What’s the best desktop PC in 2020?
With many offices across the globe remaining shut for the foreseeable future, it’s advisable that you check out the best desktop PC options to improve your home office.
We’ve included PCs that excel at day-to-day tasks, as well as powerhouse machines that are a dream come true for artists and photographers. There’s even a gaming system if that’s where your priorities lie.
Before you take the plunge though, it’s worth knowing that AMD’s Ryzen 5000 desktop processors are launching next month, while several graphics cards (including Nvidia Ampere and AMD Big Navi) will taking the performance ceiling higher than ever before this month. If you want the most powerful system possible, you’re best off waiting until the end of the year.
But if you can’t wait that long, then check out our top picks below or scroll down for our in-depth look and a link to the full review.
- Best all-in-one PC: Apple iMac 2020
- Best value PC: Dell OptiPlex 7070 Ultra
- Best PC for creatives: Surface Studio 2
- Best PC for gaming: MSI Trident A
Related: Intel vs AMD
1. Apple iMac 2020
The best all-in-one desktop PC you can buy right now
- Excellent 5K display
- Versatile performance and customisable options
- Much improved 1080p webcam
- Plenty of ports
- A refreshed design would have been nice, especially with a slimmer bezel
- Keyboard and mouse aren’t the best
- 8GB base RAM feels a little tight
The Apple iMac 2020 may not feature the much speculated redesign that fans are clamouring for, but thanks to updated specs and improvements to the built-in webcam, Apple retains its crowns as the king of the all-in-one desktop PCs.
The new 27-inch iMac models have been fitted with Intel’s 10th Generation desktop processor, which provides a sizable performance boost. Unfortunately, the 21.5-inch model has been left in the dust when it comes to processor upgrades, although rumours suggest it will get a makeover in 2021.
For now though, the 27-inch iMac 2020 is the best all-in-one desktop PC you can buy, with a gorgeous 5K display and performance competent enough to excel at both productivity tasks and content creation.
Read our full Apple iMac 2020 review
2. Dell OptiPlex 7070 Ultra
An excellent modular PC that offers superb long-term value
- Fantastic upgrade options with modular design
- Small footprint on desk
- Affordable price
- Decent display
- Low performance
- No GPU grunt
- Can be fiddly closing stand
The Dell Optiplex 7070 Ultra may look like your typical Windows 2-in-1 laptop on the surface, but it actually has a unique trick in the form of its modular stand. A small computer module can be taken out of the device, allowing you to swap it for a more powerful version whenever you fancy an upgrade. The monitor can also be replaced with any screen that supports a VESA mount, giving you oodles of flexibility.
Since you can upgrade both the components and monitor, the Optiplex offers better long-term value than most 2-in-1 PCs. But there is one major caveat here, as it’s not the most powerful system, especially in the graphics department. This means the Optiplex 7070 Ultra is only really worth considering for those who will stick to basic tasks such as web browsing, spreadsheets and video streaming. But for those who just want a desktop PC to work from home, this is a fantastic option.
Read our full Dell OptiPlex 7070 Ultra review
3. Surface Studio 2
The ultimate Windows 10 all-in-one PC for creatives
- Great display
- Excellent screen
- Great to draw on
- Uses a fairly old CPU
The Surface Studio 2 is a unique desktop computer indeed, boasting the specs to power through most creative tasks but, importantly, also the versatile touchscreen that artists can scribble and sketch on.
The 28-inch screen can be flipped and moved into all sorts of positions making it easier to draw on with the Surface Pen. What’s more, the 4500 x 3000 pixel resolution ensures a gorgeous display that just as good – if not better – than the panel you get with the iMac.
There is one area that the Surface Studio 2 just can’t compete with Apple though, and that’s the processor. You’re limited to an 7th Generation Intel Core CPU here, with very little configuration options to chop and change. This means the Studio 2 lags quite a bit behind leading competitors for raw performance speeds, leaving that incredible touchscreen as the main incentive to invest.
The Surface Studio is undoubtedly a fantastic device, it just has a somewhat specialised appeal. Although keep in mind that a Surface Studio 3 is expected to arrive in 2021.
Read our full Surface Studio 2 review
4. MSI Trident A
A great console-sized gaming PC
- Solid 1080p and 1440p gaming
- Compact design
- Well-balanced components
- Very quiet
- RTX 2060 Super is faster
- A little pricey compared to conventional PCs
- Some suspect build quality
The majority of gaming PCs are pretty huge, which makes it difficult to accommodate besides your desk. The MSI Trident A is an exception, rocking a console-sized case and a performance powerful enough to play AAA titles in 1080p and 1440p.
There is a drawback to having such a tiny gaming PC however, as it leaves little room for upgrades in case you want to buy a 4K-capable graphics card in the future. But at such an affordable price, the MSI Trident A is still a fantastic option for those happy to stick to Full HD / Quad HD gaming for the foreseeable future.
Read our full MSI Trident A review