Need a new desktop PC for family use, home or small office, home theater, or gaming? No problem - you've come to the right place! This guide profiles ten of the very best off-the-shelf PCs on the market, and we're positive you'll find a system in this guide that will work for you! For the Winter 2018 edition of this guide, our picks start at under $500 for a great all-around family, and go well over $2,500 for the elite gamers out there. Also on the list are some perfect small office and home theater PCs. Note that these systems are divided into three sections corresponding to home/small office use, home theater use, and gaming use, although there's certainly plenty of opportunity to choose various options depending on the mix of uses you envision.

Now, a few words on the components that really make a difference to the average user. First, you have the CPU, which most consumers are at least a little familiar with by now. Intel has recently shaken up its product line to better compete with a resurgent AMD, and while we definitely like AMD Ryzen CPUs, they just haven't made much headway among OEMs. Thus, all our recommendations in this guide stick with Intel, starting with some older dual-core models on the budget end, and going all the way up to the best all-around CPU Intel has ever released, the six-core i7-8700K.

Secondly, we come to the solid-state drive. We think just about every user should have an SSD in their PC at this point to improve boot up speed and system responsiveness, but PC manufacturers have been very slow to embrace the technology, in part because consumers have been trained to look for big numbers. For example, a 500GB hard drive is better than a 250GB solid-state drive, right? Wrong! Until vendors start to trust that consumers actually know how to value solid-state drives, you have to do a lot of combing through component lists to pick out the winners. We've done that for you here, although there are still a few systems that depend on a hard drive where other factors, like price or storage capacity, may trump the need for an SSD.

One last note: we really believe that for most users, big black (or beige) boxes should become a thing of the past. The vast majority of PC users would be happier with a small PC they can hide away, rather than one that dominates a desk space. We particularly like the ultra-high-end Corsair One pictured above, but our guide has plenty of miniature PCs at every pricepoint.

And just a plug here for our Do-It-Yourself PC Build Guides - if you have any technical inclination whatsoever, you should really consider building your own PC. It's very rewarding, and you'll get to choose exactly the components you want (starting with a big SSD, of course!). That being said, a few of the specialized pre-built systems in this guide would be impossible to put together on your own, given their innovative, custom-designed exteriors.

One last note: to support continued development of this guide, please use the links we provide if you decide to purchase one of the PCs we recommend.

Desktops - Winter 2018

Home/Small Office

    The Basic Office Desktop:

    Acer Aspire TC-780-ACKi3

    Equipped with Intel's Core i5-7400 dual-core processor, 12GB of memory, and a 2TB hard drive, this is a great entry-level PC. It offers seven USB ports (two in front, five in back), HDMI video out along with the older VGA analog standard, as well as a built-in DVD burner and memory card reader. It even has built-in 802.11ac wireless networking and Bluetooth, which are extremely rare in entry-level PCs.

    The Guru's Tip:

    There's no doubt about it - this is an incredible deal, especially coming from a major manufacturer like Acer!

    The Mid-Range HTPC:

    Acer Revo One RL85-UR52

    This system has been around for a while, but it's still our favorite pick for a high-end family PC. Inside its small, stylish case, it features a zippy 2.2GHz Intel Core i5-5200U dual-core processor with Turbo to 2.7GHz, 8GB of RAM, and 1TB Solid State Hybrid Drive, which offers a great mix of capacity and responsiveness.

    The Guru's Tip:

    This PC even comes with 802.11ac WiFi, Bluetooth, and a wireless keyboard and mouse, which means it would also make for a fantastic low-cost home theater PC!

    The Perfect Family PC:

    Acer Aspire AIO Touch AZ3-715-ACKi5

    Equipped with a fast Intel Core i5-7400T quad-core processor, 12GB of memory, a 1TB hard drive, this system has what it takes to keep every member of your family happy! Of course, being an all-in-one PC, it's all built around a fantastic 23.8" 1920x1080 touchscreen, which will make your apps truly come to life. And to make your life easier, it even includes a built-in 802.11ac Wi-Fi, plus a very keyboard and mouse.

    The Guru's Tip:

    While we typically recommend solid-state drives due to their increased responsiveness, it can be difficult managing their smaller size when everyone in the house is loading them up with files, games, photos, etc. So we think the tradeoff offered by a traditional hard drive is reasonable here.

