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Best Desktop PC 2017: 7 best all-in-one PCs and desktop PCs for all budgets

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Our guide to the best desktop PCs and best all-in-one PCs right now, including the best desktop PC under £800 and our tips for choosing the best PC for you.

How much should I spend on a desktop PC?

If all you need a basic PC, £350 is enough to buy a Intel Core i3 PC with 4GB of RAM and a 500GB mechanical hard drive. This will be more than sufficient for basic office and web tasks, but don't expect to play games at high resolutions with loads of detail.

You'll need to spend around £500 to £800 to get a more powerful desktop, with a Core i5 processor, 8GB or 16GB of RAM and an SSD – a faster type of drive that improves performance – plus traditional mechanical hard disk for storing your photos and videos. You can expect a GTX 1050 graphics card, which will be good enough to play most games, even at Full HD resolution gaming.

If you want a proper gaming PC, you need to spend £1000 upwards. This kind of money will get you a Core i7 processor, and an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 or GeForce GTX 1080 graphics card. These PCs will cope with all tasks, and will easily play games at 1440p resolution, with more expensive models even managing 4K resolutions – check online benchmarks to make sure your chosen model can handle the games you want.

For all desktop PCs, you can expect to pay an extra £100 plus for a Full HD monitor, and more for higher-resolution models.

Head to our entry on boutique PC builders below to find out where to buy a custom PC.

Related: Best Monitors

For an all-in-one, you're looking at a starting price of around £600 for a 24-inch model with a Full HD screen. Powered by efficient dual-core or quad-core Core i5 or Core i7 processors, these machines are suitable for light photo and video work.

If you want premium design, a larger screen and more resolution (up to 4K), expect to pay at least £1000, but up to £2000.

If you want to play games, look for 'discrete' or 'dedicated' graphics from AMD or Nvidia, and check out our benchmarking figures to see how well your favourite games will play.

Desktop PC vs All-in-One: Which should you buy?

Generally speaking, traditional desktop PCs are cheaper, more powerful, have room for upgrades and are a little more flexible, letting you connect to any monitor, for example. The downside is that they're often a little uglier and take up more room.

All-in-ones are neater, with everything contained inside a single box that also houses the monitor. Upgrading (aside from RAM, in some cases) is usually out of the question. You tend to pay more for an all-in-one and, as low-power components are used, performance is more in line with that of a laptop. However, all-in-one computers are neater than desktops.

Related: Best Web Browser

Meet our experts

David Ludlow: With 18 years of tech writing under his belt, David has reviewed pretty much every single kind of electrical. Among them, David has seen hundreds (if not thousands) of PCs, having spent a good deal of his early years at Computer Shopper magazine, and somehow still isn’t bored of them. That makes him the perfect expert for TrustedReviews.

Michael Passingham: Starting his career testing 10 hulking desktop PCs at a time for Computer Shopper magazine, Michael knows his way around pre-built gaming rigs – perhaps a little too well. Michael is also TrustedReviews' Computing Editor.

Asus Zen ZN240IC 6
Key features:
  • 2.3-2.8GHz Intel Core i5-6200U
  • 8GB DDR4 RAM
  • 1TB hard disk/128GB SSD
  • 24-inch 1920 x 1080-pixel, glossy IPS touchscreen display
  • 2x rear USB 3.1 ports, 4x rear USB 3.0 ports, HDMI output, headphone and mic jacks
  • Review Price: £770

The best small all-in-one

Why buy? Making an all-in-one that's powerful and looks good, all for a reasonable price, is exceptionally hard, but the Asus Zen AiO pulls it off. The case may be plastic, but it looks great, and we can forgive Asus for not using metal at this price.

Asus has fitted a low-power Core i5 processor, which is usually found in ultra-thin laptops. It's a touch slow, compared to desktop chips, although the Zen AiO will still cope with photo editing and some lighter video editing. Unsurprisingly, there's no dedicated graphics chip so that this PC can play a little bit of Minecraft, but that's about it.

It's good to see an SSD and hard disk fitted, as the combination gives you great performance and fast boot times, but plenty of disk space for your files.

The 24-inch display has a Full HD display, which is still plenty of resolution and a fair compromise for the price. Fortunately, it's a quality display with excellent colour reproduction.

Overall, it's a winning combination: a great PC at a great price.

And why not? The low-power processor gives it laptop performance, and the mouse is best described as basic.

David says: "Asus ticks all of the boxes, bar gaming, with this all-in-one PC. If you want an attractive all-rounder, but don't want to pay a fortune, this is a great choice. You can get a faster processor for less with the Lenovo IdeaCentre 510s, although that PC's sluggish hard disk is a letdown."
HP Pavilion Wave 8
Key features:
  • Quad-core, 2.2-2.8GHz Intel Core i5-6400T
  • 8GB DDR4 RAM
  • 128GB SSD + 1TB HDD
  • 2x rear USB 3.0 ports, 1x rear USB 3.1 Type-C port, HDMI and DisplayPort outputs, headphone jack, 1x front USB 3.0 port
  • Integrated 360-degree speaker
  • Review Price: £730.00

The best mini PC

Why buy? Few PC manufacturers design desktops to look different, which is why it's so refreshing to see the HP Pavilion Wave. With its spherical body and B&O branding on the front, it looks a little like a high-end wireless speaker. Actually, it is.

