The best PCs pack more power now than ever before. They’ve evolved to the point of packing eight-core processors and super high-end graphics cards, some of which offer real time ray tracing – things that were not possible only a few years back. Staying on the cutting edge in 2019 means getting one of the best PCs included on this list, even if most of what you’ll do is browse Facebook and surf the internet.
The good news is, the best PCs available right now are also more affordable than ever, which means that regardless of what your budget might be, you’ll find one that’s not ideal for you and your needs, but can also keep you on the cutting edge. You can pick up a solid PC or even an all-in-one desktop for around $500 (about £390, AU$715), for example.
In addition, many of the best PCs will last you a lifetime as they are upgradeable. It’s easy to keep them up to date by fitting in new and improved PC components, like fast SSDs, more RAM and possibly even the best graphics card.
With so many options to choose from, deciding on the best PC for you, your needs and your budget can get confusing. So we gathered all the best computers on the market, paying close attention to those that hit that sweet spot between price and performance.
Here are our top picks for the best PCs 2019 has on offer. Peruse the list and pick out what you like.
Best PC: Dell XPS Tower Special Edition
This mainstream machine is a gaming PC at heart
CPU: Intel Core i5 – Core i9 | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti – 1080 | RAM: 8GB –64GB
Compact, minimalist design
Full online customer support
Starting memory isn’t ideal for VR
Lower graphical performance compared to rivals
The Dell XPS Tower looks unremarkable, like that PC your parents used to have hidden away underneath the desk when you were a kid. However, its no-nonsense chassis hides quite a selection of exciting internals. One of the best PCs right now, the Dell XPS Tower is packed with up to an RTX 2070 graphics card, a 9th-generation Intel Core processor, and a large hard drive and/or SSD. This special edition PC configuration is only available in the US. However, UK and Australian readers can grab the regular Dell XPS Tower and then add similar upgrades, though there are some limitations such as the graphics card options topping out with the GTX 1060.
Read the full review: Dell XPS Tower Special Edition
Best all-in-one PC: Microsoft Surface Studio 2
Ultimate digital drafting table
CPU: Intel Core i7-7820HQ | Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 – 1070 | RAM: 16GB or 32GB | Storage: 1TB or 2TB SSD
The Surface Studio 2 isn’t going to compare well against most PCs, but that’s only because it was never designed to compete with them in the first place. This device is meant for the digital artist or other visually-focused content creators, and even with aging parts, it’s still the most robust digital drafting table on the market. It boasts a bright, vibrant display, and improved specs next to its predecessor. If you’re a digital artist or a content creator who’s visually-focused, this is the best computer for you.
Read the full review: Surface Studio 2
Best mini PC: Intel Hades Canyon NUC
Don’t let its size fool you
CPU: Intel Core i7 | Graphics: Radeon RX Vega M GL – GH | RAM: 4GB – 64GB | Storage: 128GB – 2TB SSD; up to 2TB secondary SSD
Lots of ports
Easy to upgrade
If you want an excellent desktop experience, but don’t have a lot of desk space, then Intel Hades Canyon NUC may just be ideal for you. This small bare-bones PC has an absurdly fast 8th-generation Intel Core i7 processor and discrete-class AMD Radeon graphics. Adding some RAM and storage to the mix, and you will be conquering the best PC games without breaking a sweat. It won’t compete against a full-sized desktop, but when you’re short on space – or you want a PC that looks like a set-top box – this is one of the best PCs to consider.
Read the full review: Intel Hades Canyon NUC
Best gaming PC: Alienware Aurora R8
The perfect entry into high-end gaming
CPU: 9th-generation Intel Core i5 – i9 | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 – RTX 2080 Ti | RAM: 8GB – 64GB | Storage: 1TB HDD – 2TB SSD + 2TB HDD
Plenty of computing power
Cutting edge components
Not quite ready for 4K gaming
While costing a pretty penny when souped up, the Alienware Aurora R8 has all the makings of a powerful gaming PC, including 9th-generation Intel Core chips and some of the best Nvidia GTX and RTX graphics for gaming. This model has been succeeded by the Alienware Aurora R9, which boasts a cool-looking exterior, but their specs are practically comparable. Only, the R8 will set you back a couple of hundred dollars/pounds less, giving you more for your money. Get ready to be impressed by this PCs’ 1440p gaming performance.
