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EADE105 benefits - ArcGIS Desktop Entry 10.5 Updated: 2024

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EADE105 ArcGIS Desktop Entry 10.5

Exam Detail:
The EADE105 ArcGIS Desktop Entry 10.5 exam is designed to assess the foundational knowledge and skills of candidates in using ArcGIS Desktop software for basic mapping and spatial analysis tasks. This exam is part of the Esri Technical Certification program. Here are the exam details for the EADE105 certification:

- Number of Questions: The exact number of questions may vary, but the exam typically consists of multiple-choice questions, hands-on exercises, and scenario-based questions.

- Time Limit: The time allotted to complete the exam is 2 hours.

Course Outline:
The course outline for the EADE105 ArcGIS Desktop Entry 10.5 certification covers fundamental subjects related to ArcGIS Desktop software and its usage for basic mapping and spatial analysis tasks. The subjects typically included in the course outline are as follows:

1. ArcGIS Desktop Fundamentals:
- Introduction to GIS (Geographic Information System) concepts and principles.
- Overview of ArcGIS Desktop software and its components.
- Exploring the ArcMap and ArcCatalog interfaces.

2. Working with Spatial Data:
- Understanding different data formats and sources used in ArcGIS Desktop.
- Importing, exporting, and managing spatial data layers.
- Basic georeferencing and map projections.

3. Basic Mapping and Visualization:
- Creating and styling maps using ArcMap.
- Adding and symbolizing data layers.
- Creating basic cartographic elements like legends, titles, and scale bars.

4. Basic Spatial Analysis:
- Performing simple spatial analysis tasks, such as buffering, overlay, and distance measurement.
- Identifying and querying spatial features.
- Understanding attribute data and attribute queries.

5. Data Presentation and Sharing:
- Exporting maps and data for presentation or sharing.
- Creating map layouts and printing options.
- Publishing maps as web services.

Exam Objectives:
The objectives of the EADE105 ArcGIS Desktop Entry 10.5 exam are as follows:

- Assessing candidates' understanding of basic GIS concepts and principles.
- Evaluating candidates' proficiency in working with spatial data, including importing, exporting, and managing data layers.
- Testing candidates' ability to create and visualize basic maps using ArcMap.
- Assessing candidates' knowledge of basic spatial analysis techniques.
- Evaluating candidates' skills in data presentation and sharing.

Exam Syllabus:
The specific exam syllabus for the EADE105 ArcGIS Desktop Entry 10.5 certification may cover the following topics:

1. ArcGIS Desktop Fundamentals:
- Introduction to GIS and ArcGIS Desktop software.
- Overview of ArcMap and ArcCatalog interfaces.

2. Working with Spatial Data:
- Data formats and sources used in ArcGIS.
- Importing and exporting spatial data.
- Georeferencing and basic map projections.

3. Basic Mapping and Visualization:
- Creating maps in ArcMap.
- Symbolization and labeling of data layers.
- Cartographic elements and map layout.

4. Basic Spatial Analysis:
- Simple spatial analysis tasks (buffering, overlay, distance measurement).
- Attribute queries and data selection.
- Basic spatial statistics.

5. Data Presentation and Sharing:
- Exporting maps and data.
- Map layouts and printing options.
- Publishing maps as web services.
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ArcGIS Desktop Entry 10.5
QUESTION 71 Where is map text formatting controlled
in ArcGIS Pro?
A. Labeling tab
B. Data tab
C. Appearance tab
D. Symbology pane
Correct Answer: A
QUESTION 72 A user needs to share the results of a mapping project by publishing a layout as a high-
quality printed map.
Which layout steps should the user follow to make sure a high-quality printed map can be created?
A. Set page size and orientation > Add scale bar and legend > Choose scale and extent > Add and position map frames
B. Add and position map frames > Choose scale and extent > Add and position map elements > Set page size and orientationC. Choose scale and extent > Set page size and
orientation > Add scale bar and legend > Add and position map frames
D. Set page size and orientation > Add and position map frames > Choose scale and extent > Add and position map elements
Correct Answer: A
An ArcGIS Online user is working with a feature layer representing regional village locations in a study area Each village should be symbolized by using a specific color which identifies the region.
How should the user change the style of the village layer to accomplish this task?
A. Show Location (Single Symbol)
B. Show a Heat Map
C. Show Types (Unique Symbols)
D. Show Multiple Attributes
Correct Answer: A
An analyst needs to know the distances and directions from an input polyline feature class to multiple point feature classes.
Which tool should the analyst use?
A. Point Distance
B. Generate Near Table
C. Near
D. Polygon Neighbors
Correct Answer: A
Given a layer of crime data, which ArcMap Select By Attributes SQL statement selects crimes that happened on weekend days?
A. DAYOFWEEK = 'Saturday' OR 'Sunday'
B. DAYOFWEEK = 'Saturday' OR DAYOFWEEK = 'Sunday'
C. DAYOFWEEK = 'Saturday' AND DAYOFWEEK = 'Sunday'
D. DAYOFWEEK = 'Saturday' AND 'Sunday'
Correct Answer: D
QUESTION 76 An ArcGIS user needs to make an existing file geodatabase feature class available in another
file geodatabase.
What should the user do to perform this task?
A. Right-click the destination file geodatabase > Manage
B. Right-click the destination file geodatabase > New > Feature Class
C. Right-click the original Feature Class > Load
D. Right-click the original Feature Class > Copy/paste into the destination
Correct Answer: B
An ArcGIS Pro user is interested in gaining demographic insights about locations selected manually on a map The queries do NOT need to be added to the map as layers. Charts and reports are more important.
How should the user access this information after connecting to ArcGIS Online?
A. Search for Esri demographic data
B. Search All Portal by keyword tags
C. Browse Living Atlas services
D. Configure Infographics
Correct Answer: D
An ArcGIS user is working in two attribute tables within ArcGIS. Currently, the user has to switch between the attribute table tabs in the Table window. However, it would be simpler if the tables both displayed side-by-side.
Which workflow will allow the attribute tables to be displayed simultaneously in the same Table window?
A. Right-click the tab of an attribute table > Dock it within the Table window
B. Drag the tab of an attribute table > Dock it within the Table window
C. Drag the tab of an attribute table > drag it out of the Table window
D. Right-click the tab of an attribute table > Split Window
Correct Answer: B
QUESTION 79 An organization must share multiple maps, scenes, and related data to
an external user.
Which type of package should the organization share to meet this requirement?
A. Map
B. Project
C. Layer
D. Geoprocessing
Correct Answer: B
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Esri Desktop benefits - BingNews Search results Esri Desktop benefits - BingNews Employee Benefits

This page is intended for current UW employees, new employees please review the New Employee - Information and Onboarding webpage.

Your benefits are an important part of your overall compensation package, and the University of Wyoming is pleased to offer benefits-eligible employees a comprehensive array of benefits. These benefits are designed to help protect and enhance the overall well-being and way of life for you and all eligible family members. Your robust benefits package can include medical, dental and vision insurance, retirement accounts, life insurance, short and long term disability insurance, wellness programs, and mental health support, among others. Some benefits are provided automatically and at no cost to you, while others will require your enrollment. Take time to familiarize yourself with what’s available and the coverage options. When it comes to your health and wellbeing, we understand “one size” does not fit all. That’s why the University of Wyoming offers a variety of coverage levels and rates, providing employees the flexibility to choose the plan(s) that are best suited for their needs and the needs of their eligible family members. Questions? Contact our Benefits Team using the information outlined below.

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires that the University of Wyoming provide its employees who are eligible for health insurance with the following information: New Health Insurance Marketplace Coverage Options and Your Health Coverage Notice. You may not be eligible for a subsidy as described in this Notice because the State of Wyoming plan meets the standards set by the ACA.

Meet our Benefits Staff

Kira Poulson, Manager, Benefits
(307) 766-4220
Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), Unemployment, Leave Without Pay, Sick Leave Donations

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(307) 766-2437
Retirement, Insurance (Life, Health, Dental), Flexible Spending Plan, Open Enrollment, Tuition Waivers, Cooperating Agency List, New Employee Orientation

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(307) 766-2290
Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), Leave Without Pay

Sun, 12 Nov 2023 06:40:00 -0600 en text/html
9 best desktop computers of 2024: tested and reviewed

There are several great options if you're searching for the best desktop computer, but Dell's XPS Desktop (8960) still takes the crown in 2024. It's highly flexible, decently priced, and comes with super powerful hardware. There are desktop PCs to pick from, though.

We've reviewed hundreds of desktop PCs from brands like Dell, Apple, Lenovo, and HP, but only a few truly stand out. These are the computers to look for when making your next upgrade. For our picks, we tried to balance price, performance, build quality, and our experience actually using the desktop. Make sure to read our explainer about how we review desktops to get an inside look at our evaluation process.

Quick overview

  • Dell XPS Desktop 8960: A highly flexible desktop that can accommodate almost any budget and purpose, from home office work to high-end gaming.
  • Lenovo Legion Tower 7i: A well-built and customizable desktop that shoots ahead in gaming performance.
  • Apple iMac 24-inch: Apple's iMac 24-inch is only better now with the M3 chip at the helm.
  • Apple Mac Mini M2: A supercharged version of Apple's storied Mac Mini that's as portable as it is powerful.
  • Lenovo Yoga AIO 9i: One of the most powerful all-in-one PCs you can buy still, and with a stunning set of features.
  • Falcon Northwest Tiki: A boutique desktop PC that's small and very powerful for gaming.
  • Apple Mac Studio: A tiny PC that packs some of the most powerful hardware on the market.
  • HP Envy Move: The perfect desktop for a hybrid working style.
  • Lenovo ThinkStation P620: A powerful workstation that can handle the most demanding tasks.

Why you should trust us

We've reviewed hundreds of desktop PCs for years, looking for machines that stand out for gaming, home office use, photo and video editing, and so much more. From miniature PCs that can fit on a bookshelf to behemoth desktops with custom liquid cooling, we've seen literally everything, and we know what stands out and what doesn't.

Key considerations when selecting the best desktop

There are a few key areas we focus on when looking a desktop computer.


Performance is king when it comes to a desktop computer, but it's not an equal bar for every PC. Some machines, like the Mac Mini, are offering power in a portable package, while a desktop like the Lenovo Legion Tower 7i goes all-out for gaming prowess. We meet desktops where they're at, evaluating what they're trying to accomplish, and at what price.

Build quality

A desktop may look nice, but it's built of cheap plastics and throwaway components, it won't last for long. Our review process includes a teardown of every desktop to understand what the internal components look like. In addition, we look at fan placement, ventilation, and cooling to ensure the desktops will stay quiet during operation without overheating.


Things go wrong with PCs, so it's important to have a robust support system in place. A one-year warranty is standard on most electronics, so we look for companies that go above and beyond what's required with multi-year warranties and around-the-clock support.


One of the main benefits of a desktop PC is that you can upgrade it in the future, but some brands have missed that memo. We keep an eye out for proprietary components and try to focus on desktops that provide some upgrade paths for users. This isn't possible for all machines, though, such as Apple's iMac, where upgrades are tricky for end users due to the form factor.

dell xps desktop 8960 review 11
Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

Dell XPS 8960

The best desktop computer


  • Flagship performance
  • Understated, attractive design
  • Relatively quiet
  • Solid port selection


  • Limited upgrade potential
  • Expensive
CPU Intel Core i7-13700K
GPU Nvidia RTX 4080
RAM 32GB DDR5-4800
Storage 1TB NVMe SSD
Ports 5x USB 3.2 Type-A, 2x USB 2.0 Type-A, 2x USB-C, 1x SD card reader

The best overall desktop PC is the one that will work for the most people, and that's the Dell XPS 8960. It's understated in all the right ways, reasonably priced considering the power you can pack inside, and comes in a variety of configurations to suit work, gaming, or both. Choosing the highest-rated PC isn't easy, but the Dell XPS 8960 gets rid of that issue.

Regardless of what configuration you choose, you'll find something that matches your needs. That's because Dell builds them custom ordered, which is the best feature of the XPS 8960. The options are nearly endless, with prices ranging from $750 to over $3,000 depending on the parts you choose. Some of the desktops come without a discrete graphics card, meaning they're more suited for work than games. However, you can get one of the more expensive ones that include a discrete graphics card.

