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Best desktop models and features for 2021

Laptops and tablets make up about 80 percent of the computing market, If you want more power and expandability, or if you are already spending your day connected to a large-screen monitor, a desktop PC makes perfect sense.

HP Envy 32

This Windows is in stores with the basic iMac design in early 2020 and shows in its somewhat older specs (a rotating hard drive that backs up a ninth generation Intel CPU and 256GB SSD). However, in a pretty attractive package, you get a massive 32-inch 4K display powered by an integrated Nvidia GTX 1650 graphics card (which can handle some decent games). We’d like to see a refresh with newer internal components, but in the meantime, you’ll have a hard time finding an all-in-one device with a bigger screen.

Surface Studio 2

What if the iMac supports touchscreen and pen input? This is basically the site of Microsoft’s Surface Studio 2, a Windows-powered all-in-one that has signed the deal for artists with the ability to tilt the 28-inch screen back like a drawing table. The original model was sadly underpowered, and the latest model still doesn’t deliver all the bells and whistles we expect at this high price, but its unique design can make you miss these flaws and still get to your credit card.


Acer TC-895-UA92
This 10th generation Intel Core i5 configuration includes everything listed above, as well as Wi-Fi 6 compatibility and a keyboard and mouse.

HP Pavilion Desktop TP01-1140
This system offers a capable AMD Ryzen 5 CPU and HP throws it into a mouse and keyboard.

HP Pavilion Gaming Desktop TG01-1076z
This HP rig has an AMD Ryzen 5 CPU and Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 GPU, 400 watts of power supply, 16GB of RAM, and a 1TB spinning hard drive is thrown over the 512GB SSD.

Dell G5 gaming tower
This Dell model has almost the same features as the HP above, but with 10th generation Intel Core i5 instead of AMD Ryzen.

Acer Aspire C27-962-UA91
Although the screen on this model is 27 inches wide, the resolution is only 1080p (also known as 2K). This model also does not have a DVD drive and USB-C ports. However, the 10th generation Intel Core i5 CPU, built-in Nvidia MX graphics (not as good as the GTX or RTX card, but better than average), half a terabyte of SSD storage, and a built-in webcam (is it with a keyboard and mouse together).

What about an iMac or Mac Pro?

If you’re paying a big premium for the Apple name, an iMac is often a great option for Apple fans who want an all-in-one PC with a superior display. However, we expect upgrades to these models that will at least add M1 (or better) Apple silicon chips and also bring redesign. So don’t consider using an iMac until the upgrades are reportedly announced. They will most likely arrive before the end of 2021. In the meantime, if you need to buy an iMac, avoid the base model with a 21.5-inch screen – it’s an aging seventh-generation Intel processor with a relatively low-resolution display (2K versus 4K resolution). Also note that the iMac Pro has been retired by Apple.

As for the Mac Pro: It offers serious workstation-level performance, effective for professional users only. Meanwhile, the hardware that was released in late 2019 runs on an Intel platform that Apple is now moving away from with the aforementioned Apple silicon chips. Here too, rumors of a “Mac Pro Mini” (Apple silicon CPU in a smaller chassis with fewer internal expansion slots, if any) mean that waiting is a prudent option, as Apple is committed to completing the process of moving away from Intel. Before the end of 2022.

Chromebox, Mini PC

When it comes to desktop computers, tower computers and all-in-ones represent the vast majority of the market. There are alternatives, but in the 2020s, they often represent the increasingly narrower segments of this market.

Mini PCs : Following the launch of the Mac Mini in 2005, Windows PC manufacturers have experimented with similarly small designs. Following cute little models like the Acer Revo One and HP Pavilion Mini, we’ve seen the (sadly underpowered) “PC on the stick” offerings from 2015, but interest seems to have declined since then. Apart from specialty vendors like Beelink, the best options for this mini PC size are probably the Intel NUC (Next Computer Unit), many of which are sold as hobby options and require some BYO additions such as user-supplied storage, RAM, and other components. – operating system included. See more bare-boned Mini PCs at Newegg

Chromeboxes: on the webIf you are looking for very basic computing, such as browsing email, social media, YouTube and the like, the Chrome OS is the most suitable way for computing at home. This Google OS is effectively little more than the Chrome web browser. This makes it easy for multiple users (only one Gmail address is required to log in) and – since there is no heavy operating system beyond the browser – viruses aren’t really an issue. These systems, popularly known as “Chromeboxes” (versus “Chromebook” laptops), do not require powerful CPUs, RAM or storage. However, if you need any software beyond browser-based web apps or you don’t have the perfect broadband connection, you’ll want to stick with the Windows or Mac options above.

Linux PCs : No, Windows, Mac, and ChromeOS are not your only operating system options. There is a vast world of Linux operating systems out there, most of which are effectively free. You can get Linux pre-installed computers, but the better, more affordable option is probably to install it on a used Windows PC (or dual boot).

Raspberry Pi : You may have heard of a small computer no bigger than a paperback. This is the Raspberry Pi and it’s 100 percent real and very cool – if you’re a hobbyist looking to build your own Lego style computer and build your own custom Linux operating systems. If you want to run mainstream software, we don’t recommend it as the primary computer.


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