ArcGIS Desktop allows you to create maps, perform spatial analysis, and manage data. You can import multiple data formats and use powerful analytical tools and workflows to identify spatial patterns, trends, and non-obvious relationships.
Operating System: Windows 8.1, Windows 10
Applies To: UB students, faculty and staff
Last Updated: December 21, 2021
Check the system requirements to ensure your computer has the hardware and software necessary to run ArcGIS Desktop.
Windows 11, Windows 10, Windows 8.1
ISA offers a variety of resources to help you prepare for the Certified Automation Professional (CAP®) exam.
A Guide to the Automation Body of Knowledge is the primary text resource for the CAP test and provides a complete overview of all technical topics. Order the Guide to the Automation Body of Knowledge.
The CAP Study Guide is a comprehensive self-study resource that contains a list of the CAP domains and tasks, 75 review mock test complete with justifications. References that were used for each study guide question are also provided with the question. The Study Guide also includes a recommended list of publications that you can use to do further study on specific domains. Order the CAP Study Guide.
A CAP review course is available in several formats as preparation for taking the certification exam. This course is offered by ISA and can also be offered at your location.
ISA also has a variety of training courses that would be helpful in preparing for CAP. Visit the Automation Professional Training page for a complete list.
Questions on the test were derived from the genuine practice of automation professionals as outlined in the CAP Role Delineation Study and job task analysis. Using interviews, surveys, observation, and group discussions, ISA worked with automation professionals to delineate critical job components to develop test specifications to determine the number of questions related to each domain and task tested. This rigorous program development and ongoing maintenance process ensures that CAP certification accurately reflects the skills and knowledge needed to excel as an automation professional.
The following six questions were taken from the CAP test question item bank and serve as examples of the question type and question content found on the CAP exam.
|Question Number||Correct Answer||Exam Content Outline|
|1||A||Domain 1, Task 4|
|2||C||Domain 2, Task 2|
|3||B||Domain 3, Task 3|
|4||B||Domain 4, Task 7|
|5||C||Domain 5, Task 5|
|6||A||Domain 6, Task 2|
Are you in the market for a new desktop? Then you are in the right place. With so many options out there, it's hard to know which one to choose. That's why I did the homework for you, and below is a breakdown of my top picks by type of usage.
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Unlike laptops that are usually purchased for their portability, desktop computers are usually a fixture in your home or office. Given their larger size, there is a wider range of options with modern desktops and one for every type of use.
It's also more customizable than purchasing a laptop because you can buy bundles, separate towers, or monitors.
Due to their size, desktop computer components tend to be cheaper overall than their thinner, lighter counterparts: laptops. If you are anything like me, a bigger screen found with a desktop is so much easier to work with than a small display on laptops.
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Below are desktops that provide you the most 'bang' for your buck (please note, product availability may fluctuate).
At the time of publishing, this product had over 450+ global ratings with 71% giving the product 5 stars on Amazon.
Get the Acer Aspire XC-830-UA91 Desktop
At the time of publishing, this product had over 380+ global ratings with 78% giving the product 5 stars on Amazon.
Get the HP 22" All-in-One Desktop
Rarely is there a desktop that meets most everyone's needs as well as comes at a great price. However, this All-in-One by HP really checks most people’s boxes.
BEST TECH FOR PERSONAL PROTECTION IN 2023
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Get the HP 27" All-in-One Desktop PC
For those of you that don't need extra bells and whistles yet want a desktop for web browsing, light office work, and core programs, the options below will fit those needs:
At the time of publishing, this product had over 520+ global ratings with 73% giving the product 5 stars on Amazon.
Get the MeLE Quieter2Q Fanless Mini PC (J4125)
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At the time of publishing, this product had over 870+ global ratings with 78% giving the product 5 stars on Amazon.
Get the Apple iMac
At the time of publishing, this product had over 450+ global ratings with 71% giving the product 5 stars on Amazon.
Get the Acer Aspire TC-1760-UA92
Individuals who work on processor-intensive programs like photo editing, video editing, or design programs, need desktops that have excellent displays with rich color and high resolutions. Additionally, the desktops must have enough storage, memory, and processor speed to handle the intensity of these workload-heavy applications.
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At the time of publishing, this product had over 20+ global ratings with 91% giving the product 5 stars on Amazon.
Get the HP Envy 34" All-in-One Desktop
At the time of publishing, this product had over 1,820+ global ratings with 88% giving the product 5 stars on Amazon.
Get the Apple 2021 iMac All-in-one Desktop
Gaming is a popular past time for people of all ages. However, it requires a certain amount of processing speed and storage space to handle the intensity of graphics and program complexities. Below are the top picks for gaming:
5 BEST PORTABLE PHONE CHARGERS OF 2023
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Get the Alienware Aurora R14
At the time of publishing, this product had over 2,390+ global ratings with 73% giving the product 5 stars on Amazon.
Get the iBUYPOWER SlateHako AD420N
HOW TO FIND A LOST WINDOWS LAPTOP
At the time of publishing, this product had over 400+ global ratings with 74% giving the product 5 stars on Amazon.
Get the Skytech Archangel Gaming PC Desktop (Arch 4)
While you may or may not already have a laptop at home, you might consider a space-saving desktop to complement or replace your aging laptop. Or perhaps you are working from home and need the ability to move around your living space to get work done. Or maybe you need a device that has more computing capabilities, such as a desktop, yet is not as bulky? Below are some top picks of space-saving desktops:
At the time of publishing, this product had over 650+ global ratings with 83% giving the product 5 stars on Amazon
Get the HP All-in-One PC, 23.8" FHD
BEST EXPERT-REVIEWED LAPTOPS FOR 2023
At the time of publishing, this product had over 5+ global ratings with 54% giving the product 5 stars on Amazon. Only a few reviews since it was released on January 17, 2023
Get the Apple 2023 Mac Mini Desktop Computer M2 chip
At the time of publishing, this product had over 440+ global ratings with 76% giving the product 5 stars on Amazon.
