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7 Compelling Reasons to Choose a Desktop Computer in 2023 (and the Best Models to Buy)

Desktop computers may not be as portable as laptops, but they still pack a punch when it comes to power, performance, customization, and overall value. As a computer specialist passionate about the latest technology, I firmly believe that desktops deserve serious consideration for your next computer purchase.

In this 2500+ word guide, I‘ll cover:

  • The evolution of desktop computers over the past decades
  • 7 key reasons why desktops are still worth buying in 2023
  • Reviews of the top desktops across different categories and budgets
  • Frequently asked questions about choosing a desktop

My goal is to convince you why that big boxy tower under your desk isn‘t ready to be put out to pasture just yet. Let‘s dive in!

The Ever-Evolving Desktop Computer

Desktop computers have come a long way since the bulky machines of the late 1970s. While portables and laptops have become immensely popular, the steady evolution of the desktop has kept it firmly entrenched as a viable choice for home and business use.

In their early days, desktops were mainly text-based, single-task workhorses for productivity. The 1980s and early 90s saw the introduction of GUI operating systems, color displays, multimedia capabilities, and significant improvements to processing power, memory, and storage. Internet connectivity in the mid-90s further increased the desktop‘s capabilities exponentially.

The late 90s brought flat panel displays, DVD drives, USB ports, and sleeker compact designs. In the 2000s, desktops became the powerhouse machines needed for gaming, video editing, data analysis, engineering applications and more. All-in-one designs also became popular, integrating the computing components into the monitor itself.

Recent years have seen desktops utilize powerful multicore processors, DDR4 RAM, speedy SSDs, high-end graphics cards, and 4K displays to turn them into true computing beasts ideal for both work and play.

In other words, while laptops have captured much of the market thanks to their portability, desktops have continuously evolved to become more compact yet powerful, keeping them a staple in homes and offices globally.

7 Benefits of Buying a Desktop in 2023

Despite the allure and convenience of laptops, desktops still retain many advantages that make them worth considering for your next computer purchase:

1. More Power for Your Dollar

For equivalent specifications like processing power, memory, graphics capability and storage space, a desktop almost always delivers better value than laptops. You can get a higher-performing desktop for hundreds less than a laptop with similar specs.

Laptops must cram all the components into a thin, portable chassis and need to conserve battery life. Desktops face no such constraints, allowing for the use of faster, more powerful (yet bulkier) components not suitabled for laptops.

So if you want the most power you can buy for your budget, desktops are the way to go.

2. Easy to Upgrade and Customize

One major advantage of desktops is that they are highly customizable and most components are easy to upgrade yourself. You can enhance the capabilities of a desktop by adding more RAM, swapping hard drives, installing a better graphics card, adding peripheral devices and more.

Most laptops, on the other hand, have very limited upgrade capabilities. RAM and hard drives may be updateable but components like processors and graphics cards are usually non-replaceable. This limits their usable lifespan versus infinitely upgradeable desktops.

Building your own desktop or customizing an off-the-shelf one to your needs is also much simpler compared to laptops. This makes desktops ideal for techies, gamers and power users.

3. No Battery Life Worries

Running out of battery in the middle of something important is one of the worst headaches for laptop users. You constantly have to monitor battery levels and tweak settings to conserve power when away from an outlet.

With a desktop, you enjoy seamless uninterrupted usage without worrying about finding a power source or adjusting settings to save battery life. You also avoid the eventual cost and hassle of replacing worn out laptop batteries after 2-3 years.

4. Larger, High Resolution Displays

Even 17 or 18-inch laptop screens feel small when editing photos and videos or playing immersive games. Desktops easily support large monitors up to 32-inches or bigger, giving you ample visual real estate.

You can also connect multiple monitors to a desktop to vastly increase your available screen space. Dual and triple monitor setups greatly boost productivity and allow serious gamers, graphic designers, analysts and other power users to take full advantage of cutting edge hardware.

5. Better Gaming Performance

Gaming desktops dominate the market over laptops when it comes to serious PC gaming. Desktops give you flexibility to choose from a wide range of powerful standalone graphics cards not available on laptops.

With support for beefier cards like the Nvidia RTX 4090 or Radeon RX 7900 XTX combined with multicore processors and loads of RAM, desktops provide the raw power needed for smooth high resolution AAA gaming. Things like 4K gaming, VR headsets and triple monitor surround setups arebest achieved via gaming desktop rigs.

6. Lower Risk of Hardware Failure

Laptops face much more wear and tear than desktops which usually enjoy stable deskbound existences. Drops, spills, bumps, extreme temperatures and other environmental factors take a toll on laptop hardware over time.

Desktop components like hard drives also tend to last longer since laptop drives experience constant motion while in use or transport. Overall, the stable stationary nature of desktops makes them less prone to physical failure from damage compared to fragile laptops.

