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Best desktop computer 2022

Talon with larger Windows Central "WC" logo printed
(Image credit: Falcon Northwest)

Laptops are a great way to keep your PC with you at all times, but if you don't need something portable you can instead invest in one of our picks for the best desktop computer. While you can usually build your own PC for less money, pre-built models have been narrowing the price gap, and you can find a quality device that's relatively affordable considering the hardware inside. Ideal for most people, we recommend checking out Dell's XPS Tower 8950 Special Edition. It has plenty of customizable configuration options available, including dedicated graphics, and it's an attractive tower that's been recently redesigned.

Dell XPS 8940 Special Edition (Image credit: Dell)

Dell XPS Desktop 8950

Best overall

Reasons to buy

+
Configuration options for any need
+
Plenty of ports
+
Keyboard and mouse included
+
Easy tool-less entry for future upgrades
+
Up to RTX 3090 graphics

Reasons to avoid

-
Starting price more than other options
-
No AMD CPU options

Dell's XPS Desktop 8950 is easy to recommend thanks to a ton of configuration options, a modest introductory price for the hardware you're getting, and a Night Sky or Platinum Silver finish. On the front are USB-C 3.2 (Gen 2), three USB-A 3.2 (Gen 1), a 3.5mm audio port, and an SD card reader easy to reach for common accessories. Above is an optical drive for watching movies and burning discs.

The back has many more ports, including two USB-A 3.2 (Gen 1), two USB-A 2.0, USB-C 3.2 (Gen 2), Ethernet, and audio ports. Video ports will vary depending on the dedicated graphics card you opt for; up to an NVIDIA RTX 3090 — one of our picks for best graphics card — is available. You can also get AMD's Radeon RX 6900 XT as an alternative.

XPS Desktop 8950 models now include 12th Gen Intel Core processors (CPU) for better performance, with up to a Core i9-12900K for those with a heavy workload (or heavy gaming) in mind. Get up to 128GB of dual-channel DDR5 RAM, up to 4TB of storage spread across M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD and SATA HDD, and up to the aforementioned RTX 3090 GPU to complement the CPU. This is enough to act as a true gaming PC, though there are plenty of lesser configs also available.

If you're looking to use the PC for productivity work — word processing, spreadsheets, web browsing, and streaming — baseline hardware will be more than up to the job, plus the GPU will help with gaming and editing work. Included with all models are a keyboard and mouse.

HP Envy Desktop

(Image credit: HP)

HP Envy desktop

Affordable desktop tower

Reasons to buy

+
Modern tower design
+
Affordable starting price
+
Plenty of configuration options
+
Lots of ports
+
Up to Intel 12th Gen CPU and RTX graphics

Reasons to avoid

-
No Wi-Fi 6

If you're looking for a multipurpose desktop PC that doesn't come with as high of a starting price, HP's Envy is likely going to be a winner. The minimalist Envy desktop can be configured with up to a 12th Gen processor, including up to a Core i9-12900, 128GB of memory, and 1TB solid-state drive alongside graphics options that top out with NVIDIA's GeForce RTX 3080 Ti GPU. If you need more storage, you can also add a secondary drive. 

In its latest design, the Envy desktop comes with a sleek all-silver finish with minimal trim in a boxy, rectangular silhouette. In fact, the Envy desktop resembles HP's dedicated Omen desktops in terms of design, but the premium non-gaming version sheds the RGB lighting, clear side panel, and black color. 

As a tower, you'll find plenty of ports on this system to connect your favorite drives, peripherals, and accessories. All you need to do is bring your own display.  

(Image credit: HP)
Best for gaming

Reasons to buy

+
Sleek look with tempered glass
+
RGB lighting options
+
Tons of config options, Intel or AMD
+
Lots of front ports

Reasons to avoid

-
Cabling is just OK
-
Fans get noisy under load

HP's Omen desktop gaming towers were recently reworked for a more mature look, and you're now getting a stylish case with tempered glass paneling and easy access to the motherboard. Upgrades are fairly straightforward, allowing you to keep the PC relevant into the future.