Get the Lenovo IdeaCentre AIO 3i - 2022
Whether you're giving it away, donating, or recycling your old desktop or laptop, don't forget to check out our article on how to safely get rid of your old laptop. If you're building a setup for the new year, you might want to also check out my article on the best monitors by typing in cyberguy.com and tapping the search glass to search "best displays".
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Are you thinking about replacing an old laptop or desktop? Is there a model you love that we didn't review above? Comment below.
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In our intensive and evening courses, which run over the course of several weeks and build upon one another, you can systematically work towards achieving a certain language level. The course content of the individual sub-levels is designed such that, by combining the applicable courses, the learning goals of a complete level are covered.
The difference is that our one-week Exam preparation in a group course focuses on targeted preparation for your German exam.
Yes, once you have completed the Exam preparation in a group course, you receive a certificate of attendance.
Yes, to attend an Exam preparation in a group course, you need previous knowledge of German to the level of the applicable course. This means, to do the Exam preparation in a group at level B1, you will need knowledge of German at level B1. To do the Exam preparation in a group at level B2, you will need knowledge of German at level B2. To do the Exam preparation in a group at level C1, you will need knowledge of German at level C1. To do the Exam preparation in a group at level C2, you will need knowledge of German at level C2.
One-week Exam preparation in a group costs EUR 369.
Imagery and geospatial workflows that traditionally have been separate are now seamlessly integrated and easily accessible to analysts using ArcGIS Excalibur. Powered by ArcGIS Image Server and ArcGIS Video Server, analysts can work with a wide variety of services such as image, web map, tile, and video services. As a web-based imagery application, ArcGIS Excalibur saves time and resources by allowing users to perform remote inspections and analysis on images and video, as well as share reports or dynamic layers with key stakeholders.
Join us to learn how to:
Who should attend? Anyone interested in leveraging the benefits of web-based image analysis for geospatial intelligence.
Despite the allure and simplicity of gaming consoles and handheld devices, PC gaming has never been stronger. Enthusiasts know that nothing beats the quality of gameplay you can get with a desktop built for gaming. And today, it's within almost every determined PC shopper's grasp to get a PC with the graphics power necessary to drive the latest games on a full HD (1080p) monitor at lofty detail settings.
What kind of desktop PC makes games look and run better than on the Sony PS5 or Microsoft Xbox Series X? If you have deep pockets, it's a custom-built hot rod from an elite boutique PC maker, such as Falcon Northwest, Maingear, or Velocity Micro. However, a few well-informed choices will go a long way toward buying the right gaming desktop from a mainstream brand, like Dell, Lenovo, or MSI—even if you're not made of money.
These are the best gaming desktops in 2023 across all budgets and our latest top picks in the category. Every gaming PC we recommend has been thoroughly tested—from tower PCs to compacts—for a variety of uses, followed by a guide explaining how to buy a gaming desktop.
*Deals are selected by our commerce team
Deeper Dive: Our Top Tested Picks
Lenovo's entry-level Legion Tower 5i gaming desktop delivers improved performance and style at a low price.
Updated with 12th Generation Intel silicon, MSI's Aegis RS gaming mid-tower is a great performer and a solid value.
Origin's handsome gaming tower, favoring parts from its parent Corsair, is huge and costly as configured. But its Core i9 special-edition CPU and GeForce RTX 3090 GPU ensure stellar 1080p and 1440p frame rates and even 60fps performance at 4K.
Falcon Northwest's Talon desktop is the crème de la crème of PC gaming rigs, with unprecedented performance, a first-rate build, and a sky-high price to match.
Corsair's Vengeance i7400 is an elite gaming desktop that shows what you could build yourself if you were an aftermarket expert with mad skills (and a big budget).
While its mighty price puts it out of reach of most gamers, Velocity Micro's latest Raptor desktop tower offers admirable quality and performance.
Precision engineered by Falcon Northwest, the small-form-factor FragBox gaming desktop delivers incredible performance and practicality in a compact, luggable design.
Simply a big, cool beast, HP's formidable Omen 45L gaming desktop offers outstanding performance and flexibility.
MSI's MEG Aegis Ti5 pushes 4K frame rates with ease, but its massive, cyborg design might send members of your household, not your enemies, running for cover.
Buying Guide: The Best Gaming Desktops for 2023
Most gaming systems will come preinstalled with a single midrange or high-end graphics card; higher-priced systems will naturally have better cards, since purchase price typically correlates with animation performance and visual quality. AMD and Nvidia make the graphics processors, or GPUs, that go into these cards, which are made by third parties such as Asus, EVGA, Gigabyte, MSI, PowerColor, Sapphire, and XFX (to name just a few).
The Nvidia GeForce RTX 4090 graphics card (Credit: Michael Justin Allen Sexton)
Gone are the days of complicated dual-card setups: Today's top-end GPUs, like Nvidia's GeForce RTX 4080 and RTX 4090, are more than good enough on their own. Games are increasingly developed to take advantage of the cutting-edge features available in single GPUs like these, but these premium cards will cost you.
AMD's Radeon RX 7900 XTX graphics card (Credit: Michael Justin Allen Sexton)
Still, you should divert much of your budget to the best GPU you can afford; the most pivotal decision you'll make when purchasing a gaming desktop is which card you get. One option, of course, is no card at all; the integrated graphics silicon on modern Intel Core and some AMD processors is fine for casual 2D games and very light 3D gaming. However, to really bring out the beast on 3D AAA titles, you need a discrete graphics card, and these cards are what distinguish a gaming desktop from "just a desktop."
A PCMag-styled Origin PC Millennium 5000T gaming PC (Credit: Molly Flores)
Whether you go with an AMD- or Nvidia-based card is based partly on price, partly on performance. Some games are optimized for one type of card or another, but for the most part, you should choose the card that best fits within your budget. If you're buying a complete gaming desktop, you of course don't have to pay for a card in isolation, but this should help you understand how the card factors into the total price. You also have to know what you're shopping for.
