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 10 of the best PCs on the market, and we're positive you'll find a system in this guide that will work for you!


For Summer 2018, you can get more for your money than ever before, thanks to falling prices on RAM, solid-state drives, video cards, and CPUs. Our picks start at under $200 for a family PC, and go up to $2,500 for the elite gamers out there. Also on the list are some amazingly-small home office and home theater PCs, like the Asus Vivo pictured here. Note that the ten models profiled in this guide 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. For example, just about any small PC can handle home theater use, and of course any gaming PC is going to be powerful enough for either office or home theater duty, as long as you have the space for it!

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, and therefore all but two of the PCs in this guide have one. And trust us, even finding eight PCs with SSDs took a lot of combing through the options, because manufacturers still don't trust that consumers actually know that a 250GB solid-state drive is worth a whole lot more than a 1TB hard drive. Trust us, it is!

Third, there's the graphics card. A long time ago, every system needed one, but today, most systems have them built into the CPU. Therefore you only need a graphics card (also called a video card) if you will be doing a lot of gaming. All of the systems in the gaming section of this guide include a graphics card for that reason, but none of our home office systems do, because they don't provide any benefits for that type of usage.

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. That's why half of the PCs we recommend are compact options, which allows you to find just the right balance of price, performance, and size. Sometimes you'll pay a bit more for a small PC than a big tower PC, but you'll likely thank yourself down the line!

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.

Please keep in mind that we limit advertising to give you the best browsing experience, so 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 - Summer 2018

Home/Small Office

    The Ultra-Compact Home PC:

    Zotac ZBOX PI225

    This system proves just have far technology has advanced in the past few years. With Zotac's latest Zbox, you get a PC that's no larger than a deck of cards, and yet it contains an Intel dual-core 1.1GHz processor with boost to 2.4GHz, 4GB of memory, a 32GB solid-state drive, and a full version of Windows 10. It even has 802.11ac networking and Bluetooth built in! This is truly the perfect system to attach to a monitor and use as a kitchen or family room PC, using the included USB 3.1-to-HDMI adapter.

    The Guru's Tip:

    While storage is a bit limited on this system (it's basically enough for the OS and a couple of apps), you can easily store plenty of media by using an add-on micro-SD card, like this SanDisk 128GB model.

    The Basic Office Desktop:

    Acer Aspire TC-780-ACKi3

    Equipped with Intel's Core i3-7100 dual-core processor, 8GB of memory, and a 1TB 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 Ultra-Compact Home Office PC:

    ASUS VivoMini Mini PC VC66-B007Z

    The ultra-compact Asus Vivo Mini 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 VivoMini! Equipped with a 3.0GHz Intel Core i5-7400 quad-core processor, 8GB of RAM, and a big, fast 512GB solid-state drive, this is all you'll ever need from a workstation for many years to come. In terms of ports, it has DVI, HDMI and DisplayPort outputs, as well as two USB 2.0, three USB 3.0 and one USB 3.0 Type-C ports, plus a built-in DVD burner and flash card reader!

    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.

Home Theater

    The Ultra-Slim Home Theater PC:

    Zotac Magnus EN51050

    Want an absolute bargain when it comes to a slimline home theater PC that can also run games at HD resolutions? Look no further than this sweet model from Zotac! Equipped with a Core i5-7500T 2.7GHz quad-core processor, a GTX 1050 2GB video card, 8GB of RAM, a 120GB solid-state drive, and a 1TB hard 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:

    This PC is about 8" square, and under 2.5" tall!


    The Budget Gamer:

    CyberpowerPC Gamer Xtreme GXIVR8020A5

    Featuring an Intel Core i5-8400 six-core processor and the potent Radeon RX 580 4GB graphics card, 8GB of RAM, and a 1TB hard drive, 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 Mid-Range Gaming PC:

    iBUYPOWER Slate 001iV2 Gaming Desktop PC

    If you want a system that game and works great for browsing the web and using office applications, you want this system. It offers awesome gaming power for gaming at 1920 x 1080 resolutions, thanks to the Core i5-8400 six-core CPU and GTX 1060 3GB video card. And thanks to its 120GB solid-state drive, it also provides ultra-fast boot-up times, app launching times, and system responsiveness. It's paired with a 1TB for bulk storage, along with 8GB of RAM.

    The Guru's Tip:

    Some bonus features of this system include RGB lighting, built-in WiFi, and a bundled mouse and keyboard.

    The Ultra-Compact Gamer:

    Zotac MEK1

    Prepare to be blown away by the value packed into this slim desktop system! Featuring an Intel Core i7-7700 quad-core processor, a potent Nvidia Geforce GTX 1070 Ti 8GB video card, 16GB of RAM, a 240GB solid-state drive, and a 1TB hard drive, this is the real deal. To be frank, you're paying no premium at all to have this pre-assembled for you into an ultra-compact case, and backed by a 1-year warranty!

    The Guru's Tip:

    This system even has a stylish RGB lighting system to help make it stand out in a crowd (or on a desk!).

    The High-End Gaming PC:

    iBUYPOWER Slate 9210 Gaming Desktop PC

    Packing in a potent liquid-cooled Core i7-8700K six-core processor with Hyperthreading, along with Nvidia's high-end GTX 1070 Ti 8GB video card, this is a true gaming system at a very reasonable price. Adding additional value is the ample 16GB RAM kit and 240GB solid-state drive, which will mean the system boots in a flash, along with a 1TB hard drive.

    The Guru's Tip:

    This PC is actually cheaper than what you could build yourself with the same components!

    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:

    Note that Corsair also markets a newer version of this system with the Core i7-8700K processor. While it is a bit faster, we don't think it's worth the extra $300, given that the processor is the only upgrade and it costs just a few dollars more than the 7700K at retail.