The best PCs of 2024

Time for an upgrade? Here's our pick of PCs for home, office, gaming and more

some of the best pcs

by Chris Duffill |
Updated on

The best PCs come in all shapes, sizes and specifications, but it’s all too easy to take their huge flexibility for granted. Now, we have multi-core CPUs for raw processing power, liquid-cooling systems, and RGB lighting for that futuristic customisable look and feel. But, before the rise of the personal computer, what you bought was what you were stuck with. Fixed specifications, hard or impossible to upgrade, with only rudimentary options to choose from. Don’t worry - you’re about to be utterly spoiled for choice.

And that’s the issue. There are mini PCs that claim to run anything and everything, towering gaming rigs that look like they belong in Darth Vader’s office, and everything in between. And that’s just the appearance. On the inside lies a collection of components that can be the difference between an evening of frustration as you struggle to write that essay, design that leaflet or play a quick match of Rocket League. So, what kind of user are you, and what’s the best PC for your needs?

The best PCs of 2024 at a glance

Best PC overall: CYBERPOWERPC Luxe Gaming PC - View on Amazon

Best PC for study: Lenovo IdeaCentre 5 Tower PC - View on Amazon

Best PC for creating: Dell Precision 3660 Intel Core i7 Mini Tower - View on Box-Open-Box-Dell-Precision-3660-Intel-Core-_5226625.html){href='https://www.box.co.uk/K20HJ(C)-Open-Box-Dell-Precision-3660-Intel-Core-_5226625.html' target='_blank' rel='noreferrer noopener sponsored nofollow'}

Best mini PC: Beelink AMD Ryzen7 5800H - View on Amazon

As always with complex tech gadgetry, many machines share excellent base specifications - meaning that certain PCs will suit a very wide range of users, tasks and workloads. The ultimate choice is yours, but our experts have grouped our selection of the best PCs into categories to help you narrow things down. There’s also a buyer’s guide. So, whether you’re someone who likes casual browsing, a student who needs a reliable study machine, or a creative who needs a top-end video editing PC, we have options for you.

And let’s not forget budget; there’s no need to spend a fortune - but buying wisely is essential. We have great budget PC options for simple everyday computing and affordable options for designers and gamers. Let’s boot up, log on and open a window to the best PCs on the planet.

Best PCs of 2024

Best overall PC

For the best performance, there are few gaming PCs that can truly compete with the CyberPowerPC Luxe gaming PC. Easily capable of unshakeable 4K gaming, this titan of a PC rocks a huge RTX 3060 GPU, 32GB of RAM, and an impressive 1TB SSD storage for a vast library of games and more.

For those more inclined to creative projects, the CyberPowerPC Luxe's 32GB of RAM offers faultless multitasking, browsing and demanding software support. What's more, there are plenty of USB 3.1 slots for peripheral devices such as graphics tablets and external storage, so you'll have no trouble uploading your projects from one device to another.

The design of the PC itself is stunning, albeit perhaps too large for space-constrained users - this bulky PC tower looks the part desk-side, but might put some buyers off. Top-tier hardware, gorgeous visuals and a decent price - what more could you want?

Pros

  • Great GPU
  • Fantastic SSD storage
  • Incredible 32GB of RAM

Cons

  • PC case might be too bulky for some users

Best PC for students

Although many students would love a dream gaming (and studying..) rig in their room, they don't come cheap. Any student is likely to be on some sort of budget, and although this will run well enough for some light gaming while you're not writing that essay, Lenovo's IdeaCentre 5 tower PC is one of the most solid student PC options available.

Its refined yet subtle design has been solidly assembled, and the Lenovo IdeaCentre 5's mineral grey PC case is simple and practical. Inside, there's a wealth of excellent hardware to ensure your browsing or office applications will run unhindered. And that's partly down to the excellent Intel Core i7-10700 CPU, plus the generous 16GB of RAM. The SSD is only 512GB - but this can be upgraded if needed, most easily via an external SSD.

Overall, there's not much flash to this PC, no high-end graphics card, giant case or elaborate liquid cooling - which makes it perfect for packing into a car and slotting into the corner of your desk in the halls of residence.