For some time now, Nvidia has been dominant at the high end of the GPU battlefield. Since September 2020, this has been through its GeForce RTX 30 Series GPUs, such as the flagship GeForce RTX 3080 and top-end RTX 3090. Most recently, Nvidia launched its next generation of GPUs, the GeForce RTX 40 Series, based on new "Ada Lovelace" architecture—more on those cards in a moment.
The Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Founders Edition (Credit: Zlata Ivleva)
In general, for both Nvidia and AMD GPUs, the first number in a model name denotes the GPU generation—3000 Series GPUs are Nvidia's latest, while AMD is up to the 6000 line—while the last two numbers denote the hierarchy within that generation. For example, the RTX 3080 is superior to the RTX 3070, and both replaced their RTX 2080 and RTX 2070 predecessors, respectively.
The 20 Series GeForce RTX cards were the first to offer ray tracing (putting the "RT" in "RTX"), a fancy real-time-lighting feature that only cards with the RTX moniker are capable of running. (See our primer on ray tracing and what it means for PC gaming.)
Another angle on the GeForce RTX 3080 (Credit: Zlata Ivleva)
Nvidia's RTX 30 Series is based on its "Ampere" architecture, which replaced the "Turing" design of the RTX 20 Series. Now, the RTX 40 Series seeks to do the same to the RTX 30 Series with its "Lovelace" architecture, though it seems likely the RTX 30 Series will remain relevant for some time.
The top-end cards are certainly pricey propositions, too costly for many shoppers, and difficult to find available in 2023. The RTX 3080 Founders Edition launched with a $699 MSRP, as much as some whole computers on its own, but actually a better value than the RTX 2080. The RTX 3070 launched at $499, making it a very palatable choice, and the RTX 3060 at an even more attainable $329. Pricing on these cards went haywire in 2020-2021, but have returned to an extent to earth.
Going up the stack even further than the RTX 3080, the GeForce RTX 3090 is a professional-grade replacement for the Titan RTX coming in at $1,499. You could use it for gaming, but it's not remotely twice as fast as an RTX 3080 for more than double the money. If you are one of the rare few who need even more power, Nvidia went even further by releasing the RTX 3090 Ti in March 2022 for an eye-watering $1,999.
Nvidia's GeForce RTX 4090 Founders Edition (Credit: Michael Justin Allen Sexton)
Why will these RTX 30 Series GPUs likely stick around a while? The prices for the new RTX 40 Series cards are to blame. The RTX 4090, though it shows tremendous power in our review, is extremely pricey at $1,599; and the RTX 4080 isn't much better at $1,199. The 30 Series still offers playable performance and is way more capable of ray tracing than the 20 Series; plus, supply is available, and 40 Series GPUs are prohibitive for many budgets. Unfortunately, these prices seem to be the new normal.
GPU availability issues plagued 2020, 2021, and much of 2022, though those started to recede as we moved into 2023, and the 40 Series launch helped further. If you haven't been paying attention to the graphics card space, it has been extremely difficult to actually acquire these GPUs at retail price, or in general, since 2020. You could (and can still) pay over the odds from re-sellers (some of who gobbled up many cards with the intention of reselling them at a higher price), but otherwise had to play the lottery with re-stocks. Read our explanation here of why these graphics cards have been so difficult to purchase.
Thus, the listed MSRP of these GPUs doesn't mean what it once did. You can try to snag one when a major retailer, like Best Buy (or an online seller like Amazon), refreshes its supply, but you'll need some luck. Hopefully, the rolling RTX 40 Series launch won't be as bad as 2023 continues, but we wouldn't hold our breath—don't expect acquiring a new top-end GPU to be easy. You'll also need to be patient unless you want to pay hundreds of dollars over the list price to someone selling a GPU for profit. Even if you can find them, the hefty list prices make these a significant buy.
This is one reason why buying a prebuilt gaming desktop, like the desktops in our list here, makes a lot of sense: easier access to the parts you want, without price gouging. Pre-built PCs from major manufacturers or boutique vendors are one of the most accessible ways to acquire a top GPU in 2023 because they take care of acquiring GPU stock for you to buy in their systems.
If you're not going to buy into the brand new 40 Series, and even 30 Series pricing is scaring you off, the older 20 Series GPUs may offer nice value if you can find them. The RTX 2070 Super looks the best value of the bunch, offering near-RTX 2080 performance, while the RTX 2060 Super and the RTX 2080 Super are worth a look. While the Super cards were more of a half-step up before the Ampere generation arrived, boosts to clock speeds (and in some cases the introduction of newer memory) mean these are all a tick more capable than the original models. If you can find a good deal on a PC with an RTX 20 Series Super GPU, it may be worthwhile, but not at full price.
Digital Storm's Lynx gaming desktop in its many colors (Credit: Zlata Ivleva)
For owners of older 10-Series "Pascal" cards, it was a tough call on whether to upgrade to the 20 Series. The raw performance gains were modest, and ray tracing, while attractive, was a difficult proposition even on the best 20 Series GPUs. If you've held out this long, with the 30 Series still impressing so much and the 40 Series still fresh, we can much more fully recommend that enthusiasts make the jump if you can find any newer-generation GPU on a good deal. We recommend the newest GPUs even more emphatically if you play (or plan on playing) on a 1440p or 4K monitor.
With that in mind, there are also lower-end GTX cards built on Nvidia's Turing tech: the GeForce GTX 1650, the GeForce GTX 1660, and the GeForce GTX 1660 Ti. These cards lack the specific cores needed for ray tracing in order to cut the price. If you're shopping on a more limited budget, desktops with these cards are worth checking out. Also, look for Super variants of the GTX 1650 and 1660, as well as the GeForce RTX 3050. While technically not a low-end card, the Ampere-based RTX 3050 is the entry point for RTX cards, though a tad underpowered to do much with ray tracing.
Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Ti (Credit: Zlata Ivleva)
While those top-tier GPUs do offer fantastic pure performance separate from ray tracing, too, shoppers looking for an entry-level or midrange system have many options. On the lower end, those GTX Turing cards (as opposed to the RTX ones) are a decent value, while the RTX 2060 and RTX 3050 are a budget-friendly, but very capable, 1080p cards. An RTX 2070 system will fit the bill for high-frame-rate 1080p or 1440p gaming, and you can try ray tracing on a per-game basis or just turn it off to your preference.
