Best HP Desktop Computers

Updated September 2019
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
Bottom Line
Pros
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How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

24 Models Considered
9 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
421 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.

Buying guide for best HP desktop computers

Last Updated September 2019

While they’ve been steadily losing market share over the years to their more mobile laptop and handheld brethren, desktop computers still have a sizable following. With their larger screens, increased power, and enhanced storage capabilities, desktops are a must for those into gaming, those who work with multimedia, or those just searching for a stable computer system they can set up in their home or office.

You can’t go wrong with a desktop computer from Hewlett-Packard (HP), one of tech’s original giants. However, like the majority of computers, HP computers are expensive, so you should pay close attention to what you’re paying for.

This guide will walk you through the different types of HP desktops, in addition to some of the features and specifications to consider. We’ll also give you an idea of how much you should pay for an HP desktop. For our five favorite HP desktop computers, check out the matrix.

Dual monitors can be a great work aid. If this is something you’re interested in, be sure that your HP desktop computer is equipped with a video card or ports that can support two monitors.

Key considerations

Types of desktop computers

Some desktop computers are all-in-one systems. These computing systems feature a monitor and computer rolled into one unit. They should also ship with a mouse and keyboard to provide you with everything you need to be quickly up and running. All-in-ones feature fewer wires and less clutter than other systems, and they are easier to fit into tight spaces. However, because they are closer to laptops in terms of construction, they can also be limited in terms of expansion options.

Tower systems are the traditional boxy computers you are probably familiar with. They have the space to include more powerful components and are often used for gaming and multimedia tasks like editing video. They do take up more space, may or may not ship with a monitor, and are often more expensive than other desktop types.

Mini systems are small tower systems. Their compact size is a plus where space is an issue, but that size also means they are less powerful and harder to expand. These models are generally best for less intensive, day-to-day computing.

What is bundled with the desktop?

For all-in-one systems, you are set to go. For other desktops, know what you are buying. Does the computer ship with a monitor or will you need to supply one yourself?

All desktop bundles should include peripherals, such as a mouse and keyboard, but know what you are buying. Are they wired or wireless? Is the mouse wheeled or optical? Is the keyboard standard-size and what is the quality like? Make sure you know exactly what is bundled with an HP desktop computer before buying.

Setup

HP computers use the Windows operating system. By design, the majority of Windows computing systems are pretty easy to set up. You simply plug in the computer, attach the wires, and push the power button. With fewer wires, all-in-one systems are even easier to start up right out of the box.

Every HP computer will run you through a setup program, which will provide you with a personalized base to start from. It is then recommended that you run Windows Update so that you will have all the latest patches for your operating system in place before you use your computer.

EXPERT TIP

One use for an HP desktop computer is to hook it up to a TV or large monitor to create your own media center for enjoying movies, music, and more.


Staff  | BestReviews

Features

Monitor

If your HP desktop system doesn’t include a monitor, you are going to need to provide one yourself. Monitors exist in a wide array of sizes and configurations. A larger screen will allow you to work with more windows open at a time. A higher resolution is best for working with video and graphics. Some monitors also offer a touchscreen option, so you can work with the screen much like you would the screen of a tablet or smartphone.

Processor

A faster processor – particularly one with multiple cores – will allow you to smoothly run more programs. This is a big plus for multimedia or if you need to run a variety of programs simultaneously.

Memory

RAM (random access memory) can also affect computing speed. The more RAM you have, the faster your computer will be. On the other hand, low RAM can result in sluggish speeds, particularly if you are running a computing-intensive program or several programs at once.

Hard drive

The hard drive is where your files and programs are stored. The larger it is, the more you can store on your computer. This is a particularly big factor if you do a fair amount with video, photos, or graphics.

Power and a touchscreen

While on the high-end of HP desktop computers, this all-in-one system offers power and touchscreen capabilities on a 23.8” monitor. It comes with a dual SSD/HDD drive system. You have the ability to customize both the memory and storage before it ships.

Graphics card

If you are into gaming or work with multimedia, you should have a graphics card and the more advanced, the better. This is particularly important for gaming, which usually does poorly with a computer’s integrated graphics capabilities.

Media drives

Does the HP desktop computer include a DVD-RW or DVD writer? Can you use memory cards like SD, SDHC, or SDXC with it? These drives are important for everything from backing up files to moving them around more easily.

