The best computers won’t just see you through a seamless day-to-day workload. These days, the strongest contenders for the best PCs pack powerful 8th- and 9th-generation processors, as well as super high-end graphics cards from Nvidia (some with real time ray tracing) and AMD, so that they’ll also see you through super smooth gaming and an immersive video editing or 3D designing experience.
There’s quite a lot of PC options on the market, but staying on the cutting edge in 2019 means getting one of the best computers on our list even if most of your computing needs involve surfing the Internet, video chatting with friends and stream your favorite shows.
What’s even better is that most of these computers are affordable. In fact, even the priciest ones might just cost a little more than that latest iPhone you’re swaggering. Though if you can’t afford to splurge right now, you’ll be happy to know that are a few budget yet still powerful options as well.
Whether you’re looking for an all-in-one desktop powerhouse, a future-proof or easily upgradeable tower, or the most robust machine rocking the latest and greatest PC components, like fast SSDs, more RAM and possibly even the best graphics card, you’ve stumbled into the right place. Our best computers list will have something that’s ideal for what you need.
Best computers at a glance
- Dell XPS Tower Special Edition – best PC
- Microsoft Surface Studio 2 – best all-in-one PC
- Intel Hades Canyon NUC – best mini PC
- Alienware Aurora R8 – best gaming PC
- Corsair One Pro i180 – best living room PC
- Apple Mac mini (Late 2018) – best Mac
- Intel Compute Stick – best stick PC
- Lenovo Yoga A940 – best in features
- iMac Pro – best for content creators
- Raspberry Pi 4 Model B – best single-board computer
Best PC: Dell XPS Tower Special Edition
This mainstream machine is a gaming PC at heart
CPU: Intel Core i5 – Core i9 | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti – 1080 | RAM: 8GB –64GB
The Dell XPS Tower looks unremarkable, like that PC your parents used to have hidden away underneath the desk when you were a kid. However, its no-nonsense chassis hides quite a selection of exciting internals. One of the best PCs right now, the Dell XPS Tower is packed with up to an RTX 2070 graphics card, a 9th-generation Intel Core processor, and a large hard drive and/or SSD. This special edition PC configuration is only available in the US. However, UK and Australian readers can grab the regular Dell XPS Tower and then add similar upgrades, though there are some limitations such as the graphics card options topping out with the GTX 1060.
Read the full review: Dell XPS Tower Special Edition
Best all-in-one PC: Microsoft Surface Studio 2
Ultimate digital drafting table
CPU: Intel Core i7-7820HQ | Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 – 1070 | RAM: 16GB or 32GB | Storage: 1TB or 2TB SSD
The Surface Studio 2 isn’t going to compare well against most PCs, but that’s only because it was never designed to compete with them in the first place. This device is meant for the digital artist or other visually-focused content creators, and even with aging parts, it’s still the most robust digital drafting table on the market. It boasts a bright, vibrant display, and improved specs next to its predecessor. If you’re a digital artist or a content creator who’s visually-focused, this is the best computer for you.
Read the full review: Surface Studio 2
- See more like this: the best all-in-one PCs
Best mini PC: Intel Hades Canyon NUC
Don’t let its size fool you
CPU: Intel Core i7 | Graphics: Radeon RX Vega M GL – GH | RAM: 4GB – 64GB | Storage: 128GB – 2TB SSD; up to 2TB secondary SSD
If you want an excellent desktop experience, but don’t have a lot of desk space, then Intel Hades Canyon NUC may just be ideal for you. This small bare-bones PC has an absurdly fast 8th-generation Intel Core i7 processor and discrete-class AMD Radeon graphics. Adding some RAM and storage to the mix, and you will be conquering the best PC games without breaking a sweat. It won’t compete against a full-sized desktop, but when you’re short on space – or you want a PC that looks like a set-top box – this is one of the best PCs to consider.
Read the full review: Intel Hades Canyon NUC
Best gaming PC: Alienware Aurora R8
The perfect entry into high-end gaming
CPU: 9th-generation Intel Core i5 – i9 | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 – RTX 2080 Ti | RAM: 8GB – 64GB | Storage: 1TB HDD – 2TB SSD + 2TB HDD
While costing a pretty penny when souped up, the Alienware Aurora R8 has all the makings of a powerful gaming PC, including 9th-generation Intel Core chips and some of the best Nvidia GTX and RTX graphics for gaming. This model has been succeeded by the Alienware Aurora R9, which boasts a cool-looking exterior, but their specs are practically comparable. Only, the R8 will set you back a couple of hundred dollars/pounds less, giving you more for your money. Get ready to be impressed by this PCs’ 1440p gaming performance.
Read the full review: Alienware Aurora R8
- See more like this: the best gaming PCs
Best living room PC: Corsair One Pro i180
An absolute beast
CPU: Intel Core i9-9920X | Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Ti | RAM: 4x8GB DDR4-2666 | Storage: 960GB SSD + 2TB HDD
If that cool, slimline design and that Corsair One name aren’t enough to convince you to upgrade to this latest offering, then the Corsair One Pro i180’s breathtaking performance should. This is among the most powerful desktop computers we’ve ever had the pleasure of testing, albeit the most expensive as well – so get a hammer and break that piggy bank. This will more than handle your favorite AAA games, as well as see you through your creative workload quietly and without breaking a sweat. And, it’s reasonably upgradeable as well, making it future-proof.