Meanwhile, inside prebuilt gaming PCs, AMD competes mainly in the midrange and low end, with its Radeon RX cards, and its midrange offerings are looking better now than they have for a long time. In mid-2019, AMD launched its first "Navi" graphics cards, based on an all-new architecture. At that time, the Radeon RX 5700 and the Radeon RX 5700 XT were legitimate contenders in the midrange space, delivering good bang for your buck.
AMD's late-2020-to-2022 offerings in the high end, the Radeon RX 6800 and the Radeon RX 6800 XT, pushed closer to Nvidia's top cards more than AMD has in many years. When they're at their best, they're close to equal with Nvidia's 30 Series GPUs for a little less money, but it depends on the game in question. AMD closed the value-proposition gap even further in late 2022: The AMD Radeon RX 7900 XTX and 7900 XT, which start at $999 and $899, really push Nvidia's RTX 40 Series GPUs on cost-to-performance. Nvidia still holds the power crown, but AMD's cards have a strong case with their pricing.
AMD Radeon RX 7900 XTX (Credit: Michael Justin Allen Sexton)
AMD also has midrange Radeon RX 6000 cards that compete, albeit a bit less successfully, with midrange GeForce. On the AMD side, check out the reviews and see which seems like the best fit for your needs and budget. But you'll definitely see more GeForce cards than Radeon ones in prebuilt desktops.
Equipping your system with any high-end GPU will boost your total PC bill by a few hundred dollars. Beyond adding extra power to your gaming experience, some graphics cards can power up to four displays, and few gamers go beyond three (and even then only rarely).
A better reason to opt for high-end graphics, in the long run, is to power 4K and virtual reality (VR) gaming. Monitors with 4K resolution (3,840 by 2,160 pixels) and the displays built into the latest VR headsets have much higher pixel counts than a "simple" 1080p HD monitor. You'll need at least a single high-end graphics card to drive a 4K display at the highest quality settings, with similar requirements for smooth gameplay on VR headsets. If you mean to play games on a 4K panel with detail settings cranked up, you'll want to look at one of Nvidia's highest-end cards suited for 4K play, with the RTX 3080, RTX 4080, and RTX 4090 easily the best picks.
A closeup of the Falcon Northwest FragBox gaming PC (Credit: Charles Jefferies)
Selecting a graphics card for VR is a different set of considerations, and not quite as demanding as 4K play on exact AAA games. VR headsets have their own graphics requirements. But for the two big ones from HTC and Oculus, you'll want at least a GeForce GTX 1060 or an AMD Radeon RX 480 or Radeon RX 580. Those are older-generation cards, of course; check for specific support for a given Nvidia GeForce Turing/Ampere/Lovelace or AMD Radeon Navi card if that is what you will be getting. Generally, a GeForce GTX 1660 Ti or a Radeon RX 5600 XT/RX 6700 (or higher, in either case) should suffice.
An angled view of the Falcon Northwest Tiki (2022) gaming desktop (Credit: Molly Flores)
Now, VR and 4K gaming are unquestionably high-end matters (the latter even more so than the former). You can still get a rich gaming experience for thousands of bucks less by choosing a desktop with a single but robust middle-tier video card (an RTX 3060, 2060, or 2070, for example) and gaming at 1080p or 1440p; 2,560 by 1,440 pixels is an increasingly popular native resolution for gaming monitors. If you're less concerned about VR or turning up all the eye candy found in games—anti-aliasing and esoteric lighting effects, for example—then today's less-powerful graphics cards and GPUs will still provide you plenty of oomph for a lot less money.
The parallel heart in any gaming system to its GPU is its main processor chip or CPU. While the GPU specializes in graphics quality and some physics calculations, the CPU takes care of everything else, and it also determines how able your PC will be for demanding tasks that require non-graphics calculations.
On the CPU front, AMD and Intel are in a race to see who can provide the most power to gamers. Mainstream speed lies chiefly with the Core i5, Core i7, and Core i9 CPU options on the Intel side, and the Ryzen 5, Ryzen 7, and Ryzen 9 on the AMD side.
An Intel Core i7 processor held in hand (Credit: Zlata Ivleva)
The most common mainstream CPUs range from $99 to $499, such as the AMD Ryzen 5 and Ryzen 7 lines, and Intel Core i5 and i7 CPUs. These provide the computing muscle needed for a satisfying gaming experience without breaking the bank, losing out mostly on some higher-end productivity and media creation capability rather than gaming performance.
This is the real sweet spot for gamers. On the higher end of midrange, you have chips like the Intel Intel Core i7-12700K, AMD Ryzen 7 5800X, and (most recently) the Ryzen 7 7700X, which really impress in this category. Intel's current generation is the 13th Gen "Raptor Lake" processors, following up on the success of the 12th Generation "Alder Lake" platform (those processors with 12 in the model number). We've only tested a few of these chips so far, so stay tuned.
(Credit: Chris Stobing)
Prior to Intel's Alder Lake, AMD's efforts put them on top of the CPU world for the first time in a long time. The Zen 3-based 5000 Series impressed on its debut, with chips like the Ryzen 7 5800X outperforming Intel, especially on media creation and editing tasks. Alder Lake gave Team Blue the edge again, but AMD's year-old solutions still remain competitive. These are still widely available and in many of the systems we recommend, even if they are not the latest AMD platform as of fall 2022.
That's because in late 2022 AMD launched its newest generation: Ryzen 7000 processors based on the new Zen 4 architecture. We tested and reviewed two of these chips at launch (the aforementioned Ryzen 7 7700X and the Ryzen 9 7950X), and both produce super-impressive performance across the board. However, they still couldn't quite top the best Alder Lake solutions for gaming. That was not great news for AMD, and it got worse when Intel's Raptor Lake platform proved even faster when it launched in October 2022. The upshot is that consumers still have more options than ever.