Dell is offering this new XPS desktop with Intel Raptor Lake and DDR5 RAM for those who are in search of the best gaming PC. You can add up to an RTX 4090 graphics card as well, which is a serious amount of power considering the size of the machine. Powerful hardware means more heat, but the XPS 8950 gets rid of it well with optional liquid cooling and a case with plenty of room for airflow.

Dell XPS 8960

The best desktop computer

lenovo legion tower 7i review 06
Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

Lenovo Legion Tower 7i

The best desktop PC for gaming


  • Flagship 4K gaming performance
  • Support for DLSS 3
  • Fully upgradable
  • Sleek, attractive design


  • RAM runs at slower speed
  • McAfee continues to annoy
CPU Intel Core i9-13900KF
GPU Nvidia RTX 4080
RAM 32GB DDR5-5600
Storage 1TB NVMe SSD
Ports 7x USB 3.2, 4x USB 2.0, 1x USB-C 3.2 Gen 2

The Lenovo Legion Tower 7i gets almost everything right. It comes with the latest flagship hardware, packing in an Nvidia RTX 4080 and a 13th-gen Intel Core i9 processor, and it comes in a sleek, attractive design that doesn't get too loud or hot. Perhaps most importantly, it uses standard-sized components so you can upgrade it in the future.

That's easily the best thing about the Legion Tower 7i. It comes with the more affordable price of a mainstream gaming PC without any of the hurdles that come from brands like Alienware and Asus. The convenience doesn't come at the cost of performance, either. Based on our testing, the Legion Tower 7i is just as fast as a custom-built PC with the same hardware.

The only downside is how the machine is configured. It comes with fast DDR5 memory, so this computer is great for playing ricky casino online without lag, but it's set up to run at a slower speed out of the box. That didn't make a big difference in overall performance based on our testing, but certain applications will run slightly slower in the Tower 7i's default configuration. Thankfully, boosting the memory speed just takes a couple of clicks.

Lenovo Legion Tower 7i

The best desktop PC for gaming

apple imac m3 review blue
Luke Larsen / Digital Trends

Apple iMac 24-inch

The best desktop for photo editing


  • M3 brings exponential GPU performance
  • Great, thin design
  • Full-bodied speakers
  • Excellent webcam
  • Bright, colorful display


  • Limited ports
  • Touch ID costs extra
CPU Apple M3
GPU Apple M3
RAM Up to 24GB
Storage Up to 2TB

Apple's iMac 24-inch hasn't seen a lot of love, but that all changed with the introduction of the M3 chip. Sporting the same stunning design and beautiful screen we fell in love with a few years ago, the iMac Apple is selling today truly is the same, but better.

That all comes down to the M3 chip. Compared to its M1 predecessor, the new model is at least 20% faster, and often much more. The graphics processor, in particular, is impressive. It even manages to beat some of Apple's older Pro series chips, going as far as to have playable performance in games like Lies of P.

Apple didn't change much else about the iMac, but it didn't need to. The 4.5K Retina display is still stunning with a high pixel density, and the speakers are second to none. The upgraded webcam is exceptional, too, offering up a 1080p resolution for crisp video calls. If you're looking for an all-in-one that just works in 2024, the iMac M3 is for you.

Apple iMac 24-inch

The best desktop for photo editing

apple mac mini review m2 pro 01
Luke Larsen / Digital Trends

Apple Mac mini M2

The best desktop computer for home


  • Still very compact
  • M2 Pro boosts the graphics
  • Lots of storage options
  • Stays amazingly quiet and cool
  • Fantastic port selection
  • Very affordable base configuration


  • Base configuration has slower SSD
  • Not user upgradable
CPU 8-core Apple M2
GPU 10-core Apple M2
RAM 8GB Unified Memory
Storage 512GB NVMe SSD
Ports 2x Thunderbolt 4, 3.5mm headphone, Gigabit Ethernet, 2x USB-A ports

We rarely provide products a perfect score, but that's exactly what Apple's Mac mini M2 earned in our full review. The updated mini PC features the same compact footprint that Apple has used for over a decade, but now with a major update under the hood.

The base M2 model is a big upgrade over 2020's Mac mini M1, but the updated desktop really shines with the M2 Pro chip. That takes the Mac mini from being a MacBook without a screen to a full-fledged creator machine capable of tackling the most demanding tasks you can throw at a computer today.

The only problem is the base configuration, which comes with a much slower SSD. We wholeheartedly recommend the Mac mini M2, but make sure to read our Mac mini M2 buying guide to pick the right configuration.

Apple Mac mini M2

The best desktop computer for home

lenovo yoga aio 9i review 04
Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

Lenovo Yoga AIO 9i

The best desktop computer for work


  • Gorgeous stand
  • Beautiful 4K display
  • Wireless charging on the stand
  • USB 4.0 port
  • Solid CPU performance


  • No ports upfront
  • Mediocre webcam
  • No discrete GPU at $1,500
CPU Intel Core i9-13900H
GPU Intel Iris Xe
Storage Up to 1TB

It's really hard recommending an all-in-one over Apple's iMac, but the Lenovo Yoga AIO 9i is certainly a contender. It's a 4K desktop that impresses with great performance, a solid price, and one of the best integrated displays we've seen, as well as some unique features.

The machine is powered by Intel's Core i9-13900H, which is one of the most powerful mobile CPUs you can buy. It's more than enough to handle work applications, and it can even step up for some photo or video editing. More impressive, you can configure the machine with a mobile RTX 4050 graphics card, giving you a little gaming grunt if you need it.

The Yoga AIO 9i makes this list due to its screen and features, however. The 32-inch 4K display is stunning with its glossy finish, and it comes with great color accuracy out of the box. It has some tricks in the base, as well, including a wireless charging pad for your phone.

Lenovo Yoga AIO 9i

The best desktop computer for work

falcon northwest tiki review 2022 08
Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

Falcon Northwest Tiki

The best mini gaming PC


  • Blazing 4K gaming performance
  • Fantastic thermal design
  • Top-notch build quality
  • Accessible upgrades
  • Standard three-year warranty
  • Limited fan noise


  • Limited Intel configurations
CPU AMD Ryzen 7 5800X3D
GPU Nvidia RTX 3080 Ti
RAM 32GB DDR4-3200
Storage 1TB NVMe SSD
Ports Front: 2x USB 3.2, 1x USB-C / Back: 4x USB 3.2 Gen 2, 1x USB-C

Falcon Northwest is one of the few true boutique PC builders left, and the Tiki explains why. It's one of the smallest gaming PCs you can buy, and it still manages to pack in flagship hardware. More importantly, the Tiki does both without sacrificing heat or thermals, which is the biggest pitfall for small form factor machines.

It's expensive, but Falcon Northwest's attention to detail still manages to stand out. From premium component selection to a detailed dossier of every aspect of your build, the Tiki goes beyond being just a shell for high-end components.

Falcon Northwest offers the machine with AMD or Intel configurations, paired with up to an RTX 3090 GPU. Unfortunately, the Tiki is too small to fit Nvidia's monstrous RTX 4090. Although the Tiki is clearly a gaming PC first, Falcon Northwest also offers it with Nvidia's professional GPUs.

Falcon Northwest Tiki

The best mini gaming PC

apple mac studio review olympus digital camera
Mark Coppock / Digital Trends

Apple Mac Studio

The best desktop for video editing


  • Superior build quality
  • Small chassis
  • Solid connectivity
  • Excellent creativity performance
  • Quiet operation
  • Elegant aesthetic


  • Expensive
  • Mediocre gaming
CPU Apple M2 Max or M2 Ultra
GPU Apple M2 Max or M2 Ultra
RAM Up to 192GB
Storage Up to 8TB

It feels like the Mac Studio has finally found its footing. It straddled a strange line previous, not quite reaching the level of the Mac Pro while falling short of the value-focused Mac mini. With the M2 Ultra or M2 Max, the Mac Studio finally feels like premium, Pro-level Mac Apple fans have waited for.

It's crazy fast, getting close and sometimes even beating top-level PC components like the Core i9-13900K and RTX 4090. That's all the more impressive considering the size of the Mac Studio, which barely takes up a fraction of your desk space. Even considering the high price, the performance and size of the Mac Studio make it feel like a downright deal.

It has all of the professional trimmings you'd expect, too, including support for massive storage arrays and great external monitor support. The Mac mini is still better for most people, but if you can take advantage of the power of the Mac Studio, it's tough to beat.

Apple Mac Studio

The best desktop for video editing

hp envy move review featured
Mark Coppock / Digital Trends

HP Envy Move

The best desktop computer for home office


  • Affordable
  • Well-designed portability
  • Solid build quality
  • Display is touch-enabled
  • Runs on battery


  • Mediocre performance
  • Average display
  • Keyboard is fatiguing
CPU Intel Core i5-1355U
GPU Intel Iris Xe
Storage Up to 1TB

The HP Envy Move is one of the most unique desktops we've ever seen. It's a desktop, but it's also portable, and it's the perfect fit for the hybrid work style so many of us have fallen into.

It's a basic all-in-one at its core, but the Envy Move's trick is that the legs automatically fold in, allowing you to pick it up and carry it with you. There's a carrying handle on the back, and activating it will automatically tuck in the legs. And with an included battery, you really can pick up your PC and take it anywhere. There's even a sleeve in the back so you can tuck in the included keyboard/trackpad combo.

HP doesn't charge a massive premium for this design, either. The Envy Move starts at just $750 for a mobile Intel 13th-gen CPU, which offers acceptable performance for basic home office tasks.

HP Envy Move

The best desktop computer for home office

lenovo thinkstation p620 review 9
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Lenovo ThinkStation P620

The best desktop workstation computer


  • Insane processor performance
  • Easily upgradeable
  • Tool-free design
  • 10Gb Ethernet
CPU AMD Ryzen Threadripper Pro 3995WX
GPU Nvidia Quadro RTX 8000 48GB
RAM 128GB octa-channel DDR4-3200 ECC
Storage 1TB NVMe SSD
Ports 8x USB-A, 2x USB-C, 3.5mm headphone, PS/2

The Lenovo ThinkStation P620 is a workstation in every sense of the word. This is a desktop designed to perform the most resource-heavy tasks out there. Created specifically for engineering, data science, machine learning, 3D modeling, video editing, and more, the ThinkStation is the kind of PC that will find uses across many fields, aiding professionals in their daily tasks.

More importantly, it's the only workstation available now with AMD's new Threadripper 5000 Pro processors. You can pack in up to a Threadripper Pro 5995WX processor, which packs in 64 cores and 128 threads, along with an astounding 256MB of L3 cache. Similarly, you can add up to two Nvidia Quadro GV100 GPUs, which is powerful enough for even the most demanding tasks.

The other specs are just as impressive – eight RAM slots for up to 512GB of memory, as well as six drive slots for up to 24TB of storage. Windows 11 comes default on the machine, but you can also have it pre-configured for Red Hat Enterprise Linux or Ubuntu as well.

The Lenovo P620 isn't for everyone. It's an insanely expensive workstation that can cost upwards of $40,000 fully tricked out, but for professionals who demand peak performance, nothing can touch the ThinkStation P620.

Lenovo ThinkStation P620

The best desktop workstation computer

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the best brand of desktop computer?

Dell, HP, Lenovo – how do you know what brand of desktop PC is best for you? Brand loyalty isn't the best way to approach desktop PCs, but brands have certain specialties. Apple is focused on rock-solid performance and a clean user experience for a slightly higher price, for example, while Dell creates several PCs that have the bandwidth for a home office and a gaming setup.

The best thing to do is look at individual desktop reviews rather than relying on what someone says is the "best brand." Some brands come out with excellent PCs one generation and poor desktops the next, so it's important to check in on reviews when you need to upgrade.

What is the best processor for a desktop computer?

The best CPU will depend on how you're using your desktop. Gamers who want the utmost performance will want an overclockable Intel Core i9-14900K found on most high-end systems, while creatives looking at juggling large media files will want something with more cores. That means AMD, which offers 12- and 16-core chips in the form of the AMD Ryzen 7900X and 7950X.

If you're working primarily on Office files and use your desktop to browse the web, scaling down to an Intel Core i5 or Core i7, or an AMD Ryzen 7 or Ryzen 5 processor, would help make substantial savings without impacting performance much.

Should my desktop have USB-C or Thunderbolt 3?

USB-C is beginning to show up in more desktop builds, but it's still more common on laptops. It's not strictly necessary, as there are plenty of USB-A to USB-C cables out there, but if it's a must for you, keep an eye on the case that your new system comes in. That will or won't have USB-C as standard.

