Speedy i7 processor. 15 USB ports provide room for plenty of gaming devices. Easy to upgrade. Incredibly powerful and doesn’t get hot even with prolonged gaming. Includes CD/DVD drive. Solid build.
Factory-installed fan is loud with prolonged gaming, but a liquid cooler can be installed.
Smooth-running, quiet processor. Comes with 10 USB ports, which is more than enough for most gamers. Easy to install extra memory, hard drives, and PCI cards. Fan doesn’t get particularly loud, even under load. Sturdy construction.
Installed hard drives are small for the serious gamer.
Runs the latest software and games courtesy of 9th Gen Intel processor. Offers SSD and HDD for more than 1 TB of combined storage. Nice to find a DVD-RW drive in such a small desktop computer.
Pricier than some larger desktop models. Could use a faster graphics card.
AMD Ryzen processor gives a solid performance. Includes DVD/CD drive. Decent graphics card. Allows for multiple gaming devices with eleven USB ports. Can be easily upgraded with more memory and hard drives.
Can get hot when running newer games at high settings.
i7 processor gives good performance. Can accommodate gaming devices with 11 USB ports. Comes with DVD/CD drive. Easy to expand hardware like memory and hard drives. Quiet except during long gaming sessions.
DVD/CD drive can be blocked by cables. May lag with newer games on high settings.
With so many powerful mobile computing options available now, desktop computers aren’t as prominent as they once were. Still, if you really need the greatest level of performance for your dollar, a desktop computer is the answer, and you can’t go wrong with a Dell desktop computer.
From its start in the mid-1980s, Dell is now one of the world’s biggest brand names in computing. Though the company has undergone significant operational changes over the past decade, desktop computers remain important to Dell’s success. Dell desktop computers are available in multiple configurations aimed at basic home use, business use, and gaming. If you haven’t purchased a desktop computer in a while, you’re going to be impressed by the level of performance and value you get with a Dell model.
If you’re in the market for a new Dell desktop computer, we’ve put together this buying guide that can help you figure out the components you need. Take a look at our favorites, too.
Finding the right desktop computer for your needs starts with understanding the computer’s key components and knowing which ones offer the power and working speed you need.
The central processing unit (CPU) is the primary processing chip in a Dell desktop computer. Intel and AMD are the two largest manufacturers of CPUs. The majority of Dell desktop computers use Intel CPUs.
CPU power is measured in the number of cores, which determines the computer’s ability to multitask. CPU speed is measured in clock speed in gigahertz (GHz). Look for larger numbers for both of these measurements. Buy the most powerful CPU you can afford up front, because this is the hardest component to upgrade later; in fact, it’s nearly impossible.
Random access memory (RAM) is the temporary storage area where computers hold the data they’re currently using. Holding software instructions and data in RAM allows the computer to work faster versus constantly pulling this data from a hard drive. You can upgrade RAM or add more RAM to most Dell desktop computers relatively easily.
RAM is measured in gigabytes (GB), such as 4 GB or 8 GB. RAM is also measured in clock speed in megahertz (MHz). A larger number means better performance in both of these measurements.
Dell computers use either a hard disk drive (HDD) or a solid-state drive (SSD) as the permanent storage option. Some Dell desktop computers use both technologies, taking advantage of the best features of each.
HDD: A hard disk drive, a traditional storage medium for desktop computers, uses spinning platters to store data. They are less expensive to build than solid-state drives, but they are also quite a bit slower.
SSD: The solid-state drive is a newer storage technology that delivers excellent data retrieval speed. It doesn’t use moving parts, so it’s less susceptible to breakage than a hard disk drive.
Here are some other features to consider when purchasing a Dell desktop computer. Depending on the way you use your computer, these components may be important features for you.
GPU: The integrated graphics processing unit (GPU) is a chip on the motherboard. An integrated GPU isn’t as powerful as a graphics card, but if you aren’t a gamer, you can probably save money by opting for an integrated GPU.
Graphics card: A Dell desktop computer may have a graphics card with a GPU on it. The graphics card is a separate card that plugs into the motherboard. It’s more versatile than the integrated GPU, providing the power gamers need.
Form factor: The form factor refers to the size and shape of the Dell desktop computer case. A full-size tower case is common. It is a large, rectangular box that leaves plenty of room to add components and upgrades in the future. Slim, micro, and mini towers are also available from Dell. These are quite a bit smaller than the full-size tower case.
Ports: Dell desktop computers offer quite a few ports, such as USB, HDMI, and Ethernet, allowing you to plug in various devices. Gamers need quite a few ports to plug in gaming controllers and other items. Non-gamers can survive with fewer ports.
Inexpensive: The least expensive new Dell desktop computers cost between $150 and $400. These are basic machines that are adequate for web surfing, word processing, and social networking. If you want to save even more money, some refurbished Dell desktops cost as little as $100.
Mid-range: You can find fast and powerful Dell desktops for $400 to $800. These machines allow you to run almost any business software and have quite a bit of storage space, which is nice for photographers.
Expensive: Gamers who need the ultimate in speed and performance can expect to spend anywhere from $800 to $2,000 for a Dell desktop computer. These computers have the newest and fastest processors, RAM, and graphics cards. They also have fast-performing SSDs for storage or a combination of SSDs and HDDs.
We anticipate that most people can find a high-quality Dell desktop computer in our matrix, but if you need a model with different features, we considered a few others. For those looking to save a bit of money, the Dell Inspiron i3740-3903BLK-PUS is a good choice. It doesn’t have the fastest Intel processor, but it delivers a nice level of performance for those who don’t run demanding software.
A slightly more expensive model is the Dell Inspiron High-Performance i3-9100. It has the latest generation of Intel processor, which should give it good longevity.
For those who need a high level of computing performance for business software, the Dell OptiPlex 3060 SFF works nicely. It has an i5 Intel processor and fast RAM clock speeds.
Gamers will appreciate the Dell Inspiron Gaming i5676-A696Blu model. It includes 16 GB of RAM for the performance that gaming software requires.
Q. Why are some Dell desktop computers better for gaming than others?
A. Gaming computers require a high-powered graphics card and GPU to meet the needs of gaming software. If the computer lags because of poor graphics rendering, your gameplay will suffer. Having plenty of RAM with a fast clock speed is also helpful in a desktop computer aimed at gamers.
Q. Are there hidden costs with Dell desktop computers?
A. Oftentimes, you’ll need to spend some extra money beyond the cost of the desktop computer itself. If you buy the case alone, you’ll need to purchase a display monitor, speakers, and perhaps a keyboard and mouse separately. The majority of Dell desktops ship with an operating system preinstalled, but you might have to buy other software separately.
Q. What operating systems can I purchase with a Dell desktop?
A. The vast majority of Dell desktop computers ship with the Windows operating system preinstalled. However, you can occasionally find a Dell computer with ChromeOS or Linux preinstalled instead, although this is more common with laptops than desktops.
Q. What other computing hardware does Dell sell?
A. Beyond selling desktop computers, Dell also sells laptops, all-in-ones, workstations, and servers. In the computer accessory market, Dell offers display monitors, audio speakers, docks, keyboards, mice, and various cables and adapters.
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