Gamers on a lesser budget should look to lower-priced (but still speedy) processors, such as the AMD Ryzen 5 or the Intel Core i5 lines, which will knock hundreds of dollars off the bottom line. This includes the latest chips like the Intel Core i5-13600K. The baseline has come a long way, so even these less expensive chips are well-suited to gaming. Even AMD's latest Ryzen 3 processors can get the job done if you're shopping on a very tight budget.
A demo AMD Ryzen 7000 processor (Credit: Michael Justin Allen Sexton)
At the top of the Intel and AMD mainstream stacks, we have the Core i9 and Ryzen 9 tier. The Core i9-9900K was the first flagship Core i9 option, and the most exact powerhouse is the Intel Core i9-13900K, based on 13th Gen "Raptor Lake" architecture. AMD's new Ryzen 9 7950X is the direct challenger to this chip. These are more expensive than the lower tiers: the i9-13900K, for example, is priced at $589, while the Ryzen 9 7950X (the fastest current mainstream chip you can buy) is listed at $699.
There's also an even greater tier you might see reference to as you shop, aimed less at consumers and gamers than workstation users: AMD's Ryzen Threadripper CPUs (a good example being the Ryzen Threadripper 3970X) and Intel's counter, the Core X-Series processors, in which the top "Extreme Edition" model flaunts 18 cores and 36 threads. Prices for these processors are traditionally high, but these platforms are falling into obsolescence; it's not essential to invest in one of these elite-level Threadripper or Core X-Series processors to enjoy excellent PC gaming. Most gamers do not need to shop in that tier, and these have taken a back seat in relevance. Neither Core X-Series nor Threadripper has seen a new consumer-oriented model in the last few years.
If your choice comes down to paying for a higher-level GPU or a higher-level CPU, and gaming matters most, favor the graphics, in most cases. A system with a higher-power Nvidia GeForce GPU and a Core i5 processor is generally a better choice for 3D-intense FPS gaming than one with a low-end card and a zippy Core i9 CPU. But you may want to choose the latter if you're into games that involve a lot of background math calculations, such as strategy titles (like those in the Civilization series), or if you also mean to use the system for CPU-intensive tasks, like converting or editing video, or editing photos.
One thing that's often overlooked on gaming systems is RAM; it can be severely taxed by modern games. Outfit your PC with a bare minimum of 8GB of RAM, and budget for 16GB if you're serious about freeing up this potential performance bottleneck. The most powerful machines out there will pack 32GB, though there are diminishing returns for gaming beyond 16GB. (See lots more about how to choose RAM in our memory primer.)
Solid-state drives (SSDs), meanwhile, have become more popular since prices began dropping dramatically a few years ago, and the price drops have accelerated especially over the last couple of years, unlike most PC components. They speed up boot time, wake-from-sleep time, and the time it takes to launch a game and load a new level.
A WD Blue SN570 SSD (Credit: Molly Flores)
Although you can get an SSD of any size up to around 4TB (with the larger 8TB capacity still being relatively rare and expensive), the pairing of a small one (a capacity of 500GB is a good minimum floor to set) with a large-capacity spinning hard drive (4TB or more) is a good, affordable setup for gamers who also get lots of games and the occasional video from the internet. You can keep a subset of your favorite games and applications on the smaller SSD, where they'll benefit from quicker loading, and install the bulk of your library on the hard drive.
Favor, where you can, PCI Express SSDs over SATA ones. (The former, the performance darlings of the moment, are becoming the norm in desktop gaming systems.) Almost all of these drives come on gum stick-size modules in a format called M.2.
Don't stop at internal components. Once you have your ideal gaming desktop, a couple of extras can really enhance your gaming experience. We recommend that you trick out your machine with a top-notch gaming monitor with a fast refresh rate, as well as a solid gaming headset so you can trash-talk your opponents. A high-refresh-rate monitor can absorb the excess frame rates that a robust video card puts out, for smoother gameplay. In-monitor support for Nvidia G-Sync or AMD FreeSync, matched to your brand of video card, can also eliminate artifacts that result from varying frame rates.
An RGB keyboard and mouse is a PC gaming staple. (Credit: Mike Epstein)
A comfortable gaming keyboard, gaming mouse, or specialized controller can round out your options at checkout, but know that oftentimes you're better off selecting these items separately, rather than limiting your selection to what's offered by the system seller.
Below are the best gaming desktops we've tested of late. Some are configured-to-order PCs from boutique manufacturers, but some come from bigger brands normally associated with consumer-grade desktops. Note that many of the same manufacturers also make gaming laptops, if you're weighing between the two.
Hearing the words "budget desktop PC" may conjure some negative vibes, but it doesn't have to be that way. In the desktop computer world, inexpensive no longer equals slow or low-quality.
Whether you're replacing an older, flagging PC, setting up a digital signage solution, or equipping a new or temporary office that needs only simple computing, a budget or mini PC may do the job. Today's budget desktops offer a modest baseline for performance and decent flexibility while lasting longer than they used to. We're talking about desktops that cost $800 at the very most, with many coming in a bit under $500 and a few even well below that—even here in inflationary 2023.
Below, we've listed the best budget desktops that we've run through our full gauntlet of testing, followed by a detailed buying guide that'll answer your most common questions before making a purchase.
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Deeper Dive: Our Top Tested Picks
A few speed demons may complain that Acer's Aspire TC-1760-UA92 has merely a perfectly adequate Intel Core i5 instead of a faster Core i7 CPU and integrated graphics that can't play demanding games, but they'll have a hard time finding anything else to gripe about. This desktop ($619.99 as tested) offers perky everyday performance, 512GB instead of 256GB of solid-state storage, and up-to-date Wi-Fi 6. It even has two HDMI ports to boost productivity with a dual-monitor setup.
If you want an affordable yet capable PC, it's hard to do better than this Aspire microtower. The TC-1760 has handy front-mounted USB 3.2 ports (both Type-A and Type-C), a bonus DVD burner optical drive, and a basic USB keyboard and mouse. Storage is expandable, though the power supply lacks the GPU connector you'd want for a robust discrete graphics card, and Acer resists the temptation to clutter the system with unwanted bloatware.