    The Ultra-Slim Business PC:

    HP Elite Slice

    HP's ultra-compact Elite Slice is the ultimate streamlined business PC solution. Simply put, if you are equipping a next-gen workstation, whether at home or in an office, skip the clunky towers and go for the Slice! Equipped with a 2.5GHz Intel Core i5-6500T 35W quad-core processor, 8GB of RAM, and an ultra-fast 256GB PCIe-based M.2 solid-state drive, this is all you'll ever need from a workstation for many years to come. In terms of ports, it has HDMI and DisplayPort outputs, as well as two USB 3.0 and two USB 3.1 Type-C connectors, and can be expanded with "Slice" add-on components like an optical drive, an audio drive, and a wireless charging cover, making it truly future-proof!

    The Guru's Tip:

    We believe that this form factor will become the norm in business desktop computing within the next 2-3 years. There's simply no reason for offices to be outfitting their workstations with desktop towers given the state of today's PC technology.

    The Small Business Desktop:

    HP EliteDesk 800 G3

    If you need a lot of processing power for serious business applications along with a compact design, the EliteDesk 800 G3 from HP is the system for you. It features an Intel Core i7-7700 quad-core processor with Hyperthreading, which boosts speed tremendously in applications like spreadsheets and photo/video processing. The system also includes 8GB of RAM (expandable to 64GB!), a 256GB PCIe-based solid-state drive for great responsiveness, and Windows 10 Pro pre-installed.

    The Guru's Tip:

    Packing in a total of 11 USB ports (including a USB Type-C port), along with dual DisplayPort outputs for high-resolution monitors, this model has plenty of  connectivity.

Home Theater

    The Home Theater Gaming PC:

    Asus GR8 II-T069Z

    While Asus is marketing this as a gaming PC, given its small size, we think its ideal use is as a high-powered, slimline home theater PC! Equipped with a Core i5-7400 quad-core processor, a GTX 1060 3GB video card, 16GB of RAM, and a 512GB solid-state drive, it's the perfect machine to use as a media player, game console replacement, or even a standard desktop PC.

    The Guru's Tip:

    Note that due to the scarcity of Intel's 8th-gen Core processors, no slimline pre-built PCs have been released with them as of our most recent update.


    The Budget Gamer:

    CyberpowerPC Gamer Xtreme GXIVR8020A4

    Featuring an Intel Core i5-7400 quad-core processor and the potent Radeon RX 580 4GB graphics card, which has been sold out on store shelves since mid-2017 due to its popularity with cryptocurrency miners, this system is truly far less expensive than any true gaming system you could build yourself at this point.

    The Guru's Tip:

    You get a keyboard, mouse, and even a 802.11ac wireless USB adapter with this system!

    The High-End Gaming PC:

    CyberPowerPC Gamer Xtreme GXi11000CPG

    Prepare to be blown away by the value packed into this system! Featuring a new Intel Core i5-8600K hexa-core processor, a potent Nvidia Geforce GTX 1070 Ti 8GB video card, 8GB of RAM, a 120GB solid-state drive, and a 1TB 7200RPM HDD, this is the real deal. To be frank, you're barely paying any premium at all to have this pre-assembled for you with a 1-year warranty!

    The Guru's Tip:

    This system even has a stylish tempered glass side panel to show it off!

    The Premium Gaming PC:

    CyberpowerPC Gamer Xtreme VR GXiVR8080A2

    CyberpowerPC has clearly proven that it knows how to pack its systems full of power at shockingly-good prices. So it should come as no surprise that despite coming in at well under $2,000, this is indeed a monstrous gaming PC! You get a liquid-cooled Intel Core i7-8700K hexa-core CPU with Hyperthreading, a GTX 1080 Ti 11GB video card, 16GB of memory, and a 240GB SSD along with a 1TB hard drive.

    The Guru's Tip:

    With a 1-year warranty and free lifetime tech support, this system is perfect for anyone who wants the ultimate gaming experience but isn't quite ready to build their own PC!

    The Ultimate Compact Gamer:

    Corsair One Pro GTX 1080 Ti

    If you want both extreme gaming power and amazing portability, look no further than the custom-designed ONE from Corsair. It's just 15" tall, 7.9" deep, and 6.9" wide, giving it an absolutely tiny footprint. And yet it packs in a Core i7-7700K processor and a GeForce GTX 1080 Ti 11GB video card, both cooled by Corsair's class-leading liquid cooling. Also along for the ride are 16GB of RAM, a 480GB solid-state drive, and a 2TB hard drive. What makes this system truly unique is that just a single fan is used to drive cool air through both the CPU and GPU radiators, making this system amazingly quiet despite its compact dimensions and massive gaming firepower. Put another way, this thing is seriously "One"-of-a-kind!

    The Guru's Tip:

    Simply put, there is no way you could ever build a system like this yourself. Corsair's custom-designed case is unlike anything on the market, as it's built around Corsair's proprietary CPU and GPU coolers.