Pros

  • Excellent, subtle PC tower design
  • Great RAM
  • Solid storage
  • Incredible CPU

Cons

  • Fairly lack-lustre integrated graphics card

Best PC for creatives

Creatives are something of a special breed when it comes to PC specifications. Although they need a ton of grunt from the CPU and GPU, plus upgradability, they don't necessarily need the same kind of processing power as gamers. And here's a prime example - the Dell Precision 3660. The Intel Core i7 is right in the processor sweet spot, but it's the graphics card that really takes the cake for creatives here. It's an Intel UHD Graphics 770. Intel UHD Graphics 770 cards are optimised for CAD, design and other creative application workflows - they process those operations in a bespoke way, unlike gamer-oriented cards that are all geared for rendering real-time 3D gaming graphics.

As for the rest of the specs, there are a truly staggering number of high-speed ports on offer, including USB-C, USB-3 and more. Handily, there are several available from the front panel - ideal for creatives with external drives. And speaking of expandability, internally this is a monster of a build - with support for up to 28TB of RAID storage. So, If you're a serious creative who has a lot of large working files or image libraries, this is about as future-proof as you'll get.

Pros

  • Powerful CPU for all creative work
  • Excellent GPU designed to optimise CAD and creative workflows
  • Plenty of RAM and easy-to-upgrade
  • Good front-facing ports mean easy to plug in your portable hard drives
  • Highly upgradable, particularly with RAID storage for huge working files

Cons

  • The case is slightly dated

Best budget PC

As with many high-performing systems, once again this is marketed as a gaming PC. Not only do you have a respectably capable Quad Core Ryzen processor, but also a huge 16GB of RAM. The CPU and onboard graphics are fine, but it's not going to run the latest games or render video at super-high speeds and resolutions. However, It is going to run everything that a casual browser, shopper, and YouTube fan will want or need.

As for storage, the 1TB SSD is on par with many of the systems here, so you can expect a decent amount of storage and lightning-fast boot and application load times. The operating system is the latest Windows 11 Home, and the machine comes with a decent keyboard and mouse. This is one of the best starter-level PCs we've seen for the price tag. As long as you're happy with a case design that's a little gamer-oriented, this Vibox I-7 Gaming PC is our top all-around budget performer.

Pros

  • 1TB SSD for fast loading
  • Huge 16GB RAM
  • Windows 11
  • Very good value and upgradeable

Cons

  • WiFi is an external adapter

Best PC for gaming

This PC from Veno is a monstrous build compared to the ones we've seen so far. After all, the Intel i9 processor is right up there in terms of sheer computing power. The 1TB SSD is standard fare, but again easily expanded via an external SSD or HDD. The star of the show here is the Scorp V6-21's graphics card. It's a cutting-edge 40-series NVIDIA RTX 4070 Ti with 12GB of VRAM. This thing is going to render real-time 3D gaming and still have GPU power left over.

But all that silicon will need enough memory to work with - and so there's an impressive 32GB of RAM on the board to power the most demanding first-person-shooters or MMOs. Yes, you'll find gaming PCs out there with larger SSDs and liquid cooling systems for a similar cost, but you can blame some of the Scorp's price tag on that stellar Nvidia card.

Pros

  • Intel i9 processor is more than up to AAA gaming
  • Nvidia graphics card supports high-res gaming with fast framerates
  • Huge amount of RAM - ideal for gaming applications
  • Great build with airflow and cooling to keep it running fast

Cons

  • Windows 10 OS isn't the latest
  • Serious gamers may need more storage - get a large external SSD or HDD

Best budget gaming PC

Gamers will be far from the bottom of the leaderboard with this Cube Mythic machine. It's one of the best sub-£1000 gaming PCs out there and comes with a 1TB SSD. Seriously impressing us, even compared to others in this line-up, is the inclusion of a 2TB HDD. That's more than enough storage as your game library expands. Yes, it would have been better if this was an SSD, in terms of game load times, but this is a budget machine - a reliable HDD is ideal for the price. Design-wise, this is a matter of taste - the Cube Mythic is quite blocky, unlike a standard tower. So, if you're low on desk space measure up first.

As for performance, the Cube Mythic hits a welcome balance between processor power, RAM and graphics capabilities. It's not going to run AAA games at the highest resolutions and framerates, but for a budget gamer it's ideal for blasting away on games like Rocket League or Apex legends.