Most budget desktops have adequate but not impressive horsepower. HP's Pavilion Desktop TP01-2060 stands apart with a potent eight-core AMD Ryzen 7 processor, tempting users who plan to do a bit of photo or video editing or other digital content creation in addition to routine productivity and online tasks, and its dual storage drives (a 256GB SSD plus 1TB hard drive) ensure you won't run out of room. Five USB 3.2 ports (four Type-A and one Type-C) are conveniently located up front.
Power users with not-so-powerful wallets will find the Pavilion fills the bill, though it won't support a dual-monitor setup (it has only one HDMI monitor port rather than two) and its Wi-Fi 5 networking means slower downloads than Wi-Fi 6 or 6E. If you can live with those limitations, the compact and quiet HP is a winning choice.
Most budget desktops make you pay extra for a monitor and speakers, but the Lenovo IdeaCentre AIO 3i is a rare example of a bargain-priced all-in-one. Starting at $529 ($599 as tested), this stylish unit offers a 22-inch, thin-bezel screen as well as a generous 16GB of RAM and 1TB solid-state drive. The full HD display is brighter and more colorful than you might expect for the money, the built-in speakers aren't bad, and you'll find a good array of ports (though alas no USB-C).
We're big fans of all-in-one desktops, and the AIO 3i is an admirably affordable example. Its main shortcoming is an underwhelming Intel Pentium Gold processor, but its performance is suitable for an online kiosk or homework station. Its stand even has an indented niche to stash your mouse, phone, or keys.
Only one-tenth the size of the midtowers that dominate the budget desktop market, MSI's Pro DP21 delivers surprisingly perky performance in a petite package that can rest on your desk horizontally, vertically in the included stand, or hide behind a monitor or cling to the underside of your desk thanks to a VESA mount. It also starts at just $329, with our review unit ringing up at $471 with a quad-core Intel Core i3 processor, 8GB of memory, a 256GB solid-state drive, Windows 11 Home, and a basic USB keyboard and mouse.
If you're on a budget and not into the DIY assembly of most mini PCs, the DP21 is a great way to save desk space. The four antique USB 2.0 ports on the front panel aren't too useful, but there are four USB 3.2 ports (three Type-A, one Type-C), 4K HDMI and DisplayPort monitor connectors, Gigabit Ethernet, and audio jacks around back. Plus, you get Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth, and room inside for up to 64GB of RAM, two 2.5-inch drives plus an M.2 SSD, and even an Intel 12th Gen CPU upgrade instead of the usual fixed mobile processor.
Most under-$1,000 gaming desktops get by with a quad-core CPU and a 4GB graphics card, but Lenovo's Legion 5i ($949 at Best Buy in the case of our test unit) goes two better with a six-core Intel Core i5 processor and 6GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Super for smooth 1080p gameplay. It even copies costlier rigs' see-through side panel and customizable four-zone RGB lighting.
Of course the Legion 5i costs more than a PlayStation or Xbox, but just try surfing the web or doing schoolwork or home-office productivity on one of those. Cash-conscious gamers will find little to complain about (well, maybe its 8GB rather than 12GB or 16GB of standard RAM is a small gripe), while enjoying the Lenovo's clean design and dual storage drives.
A budget under $400 limits your PC-buying options. We won't pretend HP's Slim Desktop S01-aF0020 is a powerhouse—it has a mild-mannered AMD Athlon processor and no USB-C ports—but it's a more than capable compact desktop for schoolwork and going online. Only 10.6 by 3.7 by 11.9 inches (HWD), the HP can fit into any room of your house, and offers some upgradability thanks to vacant M.2 SSD and memory slots and a 3.5-inch drive bay. (You can forget about a graphics card for gaming, however.)
Easy on the eyes as well as your wallet, the Slim Desktop will serve your kids well, though you might want to treat them to a better keyboard and mouse. There are certainly nicer PCs available, but few or none at this low price point.
XPS is Dell's premium line, priced and positioned above its Inspiron consumer models, so it's slightly surprising to see the XPS Desktop in this budget roundup. But while it's possible to spend a small fortune on an XPS system with a liquid-cooled Intel Core i9 processor and Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090 graphics card, the midtower starts at a reasonable $749. That's about $150 more than a comparably equipped Inspiron, but the latter desktop doesn't offer nearly as many configuration choices for custom buyers.
If you want a home PC that can grow as your needs change—if your son or daughter morphs into a rabid teenage gamer, say—the XPS is a classy choice. A rolled steel chassis and mostly aluminum front panel make the Dell desktop unusually handsome (it's available in Platinum Silver or a dark blue dubbed Night Sky), and you'll find plenty of front ports and internal expansion room.
Once again, an AMD processor delivers more oomph than budget buyers are used to. Acer's Aspire TC-390-UA92 sports a Ryzen 5 3400G CPU with Radeon RX Vega 11 integrated graphics, giving it good speed for an under-$500 PC. Its compact design includes an optical drive, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth (though we wish it had USB-C ports) and its basic-black-box styling won't clash with any decor.
Space inside the chassis is a little tight and the 250-watt power supply is a nonstandard unit that'll limit your options for graphics upgrades. But if you're looking for solid performance under half a grand, the Aspire TC-390 fills the bill.
For years PC tinkerers and beginning programmers have found ultra-cheap Raspberry Pi circuit boards easy and fun paths to app development or robot or device control. The Raspberry Pi 4 Desktop Kit is much costlier than its bare-bones siblings—it costs a whopping $120, while base models start at $35—but is arguably the first Pi to qualify for genuine use as a desktop PC. It comes with everything you need to connect an HDMI monitor or TV set and start surfing the web, including a 16GB microSD card and official keyboard and mouse.
To be sure, the Raspberry Pi remains strictly for DIY hobbyists rather than civilian consumers; if you're not interested in writing code to get peripherals working or installing the Linux-based Raspbian operating system, steer clear. But there's little doubt this generation is the tastiest Pi yet.