Thunderbolt 3 uses the USB-C form factor but it offers the most bandwidth of any USB-based wired connection available at this time, giving speeds that scorch standard USB ports. However, it is even less common on desktops than plain old USB-C. If you want it, you'll need to go with an Intel or Apple system, though if you opt for the former and Thunderbolt 3 is not standard on the chassis or motherboard, you could always get a PCI-Express add-in card that has it.

When is the best time to buy a desktop?

The best time to buy a desktop is when your current computer isn't able to handle the applications you want to use. Black Friday and Amazon Prime Day usually bring the steepest discounts on desktop computers, but the reality is that you can score a deal on a PC almost any time during the year. Make sure to keep our roundup of the best desktop deals handy for when you want to upgrade.

How do you know if you need a laptop or desktop?

Choosing between a desktop and a laptop comes down to portability and comfort. You can take a laptop nearly anywhere, but they're not as comfortable to use as desktops with a larger screen. On the other hand, a desktop is more flexible and allows you to use a keyboard/mouse combo you like, but it's restricted to one area.

Consider what you'll use your machine for. If you're gaming, for example, a desktop makes more sense. If you're answering email and browsing the internet, a laptop is probably better a option.

How to choose a desktop computer

If your existing PC is so slow it can barely run Windows Solitaire, let alone video editing software, don’t fret. There’s some good news for computer users facing the inevitable upgrade: There’s never been a better time to buy a new PC.

Prices are at an all-time low, while at the same time, computers are becoming incredibly powerful and full of convenient features. But choosing the right computer to match your needs and budget can be an overwhelming task -- especially for tech-shy folks intimidated by geeky terminology and pushy salespeople.

Here's how to choose a computer that's just right for you.

Laptop or desktop

If you require portability, then a laptop (also referred to as a “notebook”) PC is for you. But if you want the flexibility of adding a larger display or upgrading other components (such as adding a bigger hard drive or better video card), then perhaps a desktop PC is the way to go.

If you buy a desktop computer, you will also need a display to plug into it to see anything, unless you buy an all-in-one computer, such as Dell All-in-One or an Apple iMac, which have the display built directly into the unit. If you’ve decided on a laptop, you'll need to consider portability like weight and size. A larger screen is nice, but do you want to deal with the added size and weight? The bigger the screen (e.g. 17 inches as opposed to 12 inches), the bigger and heavier the laptop will be.

While laptops are becoming more powerful, a desktop is still better suited for graphic-intensive applications such as computer gaming, video editing, or animation rendering. But if portability is a priority, then laptops are the only way to go.

Other things to keep in mind when deciding between a laptop and a desktop computer include upfront costs, noise and cooling, and peripherals. You should expect a laptop to cost a bit more than a desktop of similar specifications, as you're buying the display and input mechanisms at the same time, as well as paying for a battery -- though there are great budget laptops out there.

Laptops are also often very compact, which means they are more likely to be noisier when the fans ramp up to keep the computer cool. While desktops can also get noisy when under heavy loads like gaming or video editing, they tend to still be quieter than laptops under the same load due to the improved airflow in the case -- and you can always modify the cooling to Excellerate it. That's not so easy with laptops.

As for peripherals, desktops tend to have more ports than laptops, meaning if you need to connect a bunch of peripherals (e.g. printers, external storage, speakers, microphone, etc.) then a desktop may be a better choice. The latest port standards include USB-C and Thunderbolt 3, which are excellent connections to look for.

Mac or Windows

Personal preference and experience dictate the operating system of choice more than anything, making it hard to recommend one over the other. The best way to tell which one is ideal for you is to try both out to see which one feels more intuitive for you to work on, and which one will work with your favorite programs. Mac computers are generally more expensive than Windows-based PCs, though they tend to be a little more secure. With fewer macOS PCs out there, hackers are less interested in making viruses for them. The closed-ecosystem approach Apple employs for its products also makes it harder to distribute malware -- though not impossible.

Windows PCs have a much more robust gaming ecosystem to enjoy and are definitely better for gamers.

Outside of that niche, the app ecosystem for both macOS and Windows is very good -- there are so many apps for both platforms so no matter what you need to do, you'll likely be able to find an app to accomplish the task. Ultimately, you need to make the call for yourself, but definitely keep in mind that today's Mac computers can also run the Windows operating system through programs such as Boot Camp, Parallels, or VMWare Fusion.

Power and performance

Performance is arguably the most important metric of any PC, and the CPU is the heart of that. You want at the very least a dual-core CPU with simultaneous multithreading/hyperthreading, but a quad-core will make a big difference to your everyday PC performance. Intel's Core i3 and AMD's Ryzen 3 CPUs are fantastic in this respect, though especially the latter.

If you need a bit more power for any kind of photo or video editing or are planning to play the latest games, then ideally you will want to look for a computer that sports a six-core (or better) processor such as an Intel i5 or i7 or an AMD Ryzen 5 or Ryzen 7.

For more in-depth CPU buying information, check out our guide on how to choose a CPU.

When it comes to system memory, or RAM, you want to make sure you have enough, and not too much more. A capacity of 8GB to 16GB is the sweet spot for most users, including heavy gamers; 32GB and beyond is only really recommended if you're doing a lot of heavy video editing, and will very much depend on the particular software you want to use.

A graphics card can be the most expensive part of a PC and is only necessary if you're looking to play games. If you are, buy a GPU that fits your needs and budget. There's no point in buying a $1,000 graphics card if all you want to play is Minecraft, but you'll be disappointed if you try to play the latest AAA games on a budget GPU. Check out the specifications of the games you want to play to help decide which graphics card is right for you or check out our list of the best GPUs you can buy.

Want to game on the go? Check out our list of the best gaming laptops available.


The size of a hard drive or solid-state drive determines how many programs and files you can fit on it before running out of space. Unless you're buying something like a Chromebook where cloud storage is a big feature, a computer with at least 500GB of space is a good starting point. If you have a lot of games or movies that you want to store, then you'll want to consider a secondary drive with a terabyte or two of additional space.

Today, most computers have at least one SSD, or solid-state drive, for storage. SSDs are much faster than older HDDs (hard disk drives with moving, magnetic parts), which means you can open and find files faster. SSDs are your best bet for a boot drive, with traditional hard drives best suited as additional storage space and secondary drives.

If you're concerned about running out of space on your drive, don't be. There are so many options to expand your storage for either a laptop or desktop with an inexpensive external hard drive or even cloud storage. External drives (you can find both external hard drives and external SSDs) are great, and these days, depending on which one you buy, can be just as fast as your internal drive thanks to new technologies such as Thunderbolt 4.

Wi-Fi and Bluetooth

If you’re shopping for a laptop, chances are it’ll have integrated wireless networking features. This means you can log on to the internet at broadband speeds when in range of a Wi-Fi network, be it at home, work, school, or one of many thousand “hotspots” around the world, including cafés, hotels, airport lounges, and so on. The latest laptops have 802.11ax (Wi-Fi 6) technology -- which offers a 30% to 60% speed boost over the older 802.11ac (Wi-Fi 5) technology and is a safer bet if you want to prepare for future devices.

Bluetooth is another common wireless feature that most laptops (and some desktops) have, which can make phone syncing easier (read: cable-free) and even add support for headsets and headphones, allowing you to roam freely while on a voice call or listening to music. Any desktop you choose should also offer Wi-Fi 5 or 6 wireless networking capability (offered via a built-in or optional attachment), or come with an integrated Ethernet port, which enables connection to the internet via an Ethernet cable.

Going Chromebook

While Windows and Mac are the common choices for operating systems, there is an alternative for new users -- a Chromebook. Chromebooks run on Chrome OS, a lightweight operating system designed for ultra-portable laptops.

Chromebooks are a give-and-take proposition: They tend to be very affordable, very easy to use, and ideal choices for more casual users, students, and those who want to save money while still getting a laptop. They also have growing compatibility with Android apps. On the other hand, they typically have limited power, very little storage (depending on cloud storage for many activities), and limited capability to run more demanding software or applications without Chrome OS compatibility.

If you're interested in a laptop with a light footprint, we suggest you check out our guide to Chromebooks, and our current list of best Chromebooks on the market.

Build your own computer

If you're feeling a little adventurous and are looking to do something a bit different, there's always the option to build your own computer. It's quite a lot of fun too, plus these days it's easier than ever to find and buy all the parts you will need, and all the advice above still applies.

If you're interested in building your own computer, the best place to start compiling a parts list is PCPartPicker. At PCPartPicker you can compile a list of parts from various retail websites including Newegg and Amazon. What's even nicer is if you pick parts that aren't compatible, PCPartPicker will let you know.

Editors' Recommendations

Thu, 28 Dec 2023 10:00:00 -0600 en text/html
Developer Touts the Benefits of 'Diagonal Mode' Linux Desktop No result found, try new keyword!Still, Linux has support. Maybe 2024 will finally be the year of the Linux desktop, provided everyone decides diagonal monitors are cool. So, probably not. Thu, 28 Dec 2023 10:00:00 -0600 en-US text/html Benefits Overview

As an employee of Drexel University, you are our most valuable asset! Drexel University offers a variety of programs and offerings to fit your personal and professional needs: robust health plans, generous paid time off packages, extensive voluntary benefit options, best-in-class fertility and adoption assistance, work-life and employee assistance support, tuition remission/exchange programs and an exceptional retirement savings program. These benefits provide the foundation for a healthy and secure future while allowing employees to focus on their work knowing their well-being is taken care of which is a top priority of the University.  

Drexel’s comprehensive and competitive benefits package includes health, Rx, dental and vision coverage, Along with a Defined Contribution 403(b) retirement plan and a 457(b) supplemental plan for certain employees. Drexel also strives to provide employees with a solid work-life balance through its A Heathier U programs. There are voluntary benefits available during the new hire window or Open Enrollment period and ones that can be accessed all year long, along with discount programs (administered through Corestream). All employee benefits are explained throughout this section and listed in the table below.

To be eligible for Drexel’s health and welfare benefits, you must be employed in a benefits-eligible position on a regular University payroll and work at least 20 hours per week. Eligibility requirements for represented employees may vary by union contract. The benefit eligibility overview [PDF] includes eligibility criteria for all benefits and Drexel faculty and professional staff.

To enroll, waive or view benefits information, log in to the My Drexel Benefits portal under the Employee tab in DrexelOne.

Important Benefits Deadline: You must complete your benefit enrollment within 31 days from your date of hire. After your 31-day enrollment window closes, most benefits may only be changed during the University's annual open enrollment period. Please review the Benefits Guide and New Hire Checklist [PDF] for more information. If you take no action within 31 days, you will be automatically enrolled as follows:

  • Medical Coverage: You will be automatically placed in the Point of Service Plan (or PPO Basic, if out of area) at the employee-only coverage level, and premiums will be deducted from your paycheck. No changes may be made until the next annual enrollment period.
  • Retirement: You will be automatically enrolled at two percent of your salary. You may change or cancel contributions at any time. All contributions that have been deposited into your TIAA account must follow the withdrawal rules of the plan.


Job Role  Hours/Work Requirements 
Full-time Faculty 100 percent teaching appointment
Full-time Professional Staff Regular schedule of 40 hours per week
Part-time Faculty At least a 50 percent appointment, but less than 100 percent
Part-time Professional Staff Regular schedule between 20 and 39 hours per week

Benefits at a Glance [PDF]

Fact Sheets

Full-time Faculty Full-time Staff Part-time Faculty Part-time Staff Per Diem, Casual, Temporary Adjunct

Whom to Contact With Questions

Employees who have questions regarding their benefits may use the following contact options:

Benefits Structure

Tue, 03 May 2022 03:34:00 -0500 en text/html
The Best Desktop Computers for 2024

The Best Desktop Computer Deals This Week*

*Deals are selected by our commerce team

Snazzy, innovative laptop designs are constantly evolving. Smartphones are ubiquitous and astonishingly capable. So where does that leave that '80s relic, the desktop PC? You can still find plenty for sale, and innovation never stops in the desktop market, especially among small-form-factor and all-in-one models. But many shoppers seem to consider desktops an anachronism, heading straight to the laptop aisle for their next computer purchase.

That's not always the right move. Desktops aren't facing extinction, and they're doing anything but standing still. For consumers and businesses alike, these are the most cost-effective and customizable desktop computers for 2023, as shown by our favorite examples from recent reviews. Check them out, then read on to learn everything you need to know about finding the best desktop for you.

