A man sat at his desktop PC in a home office.

Get switched on about PCs with our computer buying guide

Published 22nd December 2022
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From basic computing needs to gaming and media editing, there is an extensive range of desktop PCs available. With each promising to be the best you can buy, it can be difficult to choose the right computer for you.

But don't worry - this buying guide will help you make the right decision. We'll look at the different types of PCs available, the features you should consider, and how to choose the best desktop PC for your needs.

Desktop PCs vs laptops

The first thing to think about is whether a PC is right for you, or whether you'd be better off buying a laptop. This will usually come down to power vs portability: PCs tend to offer more powerful specs, whereas a laptop offers you computing on the go. If you're not sure which is right for you, check out our PCs vs laptops blog!

Types of PCs

Desktop PCs are an ideal choice for customers looking for a powerful and reliable home computer. Whether it's for everyday use and browsing the internet, working from home, editing media, or gaming, there's a desktop PC that has been built for your needs.

PCs for everyday use

If you're looking for a desktop PC for everyday use, you'll want to consider a mid-range model from a reputable brand. HP computers, Dell PCs and Acer desktops all offer a reliable machine that's suitable for everyday tasks such as web browsing and word processing. Look for one that has a decent processor, such as an Intel Core i3 or i5, and at least 8GB of RAM for a smooth and responsive experience.

Work computers

If you're working from home, you'll want a desktop PC with more power and features than the average everyday user. Look for a desktop with an Intel Core i7 processor and at least 16GB of RAM. You'll also want to make sure it has enough storage space to store all your work files, so look for one with a solid-state drive (SSD) of at least 512GB.

Computers for media editing

If you're looking for a desktop computer for media editing, you'll want one with powerful specs and plenty of features. Apple Macs dominate when it comes to computers for creative work thanks to their processing power and impressive displays.

However, there are still plenty of quality PCs if you prefer the Windows operating system. The most important thing is to look for is a desktop with a powerful processor, such as an Intel Core i9, and at least 32GB of RAM. You'll also need plenty of storage space, so look for one with an SSD of at least 1TB.

Gaming PCs

If you're looking for a desktop PC for gaming, you'll want one with the latest and greatest hardware and features. Look for a desktop with a powerful processor, such as an Intel Core i9, and at least 32GB of RAM.

You'll also need plenty of storage space, so look for one with an SSD of at least 1TB. And for the best gaming experience, look for one with a dedicated graphics card, such as an Nvidia GeForce GTX or AMD Radeon RX.

Computer FAQs

What type of processor should I look for in a desktop PC?

The right type of PC processor depends mainly on what you're using it for: for everyday computing, will find an Intel Core i3, Core i5, or Core i7 processor to be sufficient. For more demanding tasks such as gaming, video editing, or intensive software development activities, you may want to consider a desktop with an Intel Xeon processor or an AMD Ryzen processor.

What type of hard drive should I look for in a desktop PC?

For everyday computing, an HHD (hybrid hard drive) will be sufficient. They're more affordable as they don't have the speed and performance of an SSD. For more intensive activities such as gaming or video editing, you may want to opt for a solid-state drive (SSD).

What is RAM? 

RAM (random access memory) is a type of computer memory used to store data that is actively being used by a computer. It is important when buying a PC because it determines how many tasks the computer can handle at once and how quickly it can access data. The more RAM a computer has, the better it can multitask and the faster it can access data.

What should I look for in a computer monitor?

When buying a computer monitor, it is important to consider size, screen quality, and refresh rate. Screen quality is determined by the resolution, which should be at least 1080p  (1920x1080) for good image quality.

Another factor to consider is the refresh rate, which is measured in hertz (Hz) and determines how quickly the monitor can update the image for smoothing scrolling and graphics. Aim for a refresh rate of at least 60Hz, or to learn more about what you should look for, read our guide to computer monitors.

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