Buying Guide: The Best Budget Desktop Computers for 2023
Now, a handful of our chosen picks above may not be what you normally picture when imagining a desktop, but you'd be surprised at the capability of some of these small boxes. These PCs are certainly able to surf the web, stream videos to a monitor or big TV, operate a public display, or allow you to work on simple documents and other everyday productivity tasks. They can even run web-based games, should you have the need. They come in a few different shapes and sizes, most tending to the small. The closer-to-full-size towers, meanwhile, can do just about everything you expect from a modern home PC.
(Credit: Molly Flores)
Shopping for a budget desktop isn't too different from standard desktop-buying considerations, but there are some key things to know. If you're looking at a very small system, mini PCs tend to come in a limited set of models to choose among, tightly designed to do what they do well. Intel's Next Unit of Computing (NUC) mini-PC line is among the most configurable, with plenty of variation among its models. These machines can be bought as fully configured systems, or, for the more DIY-minded, as barebones kits that enable you to install components of your choice.
(Credit: Molly Flores)
Intel is a big player, but not the only one when it comes to small, inexpensive desktops. Compact-system specialists such as Azulle, ECS, Shuttle, and Zotac focus on this area, and some broader PC players such as Asus have offerings in this category, too. Apple has one, as well: the Apple Mac mini sits toward the top of budget pricing (starting at $599), but is undeniably appealing.
Read on to see what to look for in these systems, and what kind of components you can find inside. If you're interested specifically in tiny PCs but budget is less of a factor, also check out our picks for our favorite micro-desktops overall. There's plenty of crossover between the two, but not every tiny PC is inexpensive.
What's immediately obvious about most of these budget PCs? How they look. Modern components have made the PC performance baseline very solid, even on a $500 tower, versus what it used to be. This allows traditional small- and midsize-tower PCs to thrive in this price range. These remain some of our favorites for the money, as time-tested solutions to home computing.
(Credit: Zlata Ivleva)
You'll also see an assortment of (impressively) small boxes, bare boards, micro towers, and even some stick-shaped PCs to choose from. The smallest of these systems measure just a couple of inches tall and only a few more across, while several of our top picks are mini boxes just a few inches tall and wide—and it's hard not to marvel at these systems running full Windows 10 or 11. With their small size and dialed-down power, they save you not just money, but space, which can be crucial in certain usage situations. If you want to just plug one in out of sight behind a monitor or HDTV, you'll hardly know it's there.
Despite their compact sizes, our favorite small models still offer a respectable number of ports. The best of these boxes offer plenty of physical connectivity and expansion options, which make them versatile depending on the deployment. If you need to connect displays and peripherals or add storage, there's an option here for you. The larger towers, of course, provide a more comprehensive complement of ports, including some up-to-the-minute options like USB-C ports.
It should come as no shock that you'll find lower-power processors in these less-expensive desktops, but you may be surprised at how capable some of them are for the size and price. But you'll need to select carefully.
CPU advancements mean that the floor is higher than it used to be. All modern budget systems will have at least a dual-core CPU (some have quad- or even six-core chips), and most take just a few seconds to boot up. A handful of these models (usually, mini-towers) actually include an Intel Core i5 desktop-strength processor, in some cases even a legitimately quick six-core/six-thread chip. An important note, however: Mini PCs, and even some small mini-tower-style models, may use mobile-grade processors instead of desktop ones. Look at the name of the CPU when shopping; any Intel or AMD CPU ending in "G5," "G7," "H," "U," or "P" in a small desktop is a laptop-equivalent processor.
(Credit: Molly Flores)
For either type, though, web browsing, streaming video, displaying data, and working in simple documents is a snap. All of these models are far from pro workstations (you'll still want a more powerful and more expensive chip if you're planning on editing media or holding web conferences for business with multiple participants), so it's important to tailor your expectations to the specs. With the models that indeed use low-power laptop CPUs, you may save a bit of money and reduce noise and power consumption. These are demonstrably slower than entry-level desktop CPUs, but an okay fit for a child's computer or a basic streaming media server. Just be wary of these processors if you're shopping for your main productivity PC, as their speed may be lacking for everyday multitasking, depending on the level of chip. Compare benchmarks from our reviews in tests like PCMark 10 for a sense of relative productivity performance.
At the very least, have an idea of the most strenuous tasks you'll throw at this machine to determine if a budget desktop can fit the bill. Demand a true desktop chip if much multitasking is on the agenda. These will be Intel Core i3 or i5 processors, or AMD Ryzen 3 or 5 chips, with a model number ending in most likely a zero, an "F," a "G," an "X," or a "T." As for Apple, the Mac mini no longer uses Intel CPUs but Apple's own (impressively fast) M1 or M2 processor, depending on the age of the model you are looking at.
(Credit: Molly Flores)
Moving on to memory, which will help move those tasks along smoothly, many really cheap desktops in the under-$400 range will come with 4GB, only enough for simple digital-signage installations or low-demand, single applications such as word processors. Up at $400 and above, 8GB is common, and some units even manage to include 12GB in under-$700 configurations. For a PC you'll rely on every day for productivity work, 8GB is really the minimum you should insist on under Windows 10 or 11.
Storage is an area you may have to set some firm expectations around, as capacities are seldom very high; these types of desktops are not meant to store huge amounts of files locally. In the cheapest, smallest desktops, you'll get as little as 32GB or 64GB of what's called eMMC flash storage, similar to what's offered in most Chromebooks. (It's roughly the equivalent of an internal flash drive or SD card.) Pay a bit more, though, and you can get 64GB or 128GB; provide preference to models that call out their storage as solid-state drives (SSDs) versus eMMC; SSDs will feel snappier. Some of the full-size towers on our list include 256GB or even 512GB SSDs, at which point you're hardly compromising anymore. We strongly favor SSDs over hard drives, even in this price range.
Look for higher-capacity storage if you're a serial downloader, but as evidenced by Chromebooks, internet-connected devices can get away with a lot less local storage thanks to the cloud. Flash storage and SSD will be the norm in the really small budget desktops, as these models are too tight inside for conventional 3.5-inch (desktop-size) hard drives, but some can take 2.5-inch (laptop-size) drive upgrades or gumstick-size M.2 SSDs. If you ever need more storage space, USB 3.0 and USB-C ports will also let you attach a speedy external hard drive or SSD.