Deeper Dive: Our Top Tested Picks

Acer Aspire TC-1760-UA92

Best Budget Tower for Most Buyers

Why We Picked It

With a 12th Generation Intel Core i5 processor inside paired with 12GB of memory and a 512GB SSD, Acer’s Aspire TC-1760-UA92 stands above every budget tower we’ve recently tested. For a decent starting price, you’re getting quite a lot of power, as well as more space and capacity for upgrades than our previous Editors’ Choice pick.

Who It’s For

If you’re buying for your family or household and are looking to save as much as possible while still getting a reliably performant product, stop your search here. With a decent array of components that's better than what we've seen from most budget PCs we’ve come across, this Acer should serve you well for years to come.


  • Peppy everyday performance
  • Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.2
  • Supports two HDMI monitors
  • 512GB storage
  • Built-in DVD burner


Desktop Class Mainstream
Processor Intel Core i5-12400
Processor Speed 2.5 GHz
RAM (as Tested) 12 GB
Boot Drive Type SSD
Boot Drive Capacity (as Tested) 512 GB
Secondary Drive Type
Secondary Drive Capacity (as Tested)
Optical Drive DVD+/-RW
All-in-One Screen Size
All-in-One Screen Native Resolution
All-in-One Screen Type
Graphics Card Intel UHD Graphics 730
Operating System Windows 11 Home

Dell XPS Desktop (8960)

Best Mainstream or High-End Desktop for Most Buyers

Why We Picked It

Dell continues to hold its position as a top dog of desktops, thanks to the stellar XPS Desktop 8960 for 2023. Configured for review in a high-end setup with more affordable configurations coming soon, this XPS Desktop tore through just about every task we threw at it, all while holding PC gaming-ready power inside its stealthy black chassis.

Who It’s For

If you're in need of a high-end desktop for more than just gaming, then stop your search at the latest Dell XPS Desktop. Not only is it ready for just about any task you can imagine, but its case also leaves room for a decent amount of upgrades as well as ample port selection.


  • Gaming desktop power with office-ready looks
  • Ample port selection and Wi-Fi 6E
  • Decent upgrade potential


  • Proprietary power supply
  • No removable dust filters
  • High starting price (for now)


Desktop Class Gaming
Processor Intel Core i7-13700K
Processor Speed 3.4 GHz
RAM (as Tested) 32 GB
Boot Drive Type SSD
Boot Drive Capacity (as Tested) 1 TB
Secondary Drive Type
Secondary Drive Capacity (as Tested)
Optical Drive
All-in-One Screen Size
All-in-One Screen Native Resolution
All-in-One Screen Type
Graphics Card Nvidia GeForce RTX 4080
Operating System Windows 11 Home

NZXT Player: One

Best Budget Gaming Desktop

Why We Picked It

It's true: You can get a slick-looking gaming PC for narrowly more than $1,000, and the NZXT Player: One is proof. This Editors' Choice award-winning desktop brings stellar performance at 1080p resolutions and a neat glass window for showing off any additional lighting you might want to add. Additionally, it's covered by a two-year warranty, which is helpful peace of mind for cash-strapped buyers.

Who It's For

If you're hoping to get into PC gaming at the 1080p level or need an upgrade to keep current at that resolution, then NZXT's Player: One is a smart bet. For just more than a grand, you'll receive a sweet-looking rig with room for upgrades and expansions that's covered for two full years against hardware failure and other issues.


  • Excellent 1080p gaming performance
  • Custom-built quality
  • Standard two-year warranty
  • Includes Wi-Fi 6E


  • More expensive than mainstream towers
  • Needs more front ports
  • Limited storage


Desktop Class Gaming
Processor Intel Core i5-12400F
Processor Speed 2.5 GHz
RAM (as Tested) 16 GB
Boot Drive Type SSD
Boot Drive Capacity (as Tested) 500 GB
Secondary Drive Type
Secondary Drive Capacity (as Tested)
Optical Drive
All-in-One Screen Size
All-in-One Screen Native Resolution
All-in-One Screen Type
Graphics Card Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050
Operating System Windows 11 Home

Alienware Aurora R16

Best Midrange Gaming Desktop

Why We Picked It

The Aurora R16 gaming desktop is a new phase for Alienware, leaving its more outlandish case designs behind for more sensible form factors. This new case, inside and out, allows for quieter operation, more speed, and wider appeal. It's also decently priced for what it offers, coming in with liquid cooling for less than $2,000.

Who It’s For

If you've been a fan of Alienware's plug-and-play experience or excellent RGB lighting systems and interfaces, but not so much its case designs, then this is the time to get in. While it's still less upgradable than most gaming PCs of its shape, size, and power, it's definitely the best pre-built rig right now for its performance, price, and presentation.


  • Effective performance for the price
  • Refreshing design
  • Whisper quiet
  • Broad connectivity selection


  • No budget models
  • Proprietary mainboard and power supply


Desktop Class Gaming
Processor Intel Core i7-13700F
Processor Speed 2.1 GHz
RAM (as Tested) 32 GB
Boot Drive Type SSD
Boot Drive Capacity (as Tested) 1 TB
Secondary Drive Type SSD
Secondary Drive Capacity (as Tested) 1 TB
Optical Drive
All-in-One Screen Size
All-in-One Screen Native Resolution
All-in-One Screen Type
Graphics Card Nvidia GeForce RTX 4070
Operating System Windows 11 Home

Lenovo Legion Tower 7i Gen 8

Best High-End Gaming Desktop

Why We Picked It

Lenovo has crafted yet another no-nonsense gaming desktop in the Legion Tower 7i Gen 8, a gaming PC with the ease of use, appealing looks, and excellent power we look for in a high-end rig. Not only does this PC pack considerable graphics and processing potential, but it comes in a sleek, unassuming shell that doesn't immediately provide away your gamer status (if that's at all a concern for you).

Who It's For

If you're a well-to-do (but not quite money-is-no-object) PC gamer with an appetite for blistering frame rates or super-sharp resolutions, the Lenovo Legion Tower 7i Gen 8 will serve you well. For the price, this PC successfully delivers on performance in either aforementioned area while presenting in a quality case that's well-lit and runs quietly while gaming.


  • 4K-ready gaming
  • Readily upgradable
  • Quiet fans
  • Low-profile design with vibrant RGB lighting


  • No front USB-C ports
  • Not factory customizable


Desktop Class Gaming
Processor Intel Core i9-13900KF
Processor Speed 3 GHz
RAM (as Tested) 32 GB
Boot Drive Type SSD
Boot Drive Capacity (as Tested) 1 TB
Secondary Drive Type
Secondary Drive Capacity (as Tested)
Optical Drive
All-in-One Screen Size
All-in-One Screen Native Resolution
All-in-One Screen Type
Graphics Card Nvidia GeForce RTX 4080
Operating System Windows 11 Home

Dell OptiPlex 5090 Tower

Best Business Desktop

Why We Picked It

With the OptiPlex 5090, Dell crafted an affordable office (or remote working) desktop with a professional-grade Intel Core i5 processor including vPro security technology built in as well as plenty of room for future component upgrades or replacements. While the base configuration is a little bare, higher loadouts are where it's at, which make better use of the multiple USB and DisplayPort connections.

Who It's For

This OptiPlex 5090 business desktop is best suited for offices or remote working operations that are seeking longevity for their machines—down to replacing specific parts so as to avoid replacing them outright for as long as possible. On a related note, the standard three-year warranty should be deeply appealing to fleet managers.


  • Good value for an Intel Core i5 desktop, with loads of configurability
  • Intel vPro support
  • Multiple USB and DisplayPort connections
  • 260-watt power supply
  • Three-year base warranty


  • Base model has only 8GB RAM and 256GB SSD
  • No Wi-Fi or Bluetooth in base config


Desktop Class Tower
Processor Intel Core i5-11500
Processor Speed 2.7 GHz
RAM (as Tested) 8 GB
Boot Drive Type SSD
Boot Drive Capacity (as Tested) 256 GB
Secondary Drive Type
Secondary Drive Capacity (as Tested)
Optical Drive
All-in-One Screen Size
All-in-One Screen Native Resolution
All-in-One Screen Type
Graphics Card Intel UHD Graphics 750
Operating System Windows 11 Pro

Lenovo IdeaCentre AIO 3i

Best Budget All-in-One Desktop

Why We Picked It

Lenovo’s sub-$500 IdeaCentre AIO makes a lot of right calls, producing suitable performance for its audience as well as some helpful features, like a webcam, disc drive, and four more USB ports. Of course, its price weighs heavily in our evaluation and recommendation, and with our test model's ample amount of RAM and storage, you certainly have value here.

Who It's For

While you can find better AIOs, price is—again—a chief consideration when looking at this desktop. If you need an affordable computer, peripherals included, for web browsing, working from home, and movie watching (maybe even from a DVD!), put the IdeaCentre AIO 3i on your shortlist. For extremely tight budgets, you cannot do much better.


  • Solid screen for the money
  • Bundled mouse and keyboard
  • Decent speakers
  • Plenty of ports


  • No USB-C ports
  • Lackluster CPU performance


Desktop Class All-in-one
Processor Intel Pentium Gold 7505
Processor Speed 2 GHz
RAM (as Tested) 16 GB
Boot Drive Type SSD
Boot Drive Capacity (as Tested) 1 TB
Secondary Drive Type
Secondary Drive Capacity (as Tested)
Optical Drive DVD+/-RW
All-in-One Screen Size 22 inches
All-in-One Screen Native Resolution 1920 by 1080
All-in-One Screen Type Non-Touch Screen
Graphics Card Intel UHD Graphics
Operating System Windows 11

Lenovo IdeaCentre AIO 5i

Best All-in-One Desktop for Most Buyers

Why We Picked It

Of every all-in-one desktop we’ve tested in recent memory, the Lenovo IdeaCentre AIO 5i is the best AIO today for most of you. It’s not outstanding at any particular task, but it reliably meets the needs of the average household. With a large 27-inch 1440p screen, it does well to replace most monitors more than a few years old, and you’ll find an excellent 1080p webcam above it. This isn’t a barn-burner on benchmarks, but it has lots of pep for its price.

Who It's For

If all you need is a relatively quick and easy home computer, this IdeaCentre should serve you well. It’s fully capable of regular home computing tasks, it’s equipped with a gorgeous display, and it includes a sharp camera for video calls. If you’re looking for a high-power AIO, this ain’t it (look more toward the HP Envy 34 All-in-One), but the Lenovo IdeaCentre AIO 5i is a no-brainer home PC for most people, at a midrange price.


  • High-resolution 27-inch display
  • Impressive performer for the price
  • 1080p webcam


  • 8GB of RAM is light for the price
  • Can be noisy under heavy loads
  • Not the most exciting design


Desktop Class All-in-one
Processor Intel Core i5-12500H
Processor Speed
RAM (as Tested) 8 GB
Boot Drive Type SSD
Boot Drive Capacity (as Tested) 512 GB
Secondary Drive Type
Secondary Drive Capacity (as Tested)
Optical Drive
All-in-One Screen Size 27 inches
All-in-One Screen Native Resolution 2560 by 1440
All-in-One Screen Type IPS
Graphics Card Intel UHD Graphics
Operating System Windows 11 Home

Apple iMac 24-Inch (2023, M3)

Best High-End All-in-One Desktop

Why We Picked It

Breaking its hibernation at last, Apple updated its 24-inch iMac with the new M3 processor, bringing what it claims is the best-selling all-in-one overall into a new echelon of power. Not only is this new iMac more performant in general tasks, but it can run honest-to-goodness modern games, albeit not at its native display resolution, with impressive detail and smooth frame rates. The new 24-inch iMac is simply capable of a wider variety of jobs than its competition, especially with how far Apple's integrated graphics have come since its M1 processor, making it the best high-end AIO right now.

Who It's For

For self-employed creative professionals or high-level digital hobbyists, the iMac will serve you well—especially with the optional 10-core GPU and additional unified memory. The iMac is also ideal for Apple-fan families, allowing for the adults to get work done and connect with friends or extended family as well as letting the kids finish school assignments and play games—all using distinct profiles that are easy to switch between.