Configure models with either AMD or Intel hardware, up to a Ryzen 7 or Core i9 for ultimate performance. You can also add up to an NVIDIA RTX 3090 graphics card, which is one of our picks for best graphics card right now. Add a bunch of RGB lighting, add up to 64GB of HyperX DDR4-3200 RAM, and enjoy Wi-Fi 6 connectivity.

The tower is not quite as fancy as our top picks, but it still has a DVD-RW optical drive on the front, as well as an SD card reader, USB-A, USB-C, and 3.5mm audio jacks. The back includes another five USB-A ports, two HDMI, and VGA for connecting the included keyboard and mouse. There is no dedicated GPU here, but hardware can be upgraded after purchase to keep it relevant longer. Wi-Fi 6 is included for fast wireless speeds.

(Image credit: Dell)

Dell Inspiron 27 All-in-One

Best all-in-one

Reasons to buy

+
12th Gen Intel performance
+
Great audio
+
27-inch touchscreen display
+
Plenty of ports
+
Wi-Fi 6E support

Reasons to avoid

-
Middling GPU option
-
Display resolution capped at 1080l

Dell's Inspiron 27 All-in-One lacks the high resolution 4K display of some of its contemporaries, like HP's Envy AIO, but this desktop packs in the latest Intel 12th Gen processor and delivers a terrific computing experience in a minimalist design that looks more like a flatscreen TV than a traditional computer. A pop-up webcam at the top for privacy, narrow borders on the InfinityEdge display, a long soundbar just below the screen, and pedestal feet that serve as a stand all help to complement the Inspiron's modern aesthetics. 

Dell provides plenty of customization options for the Inspiron 27 AIO, including options for processor choices, storage, and memory. The non-touchscreen version comes with an anti-glare coating and pricing starts just south of $1,000, making this an affordable solution for college students or any home user who needs a big screen but doesn't want a bulky desktop tower. 

The only downside with this desktop, and a decision that Dell made to help keep costs low, is that the Inspiron doesn't come with high-end GPU options. Instead, you'll have to rely on Intel's integrated UHD Graphics or upgrade to optional discrete NVIDIA GeForce MMX550 if you need more GPU performance. This would limit the Inspiron's appeal to gamers, unless you're playing more basic, casual games. 

Talon closeup with WC logo on right glass door

(Image credit: Falcon Northwest)
Best performance custom gaming PC

Reasons to buy

+
Superb gaming performance
+
Excellent craftsmanship and build quality
+
Non-aggressive design makes it a versatile workstation
+
Plenty of customization options

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive

Falcon Northwest's Talon is among the best custom gaming desktops you can buy today. Its sleek all-black design, tastefully done RGB lighting, and performance-packed builds make this a versatile PC that can take you from battle station to workstation. As a pioneer in the boutique PC gaming space, Falcon Northwest impressed us with the Talon's impeccable build quality. The company's attention to detail is second to none, and with Talon, you'll get a PC with custom airflow that's designed to unleash the power of your CPU and GPU. 

Though it stands more expensive than rivals, Talon's thick machined aluminum chassis and handsome design means that the tower will last you for years, and the mid-size tower design ensures that there's plenty of space inside for future upgrades. Our top-of-the-line gaming configuration delivered drool-worthy performance, but creatives could opt for serious horsepower under the glass doors by upgrading to NVIDIA's workstation-class A-series graphics. Fully equipped, the Talon is an unstoppable gaming beast, provided that money is no object for your budget. Just be aware that upgrading components of the build quickly adds to the cost of this desktop. 

And to make this a truly custom desktop, Falcon Northwest provides plenty of UV printing options. You can emblazon a photo, logo, or a scene from your favorite video game on the glass or metal panels of this desktop. Our custom Windows Central workstation looks elegant and simply gorgeous with Falcon Northwest's screenprinting job.  

Bottom line

There are plenty of pre-built desktop PCs on the market that remove the effort to buy separate components and put them together yourself, but only the best desktop PC will do. Dell's XPS Desktop 8950 should appeal to most people for a number of reasons.

There are many configuration options available depending on your needs and budget, and the included dedicated GPU offers extra performance for gaming and editing work. You'll be able to tackle productivity tasks with ease, and the silver tower will fit in anywhere. Lots of ports are included for connecting accessories, and a keyboard and mouse are included. All you have to do is add one of our picks for best 27-inch PC monitors for a stellar setup.