Surface Studio 2

Source: Windows Central

Best
Desktop PC
Windows Central
2019

Laptops are a great way to keep your PC with you at all times, but not everyone needs something so portable. While you can usually build your own desktop PC for less money, pre-built models have been narrowing the price gap, and you can find a quality device that’s relatively affordable considering the hardware inside. Ideal for most people, we recommend checking out Dell’s XPS Tower 8930 Special Edition. It has plenty of customizable configuration options available, including dedicated graphics, and it’s built in an attractive tower that won’t look out of place in an office or living room.

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Best Overall: Dell XPS Tower 8930 Special Edition

Dell XPS Tower 8930 Special Edition

Source: Dell

Dell’s XPS Tower 8930 Special Edition is easy to recommend thanks to a ton of configuration options, modest introductory price for the hardware you’re getting, and the silver and black tower that will fit in just about anywhere. On the front are USB-C, three USB-A, and 3.5mm audio ports that are easy to reach for common accessories. Just below is a DVD-RW optical drive for watching movies and burning disks. The back has many more ports, including six USB-A, USB-C, HDMI, DisplayPort, and Ethernet.

The baseline model includes a 9th Gen Intel Core i5-9400 processor (CPU), 8GB of DDR4 RAM, and a 256GB solid-state drive (SSD) coupled with a 1TB hard-disk drive (HDD). If you’re looking to use the PC for productivity work — word processing, spreadsheets, web browsing, and streaming — this hardware will be up to the job. For a bit of extra performance for editing or gaming, a NVIDIA GTX 1650 dedicated graphics card (GPU) with 4GB of VRAM is included.

Scaling up for far better gaming and VR performance, you can opt for a 9th Gen Intel Core i9-9900K CPU, 64GB of DDR4 RAM, up to 4TB of storage, and a beefy NVIDIA RTX 2080 GPU with 8GB of VRAM. This is high-end power that will run any intensive AAA games at a smooth framerate. Included with all models are a keyboard and mouse.

Pros:

  • Configuration options for any need
  • Plenty of ports
  • Keyboard and mouse included
  • Easy tool-less entry for future upgrades
  • Silver tower fits in anywhere

Cons:

  • Starting price more than other options

Best Overall



Dell XPS Tower 8930 Special Edition

Great for most people

With a wide variety of hardware options and easy upgrades, the XPS Tower 8930 Special Edition should be a good fit.

Also Great: HP Envy Desktop

If you’re looking for a multipurpose desktop PC that doesn’t come with quite as high of a starting price, HP’s Envy is likely going to be a winner. Entry models include a 9th Gen Intel Core i5-9400 CPU, 8GB of DDR4 RAM, and a 1TB HDD, which will do well if you’re just looking for a PC for general productivity work. Adding a NVIDIA GTX 1650 GPU with 4GB of VRAM for extra gaming power still doesn’t push it past the starting price for our top pick. If you do need ultimate performance, you can configure a model with 9th Gen Intel Core i7-9700 CPU, 32GB of DDR4 RAM, 4TB of storage, and a NVIDIA RTX 2060 Super GPU with 8GB of VRAM.

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The tower has a rather modern look with a black tile finish on the front. It does a great job of hiding the included DVD-RW optical drive, and it includes a good selection of ports on the front for your most-used accessories. USB-C, four USB-A, an SD card reader, and 3.5mm are visible, and the rear has another four USB-A, 3.5mm audio jacks, and Ethernet. Video out depends on the GPU you choose. All models include a keyboard and mouse.

Pros:

  • Modern tower design
  • Affordable starting price
  • Plenty of configuration options
  • Lots of ports

Cons:

  • GPU options not as powerful

Also Great



HP Envy Desktop

Solid all-around choice for many people

The HP Envy Desktop doesn’t have as many configuration options as our top pick, but it starts at a better price.

Best Value: Acer Aspire TC-885

Acer Aspire TC 885

Source: Acer

Acer’s Aspire TC-885 is the best option if you’re on a tight budget and don’t want to build your own PC. It has the power to cut through productivity work with a 9th Gen Intel Core i5-9400 CPU, 12GB of DDR4 RAM, and a 512GB SSD. The tower is maybe not quite as fancy as our top picks, but it still has a DVD-RW optical drive on the front, as well as an SD card reader, USB-A, USB-C, and 3.5mm audio jacks.

The back includes another five USB-A ports, two HDMI, and VGA for connecting the included keyboard and mouse. There is no dedicated GPU here, but hardware can be upgraded after purchase to keep it relevant longer.

Pros:

  • Everyday deal pricing
  • Keyboard and mouse included
  • Solid performance
  • Lots of ports

Cons:

  • No dedicated GPU
  • Can’t configure your own model

Best Value



Acer Aspire TC-885

Affordable pre-built PC

If you want to just get productive work done, the Acer Aspire TC-885 will save you a ton of money.