Read the full review: Corsair One Pro i180
Best Mac: Apple Mac mini (Late 2018)
Mini is back again
CPU: Intel Core i3 – i7 | Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 630 | RAM: 8GB – 64GB | Storage: 128GB – 2TB SSD
It’s easy to think of Apple computers as overpriced, but your bank account will be spared if you jump on the Mac mini bandwagon. The Mac mini 2018 is a small form-factor PC that looks adorable and also packed tight with high-end desktop parts. And, that’s all for a much more accessible price than any other Mac on the market, making it a great buy for anyone who already has a slew of Mac-ready peripherals or for a Mac fan who doesn’t have the budget for a Mac Pro. What’s more, unlike many of Apple’s recent products, the Mac mini is relatively upgradeable – you can boost your memory up to 64GB of RAM.
Read the full review: Apple Mac mini
- See more like this: the best Macs 2019
Best stick PC: Intel Compute Stick
The tiny computer that can
CPU: Intel Atom – Intel Core m5 | Graphics: : Intel HD Graphics – Intel HD Graphics 515 | RAM: 1GB – 4GB | Storage: 8GB-64GB eMMC
Some people have issues with desktop PCs, as they’re often rather bulky. The Intel Core Compute Stick has made that irrelevant. Looking more like a thumb drive than an actual computer, this tiny renegade can connect to any monitor with an HDMI input. Its base starts with a lowly 1.33GHz Intel Atom processor running Linux, but can be configured up to an Intel Core m5 processor. This is one of the best PCs, but one that you can literally slip in your pocket, whether you need to get some work done during your daily commute or squeeze in some PC time while you’re traveling.
Best in features: Lenovo Yoga A940
Thoughtful design, innovative features
CPU: 8th-generation Intel Core i7-8700 | Graphics: AMD Radeon RX 560 4GB | RAM: 32GB | Storage: 1 TB 5400 RPM + 256 GB PCIe SSD | Screen: 27" 4K UHD (3840 x 2160) IPS Multi-touch 100% Adobe RGB
As a designer, if you don’t fall in love with Lenovo Yoga A940’s thoughtful design, then we don’t know what will. This innovative all-in-one desktop boasts a stunning 27-inch 4K UHD display with up to 25-degree tilt, pen support and a rotating hinge for stability. It’s full of impressive features as well, like the Lenovo Precision Dial that you can attach on the left or right side of the hinge, whatever feels most comfortable for you and your process. And, unlike the best Macs, it offers 100% Adobe RGB support, an LED light at the bottom of the screen and even wireless smartphone charging. If you’re a content creator or designer, and you’re looking for an AIO that allows you a truly seamless workflow, this is the best computer for you.
Read the full review: Lenovo Yoga A940
Best for content creators: iMac Pro
CPU: 8 to 18-core Intel Xeon W | Graphics: Radeon Pro Vega 56 - Radeon Pro Vega 64 | RAM: 32GB – 256GB DDR4 ECC | Storage: 1TB – 4TB PCIe 3.0 SSD | Screen: 27-inch 5K (5,120 x 2,880) Retina display (P3 wide color)
Unfortunately, what does hold Lenovo Yoga A940 back are its less powerful, slightly aging internals. If you want an all-in-one powerhouse that absolutely blows you away in terms of performance, then the iMac Pro is the best computer for you. This AIO designed specifically for professionals and creatives may not be super rich in features, but it’s got a lot to offer where it truly counts. That includes its vibrant 27-inch 5K display with a P3 wide color gamut, mind-blowing Radeon Pro Vega graphics, and plenty of memory for all your exacting workloads. Just be prepared to shell out a bunch of cash, as this doesn’t come cheap.
Read the full review: iMac Pro
Best single-board computer: Raspberry Pi 4 Model B
Small yet mighty
CPU: Broadcom BCM2711, Quad core Cortex-A72 (ARM v8) | Graphics: OpenGL ES 3.0 | RAM: 1GB, 2GB or 4GB LPDDR4-3200 SDRAM
Despite its tiny size – it’s so small, it doesn’t even have its own chassis, the Raspberry Pi boards have proven themselves to be utterly capable little machines, surprisingly capable of handling everyday productivity tasks like word processing and spreadsheets. And, with the Raspberry Pi 4 Model B, we see this powerful computer getting the fantastic update it rightly deserves. Finally, the Raspberry Pi line gives you a desktop computer and a platform to experiment and create.
Read the full review: Raspberry Pi 4 Model B
Specifications (as reviewed)
|Product||Dell XPS Tower Special Edition||Microsoft Surface Studio 2||Intel Hades Canyon NUC||Alienware Aurora R7||Corsair One i160||Apple Mac mini (Late 2018)||Intel Compute Stick|
|CPU||Intel Core i7-8700||Intel Core i7-7820HQ||Intel Core i7-8809G||Intel Core i7-8700K||Intel Core i9-9900K||Intel Core i3-8100||Intel Atom x5-Z8500|
|Graphics||Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070||Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070||Radeon RX Vega M GH graphics||Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 Ti||Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti||Intel UHD Graphics 630||N/A|
|RAM||16GB DDR4||32GB DDR4||16GB DDR4||32GB DDR4||32GB DDR4||8GB DDR4||2GB LPDDR3|
|Storage||256GB PCIe NVMe SSD, 1TB HDD (7,200 rpm)||1TB PCIe SSD||118GB Intel Optane SSD 800P Series (NVMe), 512GB Intel SSD 545s Series (M.2 SATA)||512GB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD, 2TB HDD||480GB M.2 NVMe SSD, 2TB HDD||128GB PCIe SSD||32GB|
Bill Thomas and Gabe Carey have also contributed to this article
Image Credits: TechRadar
- While you’re at it, we’ve also found the best gaming desktop PC you can buy