apple mac mini m1

Credit: Jon Fingas / Android Authority

We’re big laptop fans here at Android Authority, but we know that they’re not without shortcomings. You can’t always jam the best graphics or cooling into the compact body of a laptop. If you’re looking for more speed or power, 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

best desktops apple imac

Apple’s iMac is a perfect example of just how powerful an all-in-one desktop computer can be. It’s existed in one form or another for years, and the latest 27-inch model shows just how far the Cupertino company has come. For your money, Apple will hook you up with a 5K display, 10th-generation Intel Core processor, up to 128GB of memory, and up to an incredible 8TB of storage. If that’s not enough, you can also upgrade to AMD’s Radeon Pro 5700 XT graphics and a 10GB Ethernet port.

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, but also one of the most expensive.


Alienware Aurora R11

alienware aurora r11

If Apple’s iMac is the pillar of macOS, Alienware’s Aurora line is one of the Windows gaming stalwarts. Now on its R11 generation, the powerful desktop has gone through plenty of refreshes and upgrades. You can now find the tower packing up to Intel’s 10th-generation Core i9 processors as well as brand-new Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090 graphics. Up to 64GB of RAM is plenty for your gaming endeavors and you can configure your Aurora R11 with up to 4TB of total storage space.

See also: The best Alienware laptops you can buy

As always, the Aurora R11 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

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

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 desktop

best desktops dell xps

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 pretty much all of your files close at hand on the 512GB SSD and 3TB HDD.

If we had to find one flaw, it’s that Dell only included Intel UHD 630 graphics on the XPS 8940 desktop, but this is a daily desktop computer rather than a gaming beast.


Mac Mini (M1 chip)

best desktops mac mini

We’ve already talked about the iMac, and while it’s no slouch, the Intel hardware plants it firmly in 2020. Apple’s Mac Mini, on the other hand, has already made the 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

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 an eight-core 10th-generation Intel Core i7 processor. It’s sleek, stylish, and packs plenty of power. You can also grab 16GB of DDR4 RAM, a 512GB SSD, and a 1TB HDD packed into 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

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, 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.

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