Desktops deliver more performance for the money than laptops and are less costly to repair. They allow for a more ergonomically correct work environment, let you work on a larger screen, and typically come with better speakers. Desktops are available in various styles and configurations, all designed to appeal to different tastes—and uses.
But, with the exception of all-in-one or compact computers, most take up a lot of space, even with a thin monitor. For tips on getting the right model for you, read our buying guide. To see which models did best in our lab tests, subscribers should check out our Ratings.
Think about type. All-in-one models incorporate all components, including the monitor, in one case. The components are tightly packed behind and underneath the display, making them difficult to upgrade or repair, but they can be space-savers. Compacts or slim desktops are ideal if you lack the space under your desk or you plan to put the computer on your desk. Like their larger brethren, compact desktops tend to be inexpensive, but they also may be more difficult to upgrade and fix. Full-size models require a lot of room under or on top of your desk, but they are the least expensive and the easiest to upgrade and repair. They also offer the most features and options.
Before you toss an old model, try recycling. Most manufacturers have recycling programs that help you to dispose of your old computer, but the programs vary considerably by company.