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The best desktop PC you can buy

From hot rods to budget sleepers, our favorite desktops can handle anything

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Bill Roberson/Digital Trends

The desktop computer landscape has changed in recent years. Laptops, tablets and smartphones have gained ground on their stationary cousins.

As those devices become more capable the desktop, our old standby, is too easily forgotten. But while manufacturers might lament the decline in desktop sales, it’s all good news for consumers. You’ve always been able to get more bang for your buck out of a desktop computer than you could out of, say, a laptop. Now, more than ever desktop manufacturers are in fierce competition to provide you with the best value without sacrificing performance.

Below we’ve compiled some of the best desktop computers currently on the market. Whether you need something for your dorm room, your home office, or your gaming cave, we’ve got you covered.

Our pick

Falcon Northwest Mach V

Why you should buy this: You want the best of the best — a grim obelisk, thrumming with dark power.

Who it’s for: Gamers, professionals, overclocking enthusiasts

How much will it cost: Between $2,500 and $8,800

Why we picked the Falcon Mach V

Like the Monolith from 2001: A Space Odyssey, the Falcon Mach V is a solid black pillar of immense power. It’s understated, elegant, and expensive.

If you want a desktop that will outperform and outlast any other desktop on the market, and price isn’t too much of an issue, then you can’t do better than the Falcon Mach V. It’s fully configurable, from the processor to the paint job, and while it’s a little pricey you’re going to come away with something tailored to your specific needs.

Compared to some other systems, the Mach V may seem a bit mundane. But that is to its benefit. It doesn’t call too much attention to itself, so it can work as a high-end workstation, a supercharged gaming PC, or anything in between. You may want to seek another rig if flash is important to you, but we think most users will prefer this monolith’s look. Also, it tends to run quieter than competitors, so it won’t distract you with whirring fans.

The conventional design also makes the Mach V easy to upgrade. It has a large, spacious, logically arranged interior, with plenty of room for new hard drives or a large graphics card. If it breaks within the first three years, though, you’re covered — Falcon’s standard warranty is among the best in the business.

The best budget desktop

Dell XPS 8900 Desktop

Why you should buy this: You want good performance on a budget.

Who it’s for: Students, families.

How much will it cost: $800 – $1,200 depending on specs.

Why we picked the Dell XPS 8900

The XPS 8900 is a quiet desktop PC that just gets the job done. Properly specced it can do pretty much anything you need it to without breaking your budget. It can serve as a solid, reliable workstation, and even do a pretty good job running the latest games – you might have to tweak your graphics settings a little, though, depending on the game.

It’s not the most expensive system on this list, but it’s got a couple features that give the XPS a leg up over some of its more expensive competitors. Namely, it’s very quiet. Seriously, it’s whisper quiet even under a heavy load, which makes it a great choice for dorm rooms or living rooms, or anywhere that excessive fan noise wouldn’t be particularly appreciated.

Also, the XPS 8900 is surprisingly compact. You can put this thing anywhere, it’d fit comfortably under a desk, on top of it, or even in a small cupboard.

The XPS 8900 is a workhorse, plain and simple. If you need a new desktop PC, a new all-around workstation that will dutifully serve without all the bells and whistles, then the XPS 8900 is there for you. You can buy a less expensive desktop and get away with it. But if you want one that’s going to last for five years or more, and still feel reasonably quick, this is your best option.

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