  • Impressive performance gains over M1 model
  • Honest-to-goodness modern gaming chops
  • Excellent webcam
  • High-end look with fun retro references


  • Short on ports
  • No keyboard backlighting
  • Steep prices for higher configurations


Desktop Class All-in-one
Processor Apple M3
Processor Speed
RAM (as Tested) 24 GB
Boot Drive Type SSD
Boot Drive Capacity (as Tested) 2 TB
Secondary Drive Type
Secondary Drive Capacity (as Tested)
Optical Drive
All-in-One Screen Size 23.5 inches
All-in-One Screen Native Resolution 4480 by 2520
All-in-One Screen Type Non-Touch Screen
Graphics Card Apple M3 (10-core)
Operating System Apple macOS Sonoma

Apple Mac mini (2023, M2 Pro)

Best Mainstream Mac Desktop

Why We Picked It

Apple’s 2023 Mac mini builds upon an already excellent platform, incorporating the M2 line of processors. At the high end, the M2 Pro proves competitive with the company's best from its M1 series. To get that level of performance from a system this size is impressive, once again earning the Mac mini our Editors’ Choice award for Mac desktops. Note: We tested the well-upgraded M2 Pro version, but we're primarily picking this as our Best Mainstream Mac Desktop of the moment with an eye on the base M2 (non-Pro) model, which is now cheaper ($599!) than the M1 model was when it launched in 2020.

Who It’s For

Apple's latest Mac mini actually serves quite a wide audience, from the budget-conscious Mac fan to, in its upgraded versions, those of you who use Macs professionally. It all depends upon how you configure your Mac mini before checkout. If you need a low-cost update to keep relevant with Apple's macOS platform, this is where to start.


  • Classic Mac mini design
  • Snappy performance in either configuration
  • Extra Thunderbolt ports with M2 Pro model
  • M2 Pro adds peak 8K-resolution, 240Hz-refresh-rate display options


  • Memory and storage are not upgradable (and upticks at time of purchase are pricey)
  • True value pricing only on lowest-end model
  • No accessories or peripherals included


Desktop Class Small Form Factor (SFF)
Processor Apple M2 Pro (12-core)
Processor Speed
RAM (as Tested) 16 GB
Boot Drive Type SSD
Boot Drive Capacity (as Tested) 1 TB
Secondary Drive Type
Secondary Drive Capacity (as Tested)
Optical Drive
All-in-One Screen Size
All-in-One Screen Native Resolution
All-in-One Screen Type
Graphics Card Apple M2 Pro (19-core)
Operating System Apple macOS Ventura

Apple Mac Studio (M2 Ultra, 2023)

Best High-End Mac Desktop

Why We Picked It

As should be expected, the Mac Studio with Apple's latest M2 Ultra processor is the company's most powerful small-form-factor Mac desktop to date. In fact, it uses much of the same silicon and supporting hardware that the brand-new Mac Pro has, albeit in a far smaller case, which limits thermals as well as expansion comparatively. Regardless, our review unit tore through all of our benchmarks, proving to be well worth its steep but relatively competitive price, earning an Editors' Choice award.

Who It's For

If you use Macs for high-end multimedia or 3D asset manipulation and rendering, this is the Mac desktop you've probably been holding out for. While we weren't able to directly test many uses cases for the Mac Studio, such as machine learning performance, we did note promising accuracy between most our test results and many of Apple's M2 Ultra performance gains. If you don't necessarily need the huge expansion available in the Mac Pro, then save yourself tens of thousands with the Mac Studio.


  • Noticeable performance improvements across the board versus M1 Ultra version
  • Competitively priced among workstations
  • Updated to Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.3


  • Accessories still sold separately
  • Internals are not user-upgradable after purchase


Desktop Class Workstation
Processor Apple M2 Ultra
Processor Speed
RAM (as Tested) 192 GB
Boot Drive Type SSD
Boot Drive Capacity (as Tested) 8 TB
Secondary Drive Type
Secondary Drive Capacity (as Tested)
Optical Drive
All-in-One Screen Size
All-in-One Screen Native Resolution
All-in-One Screen Type
Graphics Card Apple M2 Ultra (76-core)
Operating System Apple macOS Ventura

MSI Pro DP21

Best Mini Desktop

Why We Picked It

MSI’s Pro DP21 is the latest mini PC that we’ve reviewed to earn our Editors’ Choice award, in large part thanks to its fast performance, ample wired connectivity, and Wi-Fi 6 for a decent price. (That goes for individuals and fleet buyers alike.) Plus, this VESA-mountable desktop is surprisingly easy to upgrade, extending its shelf life considerably.

Who It’s For

While this isn’t the smallest mini PC, the MSI Pro DP21 makes up for that with its competitive power profile, easy access for upgrades, and compelling price. If your desk has precious little space to work with, but you need decent power and lots of ports, then this is an excellent place to end your search.


  • Compact, VESA-mountable design
  • Well-priced
  • Peppy Core i3 processor
  • Ample connectivity including Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth
  • Easily upgradable


Desktop Class Business
Processor Intel Core i3-12100
Processor Speed 3.3 GHz
RAM (as Tested) 8 GB
Boot Drive Type SSD
Boot Drive Capacity (as Tested) 256 GB
Secondary Drive Type
Secondary Drive Capacity (as Tested)
Optical Drive
All-in-One Screen Size
All-in-One Screen Native Resolution
All-in-One Screen Type
Graphics Card Intel UHD Graphics 730
Operating System Windows 11 Home

HP Z6 G5

Best High-End Workstation Desktop

Why We Picked It

While you'll naturally pay dearly for it, HP's Z6 G5 workstation is among the best we've tested this year. Its Intel Xeon processor and not one, not two, but three pro-grade Nvidia RTX graphics cards in our test model ensured an easy ride through the crunchiest data processing and high-end media tasks. Of course, this rig has the versatility to be set up with oodles of storage as well as additional networking equipment, not to mention several ISV certifications and hardware-level security.

Who It's For

If you're buying for a small business or large organization that works in complex computing fields such as high-end media creation, machine learning, or 3D rendering, definitely start your search with the HP Z6 G5. Because of its immense power, this workstation is capable of just about every job an office could throw at it, making it ideal for a vast array of workplaces.


  • Nearly unlimited performance and expandability
  • Available hot-swap drives
  • Lots of security features
  • Built-in carrying handles


  • Expensive at loaded configurations
  • Overkill for even most workstation tasks


Desktop Class Workstation
Processor Intel Xeon w9-3475X
Processor Speed 2.2 GHz
RAM (as Tested) 128 GB
Boot Drive Type SSD
Boot Drive Capacity (as Tested) 1 TB
Secondary Drive Type Hard Drive
Secondary Drive Capacity (as Tested) 1 TB
Optical Drive
All-in-One Screen Size
All-in-One Screen Native Resolution
All-in-One Screen Type
Graphics Card 3x Nvidia RTX A6000
Operating System Windows 11 Pro for Workstations

HP Z2 Mini G9

Best Compact Workstation Desktop

Why We Picked It

Miniaturized performance computers often lose something when going so small, but the Z2 Mini G9's caveats are few enough to overlook. HP's redone frame has the best access for upgrades and service we've seen from a workstation this small, most notably featuring a professional-grade graphics card. For that, it's easy to recommend the HP Z2 Mini G9 as the top compact workstation.

Who It’s For

With support for desktop-class (125-watt) Intel silicon, DDR5 memory (with error-correcting RAM if needed), and PCI Express Gen 4 storage, this Z2 Mini brings a lot of workstation-grade features to your space-strapped desk. For its size, we're also impressed by its broad connectivity. Naturally, expansion is a weak point, but if you know that going in, you're still getting lots of power out of a little bit of space, making this workstation ideal for especially small offices.


  • Compact VESA-compatible design
  • Impressive performance
  • Easily serviceable, even the graphics card
  • Ample connectivity
  • Modular I/O ports


  • Can get louder than expected
  • External power brick


Desktop Class Workstation
Processor Intel Core i9-12900K
Processor Speed 3.2 GHz
RAM (as Tested) 64 GB
Boot Drive Type SSD
Boot Drive Capacity (as Tested) 1 TB
Secondary Drive Type
Secondary Drive Capacity (as Tested)
Optical Drive
All-in-One Screen Size
All-in-One Screen Native Resolution
All-in-One Screen Type
Graphics Card Nvidia RTX A2000
Operating System Windows 11 Pro

Buying Guide: The Best Desktop Computers for 2024

We've reviewed an impressive variety and capability of desktops above, right? We don't deny that a laptop or tablet is a better pick for people who depend on business travel, or whose computing consists mostly of basic surfing and typing from the living-room couch. But for small offices, families, creative pros, gamers, and tech tinkerers, desktops are often the best choice and the best value.

Alienware Aurora R16

(Credit: Joseph Maldonado)

While desktops don't come in as many distinct form factors as laptops, you'll find lots of variation in computing power and room for upgrades and expansion. Let's dive into these, and a bunch of other important factors, as you prepare to buy your next desktop.

How Much Should I Spend on a Desktop?

One of the desktop's most alluring promises is the value it delivers. Your money simply goes further with desktop PCs and their components. Instead of buying a $700 laptop with a competent Intel Core i5 processor, you can get a $700 desktop with a more powerful Core i7 CPU in it, and maybe even squeeze in a dedicated graphics card.

You can find complete mini PCs for super light work and display-signage tasks for under $300, and perfectly serviceable small towers for $300 to $600. Gaming desktops with dedicated graphics cards start at around $700. You can also find all-in-one desktops, with the display and all of the computing components built into a single device, starting at around $400.

The thing with desktops is, opting for a cheap one does not carry some of the same risks you'd face with a like-priced laptop. A $250 Black Friday special or a steeply discounted refurbished desktop could perform just fine for basic computing, and you wouldn't need to worry about the wear and tear on cheap materials that you might with a laptop of a similar price. That inexpensive laptop would be subject to the vagaries of daily commuting and the occasional drop from a coffee table. The desktop, in contrast, would need to stay put and just work.

The Acer Aspire TC-1760-UA92

(Credit: Kyle Cobian)

At the top end of the market are business workstations, tricked-out gaming rigs, and magnificently engineered all-in-one PCs that cost several thousand dollars. Not only will a $3,000 gaming tower provide immense computing power today, but it should come with so much room for expansion and potential for upgradability that its useful life will be far longer than any laptop's. And that's before you even delve into the wild world of custom PCs: automotive-grade paint jobs, liquid cooling, and fanciful lighting and wiring. 

IT-manageable, security-conscious business desktops—most of them nowadays made by Dell, HP, and Lenovo—have their own pricing dynamic and tend to cost more, all else being equal. That's because of their premium warranty or support plans, as well as the possible addition of enterprise-specific silicon focused on manageability or security. Sometimes, part of the cost premium of business desktops reflects the PC maker’s ensure that it will stock replacement components and upgrades for that line of machines for a fixed future period. That allows IT pros to count on the ability to continue servicing a fleet of a given business machine over that stretch of time. 

Windows vs. Mac: Settle on an Operating System

The Mac vs. PC debate is one of the oldest in modern technology, and we're not going to pick a side or try to settle that particular religious war here. But if you're not wedded to one or the other by years of habit (or the peripherals and software you own) and are open to switching, here's a quick rundown of your choices.

Windows 11 is the latest iteration of Microsoft's operating system. Desktops that use it and previous versions of the OS are what most people typically rely on, so you'll be assured of the best compatibility and the widest selection of third-party software. Desktops running Windows are also readily available below $500, making them attractive to casual users, families looking for a second PC, and bargain hunters. 

Mac versus Windows

(Credit: Jose Ruiz)

Macs are an excellent choice if you're already in an Apple-centric household, since macOS has seamless compatibility with iPads and iPhones, including the ability to send and receive messages on any device connected to your iCloud account. The cost of entry will be higher than with the least expensive PCs, however.

Google's ChromeOS is a viable alternative to Windows and macOS, but desktops running it (called Chromeboxes) are rare and best suited to niche uses like powering a restaurant menu display. A fourth option is to buy a desktop with no operating system at all and install an open-source one of your choosing, such as Ubuntu Linux. We don't recommend going this route unless you're technically savvy, willing to experiment, and okay fixing software compatibility issues and other quirks.

What Desktop Form Factor Do I Need?

Macs and Windows PCs are available in all three of the major desktop form factors: mini PCs that can fit on a bookshelf, sleek all-in-ones with built-in (and usually high-resolution) displays, and traditional desktop towers that are bulky but have room for more or less easy expansion. These three forms each have strengths and weaknesses, and none of them is an obvious best choice for everyone. You'll have to choose based on what you plan to do with your desktop and where you plan to put it. 