If there is any negative to talk about here, we would only the size and shape of it. As per its name,

Pros

  • Good SSD and HDD for storing games and more
  • Reasonable CPU for a budget machine
  • Nvidia graphics card power is ideal for medium-light gaming

Cons

  • The noticeably wide case needs planning for space-wise

Best home PC

Not everyone needs a lightweight home-office PC or a monster gaming rig, instead preferring a more general home PC that can handle a wide range of tasks. That's where the Lenovo ThinkStation P360 comes in. As a desktop PC, the case is refined yet rugged, simple yet practical. Inside, we have a surprisingly high level of hardware to rival even some mid-budget dedicated gaming PCs. The P360 has an Intel i7 processor - more than enough power for those looking to dabble in a spot of video editing, gaming or other resource-intensive applications.

RAM is well-considered too, as 16GB hits the sweet spot for having enough power for a lot of advanced tasks without being overkill. Once again, we have a 1TB SSD for fast boot and load times, but the graphics capability is an integrated Intel 770 - so don't expect cutting-edge gaming performance. That said, the beauty of this rig is that the tower case makes future upgrades easy. So, as a well-configured powerhouse for CPU-intensive computing mixed with general home use, it's absolutely ideal.

Pros

  • Excellent powerful specification for a home PC
  • Case size and design keep upgradeability in mind
  • Very solid and practical build without being unsightly

Cons

  • Graphics card is integrated, so can't upgrade if you're a gamer

Best small PC

In a market dominated by enormous tower cases, it's refreshing to see a more space-conscious PC that is still large enough to upgrade if needed. HP has designed this Slim Desktop to slot neatly into smaller spaces and desktops, giving it a stylish isometric cube texture that makes it more pleasant to look at - particularly at home.

Thankfully, despite the smaller case, there are plenty of USB ports, an SD card reader, and a DVD drive. That's right - this will read your CDs and DVDs - an increasingly rare feature in many modern PCs.

Storage comes as a modest 256GB SSD - just enough for the Operating System and a few files and applications. But thankfully this can be expanded via the SD card slot or USB ports. Processor power is provided by the Intel I5-12400.

The Intel UHD 605 integrated graphics won't be for anything but very light gaming, as is the 8GB of RAM. But considering that this is all about keeping things small, but still retaining upgradability, these concessions are to be expected. This is a solid but basic PC from a well-respected brand that will fit anywhere and look great too.

Pros

  • Attractive space-saving design
  • Good base hardware specification for easy browsing and more
  • Small case but still upgradeable

Cons

  • Small storage - so buy an external drive

Best PC for business

AWD Patriot Intel i5 10400F 6 Core 4.3Ghz AMD Radeon RX 6500 XT 4GB Desktop PC
Price: £509.99 (was £539.99)

www.awd-it.co.uk

Once again, we have a machine that's clearly designed for gaming but is our pick for a business machine for very good reasons.

While it's tempting to see a business PC as a lightweight workhorse that will only need to handle Word documents and spreadsheets, we know that many businesses have needs that are more varied than that - from media and content creation to Office 365 and perhaps more.

And, we've kept in mind that many businesses, particularly startups, may need to buy several PCs at once, so this AWD machine has an ideal price tag.

The AWD Patriot has an Intel i5 processor, perfect for any office task and a bit more than that. But, one of the great additions here is the MSI AMD Radeon graphics card.

It may not be an Nvidia gaming beast by a long shot, but businesses won't need that. This is an excellent step up from a standard integrated card though, which means this PC will have lots of flexibility for any business who may need a bit of graphics power for content creation.

The 480GB SSD storage is on the small side but should be fine for a standard business machine. There is however a generous 16GB of RAM - often rare in budget PC builds, and great future-proofing in terms of power.

Pros

  • Unbeatable value for components
  • Great storage
  • Excellent graphics card
  • Solid CPU

Cons

  • Fairly ugly PC case
  • Lower VRAM on graphics card

Best PC for video editing

Here, CYBERPOWERPC has given us the sort of gaming spec that makes for an ideal video editing PC. The key to its success is the well-balanced and powerful components. The CPU is an Intel i9 - often recommended for top-class editing solutions. It'll crunch more numbers than the average edit timeline can throw at it.

