Home & Garden

CNET: Best desktop computers

The PCs in this list represent current best examples in computing design, and they’re more than just the sum of their parts. No matter your aim, you will find something excellent for you on this list.

Apple Mac Pro

CNET rating: 4.0 stars out of 5 (Excellent)

The good: The Mac Pro’s hardware is incredibly powerful, especially if you’re using it for pro-level graphics and video tasks. It can output up to three 4K displays simultaneously, thanks to six Thunderbolt 2 ports plus HDMI. The system is whisper-quiet, with a clever three-sided motherboard for efficient cooling and space savings.

The bad: Internal expandability is limited, and even the starting price is a hefty $3,000. While it’s a very high-design product, the components inside are intended for professional use, and not especially suitable for Apple-loving home consumers.

The cost: $2,799.00 to $2,999.00

The bottom line: Apple radically reimagines the professional desktop with the new Mac Pro, featuring a design that looks fantastic and offers genuine breakthrough advantages. But, consumer-level Apple enthusiasts should note that this product isn’t specifically targeted at them and DIY upgraders will lament the loss of traditional desktop tower flexibility.

Apple iMac

CNET rating: 4.0 stars out of 5 (Excellent)

The good: The new entry level 21.5-inch Apple iMac is now only $100 more than the (already discounted) 13-inch Macbook Air. The display, design, and build quality remain top-notch, and it includes high-end features such as Thunderbolt, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, and Apple’s excellent bundled accessories.

The bad: This lower-cost model has a small hard drive and laptop-like CPU and graphics performance compared to the more-expensive iMac configurations. It lacks even basic user upgradability.

The cost: $1,049.00

The bottom line: While it includes some performance and graphics concessions on the lowest priced model, the 21.5-inch iMac brings Apple’s iconic design and top-notch bundled accessories and software to a wider audience.

Dell XPS 27

CNET rating: 4.0 stars out of 5 (Excellent)

The good: The updated Dell XPS 27 is highlighted by excellent performance and features, plus a higher-than-1080p touch screen, Nvidia graphics, and Intel’s latest fourth-gen CPUs. An HDMI input lets it double as a display for a game console or cable box.

The bad: The main benefit of Intel’s new chips, amazing battery life, isn’t applicable here. The adjustable stand could offer more flexibility.

The cost: $1,699.99

The bottom line: As a big-screen upscale all-in-one with touch and decent gaming chops, the latest version of Dell’s XPS 27 is a great all-around home PC that covers a lot of bases.

Asus Chromebox

CNET rating: 3.5 stars out of 5 (Very good)

The good: The Asus Chromebox puts the Cloud-based world of Google’s Chrome OS into a compact, attractive black box. For its low starting price, you get a decent performance for everyday tasks and a good assortment of ports and connections.

The bad: You need to supply your own keyboard and mouse, which might not be as easy as it sounds. Only 16GB of storage might turn off some potential users, while power users will want to step up to the Core i3 version.

The cost: $154.99 to $185.10

The bottom line: If you’re looking to get started in the world of Chrome OS, the Asus Chromebox is a very good starting point – so long as you don’t mind bringing your own peripherals.

  Comments