For truly cramped quarters or light workloads, as well as for people who love the efficient use of space, a mini PC could be the best choice. They come in sizes ranging from tiny sticks not much larger than a USB thumb drive to small-form-factor (SFF) towers that may be nearly a foot tall but have compact footprints. The smallest sizes have the benefit of disappearing behind an HDMI-equipped monitor or TV, and they contain a processor, memory, storage, and ports to hook up keyboards and mice. They're economical and power-efficient, and can serve as adequate web browsing or multimedia viewing platforms. But know that the models at the truly tiny end of the scale have no room for adding extra internal components, and their preinstalled parts are usually difficult or impossible to upgrade. 

The MSI Pro DP21

(Credit: Kyle Cobian)

Regardless, you can find a fair mix of what qualify as mini PCs that can be customized or upgraded with better components. They're bigger than the "stick"-style PCs but much more flexible and expandable.

Traditional tower desktops are capable of even more flexibility, but also bring a lot more bulk. Nowadays, the differences between midsize and full-size towers are less well-defined, and some of the new PC case designs—from cubes to glass boxes—defy easy categorization. Still, nearly all desktop towers have generous amounts of interior space and full-size (a.k.a. ATX) motherboards, so you can install one or more (sometimes, many more) secondary storage drives, more RAM in empty slots on the motherboard, a video card if one isn't installed, and in some remote cases, even a second graphics card for extreme gaming or graphics-accelerated tasks. (Note that not all desktop mini towers and towers can take a graphics upgrade. That is where reviews come in.)

An all-in-one (AIO) desktop is quite a different animal from both of these form factors. An AIO can save you some space, since the display is built in. An AIO's value proposition comes down to space saving and whether you happen to be shopping for a desktop display at the same time. Though you can find budget AIOs with basic feature sets, lower resolutions, and non-touch screens, many new models include touch-enabled screens, and some AIO panels have exceptionally high native resolutions of 4K (3,840 by 2,160 pixels) or even 5K (5,120 by 2,880 pixels). Touch displays make them excellent choices for watching movies or serving as a multimedia hub in the kitchen or other public area of your home, though the absolute highest resolutions target content creators rather than consumers.

Apple iMac 24-Inch (2023, M3)

(Credit: Joseph Maldonado)

With a few exceptions for business-oriented models, you will provide up a lot of room for expansion in an AIO versus traditional desktop tower. Cracking open an AIO for an upgrade or fix, while not impossible, is a bigger deal than opening the side of a desktop tower. Apple's late-model iMacs are particularly difficult to open.

How Much Processing Power Is Enough?

One of the main benefits of a desktop tower is that it will use a desktop-grade CPU. That may sound obvious, but it's a key distinction. 

AMD and Intel, the two biggest makers of processors for PCs, provide desktop-class chips and laptop-class chips to system manufacturers, but often the CPU model names are similar and tricky to tell apart. For example, you will see Intel's Core i7 in both laptops and desktops, but having a "true" desktop CPU versus one made for a mobile device makes a big performance difference. 

A desktop CPU gives you more power for complex content-creation work, PC gaming, or math and scientific projects. Faster processors with four, six, eight, or even as many as 18 cores will benefit software written to take advantage of the extra cores. The desktop version of a given CPU will consume more power and generate more heat than versions designed for laptops, which must be incorporated into environments that have less thermal and power-delivery leeway. A desktop CPU also has greater wiggle room to incorporate a key feature, multithreading, that allows each of the CPU's cores to address two processing threads at a time instead of just one. Multithreading (which Intel calls "Hyper-Threading") can deliver a major performance boost when engaged with suitably equipped software.

Intel Core Processor

(Credit: Michael Justin Allen Sexton)

The absolute highest-end desktop chips may require liquid cooling systems, which limits their use to high-end towers with lots of interior space. Processors in these families are specialized and expensive, and you’ll only want them if you have specific software needs that you know, explicitly, can leverage their higher base and peak clock rates, as well as all of their addressable cores and threads. These are not casual purchases.

Many AIOs and mini PCs, conversely, use the same efficient, cooler-running types of CPUs that you'll find in laptops. Intel typically labels these mobile-first chip designs with a CPU name containing "U" or "H," whereas most desktop chips instead have a "T" or a "K," or just a zero at the end. A mobile CPU might have the same number of processor cores as its desktop counterpart (four- and six-core chips are common in both), but its maximum power consumption will often be far lower. Also, the typical base and boost clock speeds may be lower, and the chip may not support multithreading. Regardless, many desktop PC buyers will be fine with these lower-powered CPUs for everyday work, and a little more. 

AMD Ryzen Processor

(Credit: Michael Justin Allen Sexton)

For a typical tower using a true desktop-grade CPU, mainstream users should look for an Intel Core i5 or AMD Ryzen 5; the Core i7 and Ryzen 7 are also excellent, powerful choices, but overkill for most folks who aren’t serious PC gamers, intensive multitaskers, or prosumer or pro video or image manipulators. If CPU power is critically important, though, these should suffice. The Core i9, Ryzen 9, Ryzen Threadripper, and Core X-Series are worthwhile only if you know your workflow is being held back by too few cores or threads, or you have extreme needs in terms of internal storage (for which the Threadripper and Core X can help with internal resources). Again, see our deep-dive on desktop CPUs to understand the nuances of these higher-end choices.

Do I Need a Powerful Graphics Card?

All computers have a CPU, but most laptops and many cheaper desktops don't have a dedicated graphics processor, or GPU. Instead, their display output comes from a portion of the CPU, a slice of silicon known as an integrated graphics processor (IGP). An IGP is fine for basic tasks, such as checking your email, browsing the web, or even streaming videos. Doing productivity work on an IGP is completely within bounds. Indeed, most business desktops rely on IGPs.

The Nvidia GeForce RTX 4090

(Credit: Michael Justin Allen Sexton)

In any case, an IGP is not the answer for anyone who wants to run intensive 3D games, render architectural simulations, or perhaps train an artificial intelligence algorithm. These situations—especially games, but often pro-grade apps, too—can benefit from more muscular graphics. Times like these call for a graphics card, which will bring its own GPU to the game, and the most powerful of these are found in desktop PCs. 

The AMD Radeon RX 7900 XTX

(Credit: Michael Justin Allen Sexton)

Choosing a graphics card is a complex affair. Gamers should consider the capabilities of their monitor first. A 4K monitor or one with a high refresh rate (144Hz or greater) will require a profoundly powerful GPU (or occasionally even two GPUs) to display games at the monitor's maximum potential. If you're just looking to do some middle-of-the-road gaming on a 1080p monitor (and not looking to win any professional esports crowns), a mainstream card will do just fine.

Meanwhile, creative professionals and other power users should consider the graphics-acceleration recommendations of the apps they plan to run, using the software maker's system requirements as a guide. Graphics-accelerated video rendering or AI programs can benefit from the same types of GPUs as intensive 3D games. Professionals eyeing workstations will want to consider Nvidia's RTX A series lineup or AMD's Radeon Pro models. Check out our deep-dive guide to graphics cards for much, much more on the nuances of today's video cards.

How Much Storage and Memory Should My Desktop Have?

While powerful CPUs and GPUs are mostly relegated to desktop towers, nearly every desktop form factor can handle copious amounts of storage and memory. This is thanks to the advent of higher-capacity memory modules and especially solid-state drives (SSDs). The latter take up vastly less space than the spinning hard drives of old. 

It's still possible to find desktops with only spinning hard drives, but we recommend avoiding these and choosing an SSD as the main boot drive whenever possible. Some desktops feature a single-drive combination of an SSD and a hard drive. A "true" SSD is really the only way to go as a boot drive today, though, considering how far prices have dropped in the last couple of years. 

A single 500GB or 512GB SSD is fine for most users. A 250GB or 256GB SSD is also a common size for a boot drive these days, but it's a little tight if you store much locally. Anyone with large media and game collections will want to consider several terabytes of storage across multiple drives. Consider choosing a fast SSD as the boot drive, and one or more large-capacity but slower hard drives for bulk storage of capacity-sapping video or games.  A typical configuration in this case is one 512GB SSD and one or more hard drives with at least 1TB of space on each. Such a setup can be more affordable than you might think—an SSD plus one hard drive is sometimes seen on under-$1,000 desktop towers. 

Samsung 2.5-inch SSD

(Credit: Chris Stobing)

If you think you'll add storage later, consider how many expansion bays your desktop has. A combination of two or more 2.5-inch or 3.5-inch bays should be enough, as these can accommodate any type of traditional SSD or hard drive. You'll also want to ensure your desktop has at least one M.2 slot to accept a PCI Express SSD as the main boot drive, since that will enable the fastest throughput speeds. In most new systems, the boot drive will come as an M.2 drive. These drives are quite small, the size and thickness of a stick of gum.

Samsung M.2 SSD

(Credit: Chris Stobing)

While a desktop's SSD stores your data, its system memory (or RAM) works with the CPU to run apps and helps define its capacity to multitask. Memory capacities of 8GB or 16GB are fine for most users, and these are the most common configurations on entry-level or midrange desktops of all forms and sizes. 

Few people will see much benefit from memory amounts above 16GB, but you'll find exceptions. Gaming PCs above the budget level should have at least 16GB of RAM, and 32GB is a prudent upgrade for esports hounds who want to play and simultaneously edit and stream in-game footage.

Finally, assuming your professional software can address higher memory amounts, professional workstations should have at least 32GB of memory with error-correcting code (ECC) capabilities to keep everything running smoothly. You'll want to follow the guidance of the software maker, in that case.

What Wired and Wireless Connectivity Does My PC Need?

You might be able to excuse a relative lack of input and output ports on a sleek AIO. The screen and speakers are built in, and you'll likely use a wireless keyboard and mouse, anyway. But mini PCs and desktop towers need the right selection of ports. At a minimum, they'll have to connect to a display, speakers or headphones, and a power source.

On all but the absolute tiniest mini PCs, you should look for at least three USB 3.0 (or higher) ports, at least one of which should be the newer, oval-shaped Type-C variety if you have any compatible peripherals that plug directly into that kind of port. Future-proofers will want to seek out USB4 or Thunderbolt 4 options, which both use the Type-C standard with increased speeds and bandwidth.

You'll also typically find an HDMI output (and perhaps another video output or two, such as DisplayPort or VGA), a 3.5mm audio jack, a connector for an external Wi-Fi antenna, and a receptacle for a physical lock. Note that some mini PCs use scaled-down "mini" versions of HDMI or DisplayPort, which require a different kind of input cable or a dongle. Make sure the machine's video outputs are compatible with your display and its cabling.

MSI Pro DP21

(Credit: Kyle Cobian)

Larger tower PCs will have many more ports, providing support for pretty much any peripheral you need to connect. Expect six or more USB ports, for starters. On larger towers, one or two of these should support Thunderbolt over USB-C. Also a given: an Ethernet jack for wired networking, and multiple DisplayPort and HDMI jacks on the dedicated GPU for connecting one or more external monitors. Note that a tower with a graphics card may also have video outputs that stem from the motherboard, but you should only use the video outputs on the GPU. 

Lenovo Legion Tower 7i Gen 8

(Credit: Molly Flores)

Many towers will also have multiple audio ports, including possibly an optical output and ports for individual speaker channels in a surround-sound setup. Make sure that these match up with any gear you may have; the number of surround-sound jacks can vary depending on the PC and its motherboard. Note that Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, while reliably present on even the cheapest laptops and many smaller desktops, is not a given on larger towers.

High-end workstations and gaming desktops sometimes have a second Ethernet port for doubling network bandwidth or for always-connected redundancy, while business desktops sometimes include legacy connectors such as VGA video outputs, PS/2 peripheral ports, or serial ports. The throwback-style ports are included for people who still need to use them with older, specialized hardware such as point-of-sale scanners or industrial equipment. Of course, you can buy dongles and adapters for these special port needs, but the possibility of having them built in is a key benefit of choosing a desktop over a laptop.

When evaluating a desktop, beyond looking at what ports are present, also evaluate where they are. Are they easily accessible? Towers tend to have a few commonly used ports on the top or front (usually a headphone jack and few USB ports). Some AIOs, in contrast, have some of their key ports hidden behind the stand, in hard-to-reach places. 

Screen Size, Expansion Bays, and More

Some buying concerns, no less crucial than the ones above, apply only to certain types of desktops. Deciding on a screen size and type is critical for AIO shoppers, for instance. A touch-enabled display with support for in-plane switching (IPS) to widen viewing angles is welcome for an AIO that serves as the family's calendar or photo album, but know that touch support is not currently available on Apple's iMacs. 