And then there's the Nvidia dedicated graphics card - the RTX 3080. It's not quite as fast as the latest 40-series cards, but it's more than up to the task here. The 3080 has a massive 10GB of onboard video RAM to keep your rendering ticking along nicely.

As for system RAM, this comes with a respectable 16GB - so even running software like the Adobe suite will leave enough memory left over for plenty of other tasks. This performance is backed by the 1TB SSD for fast boot times and loading. But, as with most machines here, you'll definitely need to invest in a separate SSD or HDD if you're working on large video projects.

Thankfully, this comes with a 750W power supply, which means upgrading the graphics card later will mean the system can still deliver enough power to a more power-hungry card. Last, but certainly not least, is the liquid cooling system - somewhat surprising to see on a pre-built machine, and ideal to keep those temps in check.

Pros

  • Intel Core i9 CPU is ideal for video editing
  • Liquid cooling system plus RGB fans for efficient operating speeds
  • Premium Lian-li case with excellent airflow and expandability
  • Nvidia RTX 3080 graphics card

Cons

  • Not the latest 40 series Nvidia card, but good enough for the price

Best PCs of 2023: Buyer's guide

When choosing your next PC, the single most important decision you'll make is to carefully identify your needs. Getting this right early on is essential. Everyone's use case is bespoke to their needs, but here are some general pointers for which specifications to look after depending on what kind of user you are.

Office work

If you need to run several office applications at once, look at the CPU, RAM and budget for a good-quality ergonomic keyboard and mouse. Graphics capabilities will probably be lower down on your list, but make sure you have at least two HDMI ports for connecting to more than one modern monitor - this is especially important if you are multitasking.

Gaming

Gamers are the hardest users to cater for with even the best budget PCs. Yes, you'll need as much RAM as you can afford, but you'll also need an SSD for fast and sizable storage capacity. Your first step is to look up the recommended system requirements of your favourite games. Then, compare these to the budget PC you're looking at. By far, the most important component is your graphics card. Always go for a dedicated card and avoid integrated ones (the ones that are a part of the motherboard). Even with a middling amount of RAM and CPU power, doing this will ensure much better performance.

Casual browsing and entertainment

As with the office work category, the casual PC user will need to do a little of everything - from shopping to browsing and YouTube. You'll probably need a lot less graphics power for light gaming than a serious game fan would, but more than an office worker will need. 4GB of RAM and a 500GB hard drive with a modern mid-range processor is a good balance.

Design and creative media

Those who enjoy digital art, creativity and all kinds of visual media have needs that are a mix of the above, with the emphasis on graphics capability and RAM, but also the CPU. Graphics, and particularly video work, will require a really fast CPU. Even maxing out your RAM won't help if your processor can't keep up.

Editing video, in particular, requires the handling of heaps of data at once - especially if you're looking at shooting in 4K. And then there's editing software - which also has its own demands and hardware requirements - which is often left unconsidered when PC shopping. So, keep an eye on just how powerful the CPU is and ensure you've got at least 16GB of RAM.

Top tip: Upgrades

Don't forget that one of the benefits of going for a full-size PC over a mini PC or laptop is that you can upgrade its capabilities. Here are some of the easily expandable components.

Storage

You can add more storage to the computer in two ways. By far, the easiest is to buy a portable external hard disk drive that will simply plug into a USB port on the computer. To support the highest speed available, you should look for the blue colour-coded USB-3 port on your PC. HDD and SSD external disk drives are available, with the former being cheaper and with larger capacities than the smaller but faster Solid State Drives.

RAM

Probably sounding much more difficult than it is, it's quite simple to open the side panel of your PC (with the power off and disconnected) and insert more RAM into an adjacent slot on the motherboard. You will, however, need to make sure you're properly earthed (using a simple anti-static wrist strap) before touching the machine to avoid electrostatic damage.

Graphics card

Much like the RAM above, if the best PC you can afford only comes with onboard / integrated graphics, you can upgrade easily. Identifying the type of available expansion slots in the motherboard is key. As long as the graphics card, like those made by Nvidia and ATI, will fit on the board and is a good match for your CPU and RAM, you can slot one of these into your PC in a couple of minutes. Once again, you should have all the power disconnected and make sure you're earthed.

