price:
Between $600 and $700

Gaming computers

When one talks about gaming computers, a few main things come to mind: Video cards, processor speed and RAM; to a certain degree, hard drive RPM (rotations per minute). The models listed below are the ones that excel in all of those points.

Alienware Area-51 ALX (fully configured with all top options)

alienware ra   The Top 10 Rated Windows Desktop Computers For Every Need

Specs:
Overclocked Intel Core i7 980x Extreme Six Core Processor (4.0GHz, 12MB Cache)
Dual 2GB GDDR5 ATI Radeon HD 5970 CrossfireX Enabled
12GB DDR3 1600MHz (3x 4GB) Tri Channel Memory
21.5″ Alienware AW2210 OptX Full HD Gaming Monitor
2TB RAID 1+0 (4x 1TB SATA-II, 7,200 RPM, 32MB Cache HDDs)
Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium
Dual Drives: Blu-ray Disc (BD) Combo (BD-ROM; DVD/CD Burner) and DVD-ROM
Alienware High-Performance Liquid Cooling

Review:
This computer, configured to its top configuration is, without a doubt, the cream of the crop. It’s a beautifully engineered machine, with everything a gamer could possibly dream of. The liquid cooling ensures the machine is always running at optimum temperature and speed, and the RAID hard drive setup is the stuff geeks dream of.
But hold your pants for the price of this particular configuration… $8000. (no extra zeros, it really is eight grand)

Now, for those of us who would still like to play games without having to spend quite that much money, there is always the default configuration of that computer:

Alienware Area-51 ALX (Standard configuration)

Specs
Intel Core i7 930 Quad Core Processor
Dual 1GB GDDR5 ATI Radeon HD 5770 CrossfireX Enabled
6GB DDR3 1333MHz (3x 2GB) Tri Channel Memory
640GB – SATA-II, 3Gb/s, 7,200RPM
Alienware High-Performance Liquid Cooling

Review:
It is still an amazing machine, even when not configured to its maximum capacity. Even the standard configuration packs a better graphic card than most other models and it still comes with the the liquid cooling to keep the processor running at full speed.

Price:
Between $3900 and $4000

HP – Pavilion Elite Desktop model Hpe-250f

hpelite sa   The Top 10 Rated Windows Desktop Computers For Every Need

Specs:
Intel Core i7-860 processor
8GB PC3-10600 DDR3 SDRAM
1TB Serial ATA hard drive
15-in-1 media reader
ATI Radeon HD 5570 graphics 1GB
Blu-ray playback
Wireless LAN (802.11b/g/n)
HDMI output

Review:
Even though the video card in this computer is not as powerful as in the Alienware models above, it is still a very powerful machine and capable of playing most games in the market without any problems.

Price:
Between $1100 and $1200

The main thing to keep in mind when buying a computer, is that even with very good hardware, machines can have faults that only become apparent after a few weeks of use. So check customer reviews from reliable sites, keeping in mind that people are more prone to bother to review it when they have problems than when things are going well, so having a lot of good reviews makes the product particularly enticing.

And purchase what you need. There is no point in having a top of the line video card if all you will use it for is Microsoft Word. Alternatively, trying to play video games with an office computer can be the ultimate frustrating experience. Also, think ahead and anticipate minor upgrades; that way you are bound to be able to use your computer for as many years as our ever-evolving technology allows.

Have you purchased a new desktop recently? Do you have special computer needs? Let us know what you think by leaving a comment below.

The comments were closed because the article is more than 180 days old.

If you have any questions related to what's mentioned in the article or need help with any computer issue, ask it on MakeUseOf Answers—We and our community will be more than happy to help.

24 Comments -

0 votes

Simon Slangen

I put my gaming PC together about a year ago, for €600. It can still run most modern games with the best possible graphics. If you’re willing to put in some effort of your own, great specs are pretty affordable.

0 votes

Simon Slangen

I put my gaming PC together about a year ago, for €600. It can still run most modern games with the best possible graphics. If you’re willing to put in some effort of your own, great specs are pretty affordable.

0 votes

LitePack

A guide like this to make since of all the laptops, mini laptops and web books would be OUTSTANDING!!!!

It is hard to tell what you are getting with what these days.

The facebook connect feature wont work.

0 votes

LitePack

A guide like this to make since of all the laptops, mini laptops and web books would be OUTSTANDING!!!!

It is hard to tell what you are getting with what these days.

