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Buying a Desktop PC

A desktop computer can be the center of an efficient office at home or work. Unlike a laptop, these computers are designed to be set up in one location permanently. With a desktop computer, you can use the keyboard and mouse of your choice, instead of relying on a trackpad or a smaller laptop keyboard with fewer functions. Desktops tend to offer a higher performance at a reasonable cost, making them great for any application that requires more intensive technical capabilities from using demanding engineering or media editing software for work to relaxing with the latest games. From sleek all-in-one computers to easily upgradeable towers, there are a wide variety of desktop options to fit your space and your needs.

Why buy a new desktop computer?

Desktop PCs feature great performance at a lower cost than laptops.

An all-in-one desktop PC gives you performance without taking up as much room as a bulky tower.

Unlike laptops, you can upgrade most of the components on a desktop tower PC to keep up with new software.

Features of new desktop computers


  • Desktops come in a variety of hardware configurations so you can find one that is targeted to your needs.
  • Most desktops have several USB ports to connect all of your important peripherals.
  • You can upgrade components like the RAM or graphics card on most desktops.
  • Desktops are available that range from entry level to powerful workstations.
  • Many all-in-one PCs include a touchscreen for the option of a tablet-like interface

Learn more about the features of a computer

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Types of Desktop Computers

Entry Level Mini-Towers

Basic desktop PCs are now extremely affordable and can easily handle everyday computing needs like web browsing, word processing, spreadsheets, and other common office and lifestyle programs. Mini-towers and other small form factor PCs will save room at your desk when you don't need a more powerful computer.

  • Price Range: $350-$550
  • CPU Range: 2-3 GHz
  • Memory Range: 2-8 GB
  • Hard Drive Capacity: 500 GB-1.5 TB

Entry level desktops are best for...

Home office:  If you need to keep up with documents and communications while away from work, small form factor computers are an affordable option that can run all the applications you'll need.


Families:  These PCs are great for the family to share for basic web browsing, emails, and school projects.



All-In-One Computers

All-in-one computers bridge the gap between laptops and desktops. The CPU and other hardware are contained in the monitor, so that your keyboard and mouse are the only separate components. Many models include touchscreen functions that let you use convenient shortcuts and gestures like a tablet.

  • Price Range: $450-$1,800
  • CPU Range: 1.1-3.4 GHz
  • Memory Range: 1-8 GB
  • Hard Drive Capacity: 250 GB-1.5 TB

All-in-one computers are best for...

Media Center:  Enjoy streaming media services on the large flat screen. You can also plug in streaming devices or game consoles to the HDMI inputs on many models.

Students:  An all-in-one computer is easy to move in and out of dorm rooms between semesters.

High Performance Towers

You can get the best PC performance available with a high-spec desktop tower computer. These higher-priced PCs need a bigger footprint at your desk, but can deliver the best specs. The large tower format allows plenty of room for cooling vents and fans, so you can run demanding programs continuously without worrying about the lifespan of your system.

  • Price Range: $700-$2,500
  • CPU Range: 2.7-4.2 GHz
  • Memory Range: 4-32 GB
  • Hard Drive Capacity: 500 GB-2 TB

High performance desktop computers are best for...

PC enthusiasts:  Tower PCs are the easiest to upgrade since they use standard size parts. Hardware-savvy users can continually futureproof their systems by swapping in better parts over time.


Gamers:  Tower PCs come in the best configurations for playing the latest PC games, and graphics cards can be upgraded as new technology comes to the market.

Careers requiring computing power:  Engineers, architects and many other jobs that use CAD/CAM and 3-D design programs will get the best performance with a high-powered computer. They are also great for the demanding task of editing HD video.



Bottom Line

Desktop computers come in a variety of configurations for everything from basic Internet browsing to high-performance business software. If ease of use is the most important factor, consider an entry-level mini-tower or all-in-one PC that comes with all the basics and saves space. However, you won't be able to upgrade these models as easily over time, since they use smaller non-standard components much like a laptop. For the most power and the ability to upgrade over time, pick up a tower PC. There's a large range of prices available depending on the kind of specs you need, so be sure to research the options thoroughly so that you get the best PC for your budget.