Budget for better peripherals

Sometimes, the best budget PCs will look to compete in the marketplace by throwing in extras like keyboards, speakers, a mouse and monitors. Some of the time, these are basic but acceptable, but much of the time, they're poorly made unbranded tat. Unless they're from recognisable brands with good reviews, we strongly recommend ditching them in favour of buying your own. This is particularly true when it comes to budget PCs bundled with mouse and keyboard - often, again, RGB lighting is used to make them look much better than they are.

Consider a VPN

Of course, your budget PC will connect to the internet - and that comes with some risks. Antivirus is great, of course, and you should definitely invest in security suite software such as Bitdefender or McAfee to protect you from the worst. However, what about your personal data? A VPN (Virtual Private Network) is a secure tunnel to the internet that hides your IP address from would-be hackers and snoopers. If privacy is your priority, we highly recommend an affordable VPN for that extra layer of security.

Best PCs of 2023: Frequently asked questions

Is a PC better than a laptop?

When it comes to PCs vs. laptops, there's really no replacing a proper PC rig. A large part of precisely why PCs are better is space. A laptop, despite being technically impressive - just doesn't have the cooling potential of a true PC. More space, more cooling fans and heatsinks mean components run far more efficiently. This squeezes more power and performance out of the machine over a laptop.

Plus. laptops are generally a lot harder - sometimes impossible - to upgrade yourself. These issues do arise with PCs, as with any technology. However, if a PC component is obsolete, underpowered or simply fails it's a much simpler task to replace it. This generally gives PCs a much longer working life compared to laptops.

Can I build my own PC?

It's completely possible to build your own PC - providing you have the know-how. Those who embark on this task will undoubtedly save money. Parts for your build, checked for compatibility with the rest of your components, can often be bought from websites like PCPartPicker.

However, this is not recommended for newcomers. By far the easiest way to get a PC is to buy a pre-built one for a little more cash.

What should I look for in a graphics card?

The graphics card, or GPU, is the hub of your gaming potential. They're also the most expensive part of a PC build. So, be sure to check the prices of graphics cards before you settle on a build. After finding a pricey build with an expensive graphics card, you're probably wondering, just what makes the graphics card so expensive and worthwhile?

A good graphics card is abundant in VRAM - this is the graphics card's personal bank of Video RAM where the card stores the heaps of temporary data from games or other programs to use instantaneously - the greater the VRAM, the better performance you will have.

High-end PC builds for video editors or gamers will tend to have at least 8GB of VRAM, and yet many builds thrive on just 4GB - so a super cutting-edge graphics card isn't always the be-all-end-all for a good PC build.

Best PCs of 2023: Jargon buster

CPU

A Central Processing Unit, or CPU, processes and executes instructions. Think of this as the brain of the PC. Processors often consist of multiple cores. A higher number of cores increases the amount and intensity of tasks that the CPU is able to carry out.

GPU

A Graphics Processing Unit. Otherwise known as a graphics card. They generate an output feed to a monitor. Every computer has at least a basic one - usually referred to as an integrated graphics card, as it is part of the main motherboard. Dedicated graphics cards have additional processing to improve performance. These cards have dedicated video RAM processor(s), fans and heat-syncing solutions.

RAM

Random Access Memory, or RAM, is a component that temporarily holds information for quick access by the CPU. The information will be related to programs and services that are in use. The more RAM available, the more quick-access information there is available to the CPU, thereby improving computer performance.

HDD

An HDD or hard disk drive is the storage on the computer. It writes and retrieves data to a disk using magnetic storage.

SSD

An SSD or solid-state drive is another option for storage. Unlike its counterpart, an SSD has no moving parts. Much like an SD card, they use flash memory to store and retrieve data. Effectively, they are faster hard drives that will transfer, load and store data faster. They are also more reliable too.

Keep in mind that an SSD will offer less storage and cost more than an HDD. Some computers come with both, often opting to install the operating software on it for a faster boot-up time. If you choose an SSD, you may want to consider having some additional storage as sizes are typically smaller.

Chris Duffill is a Tech Product Writer for What's The Best. He specialises in audiovisual, computing, and gadgets. He also writes for Yours.

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