The facebook connect feature wont work.

0 votes

najt

I never got it why would people fork out for some preconfigured desktop stuff when nowadays it’s so easy to put one together yourself for much less… Of course, I understand there are people who just don’t have time/patience to get into it but I thought MUO was supposed to promote DYI approach ;)

0 votes

ænon1mus

Hey najt,

We cater to a wide range of readers. We’ll preach the DIY route for those who are into it but these days, some people are just looking for help and recommendations on which pre-configured PC to buy. It makes life easier for those who are unwilling to mess around with PC components.

0 votes

pospam

If any one can direct a user who has no time to check what cpu is compatible with what mainboard, etc… to a site that has all this info with different price ranges I’ll appreciate it.

0 votes
0 votes

pospam

If any one can direct a user who has no time to check what cpu is compatible with what mainboard, etc… to a site that has all this info with different price ranges I’ll appreciate it.

0 votes

Anonymous

I could rant for some considerable time about this article

but I will just say…………….

Sony – $10 bucks for the machine $990 for the Sony badge and its still going to be in my repair shop 3 days after the “guarantee” runs out.

You should have posted this in PC numpties magazine not in MUO

0 votes

ænon1mus

Hey jonah8208,

As with all hardware, your mileage will vary. Some have pretty good experience with Sony PCs since they’re made in Japan. Others will prefer putting one together for a fraction of the price.

0 votes

Taty

Hi Jonah
I understand the concern. I have to say, that has not been my experience with Sony, and I know companies that run completely on them exactly because they find them to be a reliable brand. Like all brands, there are some models that are just lemons, and I am sure Sony has had several of them. I have personally owned several Sony laptops (including one that survived being dropped down a flight of stairs). There is also the appearance aspect. Like a lot of people who buy Macs, people are willing to pay more for how a machine looks a lot of the time. My advice? If you have had a bad experience with a brand, don’t buy it, and vote for improvements that way. If your experience is good, support them.

0 votes

jonah8208

I could rant for some considerable time about this article

but I will just say…………….

Sony – $10 bucks for the machine $990 for the Sony badge and its still going to be in my repair shop 3 days after the “guarantee” runs out.

You should have posted this in PC numpties magazine not in MUO

0 votes

Custom Software Development

Wow! Can’t able to imagine. It’s Great to read the full article.

0 votes

ænon1mus

Hey najt,

We cater to a wide range of readers. We’ll preach the DIY route for those who are into it but these days, some people are just looking for help and recommendations on which pre-configured PC to buy. It makes life easier for those who are unwilling to mess around with PC components.

0 votes

ænon1mus

Hey jonah8208,

As with all hardware, your mileage will vary. Some have pretty good experience with Sony PCs since they’re made in Japan. Others will prefer putting one together for a fraction of the price.

0 votes

Taty

I completely understand the desire to build your own machine. The reason for the list is that realistically, most people won’t. I used to build mine, but have found over the years that it is actually more affordable to buy them sometimes. I still love being able to select what parts I want, and for a high end machine, that is certainly worth it, but there is still some satisfaction in getting a box that has a computer already built, with all you need coming right to your door :)

0 votes

Taty

Hi Jonah
I understand the concern. I have to say, that has not been my experience with Sony, and I know companies that run completely on them exactly because they find them to be a reliable brand. Like all brands, there are some models that are just lemons, and I am sure Sony has had several of them. I have personally owned several Sony laptops (including one that survived being dropped down a flight of stairs). There is also the appearance aspect. Like a lot of people who buy Macs, people are willing to pay more for how a machine looks a lot of the time. My advice? If you have had a bad experience with a brand, don’t buy it, and vote for improvements that way. If your experience is good, support them.

0 votes

Anonymous

Perhaps I was being a bit obscureI run a PC Repair and Recycling Business, I see Sony Viaos and those terrible HP dv6000 series machines (with the faulty video cooling issue yer know – a lot were dumped on the European market and flogged at silly prices) on a regular basis – I own a Eeepc 1000h and an Acer 5220 both modified somewhat. With the exception of the Alienware kit which makes me drool a bit – all the above listed are imo great examples of overkill. Also I have never had a bad experience with a Sony or an HP I have never bought one, repaired and re-installed hundreds though.The point I was making is 99% of my customers end up with a ridiculously overpriced Vaio or HP – just like those in the list – which they assume based on the price charged, £600 to £1800 here in Guernsey, and the sales-persons’ blather is the canine’s gonads; when in fact they are getting shafted because in a million years they do not need 64 bit £2,000 machine with a sexy sounding spec to do Facebook and Ebay.Admittedly some are outright snobs but most are ordinary folk who are conned into thinking a £2,000 Sony is better than a £300 Acer for them – it’s not is it?That’s my issue with the above, it is aimed at geek like me who will build my own PC or Laptop for a fraction of the price and like me even when I do buy a boxed version I strip it, wipe it, mod it and rebuild it properly.Thats why I said should have posted on PC Numpties not here.Having said that, Thank God for Numpties they keep me in Motorcycles8-)Jonah

