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The best desktop computers you can buy

Laptops are great, but sometimes you need a bit more power.
The Best
By
May 21, 2021
apple mac mini m1
Jon Fingas / Android Authority

We’re big laptop fans here at Android Authority, but sometimes you need a little more. You can’t always jam the best graphics or cooling into the compact body of a laptop. If you’re thirsting for a stuffed spec sheet, it might be time to consider a desktop. The world of desktop computers can be more than a little daunting, though, so here are our picks for the best desktop computers you can buy.

We’ve done our best to cover many of the main manufacturers on this list. You’ll find both Windows and macOS represented, which should give you plenty of freedom to choose. Just don’t forget that you can always build a completely new PC from scratch as well.

See also: The best gaming PC desktops

The best desktop computers:

Editor’s note: We’ll be sure to add new desktop options to this list as they launch. Check back frequently for updates.


Apple iMac

Apple April 2021 event iMac

The days of the bright and colorful iMac are here again. Apple’s desktop line has existed in one form or another for years, and the latest 24-inch refresh shows just how far the Cupertino company has come. Apple will let you choose between six colorful finishes and classic silver for your money, each with a seven-core or eight-core M1 chip inside. Apple’s new iMac is slimmer than ever and nearly resembles a beefed-up iPad on a stand. Memory kicks off at 8GB, or you can try 16GB, and storage tops out at a whopping 2TB.

See also: The best MacBook deals

Of course, the more you add to your iMac, the more you can expect to pay. It’s one of the best desktop computers around and probably the most stylish all-in-one yet.


Alienware Aurora R12

best desktops aurora r12
Amazon

If Apple’s iMac is the pillar of macOS, Alienware’s Aurora line is one of the Windows gaming stalwarts. Now on its R12 generation, the powerful desktop has gone through plenty of refreshes and upgrades. You can now find the tower packing up to Intel’s 11th-generation Core i7 processors as well as brand-new Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 graphics. Up to 64GB of RAM is plenty for your gaming endeavors, and you can configure your Aurora R11 with up to 3TB of total storage space.

See also: The best Alienware laptops you can buy

As always, the Aurora R12 is dripping with a premium gaming style. It’s as futuristic as ever, and the RGB lighting is key to any gaming battle station.


Intel Phantom Canyon NUC

best desktops intel nuc 11
Intel

Bigger doesn’t have to be better when it comes to desktop computers, at least not if Intel has anything to say about it. The Phantom Canyon is Intel’s 11th-generation offering in the Next Unit of Computing line (NUC). It packs almost everything you’d expect from a new gaming machine — 11th-generation Intel Core i7 hardware, 16GB of RAM, and ample storage space. The Phantom Canyon doesn’t sacrifice much in the way of ports, either. It offers Thunderbolt 4 ports, Bluetooth 5, Wi-Fi 6, a mini DisplayPort option, and even more USB 3.2 ports to choose from.

You can even connect up to four 4K monitors to the pint-sized beast, though you may be slightly let down by the graphics. Intel’s Phantom Canyon comes with an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 Max-P onboard, now outdated by Nvidia’s RTX 30 series.


HP Omen 30L

best desktops hp omen 30l
Amazon

The HP Omen might make this list start to feel like the best gaming desktop computers list, but we promise it’s not. Sure, you can use HP’s desktop to game to your heart’s content, but the sleek styling and modern internals are ready for anything. We gave the Omen 30L the edge over its smaller 25L sibling just for the ability to cram a little extra power into the package. Depending on your configuration, you’ll find an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 GPU, 10th-gen Intel Core i9 CPU, 32GB of RAM, and more.

See also: The best HP laptops to buy

The entire side panel of HP’s Omen case is see-through, so make sure you have your rig in tip-top shape and don’t skimp on the RGB effects.


Dell XPS 8940 Special Edition desktop

best desktops dell xps
Amazon

Dell’s XPS line already includes some of the most successful and refined laptops on the market, and the desktop version lives up to the hype. While we can’t really boast about slim bezels here, we can praise the rest of the spec sheet. Dell chose Intel’s 10th-generation Core i7 processor to carry most of the weight along with 32GB of DDR4 RAM to back it up. You can also keep all of your files close at hand on the 512GB SSD and 2TB HDD.

We didn’t love the basic Intel graphics on the standard XPS desktop, but this special edition model leaps to a GeForce GTX 1650 Super GPU, making it an all-around performer.


Mac Mini (M1 chip)

best desktops mac mini
Amazon

Apple’s Mac Mini beat the iMac in its move to the new M1 chip, and it’s not looking back. It sits among the smallest desktop computers you can buy, and the Mac Mini is by far the smallest device running macOS. You’ve got two USB-A ports and two USB-C options to work with, as well as 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD.

See also: The best Apple laptops you can buy

The entire Mac Mini package is as Apple as possible — all you get is the small metal computer and a power cable in the box.


Acer Aspire TC-895

acer aspire 895
Amazon

This next desktop computer is among the most flexible on the list. If you really want to, you can configure Acer’s Aspire TC-895 for less than $500. However, we prefer the more powerful version, complete with a six-core 10th-generation Intel Core i5 processor. It’s sleek, stylish, and packs plenty of power. You can also grab 12GB of DDR4 RAM, a 512GB SSD, and plenty of ports in the same configuration.

Acer’s updated hardware should also keep you connected at high speeds with Bluetooth 5.1 and Wi-Fi 6 options onboard.


HP Envy All-in-One 32

hp envy all in one
Amazon

We’ll end our roundup of the best desktop computers the same way it started — with an all-in-one. This large option from HP is a creator’s dream with its crisp 31.5-inch 4K display and up to 10th-generation Intel hardware inside. HP tapped Nvidia to provide the GPU as well as B&O for the sound. The Envy All-in-One isn’t just powerful, and it’s stylish too. The bezels are almost nonexistent on three sides, and the bottom bezel packs a row of speakers. Not to mention the fact that the webcam pops up from the top bezel for a completely minimalist look.