Ports

Ports allow you to expand your computer and plug in everything from your TV to printer to headphones. These vary greatly from computer to computer, but some ports you should look for include:

  • USB
  • HDMI
  • VGA
  • 10/100/1000 Ethernet
  • Headphone/microphone
  • DisplayPort
  • Wireless LAN/Bluetooth

Speakers

Does the HP desktop computer you’re considering have internal speakers, and what is their quality like?

HP is one of the worldwide leaders in desktop computers, nearly tying with Lenovo for the top spot.

HP desktop computer prices

Desktop computers vary greatly in price due to the nearly endless ways they can be configured and upgraded. The pricing for HP desktop computers ranges from around $600 to over $1,000.

At a higher price point, you can expect a faster processor, larger hard drive, more RAM, and other advanced features. A more expensive system is also more likely to be bundled with a monitor.

Conversely, a cheaper desktop may suddenly seem like less of a bargain when you find out you need to purchase a monitor for it.

You should also verify what kind of warranty is included with the HP desktop computer.

DID YOU KNOW?

Card readers generally support multiple formats, such as SD, SDHC, and SDXC. These formats have different storage capabilities.

Tips

  • While a wireless mouse and keyboard will cut down on cord clutter in your workspace, downsides include increased interference, slower speeds, and the cost of replacing batteries.
  • If you are in the market for a computer even more compact than a mini system, consider a stick PC. While you will give up a lot in terms of storage and power, these flash drive-size PCs are super compact and effective for cloud computing and media streaming.
  • Easy to crack open and gain access to, tower desktop systems are made to be expandable and repairable.
  • Like laptops, all-in-one systems with their built-in monitors also usually include a built-in webcam.
  • If you aren’t planning on using your computer for extensive gaming or 3D graphics, then the computer’s integrated graphics – as opposed to a dedicated graphics card – should suffice.
  • If you want a fast computer capable of smooth multitasking, search for a processor with both a high speed and multiple cores.
  • If you are searching for both speed and a large amount of storage, consider going with dual hard drives. These systems often combine a fast SSD drive for booting with a larger hard drive dedicated to file storage.
  • Decide if you really need a CD/DVD/Blu-ray optical drive. Once standard on every desktop and laptop, more and more computers are now opting to omit them due to the popularity of streaming and USB-based storage devices and card readers.
  • Any HP computer you are considering should have the latest version of Windows to insure that you have all the latest operating system features and capabilities.

The HP Pavilion 570 Full HD Desktop Bundle ships with a 23-inch monitor and offers features such as a DVD-RW drive and a 3-in-1 card reader. While not as powerful as other HP desktop options, the price can’t be beat.

Other products we considered

In addition to the HP desktop computers we highlighted in our matrix, we wanted to include a couple more that really stood out for us. The first is the HP Pavilion Desktop Computer, which features an Intel Core i3-7100 processor and dual-boot hard drive. This system starts off at a decent price, although it goes up if you customize the RAM and storage. We also liked the HP EliteDesk 800 G1 Tower, with its Intel Core i7-4770 processor and 2TB hard drive. While a refurbished model, this desktop computer offers great power and storage at a low price.

Dollar for dollar, most users realize more computing power and speed with a desktop than a laptop.

FAQ

Q. If I’m into gaming, what computer system elements should I concentrate on?
A.
Serious gaming computers are a breed apart, but you can still pull together a decent system by upgrading certain aspects of standard HP desktop tower systems. You should go with the fastest processor you can find, as much RAM as you can install, and a large hard drive. It is also vital to invest in a superior dedicated graphics card. Upgrading your system fans to keep the system from overheating is also recommended. Finally, a high-resolution monitor and fast internet connection are also advisable.

Q. What is the difference between a USB 2.0, a USB 3.0, and a USB 3.1 port?
A.
These are different standards for USB ports that are largely based on transfer speed. Roughly speaking, USB 3.0 is 10 times faster than USB 2.0, while USB 3.1 is twice as fast as USB 3.0. These are theoretical speeds as you still need devices capable of using USB 3.0 to realize this speed. They are also backward compatible, so you can use a USB 3.0 device in a USB 2.0 port, although it will be bottlenecked down to the port’s speed.

Q. What are the benefits of an optical mouse over a standard mouse?
A.
An optical mouse uses light instead of a wheel, which provides a number of benefits. There are no moving parts in an optical mouse, so there are less parts to wear out. No moving parts also equals a smoother response. And since the optical mouse is sealed, there is no way for dirt and other debris to collect inside it.

The team that worked on this review
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  • Jennifer
    Jennifer
    Writer
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  • Melinda
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    Writer

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