Give some deep thought to the screen resolution, whatever the panel size. A 4K or even 5K resolution makes for a breathtaking screen, especially one that's 27 inches or larger, but such resolutions often add significantly to the price. As a result, you may want to settle for a screen with a full HD or 1080p (1,920-by-1,080-pixel) native resolution and spend money to upgrade other components instead.

Also look for multiple cameras, one facing the rear, that could make an AIO a smart choice, say, for an ID-card printing station. Fan noise is also a consideration with AIOs, since their computing components will be on your desk instead of hidden underneath it.

Desktop towers have many of their own idiosyncrasies. Enthusiasts who like to tinker with components but aren't interested in building their own PCs from scratch will need to pay special attention to the number and type of expansion bays and how easy it is to access power and data cables.

Lenovo ThinkStation P620 internal drive bays

(Credit: Molly Flores)

They should also check the maximum wattage rating of the power supply unit (PSU) and whether the case has the clearance for bigger coolers (or the mounting points for liquid cooling gear), if they might plan to add a more powerful CPU later on. A low-wattage PSU, such as a 300-watt model used in a desktop with integrated graphics, might preclude adding a graphics card later on without upgrading the PSU, too. Note also, that some ultra-budget desktop PCs use low-wattage, custom-design PSUs that can't support a graphics card and also aren't easy to upgrade, due to their use of nonstandard connectors on the motherboard side. Again, this is where a careful reading of reviews comes in.

PC Power Supply

(Credit: Michael Justin Allen Sexton)

Desktop towers and mini PCs also require separate speakers or headphones to deliver audio. If you don’t already have them, you'll have to spend extra money to buy some, and in the case of dedicated speakers, they'll take up room on your desk. For people who don't care as much about audio quality and just want loud enough audio to hear family members on the other end of a Skype call, the built-in speakers of an AIO should work just fine.

When Is the Best Time to Buy a Desktop?

For most people in the market for an inexpensive desktop tower, you won't find a single best time to buy. While traditional sale holidays such as Black Friday can net you the odd bargain, when you find a system whose features, price, and performance match what you're looking for, take it home. 

However, people who need copious amounts of CPU or GPU muscle (and who have a clear idea of what hardware moves the performance needle with the apps they use) should pay attention to PC-component release cycles. Traditionally, Intel has announced new desktop CPU generations once a year, with the new chips showing up in PCs in the fall or early in the holiday shopping period. (This has shown more variance in recent years.) 

New graphics-card releases are less frequent and depend on the vagaries of technical advances—Nvidia's highly successful GeForce GTX 1000 series, for example, was the cutting edge for several years before the first GeForce RTX cards were announced.

Dell XPS Desktop (8960)

(Credit: Molly Flores)

Keeping track of PC-component release cycles helps you become aware of what's new before you buy, and also what is going off-market. For shoppers seeking maximum value or on a tight budget, getting a desktop based on a discounted last-generation (but still powerful) CPU or GPU can be the way to go.

Shoppers looking for an all-in-one PC, meanwhile, should pay attention to announcements from Apple. Many other manufacturers end up copying—and, sometimes, improving upon—the field-leading designs of the Apple iMac.

Where Should I Buy a Desktop?

Since you won’t be lugging a desktop around nearly as much as you would a laptop, it’s less important to handle the chassis and test-drive its build quality in the store before you bring it home. Still, if the desktop comes with peripherals included, it can be helpful to type a few lines and move the mouse around in the store. And setting eyes on an all-in-one desktop is more crucial than with a typical tower desktop or mini PC. The screen is an integral part of what you are buying, and eyes-on time matters, especially if you’re not well-versed, say, in the differences between a 24-inch and 27-inch panel, or a 1080p screen versus a 4K one. 

If you limit yourself only to the selection at your local electronics outlet, though, you’ll miss out on many excellent desktops. In fact, some configurations can be exclusive to a single reseller, such as Best Buy, Costco, or Walmart. Other merchants, such as Micro Center, frequently have in-store-only deals that aren't available anywhere online.

Giant Gaming Desktop

(Credit: Joseph Maldonado)

This is where return policies come in handy. If you find a desktop with your ideal specifications online but can't audition it locally, a seller with a liberal return policy is your best friend. Just make sure you've got adequate time to return it, if it ends up not working out.

How Long a Warranty Does My Desktop Need?

Most desktop makers provide one-year warranties on parts and labor, with extensions available for as many as five years at an additional charge. Before you pay to extend the warranty, though, check your credit-card account benefits guide—your issuer might cover mishaps for a short period of time after you buy a new product, and possibly extend the manufacturer's warranty, too. (Many MasterCard accounts include a doubling of the standard warranty period, up to one year, for example.)

If your card issuer doesn’t cover you, and you plan on keeping your desktop for several years, look into the cost of added coverage. Some manufacturers and resellers have wide ranges of extended warranties; expect to spend $100 to $300 for one of these options. Our rule of thumb is that if a warranty costs more than 15% of the desktop’s purchase price, you're better off spending the money on backup drives or services that minimize downtime and protect precious data that you can't replace.

Should I Buy a Refurbished Desktop?

Many people considering desktops in the $200-to-$500 range should also consider a refurbished machine. They can be excellent values in certain circumstances. 

Large corporations lease fleets of desktops for a few years at a time, after which third parties refurbish them and provide them for resale on eBay, as well as via retailers such as Best Buy, Newegg, and TigerDirect. To find them, search or filter the product category pages for "off-lease" or refurbished systems. 

These refurbished PCs are often surprisingly cheap ($150 to $250 is common), and many are desktop towers, so they're easy to upgrade or service if a component goes south. They do come with drawbacks. Their components are usually several years behind the cutting edge, they may be in imperfect cosmetic condition (some refurbishers grade condition on an A-B-C scale), and different refurbishers can have varying levels of attention to detail.

Still, if you're looking for a cheap desktop to stow in a cabinet or under a desk, used just to check your email and calendar, refurbs can be a fine option. Just be sure to buy from a seller with a reasonable return policy in case you get a dud.

So, Which Desktop Is the Best One to Buy?

Armed with all of the knowledge and decision points above, you're almost ready to shop. The final consideration is how well a desktop PC performs. We review hundreds of PCs every year, evaluating their features and testing their performance against peers in their respective categories. That way, you'll know which are best suited for gaming, which is our favorite general-purpose all-in-one, and which is the best if all you need is a small, powerful system you can get up and running quickly.

Our current favorite desktops are below. Not finding anything that looks decent? Check out the full feed of all of our latest desktop reviews, as well as our narrower-focused guides to our favorite all-in-one PCs, business desktops, and gaming desktops.

Tue, 19 Dec 2023 09:59:00 -0600 en text/html
Military and Veteran Benefits 2024 Military Pay Charts

Military pay will increase 5.2% for 2024, compared to 2023 levels, now that President Joe Biden has signed the new rate into law. These military pay tables apply to active members of the Navy, Marine Corps, Army, Air Force, Coast Guard and Space Force.

Sat, 01 Jan 2022 19:41:00 -0600 en text/html
GIS Center

GIS Center.

Western Illinois University GIS Center

The WIU GIS Center, housed in the Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Geographic Information Sciences, serves the McDonough County GIS Consortium: a partnership between the City of Macomb, McDonough County and Western Illinois University. Housed on the fifth floor of Currens Hall on the WIU campus, the Center is responsible for compiling, managing and storing GIS data layers for the Consortium. The Center has completed GIS and GPS work for various federal, state and local entities, has partnered with WIU faculty members on research projects, and provides hands-on GIS and GPS training for Western Illinois University students.

Contact Information

Currens Hall 503
1 University Circle
Macomb, IL 61455
Phone: (309) 298-1566
Fax: 309-298-3003

McDonough County GIS Consortium Partners

Sat, 06 Feb 2010 08:30:00 -0600 en text/html
See Your 2024 VA Disability Pay Rates

The following tables show 2024 Department of Veterans Affairs monthly disability rates for veterans with a rating of 10% or higher. These amounts are effective Dec. 1 of each year. They are tax-free.

VA disability payments are made to veterans who got sick or injured while serving in the military and to veterans whose service made an existing condition worse. 

You may qualify for VA disability benefits for physical conditions (such as a chronic illness or injury) and mental health conditions (such as post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD) that developed before, during, or after service. 

RelatedHere's the 2024 Pay Raise for Vets and Military Retirees

An annual payment increase is tied to an increase in Social Security payments by the U.S. government known as a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA).

10%-20% Disability

Percentage Rate
10% $171.23
20% $338.49

30%-60% Disability

Dependent Status 30% 40% 50% 60%
Veteran Alone $524.31 $755.28 $1,075.16 $1,361.88
Veteran with Spouse $586.31 $838.28 $1,179.16 $1,486.88
Veteran with Spouse and Child $632.31 $899.28 $1,255.16 $1,577.88
Veteran with Child $565.31 $810.28 $1,144.16 $1,444.88
Each Additional Child Under 18 $31.00 $41.00 $51.00 $62.00
Each Additional Schoolchild Over Age 18 $100.00 $133.00 $167.00 $200.00
Additional for Disabled spouse $57.00 $76.00 $95.00 $114.00

70%-100% Disability

Dependent Status 70% 80% 90% 100%
Veteran Alone $1,716.28 $1,995.01 $2,241.91 $3,737.85
Veteran with Spouse $1,861.28 $2,161.01 $2,428.91 $3,946.25
Veteran with Spouse and Child $1,968.28 $2,283.01 $2,565.91 $4,098.87
Veteran with Child $1,813.28 $2,106.01 $2,366.91 $3,877.22
Each Additional Child Under 18 $72.00 $82.00 $93.00 $103.55
Each Additional Schoolchild Over 18 $234.00 $267.00 $301.00 $334.49
Additional for A/A spouse $134.00 $153.00 $172.00 $191.14

30%-60% Disability (With Dependent Parents)

Dependent Status 30% 40% 50% 60%
Veteran with One Parent $574.31 $821.28 $1,158.16 $1,461.88
Veteran with Two Parents $624.31 $887.28 $1,241.16 $1,561.88
Veteran with One Parent and Child $615.31 $876.28 $1,227.16 $1,544.88
Veteran with Two Parents and Child $665.31 $942.28 $1,310.16 $1,644.88
Veteran with Spouse, One Parent and Child $682.31 $965.28 $1,338.16 $1,677.88
Veteran with Spouse, Two Parents and Child $732.31 $1,031.28 $1,421.16 $1,777.88

70%-100% Disability (With Dependent Parents)

Dependent Status 70% 80% 90% 100%
Veteran with One Parent $1,833.28 $2,128.01 $2,391.91 $3,905.11
Veteran with Two Parents $1,950.28 $2,261.01 $2,541.91 $4,072.37
Veteran with One Parent and Child $1,930.28 $2,239.01 $2,516.91 $4,044.48
Veteran with Two Parents and Child $2,047.28 $2,372.01 $2,666.91 $4,211.74
Veteran with Spouse, One Parent and Child $2,085.28 $2,416.01 $2,715.91 $4,266.13
Veteran with Spouse, Two Parents and Child $2,202.28 $2,549.01 $2,865.91 $4,433.39

Increased Disability Payments for Veterans With Dependents

Veterans entitled to compensation who have a disability rated at 30% or more are entitled to additional compensation for dependents. Dependent children between the ages of 18 and 23 must be attending school and a dependent for tax purposes.

Parents may be considered dependents if the veteran provides more than 50% of their support. Veterans with a disabled spouse may also be eligible for increased benefits. Check with the VA for details.

There is also a Dependency & Indemnity Compensation benefit for survivors of some disabled veterans.

Find Out More About Service-Connected Compensation

Are you a veteran with a 40% disability rating? Learn about your benefits.

Story Continues
Tue, 02 Jan 2024 02:38:00 -0600 en text/html
Peppermint Oil: Benefits & Uses

Peppermint oil is derived from the peppermint plant -- a cross between watermint and spearmint -- that thrives in Europe and North America.

Peppermint oil is commonly used as flavoring in foods and beverages and as a fragrance in soaps and cosmetics. It's also used for a variety of health conditions and can be taken orally in dietary supplements or topically as a skin cream or ointment.

Research suggests that peppermint oil likely can help with symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. It may also help indigestion and prevent spasms in the GI tract caused by endoscopy or barium enema. Some studies show that used topically it may help soothe tension headaches, but more research is needed to confirm these studies.

