Wave

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

For Winter 2019, we again list the 10 best PCs you can get for the money, starting at under $200! Thanks to falling prices on RAM, solid-state drives, video cards, and CPUs, you really are getting more for your money than ever before. Plus, some manufacturers are truly pushing the innovation envelope, with systems like the HP Wave shown here, which integrates Amazon Alexa voice capability right into the case, making it a true 2-in-1 device.

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 behemoth Core i7-9900K eight-core CPU.

Secondly, we come to the solid-state drive. We think just about every PC should have an SSD in it at this point, as SSDs vastly improve boot up speed and system responsiveness. And yet, finding budget-oriented PCs with SSDs is hard to do - manufacturers are still peddling systems with traditional hard drives as their sole system drive, because a 1TB hard drive "sounds" better than a 250GB SSD, even if it isn't. With that said, there's still one PC on our list that uses this configuration, allowing it to hit a very low price point.

The third most important component is 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 or need true 4K output. All of our home theater and gaming system picks 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. And if you're a serious gamer, the only thing that will do is a new RTX 2000 series GPU from Nvidia, which you'll find in our top three gaming PCs picks! 

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 - Winter 2019

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-885-ACCFLi3

    Equipped with Intel's value-packed Core i3-8100 quad-core processor, 8GB of memory, and a 1TB hard drive, this is a great entry-level PC. It offers eight USB ports (six in back, two in front, one being a cutting-edge Type-C port), 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 Intel NUC Windows 10 Home PC:

    Intel BOXNUC7I5BNKP

    If you want a cutting-edge home PC, there's no better place to head than direct to Intel. For the first time in recent history (and possibly forever!), Intel has started marketing complete PCs, using its popular NUC (pronounced "nuck") chassis. This model includes a fast 256GB Intel solid-state drive, 8GB of RAM, and a potent Intel quad-core laptop CPU.

    The Guru's Tip:

    The NUC is the desktop PC of the future - here today!

    The Ultra-Compact Home Office PC:

    ASUS PB60-B5042ZC Mini PC

    The ultra-compact model from Asus 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 this instead! Equipped with an Intel Core i5-8400T six-core processor with Turbo up to 3.3GHz, along with 8GB of RAM and a 256 GB 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 eight USB ports, including USB Type-C in front for easy connectivity with modern devices.

    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 Perfect Family PC:

    HP Pavilion Wave

    Now this is what we call innovation! Pairing a smart home speaker with a desktop PC makes a ton of sense, and HP has made it look easy with the new Wave. But that takes nothing away from what HP has done here: you're getting an Intel Core i5-7400T quad-core CPU, 8GB RAM, a 256GB solid-state drive with Windows 10 pre-loaded, plus a 1TB hard drive for data storage. This is most definitely the perfect family PC!

    The Guru's Tip:

    To make the most of this system's music playing capabilities, it features speakers by Bang & Olufsen.

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. At just 8" square, and under 2.5" tall, this can fit practically anywhere.

    The Guru's Tip:

    What makes this PC much more suitable for home theater use than most compact PCs is the GTX 1050 video card, not so much for its processing power, but for its HDMI 2.0 output. That's the only way you can output 4K/60Hz signals to a 4K TV; onboard video doesn't go higher than 30Hz at that resolution.

Gaming

    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 High-End Gaming PC:

    iBUYPOWER Gaming PC Desktop Trace 9230

    iBuyPower has established itself as the leading purveyor of serious gaming PCs at great prices. So it should come as no surprise that despite coming in at way, way under $2,000, this is indeed a monstrous gaming PC! You get an Intel Core i7-9700K eight-core CPU with Hyperthreading, a cutting-edge GeForce RTX 2070 8GB 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 Ultra-High-End Gaming PC:

    iBUYPOWER Pro Gaming PC Desktop Trace 054i

    Step up to extreme gaming at a discount price with the new Trace 054i from iBuyPower. Packing in  a liquid-cooled Core i9-9900K eight-core processor and a fire-breathing Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti 11GB video card, you simply can't get better gaming performance than what this system delivers. To keep the price in check, it sports the same 16GB RAM kit, 240GB solid-state drive, and 1TB hard drive of the lower-end model above.

    The Guru's Tip:

    Consider for a moment that this system's GPU alone would cost you more than half of what the entire PC is going for, and you'll realize what an amazing deal it is!

    The Ultimate Gaming PC:

    CYBERPOWERPC Syber Forti SFG9EX

    If you're after the ultimate gaming system, you won't find a better system that the new Syber Forti from CyberpowerPC. It sports Intel's awesome Core i9-9900K, an eight-core, 16-thread beast that's liquid-cooled for maximum overclocks. It's teamed up with the cutting-edge Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti 11GB video card with ray-tracing capabilities, 32GB of DDR4 RAM, a massive 1TB solid-state drive, and a 3TB hard drive.

    The Guru's Tip:

    If you simply must have it all, this system delivers!