7. Environmentally Friendly and Energy Efficient

Buying and using desktops is often greener compared to energy-hungry laptops. Manufacturing laptops consumes more energy and resources due to cramming everything into a compact chassis and battery. Modular desktops have a smaller footprint plus components are easy to repair and replace versus entire laptops.

In operation, well designed desktops beat laptops on energy efficiency too. For example, Energy Star certified desktops are upwards of 50% more efficient than laptop counterparts. So eco-conscious buyers should look at high-efficiency desktops.

The Best Desktops to Buy in 2023

If I‘ve convinced you on the continuing viability of desktops, here are the top models I‘d recommend across categories:

Overall: Apple 27-inch iMac

Boasting Apple‘s slick aesthetics and engineering, the 27-inch iMac remains the gold standard for exceptional performance, gorgeous 5K display and robust feature set at a reasonable price point.

The base model includes a 10-core 10th gen Intel i5 chip, Radeon Pro 5300 graphics, 8GB RAM and 256GB SSD. Plenty of power for productivity, content creation and overall use.

Of course, you can configure to order an even beefier iMac up to a 10-core i9 Intel processor, 128GB RAM and 8TB storage if you need a true computing beast!

Budget: Lenovo IdeaCentre 5i

The IdeaCentre 5i gaming desktop proves you don‘t need to spend a fortune for solid 1080p gaming performance. At around $850, you get a capable Intel Core i5 processor, GTX 1650 graphics card, 16GB DDR4 RAM, 512GB SSD storage, Wi-Fi 6 and plenty of expansion room.

The clean, minimalist chassis looks great on any desk. As a work computer, the 5i handles everyday office tasks effortlessly. After hours, it plays the latest games smoothly at medium to high settings. Outstanding value if you want an affordable, capable all-rounder.

All-In-One: Microsoft Surface Studio 2

If you want maximum power and flexibility in a space-saving form factor, Microsoft‘s Surface Studio 2 remains a top choice. The gorgeous 28-inch PixelSense touch display houses blazing-fast Intel quad-core processors and Nvidia GTX graphic chips usually found in high-end gaming rigs.

The display shifts nearly flat for comfortable sketching with the responsive Surface Pen and intuitive creating. Simply put, no other all-in-one comes close if you desire top notch performance plus tablet-like content creation.

High-End Gaming: Alienware Aurora R15

Dell‘s legendary Alienware division produces some of the most powerful, drool-worthy gaming machines money can buy. The latest Aurora R15delivers insane 12th Gen Intel Core i9 12900KF muscle, coupled with the ultra high-end Nvidia GeForce RTX 4090 graphics card with a whopping 24GB dedicated memory.

You can equip it with blistering DDR5 RAM up to 128GB, multiple blazing fast Gen 4 SSDs in RAID config and customizable RBG case lighting. Plus toolless upgrades make enhancing down the road simple.

Basically, the Aurora R15 represents the pinnacle of gaming desktop engineering and performance. If money‘s no object for your dream gaming rig, this is it!

Still Have Doubts? Here are Answers to Common Questions

Q: Aren‘t laptops still more portable and convenient overall?

No doubt about it, laptops win on pure portability and the flexibility to work from anywhere. But desktops now also offer remote access solutions to achieve that while providing more screen real estate and computing muscle.

Power users with higher performance needs may prefer the best of both worlds: a highly portable laptop PLUS a high powered desktop as their main processing workhorse stationary at home or work.

Q: Can I still get a quality desktop for under $1000?

Absolutely! $500 – $1000 is the sweet spot where you‘ll find very capable mainstream desktops perfect for students, office tasks, browsing and basic gaming. Focus on brand names like Dell, HP, Lenovo rather than cheap knockoffs.

Prioritize SSD storage over old school hard drives for much faster performance, especially boot times. Look for at least 8GB of RAM. Integrated graphics work for non-gamers but a dedicated card like Nvidia‘s GTX 1660 or AMD RX 580 8GB bring better multimedia and decent 1080p gaming.

Q: How difficult is building your own desktop?

Thanks to legos-like modular part compatibility, building your own desktop is quite straightforward following online tutorials. Since you choose each component, it allows custom tailoring a PC to your exact preferences.

While it seems intimidating, as long as you properly research compatibility and buy quality parts, anyone can assemble their dream desktop with minimal tools and knowledge. Plus you gain the self-satisfaction of creating a personalized powerhouse machine!

The Bottom Line

Desktops continue to evolve and provide tangible benefits like raw computing power, easy upgrades, bigger screens and speedy components better (and often cheaper) than their portable counterparts.

Before defaulting to laptops, evaluate whether a desktop – especially as part of a mutli-device ecosystem – might serve your needs better. Hopefully this guide gave plenty of compelling reasons – both practical and aspirational – for you to still consider choosing a desktop in 2023 and beyond.

Happy upgrade time!