A single driver at the top fires upwards into a parabolic reflector that shoots audio out at 360 degrees. The result is powerful audio with very little need to plug in external speakers.

There's always a danger of form overtaking function, but that's not the case here. A low-power quad-core Core i5 processor is only a little slower than a full-fat desktop version. With a fast 128GB SSD and 1TB hard disk, there's a great combination of performance and disk space. And the PC remains quiet in use.

If you want a stylish PC that you connect your own peripherals and display to, there's very little choice; it's lucky, then, that the Pavilion Wave is so good.

And why not
? A better spec in a bigger case would cost a lot less, and the bundled mouse is very basic.

David says: "Why can't more PC manufacturers try a bit harder with design? This computer shows that it's possible to have a quick desktop that looks fantastic and easily beats Apple's seemingly abandoned Mac Mini."
Zotac Zbox Magnus 15
Key features:
  • 2.2GHz Intel Core i5-6400T processor
  • Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 6GB graphics
  • 2 x 2,133MHz DDR4 SO-DIMM sockets
  • 1 x NVMe M.2 connector
  • 1 x 2.5in SATA connector
  • Dual-band 802.11ac WiFi
  • 2 x USB 3, 2 x USB 3.1, SD card slot
  • 1yr RTB warranty
  • Review Price: £890.00

Build-your-own mini gaming PC

Why buy? The general thought about gaming PCs are that they're powerful but cumbersome. The Zotac Zbox Magnus proves that this doesn't have to be the case.

Rather than a full desktop machine, this is a barebones PC. That means that you get the case, power supply, motherboard, low-power Core i5-6400T and GeForce GTX 1060 graphics card. To complete the PC, you'll need to buy laptop-sized DDR4 SO-DIMMs, storage (there's an M.2 slot and 2.5-inch bay for SSDs) and a copy of Windows.

When built, the Zotac Zbox Magnus is a capable gaming PC. Although the GeForce GTX 1060 is a cut-down model, this computer can handle everything bar 4K gaming. It may be expensive, but if you want a tiny gaming rig to sit under your TV, it's a great choice.

And why not? Aside from the base price, there's the cost and hassle of having to complete the build, which won't suit everyone.

Michael says: "This is an innovative PC from Zotac, and while it doesn't represent the ultimate in value for money, it's great fun and ridiculously small."
Key features:
  • 2.7-3.3GHz Intel Core i5-6400
  • 8GB DDR4 RAM
  • 256GB M.2 SSD + 1TB hard disk
  • 8GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070
  • 4x front USB 3.0 ports, 4x rear USB 3.0 ports, 6x rear USB 2.0 ports, 1x USB 3.1 port
  • AlienFX lighting
  • Review Price: £1,278.00 (NOW £1,189)

The best big-brand gaming PC

Why buy? The Alienware Aurora is the company's mid-range gaming PC, but don't expect mid-range performance, as the PC comes high-end components.

Since we reviewed the PC, the spec has changed slightly with the model we reviewed now shipping with a Core i5-6400 CPU, rather than the stated Core i7. Core i7 models are available, but as they also have a GTX 1080 graphics card, prices start from £1,649. That's a lot of money, even for a PC that can play games at 4K resolutions. Every version is customisable through Dell's website, too.

As a result, the spec listed above, is the best value. It's still a fast computer, too. The GeForce GTX 1070 graphics card is very fast and the word when it comes to 1440p gaming; it will even handle some titles in 4K.

An M.2 SSD and mechanical hard disk are a potent combination, giving fast boot speeds, but still plenty of disk space for games and file storage.

With the model reviewed, the Aurora is a great value PC that's fast in games and on the desktop, and it looks great, too.

And why not? Upgrades are very expensive, and the case really should be smaller. You can get faster gaming PCs if you buy through a boutique PC company.

Michael says: "Big-brand gaming PCs don't usually offer decent value, but the Aurora is a pleasant exception. The spec has changed since I first reviewed it, but I still think it's one of the best deals you'll get if you prefer to shop from well-known companies."
Overclockers Infin8 Toxicity

5 / 7

Boutique gaming PC builders

Examples:

Best value for gaming


Why buy? The PC industry in the UK started with independent boutique manufacturers, and they're still a big part. Typically, these manufacturers only sell a specific PC model for a short period, replacing and updating as new components become available. As a result, it's hard to include specific models in this round-up.

That doesn't mean that you shouldn't buy a computer from one of these manufacturers. In fact, in many cases, you may well be better off doing so.