Best Gaming: Alienware Aurora R9

Alienware Aurora R9

Source: Dell

If you want a pre-built gaming PC available in many different configurations based on budget and level of performance, Alienware’s Aurora R9 should not be missed. Not only does it come in a unique updated tower with customizable lighting true to the Alienware name, it remains customizable thanks to tool-less entry and a PSU swing arm that allows for easy access to crucial hardware. You still get a ton of ports for connecting accessories (included is a keyboard and mouse), plus you can upgrade to Wi-Fi 6 for blazing wireless speeds.

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The introductory model includes a 9th Gen Intel Core i5-9400 CPU, 8GB of DDR4 RAM, 1TB HDD, and NVIDIA GTX 1650 GPU with 4GB of VRAM, though you can kit a rig with up to dual NVIDIA RTX 2080 Super GPUs with 8GB of VRAM each. A 9th Gen Intel Core i9-9900KS is also an option, with up to 64GB of RAM and 4TB of storage.

If you’re more a fan of AMD hardware, don’t miss the Aurora Ryzen Edition with up to a Ryzen 9 3950X CPU, 64GB of DDR4 RAM, and a NVIDIA RTX 2080 Ti GPU.

Pros:

  • Unreal hardware options
  • Unique tower with customizable lighting
  • Modest starting price
  • Tons of ports
  • Easy future upgrades
  • Intel and AMD models

Cons:

  • High-end models very expensive

Best Gaming



Alienware Aurora R9

Your next gaming PC

If you’d like a lethal combination of power and looks for gaming, don’t miss the Alienware Aurora R9.

Best Business: Lenovo ThinkCentre M920 Tower

Lenovo ThinkCentre M920 Tower

Source: Lenovo

Need a new desktop PC for the office? Lenovo’s ThinkCentre M920 Tower comes packed with management and security features that will make an IT pro smile. It’s available with up to an 8th Gen Intel Core i7-8700 vPro CPU, 64GB of DDR4 RAM, a 1TB M.2 PCIe SSD, and an AMD Radeon 520 GPU with 2GB of VRAM, as well as a TPM 2.0 chip and Smart USB.

The durable chassis is compact yet runs quiet and cool, and it’s styled after the classic ThinkPad look with a black finish and red accents. You get great port selection on the front and back as well a DVD-RW optical drive

Pros:

  • Attractive starting price
  • Durable tower
  • Lots of ports
  • Management and security features
  • Keyboard and mouse included

Cons:

  • Enterprise features add unnecessary cost for the average user

Best Business



Lenovo ThinkCentre M920 Tower

Extra security and management features

If you’re in need of a pre-built desktop PC for the office, check out the Lenovo ThinkCentre M920 Tower.

Best All-in-One: Microsoft Surface Studio 2

The Surface Studio 2 starts at an almost shocking price, but any creative professionals out there will drool at the features and specs. The 28-inch touch display has a whopping 4500×3000 resolution and 3:2 aspect ratio, with unbelievable color and compatibility with the Surface Pen and Surface Dial for a stellar inking experience. The huge display pulls down to act as a drafting table for ultimate productivity.

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Add up to an NVIDIA GTX 1070 GPU with 8GB of VRAM, a 7th Gen Intel Core i7-7820HQ CPU, 32GB of DDR4 RAM, and a 2TB SSD. You’ll be able to game on the Studio 2 when not hard at work, and there are plenty of ports for connecting your accessories. An IR camera is included above the display for facial recognition through Windows Hello, and included in the package is a Surface Pen, Keyboard, and Mouse so you can get to work as soon as it arrives.

Pros:

  • Unbelievable 28-inch touch display
  • Premium build and design
  • Dedicated GPU options
  • IR camera for Windows Hello
  • Versatile PC that can do just about anything

Cons:

  • Price is out of reach for most people
  • 7th Gen Intel hardware

Best All-in-One



Microsoft Surface Studio 2

The ultimate desktop all-in-one

It’s expensive, but it’s the right choice if you’re a creative professional who wants the best there is.

Bottom line

There are plenty of pre-built desktop PCs on the market that remove the effort of buying separate components and putting them together yourself, but Dell’s XPS Tower 8930 Special Edition should appeal to most people.

There are many configuration options available depending on your needs and budget, and the included dedicated GPU offers extra performance for gaming and editing work. You’ll be able to tackle productivity tasks with ease, and the silver tower will fit in anywhere. Lots of ports are included for connecting accessories, and a keyboard and mouse are included. All you have to do is add a quality monitor for a stellar setup.

Credits — The team that worked on this guide

Cale Hunt Cale Hunt is a staff writer at Windows Central. He focuses mainly on PC, laptop, and accessory coverage, as well as the emerging world of VR. He is an avid PC gamer and multi-platform user and spends most of his time either tinkering with or writing about tech.

Rich Edmonds is a staff reviewer at Windows Central, which means he tests out more software and hardware than he cares to remember. Joining Mobile Nations in 2010, you can usually find him inside a PC case tinkering around when not at a screen fighting with Grammarly to use British words. Hit him up on Twitter: @RichEdmonds.

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