Read the full review: Alienware Aurora R8
Best living room PC: Corsair One Pro i180
CPU: Intel Core i9-9920X | Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Ti | RAM: 4x8GB DDR4-2666 | Storage: 960GB SSD + 2TB HDD
Not all components are easily upgradable
If that cool, slimline design and that Corsair One name aren’t enough to convince you to upgrade to this latest offering, then the Corsair One Pro i180’s breathtaking performance should. This is among the most powerful desktop computers we’ve ever had the pleasure of testing, albeit the most expensive as well – so get a hammer and break that piggy bank. This will more than handle your favorite AAA games, as well as see you through your creative workload quietly and without breaking a sweat. And, it’s reasonably upgradeable as well, making it future-proof.
Read the full review: Corsair One Pro i180
Best Mac: Apple Mac mini (Late 2018)
CPU: Intel Core i3 – i7 | Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 630 | RAM: 8GB – 64GB | Storage: 128GB – 2TB SSD
Can’t upgrade storage
It’s easy to think of Apple computers as overpriced, but your bank account will be spared if you jump on the Mac mini bandwagon. The Mac mini 2018 is a small form-factor PC that looks adorable and also packed tight with high-end desktop parts. And, that’s all for a much more accessible price than any other Mac on the market, making it a great buy for anyone who already has a slew of Mac-ready peripherals or for a Mac fan who doesn’t have the budget for a Mac Pro. What’s more, unlike many of Apple’s recent products, the Mac mini is relatively upgradeable – you can boost your memory up to 64GB of RAM.
Read the full review: Apple Mac mini
Best stick PC: Intel Compute Stick
The tiny computer that can
CPU: Intel Atom – Intel Core m5 | Graphics: : Intel HD Graphics – Intel HD Graphics 515 | RAM: 1GB – 4GB | Storage: 8GB-64GB eMMC
Wide CPU choices
Extremely portable design
Limited fan cooling
Limited RAM and storage
Some people have issues with desktop PCs, as they’re often rather bulky. The Intel Core Compute Stick has made that irrelevant. Looking more like a thumb drive than an actual computer, this tiny renegade can connect to any monitor with an HDMI input. Its base starts with a lowly 1.33GHz Intel Atom processor running Linux, but can be configured up to an Intel Core m5 processor. This is one of the best PCs, but one that you can literally slip in your pocket, whether you need to get some work done during your daily commute or squeeze in some PC time while you’re traveling.
Specifications (as reviewed)
|Product||Dell XPS Tower Special Edition||Microsoft Surface Studio 2||Intel Hades Canyon NUC||Alienware Aurora R7||Corsair One i160||Apple Mac mini (Late 2018)||HP Pavilion Wave||Intel Compute Stick|
|CPU||Intel Core i7-8700||Intel Core i7-7820HQ||Intel Core i7-8809G||Intel Core i7-8700K||Intel Core i9-9900K||Intel Core i3-8100||Intel Core i5-7400T||Intel Atom x5-Z8500|
|Graphics||Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070||Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070||Radeon RX Vega M GH graphics||Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 Ti||Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti||Intel UHD Graphics 630||AMD Radeon R9 M470||N/A|
|RAM||16GB DDR4||32GB DDR4||16GB DDR4||32GB DDR4||32GB DDR4||8GB DDR4||16GB DDR3||2GB LPDDR3|
|Storage||256GB PCIe NVMe SSD, 1TB HDD (7,200 rpm)||1TB PCIe SSD||118GB Intel Optane SSD 800P Series (NVMe), 512GB Intel SSD 545s Series (M.2 SATA)||512GB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD, 2TB HDD||480GB M.2 NVMe SSD, 2TB HDD||128GB PCIe SSD||1TB HDD||32GB|
Bill Thomas and Gabe Carey have also contributed to this article
Image Credits: TechRadar