Boutique manufacturers typically build a PC carefully, choosing components from well-known brands to give the best performance at each price point. This can range from a high-performance budget PC to an amazing, super-powered gaming PC capable of 4K gaming at high frame rates. In addition, these PC manufacturers tune components, particularly at the high end, so you can buy a PC that's pre-overclocked; you won't get the same kind of performance from a big-name PC manufacturer.

Of course, it's hard to pick a PC if you don't know what specs to look for. Take a look at our Best Gaming PC build guide, which has a selection of PC specs at various budgets. This will give you a ballpark figure of what you should spend on a PC for the games you want to play.

Next, boutique PC manufacturers can build and customise a PC to your specification. Want a specific SSD, graphics card or monitor? Just give them a call, and you can usually get what you want, without having to pay through the nose.

And why not?
The downside is that you may have to wait longer to get a specific PC, especially during busy periods such as Christmas time. You're dealing with a smaller company, so you can't always get a quick swap out on a broken PC. This partially why you pay a premium for big-brand PC makers; they can ship a PC to you for the next day because they have pre-built systems ready and waiting to go.

Michael says: "I get asked what PC to buy probably as much as I get asked about laptops. I always recommend boutique builders; big brands can't compete on price and service in my experience."
Lenovo IdeaCentre AIO 910
Key features:
  • Quad-core, 2.2-2.8GHz Intel Core i5-6400T
  • 16GB DDR4 RAM
  • 128GB SSD + 1TB HDD
  • 1x rear USB 3.0 port, Gigabit Ethernet, HDMI input, 3 x side USB 3.0 ports, microSD card reader
  • 2GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 950A
  • 27-inch, 3840 x 2160-pixel touchscreen
  • Lie-flat stand
  • Review Price: £1400.00

The best premium all-in-one

Why buy? It's hard to find an all-in-one that can do everything, but the 27-inch Lenovo Ideacentre AIO 910 certainly can. A low-power quad-core Core i5 CPU is a step up from the dual-core models that a lot of all-in-one computers use. It means that most photo editing and a bit of light video editing are well within reach.

An Nvidia GeForce 950A discrete graphics chip, fitted with 2GB of GDDR5 memory, turns this all-in-one into a relatively capable Full HD games machine, too.

Lenovo has used a 4K (3840 x 2160) touchscreen display. The PC's trick is that the flexible stand can lay the screen practically flat, making the touchscreen easier to use. A quick SSD and mechanical hard disk round the system off, giving you a great combination of storage space and performance.

A more expensive model with a Core i7 CPU, and cheaper Full HD models are available, but this spec is the best value in our opinion.

And why not? This all-in-one is quite expensive, and the case might look good, but it's made of plastic rather than metal. The odd-shaped mouse is also a little bit disappointing.

David says: "It's hard to find an all-in-one that I could use every day, but this is one has the power and screen quality. With its smart stand, the touchscreen becomes genuinely useful, too. Anyone looking for something a bit cheaper, should look at the 24-inch Lenovo Ideacentre All-in-One 510S"
Asus Zen AIO Pro Z240ICGT 1
Key features:
  • Quad-core 2.8-3.6GHz Intel Core i7-6700T
  • 16GB DDR4 RAM
  • 512GB SSD
  • 1 x rear USB 2.0 port, 4 x rear USB 3.0 ports, 1 x rear USB 3.1 Type-C port, Gigabit Ethernet, SD card reader
  • 4GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 960M
  • 24-inch, 3,840 x 2,160-pixel touchscreen
  • Review Price: £1804.00

Also consider: Another premium all-in-one

Why buy? If you want an all-in-one that can compete with the iMac in both performance and looks, the Asus Zen AiO Pro is a great choice. Made from metal, this all-in-one looks fantastic.

It may have only a 24-inch screen, but it has a 4K (3840 x 2160-pixel) display, so everything looks super-sharp on the high-quality touchscreen.

You don't have to worry about performance, either. A low-power quad-core Core i7 CPU can handle any task, and the integrated Nvidia GeForce GTX 960M graphics chip handles gaming at Full HD resolutions well. With a 512GB SSD, you get a decent amount of fast storage, too.

And why not?
It's quite expensive for what you get. While the main PC has a premium build, the cheap wireless keyboard and mouse detract.

David says: "PC manufacturers often build to a price, using cheaper materials than Apple, but this all-in-one is different. Fortunately, it's not just good looking, and has the power where it counts, too."

Summary

Still not sure what PC is right for you, or maybe considering a laptop instead? Read our best laptop guide for our top picks, or leave a comment with a question below.

For those wanting to buy a gaming PC, we recommend taking a look at our guide to the best graphics cards, our in-depth guide to the best Intel processors and our What is Intel Kaby Lake? explainer. And if you fancy saving some money, read our best gaming PC guide for an introduction to building your own gaming PC.

If you need a new monitor as well, head to our best monitors round-up. And if you have Wi-Fi problems, try our best routers and best Wi-Fi extender guides.

Finally, if you have an ageing laptop in need of some TLC, we recommend reading
How to swap your laptop’s hard disk for an SSD. It's the best way to improve a laptop's performance.

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