People certainly aren’t camping outside stores in the rain to get the latest and greatest desktop computer these days, but PCs are far from dead. Simply put, there are certain functions that mobile devices and laptops either can’t do or can’t do nearly as well as a desktop.

Not to mention, there’s no beating the price. A budget desktop is going to be miles ahead of a budget laptop. It’s expensive to make things small. The small size is what appeals to some people when choosing a new computer, but these days big honking towers aren’t your only choice.

Styles of desktop computers

There’s a lot more variation and choice in the desktop form factor, which is great in some ways, but also makes the buying process that much more complicated. You can find computers in each of these categories at a variety of price points, so the most important thing to keep in mind is how you plan to use your desktop.

Tower

The classic desktop form factor, towers have stuck around for good reason. It’s hard to fit a lot of power into smaller devices like a laptop or tablet for a reasonable price. The power to price ratio of tower computers is pretty much unbeatable.

There’s also a lot more flexibility with a tower. There’s more room to upgrade and expand the system when newer technology comes out, whereas with smaller devices you may just have to buy a whole new system.

Towers do, however, take up quite a bit of space and if space is at a premium in your home, a tower could be out of the question. They also require a separate monitor, keyboard, and mouse. There are some cases where those accessories are included, or you can get a discount if you buy them at the same time as the computer, but plan for buying those when you’re making up your budget.

All-in-One

All-in-one computers offer a simple and space-saving set up. These are, in essence, a cross between a desktop and a laptop. They feature a large monitor with all the necessary components built into the back or base.

The small design gives you a lot more flexibility with placement and keeps your work area clutter free. Plus, because everything is all in one, set up usually just involves plugging it in. You do still need a separate keyboard and mouse however.

Because these computers are smaller, they aren’t as powerful as a tower and you can’t customize and expand them (although this also makes them much simpler). There’s also the issue that if the monitor breaks, you need a whole new computer.

Mini and Stick PCs

These computers use mobile components to keep them small (like all-in-ones). As such, they’re not very powerful, but they’re extremely portable. Mini PCs are small enough to be hidden behind a monitor or TV set up and stick PCs are slightly larger than a thumb drive. Because of the small size, they’re not very powerful