Oh yeah to make it clear I do not sell PCs, I do not supply them I just fix them and /or wipe and re-install pre-loaded boxed machines minus the junkware

0 votes

Taty

Hi JonahThough I understand your position, you can see from the title itself that this list is not targeting those who want to build or modify their machines. It would have been a completely different article otherwise. That is not what most people do, including most people who are more than capable of doing so but who would rather do other things with their time. There is also no reason for most people to bother. Computer parts are not that cheap and even if you buy dirt cheap machine, add to that a good video card, more ram and a faster harddrive and your price would be the same as most models above.

Some people just do want to just hire people like you to do it for them and because they have no interest in the inner workings of their pcs, or could do it themselves but would rather do other things with their time, like you probably have no interest in medical equipment or the subtle differences between 14 types of silk. Some can give you speeches about the subtle differences between programming languages, but will only open their pcs when they need more ram. They enjoy working with their computers, and software, but don’t want to bother to have to modify one. This was written keeping in mind people who want to go to a store and buy a machine, and for many, especially for those who want a good looking machine that can be on display for customers, or who take aesthetics into consideration, Sony is a good option. If you look at the statistics, Sony has an average hardware failure rate of 16.8% in 3 years, while Acer’s failure rate is 23.3%. The winner is Asus (also above) with 15.6%.I also find it difficult to believe that you could consider the computers which start at $600 dollar (400 pounds) above overkill. Given the time I would write an article on building or modifying machines. Your comments would be most welcome in that one. This was just not that kind of article.

0 votes

jonah8208

Perhaps I was being a bit obscure

I run a PC Repair and Recycling Business, I see Sony Viaos and those terrible HP dv6000 series machines (with the faulty video cooling issue yer know – a lot were dumped on the European market and flogged at silly prices) on a regular basis – I own a Eeepc 1000h and an Acer 5220 both modified somewhat.

With the exception of the Alienware kit which makes me drool a bit – all the above listed are imo great examples of overkill. Also I have never had a bad experience with a Sony or an HP I have never bought one, repaired and re-installed hundreds though.

The point I was making is 99% of my customers end up with a ridiculously overpriced Vaio or HP – just like those in the list – which they assume based on the price charged, £600 to £1800 here in Guernsey, and the sales-persons’ blather is the canine’s gonads; when in fact they are getting shafted because in a million years they do not need 64 bit £2,000 machine with a sexy sounding spec to do Facebook and Ebay.

Admittedly some are outright snobs but most are ordinary folk who are conned into thinking a £2,000 Sony is better than a £300 Acer for them – it’s not is it?

That’s my issue with the above, it is aimed at geek like me who will build my own PC or Laptop for a fraction of the price and like me even when I do buy a boxed version I strip it, wipe it, mod it and rebuild it properly.

Thats why I said should have posted on PC Numpties not here.

Having said that, Thank God for Numpties they keep me in Motorcycles

8-)

Jonah

Oh yeah to make it clear I do not sell PCs, I do not supply them I just fix them and /or wipe and re-install pre-loaded boxed machines minus the junkware

0 votes

usb flash drive

I totally understand the desire to make your own machine. List the actual reason is that most people would not. I built mine, but over the years that it’s actually cheaper to buy them over and sometimes been found. I still choose what parts I love being able, and a high end machine, it’s definitely worth it, but still a box that already has created a computer to receive some relief, with everything you need to come to his right: the door)

0 votes

guest

If you’re planning on getting an Intel CPU, then you can use the site below to check compatibility.

http://processormatch.intel.co

Or you could look at the socket type under the details for the motherboard and then check this list, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C… to see what CPU will work with it.

0 votes

mayur

please help me too !!!!!!!!i just hate asha 501 os and want to replace it with any android version!!!please find any way