Peppermint oil may cause side effects like heartburn and it may interact with certain medications. Talk to your health care provider before using peppermint oil.

Peppermint oil is the essential oil taken from the peppermint plant's flowering parts and leaves. This oil is very concentrated, both with the smell or flavor of the plant.  

Extracts, on the other hand, pull the essential oils into a liquid base, usually alcohol. This makes them less concentrated than pure essential oils, which are more intensely peppermint.

Dietary supplements

In dietary supplements, peppermint oil has been tried for many digestive problems, including:

Dietary supplements containing peppermint oil are also used by some people for the following conditions, although there is no clear evidence that they are helpful:

Peppermint Oil for Skin

Skin preparations containing peppermint oil are used by some people for the following conditions, although, again, there is no clear evidence that they are helpful:

Peppermint oil for bugs

You can use peppermint oil to keep away flies, ants, spiders, and sometimes cockroaches. The oil has compounds, such as menthol, that can help manage mites, mosquito larvae, and other pests. These compounds provide peppermint oil its strong scent, which insects like ants and spiders don't like. If they sense it, they'll usually avoid it. Keep in mind that peppermint oil doesn't kill these pests. It just repels them.

To create a repellent spray (to keep them away), fill a spray bottle with water and add about 10-15 drops of peppermint oil. Close and shake the bottle to combine before you use it.

Peppermint oil for hair

While peppermint oil is often included in hair products for its scent, some people use the oil specifically as a hair loss treatment. Peppermint oil can not only help keep you from losing hair, but it's also shown to help your hair grow. One study even found that it worked as well as minoxidil, an FDA-approved hair loss treatment. The menthol compound in peppermint also promotes blood flow when applied to the skin, so the oil can help stimulate your scalp, encouraging hair growth.

While some people add a couple of drops of peppermint oil directly onto their scalp, it's generally best to dilute it. You can also combine it with a carrier oil, like coconut or jojoba oil, before you massage it into your hair, or mix a drop or two of the oil into hair products before applying or add a few drops to shampoo and conditioner bottles.

Today, peppermint oil is known for its many health benefits, whether applied directly to the skin or taken in other forms.

Several studies suggest that enteric-coated peppermint oil capsules -- which allow the oil to pass through the stomach so it can dissolve in the intestines -- may help relieve common symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome such as abdominal pain, bloating, and gas. Non-enteric coated forms of peppermint oil, however, actually may cause or worsen heartburn and nausea.

Preliminary studies also suggest that dietary supplements containing a combination of peppermint oil and caraway oil may help relieve indigestion.

Pain. When inhaled or used on your skin, peppermint oil may help soothe headaches, muscle aches, and joint pain.

Skin issues. Peppermint oil can calm and soothe skin because of menthol's cooling effect. This may help ease itching and irritation from issues like hives, poison ivy, or poison oak.

Sickness. You can also use the essential oil to treat colds, sinus infections, and coughs. To help open nasal passages, breathe in steam from hot water mixed with a few drops of peppermint oil. The menthol in peppermint works as a decongestant and can loosen mucus. Studies have also found that the oil has antibacterial traits as well as antiviral properties against herpes.

Peppermint oil may also help:

  • Soothe nausea
  • Ease gut or muscle spasms
  • Fight fatigue
  • Boost memory
  • Lift mood

In most adults, the small doses of peppermint oil contained in dietary supplements and skin preparations appear to be safe. Pregnant and breastfeeding women, however, should avoid such products because little is known about their safety during pregnancy and lactation.

Possible side effects of peppermint oil include:

  • Heartburn
  • Allergic reactions such as flushing, headache, and mouth sores
  • Anal burning during bouts of diarrhea
  • Stomach pain
  • Dry mouth
  • Skin reactions like rashes and irritation

Although enteric-coated peppermint oil capsules may reduce the risk of heartburn, their protective coating can break down more quickly and increase the risk of heartburn when taken at the same time as prescription and over-the-counter medications that decrease stomach acid and which are often used for heartburn or acid reflux. It's best to take such drugs at least 2 hours after taking enteric-coated peppermint oil products. A stomach condition called achlorhydria, in which the stomach doesn't produce hydrochloric acid, also may hasten the coating's breakdown. So people with the condition are advised against using peppermint oil.

Large doses of menthol, a key ingredient in peppermint oil, can be poisonous. This can lead to serious side effects, including seizures, slow heartbeat, and irregular breathing. 

Before taking peppermint oil, discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor. Some supplements can interact with medicine. Interactions can be harmful or make medications not work as they should.

Be cautious about combining peppermint oil with certain drugs because it may inhibit the body's ability to metabolize the drugs and increase the risk of side effects.

You can find peppermint oil at a range of stores, including supermarkets, pharmacies, and wellness shops. It's also available online through different e-commerce sites. 

In the U.S., there isn't a federal grading system or certification for essential oils, but there are a few tips you can follow to buy high-quality essential oils.

Look for essential oils that have:

  • The Latin name of the plant (Mentha piperita for peppermint)
  • The country the plant was grown in
  • Notes on purity of oil or any added ingredients. Only pick 100% essential oil.
  • Dark-colored glass bottles
  • A reputable company that's been around for many years

Peppermint oil offers many health benefits, and you can take advantage of it in different ways. When taken in the form of capsules or supplements, it can help with indigestion and IBS symptoms. Applying the oil directly to the skin may help with pain, itching, and hair loss. You can also diffuse the oil through steam to ease symptoms of colds and sinus infections.

  • Does peppermint oil repel mice?
    Yes. Rats don't like peppermint oil's strong smell. You can mix a few drops into a spray bottle to create a repellent solution .
  • How much peppermint oil is toxic?
    While essential oil concentrations range, a 5-15 mL dose is considered toxic to adults.
  • How long does peppermint oil last?
    Though the shelf life will depend on things like exposure to light, oxygen, and heat, as a general rule of thumb, replace your peppermint oil after 3 years. You can sometimes tell if it's expired if it has an unpleasant smell or changes color. Peppermint oil will usually become greenish.
Sun, 10 Dec 2023 05:01:00 -0600 en text/html
Social Determinants of Health (SDH)

The Social Determinants of Health (SDH) Core enables UAB investigators to measure the effect of social and environmental risks for disease etiology, progression, management, and outcomes, and test interventions that ameliorate their effect. Our services facilitate innovative investigations of genome-sociome-exposome pathways to health and disease through integrated data, methodologies, and expertise from social science, spatial and environmental science, clinical and translational science, genomics, informatics, and epidemiology.

Our Core works to advance research on the impact of Social Determinants of Health, working with teams as they consider the circumstances in which people are born, live, work, and age. To learn more, continue scrolling or click one of the subjects below to skip to that section.


We provide the following services and resources to investigators conducting health disparities and SDH research:

Service Request Form

To schedule a consultation or request other services, please complete and submit the form below.

*Effort for SDH staff is an acceptable alternative to hourly rate. Vouchers for services may be available through partnering Centers.



We provide training and education to UAB faculty, students, and staff on the use of SDH measures, tools, and data to answer specific research questions. Lectures, seminars, workshops, and short courses can be scheduled on demand or offered as part of existing training programs:

Our Team

Gabriela Oates, PhD – Director

Dr. Oates, Associate Professor in the UAB Heersink School of Medicine, Department of Pediatrics, is a social epidemiologist with expertise in sociological theory and research methods focused on the social determinants of health (SDH), and experience in the application of SDH measures, tools, and data for health disparities, outcomes, and health services research.

Elizabeth Baker, PhD – Co-Director

Dr. Baker, Associate Professor in the UAB College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Sociology, is a quantitative methodologist with a background in demography and expertise in U.S. Census data. She co-leads the SDH Core and manages the SDH Toolkit.

Ariann Nassel, MA, Geospatial Scientist

Ms. Nassel is the Director of Geospatial Data Visualization at the UAB Lister Hill Center for Health Policy. She is an expert in Census geography, developing Geographic Information Systems (GIS) applications for research projects, and performing geospatial analysis. She provides HIPAA-compliant geocoding and cartographic mapping. She manages UAB’s Esri ArcGIS site license and leads trainings related to the use of GIS.

Lucia Juarez, PhD, Data Analyst

Dr. Juarez is Scientist III in the Heersink School of Medicine and Director of Statistical Computing in the Division of Preventive Medicine. With more than 20 years’ experience managing large multisite cohort studies, she supports the linkage of multilevel SDH and clinical data and supervises a Core statistician in data management, quality control, data analyses, and other tasks.


Carrie R. Howell, PhD, Health System Scientist

Dr. Howell, Assistant Professor in the UAB Division of Preventive Medicine, has experience in integrating clinical, SDH, and behavior data to inform disease prevention and management. She provides expertise in the development of risk prediction models and use of SDH data to inform clinical care and intervention targets.

Robert Johnson, MS, System Analyst

Mr. Johnson, a Senior System analyst in the UAB Informatics Institute, manages the Enterprise Data Warehouse. He assists with queries of inpatient and outpatient data, exporting data in multiple formats, and transforming data for further analysis.  

Oversight Committee

The SDH Core is guided by a 7-member Oversight Committee. Committee members and the stakeholders they represent are listed below:

Name Role, Stakeholder
Mona Fouad, M.D., MPH Director, Minority Health & Health Equity Research Center (MHERC)
Verna Keith, Ph.D. Chair, Department of Sociology, College of Arts and Sciences (CAS)
Suzanne Judd, Ph.D. Director, Lister Hill Center for Health Policy, School of Public Health (SOPH)
James Cimino, M.D. Director, Informatics Institute
Orlando Gutierrez, M.D., MMSc Co-Director, Center for Clinical and Translational Science (CCTS)
Andrea Cherrington, M.D. MPI, NIMHD P50 Forge AHEAD
Smita Bhatia, M.D. Director, UAB Institute for Cancer Outcomes and Survivorship (ICOS)

 History of the Core

The SDH Core was established by the Minority Health & Health Equity Research Center (MHERC), a University-Wide Interdisciplinary Research Center (UWIRC), in 2014. With additional support from the NIMHD-funded U54 Mid-South Transdisciplinary Collaborative Center for Health Disparities Research, the SDH Core provided: (1) a toolkit with SDH measures, scales, and instruments; (2) SDH data from existing public sources such as the U.S. Census; (3) SDH data specific to the Mid-South region; and (4) methodological expertise on SDH through consultations and seminars. 

In 2018, Core services were expanded through support from the NIMHD-funded U54 Obesity Health Disparities Research Center regional expansion. Specifically, the SDH Toolkit was migrated to Canvas to enhance access, facilitate training, and Excellerate usage tracking. We also expanded the range of SDH concepts and measures in the Toolkit and created comparison tables with the PhenX Toolkit SDH data collections. Additionally, through the OHDRC Common Data Elements Project, we geocoded patient addresses in the UAB EHR and linked them to neighborhood-level SDH measures, with data housed in the Enterprise Data Warehouse and available for queries via i2b2.

In 2020, the SDH Core convened the UAB Social Informatics Workgroup with the goal of (a) enhancing patient-level SDH measures available in the EHR; (b) expanding the suite of area-level SDH measures linked to EHR data and improving the geocoding and geo-linking process; (c) informing the UAB clinical and research communities about the integrated measures; and (d) promoting innovative multidisciplinary research with SDH. Area-level measures were expanded to include variables such as residential segregation, walkability, and social vulnerability, whereas optimized geocoding and linkage reduced missing data from ~25% to <10%. We also categorized clinical events into SDH domains using nomenclature from the Social Interventions Research and Evaluation Network (SIREN) and organized SDH concepts into searchable folders to facilitate use. 

In 2021, we developed a tiered system of Core services and established administrative processes such as online service intake form, Data Use and Services Agreement, and tracking system for service requests, users, and outputs. 

In 2023, with a seed funding from the CCTS, we secured the first campus-wide Esri Geographic Information Systems (GIS) site license, a vital resource for the UAB research community. The license allows all UAB faculty, students, and staff to access the full suite of desktop, mobile, and cloud-based Esri ArcGIS products for geocoding, mapping, data visualization, and spatial analysis. 

In August 2023, the SDH Core was designated as UAB Institutional Research Core in order to meet critical institutional needs efficiently and effectively through pooled resources, operational efficiencies, scaled service delivery, enhanced training opportunities, and expanded reach to investigators at all career stages. 


More information coming soon!


For any other questions, please contact us at

Fri, 04 Aug 2023 17:15:00 -0500 en-US text/html

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