No Command Center (read: your sweet home office) is complete without a desktop computer that has the power you need to crush your to-do list. Of course, laptops are great for travel and for working wherever you please, but there's nothing like a reliable desktop.
Desktop computers have come a long, long way since 1964 when the Programma 101 made its debut. Gone are the days of clunky machinery, lagging startup times, and monitors the size of kitchen cabinets.
These days, desktops now come wrapped up in sleek designs and are equipped with powerful processors and all the RAM you could ever need—not a kitchen cabinet-size monitor in sight.
We've rounded up the top five desktop computers for 2019, but before we jump in, let's talk about the best way to approach shopping for one.
What is the best desktop computer to buy?
Well, the answer to that question is going to largely depend on your business and what you need the desktop for.
Designers or producers that need to work with robust programs and files may need a faster processor and a screen with more pixels. Writers and editors may want a desktop with more RAM or the ability to have multiple programs open at once.
Like shopping for a laptop, you'll need to determine what your must-haves are for a desktop so you can feel confident that you're buying exactly what you need.
These questions may help you weed out what you're looking for:
- How much are you willing to spend?
- What will you be using the desktop for (e.g., what programs, apps, etc.)?
- Is there an operating system you prefer?
- How much space do you have in your home office?
Those are the overarching, big-picture questions to consider. Once you have those ironed out, it'll make your search a bit easier. Process of elimination, friends.
What do I need to know about buying a desktop?
After you determine how you'll be using the computer, you can narrow your search down further by looking at the technical aspects of each model.
If you're not familiar with the different components of a computer, seeing words like “processor” and “RAM” might have you scratching your head. Let's take a look at some of the primary technical features of a computer.
The processor is a tiny chip that is essentially the brains of the computer. These powerful devices are responsible for receiving input and generates the corresponding output. In short, the processor processes every function of your computer, whether you're streaming music or typing up an email.
Random Access Memory (RAM)
A computer's RAM is important for several reasons—and not just because it shares a similar name with the 2013 Daft Punk album. The RAM is a type of computer memory that temporarily stores information your computer thinks it needs at that moment or in the near future.
This way, when you go to open up your browser or a program you use regularly, it's done as quickly as possible. This is not to be confused with your computer's hard drive, which is where information is stored in the long-term.
Your computer's hard drive is where all information is stored and kept secure. This includes like items you save manually like photos, files, and documents, but it also stores your operating system's code, frameworks for the browser you use, and the like.
Hard drives only have a certain amount of space, some of which is automatically used by your computer to keep itself running correctly. These days, you can purchase additional hard drive storage, whether it be in the form of an external hard drive or cloud-based storage.
Computer graphics are simply the images displayed on your computer's screen.
There are two types of graphics in a computer: vector and raster. Vector images are made up of “paths” or lines, shapes, and letters that are usually used to create logos, signs, and other visuals. Vector images can be scaled to a larger size without losing quality. Raster images, on the other hand, are used for things like digital photos, icons, and other images, and are made of pixels.
The type of graphics card your computer has may be more important to you if you do a lot of design or video work.
Now, without further ado, here are the top desktop computers of 2019.
The Top Desktop Computers of 2019
Great for: The business owner looking for a sleek desktop computer that goes above and beyond.
Whether you've been an Apple fan for years or are thinking about making the switch, the iMac will not disappoint. The iMac is great for all types of business owners, thanks to its powerful processor and brilliant display.
Not to mention, it's rather compact for a desktop (no bulky tower to worry about), making it the perfect computer no matter how much space you're working with. There's an iMac for every budget and need, too.
Price: Starting at $999
- 21. 5-inch (diagonal) 1920-by-1080 resolution display
- Stunning 5-mm-thin design
- Dual-core 7th-generation Intel Core i5 processor
- Intel Iris Plus Graphics 640
- Two Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) ports
- 802. 11ac Wi-Fi
- Magic Mouse 2
- Magic Keyboard
- macOS Mojave
Great for: The entrepreneur that needs more versatility in their desktop.
The Surface Studio 2 by Microsoft not only has an impressive processor and excellent storage, but it also doubles as a “tablet” of sorts. Adjust the touchscreen to use as a tablet, which is great for mockups, making notes, and sketching.
- Intel Core i7 processors, discrete NVIDIA GeForce GPU, and SSD storage
- 28″ PixelSense Display touchscreen is equipped with 13.5 million pixels of true-to-life color
- Tilt the display weightlessly to work at 20 degrees down in Studio Mode or upright in Desktop Mode
- Runs intensive professional-grade software like SolidWorks,* Adobe Creative Cloud,* and Autodesk.*
Great for: The business owner who is a Windows fan through and through.
The Dell Inspiron 22-3277 is a great desktop at an even better price. This particular Dell model comes with a touchscreen monitor and thanks to its compact design, won't take up a ton of space on your desk. Dominate your workday with this budget-friendly, yet reliable desktop computer.
- Processor: Up to Intel® Core™ i5-7200U [7th Generation Intel® Core™ i5-7200U Processor
- Operating system: Windows 10 Home 64bit English
- Graphics card: Intel® HD graphics 620 with shared graphics memory
- Hard drive: 1TB 5400RPM SATA
- Memory: 8GB, DDR4, 2400MHz; up to 16GB
Great for: The entrepreneur who wants to save a little green and space.
The Apple iMac Mini is essentially the iMac without the screen but has various memory and storage options. This is an excellent alternative if you want the iMac setup but don't have space or budget for the full model. Choose the monitor that fits your space, plug in the iMac Mini, and you're good to go.
Price: Starting at $749
- Quad-core i3 or 6-Core i5 8th-Generation Intel Core Processor
- Intel UHD Graphics 630
- 8GB 2666MHz DDR4
- Ultrafast SSD storage
- Four Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) ports, one HDMI 2. 0 port, and two USB 3 ports
- Gigabit Ethernet, and 802. 11AC Wi-Fi
- macOS Mojave
Great for: The entrepreneur who wants to save a little green and space, but runs on Windows.
Like the Apple iMac Mini, the HP Pavillion Wave is a great space-saving desktop option without breaking the bank. This mighty compact desktop offers the same experience you'd expect from a full-size HP desktop, plus a great speaker system and plenty of ports.
Price: Starting at $880
- A compact desktop with full desktop power and fully integrated audio.
- Processor: 6th Generation Intel(R) Core(TM) i5-6400T Processor, Quad-Core, 2.20GHz; Get powerful multitasking performance and 4K video capabilities.
- Memory: 8 GB DDR4-2133 SDRAM; Designed to run more efficiently and more reliably at faster speeds.
- Hard drive and solid-state drive: 1 TB 7200RPM SATA and 256 GB PCIe NVMe M.2
- Operating system: Windows 10
- Ports: Headphone/Microphone Combo, 1 USB 3.0 (front), 2 USB 3.0 (rear), 1 USB 3.1 Type-C(TM) (rear), HDMI Out (rear), DisplayPort (rear), 10/100/1000 Base-T Network, and an HP 3-in-1 Media Card Reader help you stay connected.
- Keyboard and mouse: Comes with the HP Premium Lifestyle Wireless Keyboard with volume control and optical mouse.
Like investing in anything for your business, do ample research to decide what model works best for you. Check out product reviews, in-store demos, or ask your solopreneur friends what desktops they recommend.
Your desktop should help you run your business smoother and be equipped with the tools you need to produce your best work.
Tune into the latest episode of the Unemployable podcast for more advice on how to grow your business.