These days, computers are more advanced than ever before. They’ve evolved to the point of using eight core processors and high-end graphics cards that can handle real time ray tracing – things that would have been impossible even 10 years ago. So, if you want to stay on the cutting edge in 2019, you’re going to want one of the best PCs, even if all you do is browse Twitter.
Luckily, the best PCs are more affordable than ever – you can easily find a capable PC or even an all-in-one desktop for 500 bucks. And, they’ll last forever, because the best PCs will let you upgrade your components, easily staying up to date by slotting in new and improved PC components, like fast SSDs, more RAM or maybe even the best graphics card.
Still, going out and buying the best PC can get confusing. So, we decided to gather up all the best PCs on the market, paying special attention to any that strike a golden balance between price and performance. So, keep reading, and you’ll find all the best PCs on the market right now.
Best PC: Dell XPS Tower Special Edition
Don’t be fooled, this mainstream machine is a gaming PC at heart
CPU: : Intel Core i5 – Core i7 | Graphics: : AMD Radeon RX 580 – Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 | RAM: 8GB – 16GB | Storage: 256GB SSD; 1TB HDD – 512GB SSD; 2TB HDD
The Dell XPS tower, for lack of a better word, is a stealthy PC. It looks quite similar to the type of PC that your parents had hidden beneath the desk, its boring exterior hides an exciting array of components. You’ll find up to a GTX 1080 graphics card, 8th-generation Intel Core processors, and a spacious hard drive and/or SSD. Now, the Dell XPS Special Edition is only available in the US, but our readers in the UK and Australia will still be able to pick up the regular Dell XPS tower and beef it up to the same level through Dell’s configuration page – just with a different chassis.
Read the full review: Dell XPS Tower Special Edition
Best all-in-one PC: Microsoft Surface Studio 2
The art kid’s dream computer in a metallic nutshell
CPU: Intel Core i7-7820HQ | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 – 1070 | RAM: 16GB – 32GB | Storage: 1TB-2TB SSD
The Microsoft Surface Studio was the best PC for artists when it first launched, so we were excited when Microsoft announced the sequel. Packed with Kaby Lake mobile graphics and Nvidia Pascal graphics, the Surface Studio 2 is way more powerful than the original, and should be able to handle everything you can throw at it for the next few years at least. And, it’s still got that gorgeous PixelSense display with Surface Pen support, making it retain the title of the best PC for artists.
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 i7-8809G | Graphics: Radeon RX Vega M GH graphics (4GB HBM2 VRAM), Intel UHD Graphics 630 | RAM: N/A | Storage: N/A
If you’re on the market for a great desktop experience, but you don’t have a ton of space, the Intel Hades Canyon NUC should be at the top of your list. With this tiny bare-bones PC, you have an insanely fast 8th-generation Intel Core i7 processor and discrete-class AMD Radeon graphics. And, once you throw in some RAM and storage, you’ll be able to conquer the best PC games without a care in the world. Sure, it won’t stand up against a full-sized desktop, but when you’re short on space, or you’d rather have a PC that looks like a set-top box, it’s totally worth the compromise.
Read the full review: Intel Hades Canyon NUC
Best gaming PC: Alienware aurora R7
Great gaming performance without breaking the bank
CPU: Intel Core i7 8700K | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 Ti | RAM: 32GB | Storage: 512GB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD, 2TB HDD
The Alienware Aurora R7 isn’t just a great gaming PC, but it’s one of the best PCs you can buy today. Not only does it feature fantastic performance with its 8th-generation Intel Core processor and GTX 10 series graphics, but this power is conveniently stored away in its compact chassis. It’s even surprisingly affordable, considering the power on offer, and it’s even easily upgradeable, despite its unique build. With the Aurora R7, Alienware continues its journey back to the top of the best PCs.
Read the full review: Alienware Aurora R7
See more like this: The best gaming PCs
Best living room PC: Corsair One i160
Absolute power, ridiculously small
CPU: Intel Core i7-9700K – i9-9900K | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 – 2080 Ti | RAM: 32GB DDR4 | Storage: 480GB SSD; 2TB HDD
If you’re on the market for a computer with an absolutely unbelievable amount of power, but will also look good in your living room, look no further than the Corsair One i160. Packed with Coffee Lake Refresh processors and Nvidia Turing graphics – not to mention a whopping 32GB of RAM, this computer is an absolute beast, and will chew through any game you throw at it – even on that nice 4K TV you just bought. Just prepare yourself before you jump on it – it’s not cheap.
Read the full review: Corsair One i160
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 associate Apple with inflated pricing, but the Mac Mini avoids that altogether. The Mac Mini 2018 isn’t just an attractive small form-factor PC, it’s also crammed full of high-end desktop parts, making it a great purchase for anyone that already has a slew of Mac-ready peripherals. Plus, as opposed to Apple’s recent products, you can upgrade the Mac Mini. Well, just the memory, but you can kit the Mac Mini with up to 64GB of RAM.
Read the full review: Apple Mac Mini
See more like this: The best Macs
Best budget PC: HP Pavilion Wave
It's a prettier, if less-beefy, Mac Pro
CPU: Intel Core i3 – Intel Core i5 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 530 – AMD Radeon R9 M470 | RAM: 8GB | Storage: 1TB HDD
Though at first you might confuse it for a fabric-woven refresh, the HP Pavilion Wave is anything but. This compact Windows machine packs in 6th-generation Intel Core processors and optional discrete AMD graphics with a uniquely integrated Bang & Olufsen speaker. Wrapped in a handsome fabric exterior, this is the perfect PC to have on the desk, as it radiates crisp sound while you browse the web or watch movies.
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 problems with desktop PCs, as they tend to take up a lot of space, but the Intel Core Compute Stick solves that issue. Looking more like a thumb drive than a full PC, this tiny computer can slot into any screen with an HDMI input. It starts out with a lowly 1.33GHz Intel Atom processor running Linux, but you can configure it with up to an Intel Core m5 processor – making this one of the best PCs if you need to get some work done on the go, with a computer that’ll fit in your pocket.
- Image Credits: TechRadar
Bill Thomas and Gabe Carey have also contributed to this article
- While you’re at it, we’ve also found the best gaming desktop PC you can buy