(Credit: Molly Flores)
Mini-towers and the usual towers, though, can often take a hard drive or two in an empty internal 3.5-inch drive bay if you need bulk storage on the cheap. We've even seen isolated mini-tower models preconfigured with a small SSD as the boot drive, plus a mass-storage hard drive. This is the best of both worlds in a budget config, but you'll have to shop around to find one. (Usually, you get just one or the other.)
(Credit: Zlata Ivleva)
Budget machines, whether big or small, almost exclusively come with integrated graphics built into the CPU, not a discrete Nvidia GeForce or AMD Radeon graphics card. You need a video card for serious gaming experiences at 1080p resolutions or above, or for demanding 3D applications, which are several tiers above what these PCs offer. At best, integrated graphics can run some less-demanding games at low detail settings and resolutions, or very visually simple and 2D games, smoothly. (Note our caveats around video card upgrades in budget PCs, though, below in the next section.)
It goes without saying that an enthusiast gamer should look elsewhere (check out our favorite cheap gaming laptops and gaming desktops), but you could still get away with some light gaming on these. Gaming models with dedicated graphics cards start at several hundred dollars higher than the $500 range, but a few are starting to creep in around budget pricing.
If you're remotely interested in upgrading your desktop down the line, traditional tower desktops will do the job, even at this price point. The niche small-form-factor desktops are less friendly to maintenance, but your go-to standard tower will welcome additions easily. In a traditional case, you should expect to be able to remove the side panel and add more storage (like, as mentioned, an additional drive or two) and more memory.
Towers can also provide you the option to add a discrete graphics card, but be mindful of several factors affecting that future prospect. For one thing, limitations might be posed by the chassis size or the wattage of the internal power supply. Some budget tower models without video cards have power supplies with less than 200-watt output ratings, and others use proprietary power supply solutions that can't be easily swapped for a higher-wattage unit.
You may be able to open up a case, and it may have the PCI Express x16 slot for a video card, but the power supply might not have the wattage oomph to push it, or the chassis might be cramped and allow for the installation only of half-height cards or short-length cards, which would severely limit your upgrade options. It's easy to assume you'll be able to throw a better graphics card in a system after you buy, but you'll often find these limitations, especially in the least expensive models. Be sure to look at those factors closely first. Your most likely upgrade options for these systems will come in the form of additional storage or memory.
(Credit: Matthew Buzzi)
Down the size scale, small and inexpensive models don't always rule out upgrades, especially for the more customizable offerings like the Intel NUC series. If you're someone who will tinker, or who works in a professional setting deploying PCs for business use, with the NUCs and systems like them, you can add RAM or swap in a roomier drive (usually in M.2 SSD format) to suit your needs. Audit your options at the time of purchase. As a general rule, though, the smaller the chassis, the fewer your upgrade options.
That said, keep your expectations in check. An eMMC boot drive won't itself be upgradable (it's made up of soldered-down chips), but in some unusual cases, you might be able to add a secondary SSD or hard drive alongside the eMMC drive as extra storage. The stick-style, super-compact PCs (like the Azulle Access4) are resolutely not upgradable. Also, in many compact, cheap desktops, the CPU and RAM are not socketed and removable but are part of the mainboard.
Beyond budget Windows desktops, of course, is the ultimate cheap DIY machine: the incredibly inexpensive Raspberry Pi.
The Pi, in its various iterations, is no more than a canvas of a bare circuit board. (See our review of the latest, the capable Raspberry Pi 4.) But this series of flexible "hobby board" systems allow you to create whatever lightweight computer you need and are capable of assembling from simple beginnings.
(Credit: Zlata Ivleva)
The Pi computers themselves are quite inexpensive, most under $50. Configuring and using the Pi will take some experimenter's spirit, a few added dongles, and a willingness to work with a form of Linux. You'll need to factor in the cost of some storage (a microSD card), a case for the PCB (usually a trivial expense), and cables, for starters.
Don't think of the Raspberry Pi as a replacement for a full-on working or productivity desktop, though. It doesn't have a level of power or user-friendliness for general-usage situations like that. However, for certain use cases, it's just what you need: for serving as a media server, acting as a light web server, and even powering a robot or running a weather station. Its usefulness is limited only by your patience to learn the Linux-based lingo surrounding the various OSs, and your willingness to tweak and tinker. (See our guide to getting started with Raspberry Pi.)
One big caveat to your cheap-desktop dreams, whether Windows-based, a Pi, or something else: You'll still need a monitor. To be fair, this is no different than buying a standard screenless tower PC, unless you were to buy an all-inclusive all-in-one desktop. In this instance, though, the added cost hurts extra given you're trying to be thrifty. Still, if you need to invest in a panel, don't fret. You can find good, serviceable 1080p (1,920-by-1,080-pixel) displays starting just under $100. That's for a just-fine, roomy 23-incher. Ideally, you may even have a monitor from a past system, and key peripherals such as a keyboard and mouse to go with it. (We have you covered if you want to shop for a keyboard or mouse, too, by the way.) Even better, many tower-style budget PCs include a basic keyboard and mouse in the box.
(Credit: Zlata Ivleva)
Using a TV as a monitor is also an option for a system with an HDMI-out port if you're in a situation where you can display your PC on a TV that's already set up. This is especially useful for ultra-compact and stick PCs, as they can plug right into an HDMI port on the TV and need no major cable runs for setup in a living room, a dorm room, a lobby, or anywhere else a PC may look unsightly. Indeed, small PCs like these make excellent solutions for powering a home theater for streaming, file playback from a network drive, and the like.
If you're replacing an older system that has become a bit too slow or worn out, or are setting up a new workspace and need something simple, a budget desktop may be in your future. Check out our recommendations list below for some of our favorites. If you'd like a more traditional tower and can swing the extra money, check out our overall top desktop picks or, alternately, our favorite cheap laptops.