Despite the decline in overall desktop sales, one area we've seen some amazing innovation is in the area of all-in-ones, and it's here where we decided to focus this year's guide on the top PCs to buy for moms, dads, and grads. All-in-ones are, by their nature, much simpler for most people to use - unlike the bundle of cords from yesteryear, there isn't very much to set up.
Instead, you can pull it out of the box, take of the styrofoam or plastic, plug it in, and turn it on. Moreover, most all-in-ones these days come with attractive wireless keyboards and mice, have high-quality IPS displays, and pretty great speakers, built right into the screen.
If you can't quite choose the best PC for your needs, take heart! The knowledgeable team in our 'What Desktop Should I Buy?' forum have your back, and will walk you through your next big purchase.
Apple's new all-in-one is one of the thinnest computers on the market. And when we say thin, we mean thin.
The new Apple iMac takes tapering to an insane new level - the edge of the new all-in-one is just 5mm thick - an impressive achievement for something clad entirely in aluminum.
And let's be honest here; we'd be impressed if this was just a new Thunderbolt Display - add in the fact that there's a whole computer inside, as well, and the end result is, well, flabbergasting.
It's clear that Dell has taken inspiron for the new line (both XPS and Inspiron) from its industrial team's business offerings - the XPS One 27 is reminiscent of their business displays, only significantly refined. At the bottom of the front is a speaker bar, offering what Dell promises is high-quality audio.
On the sides and back, you'll find the standard complement of inputs and ports...and then some.
Dell's new XPS One 27 is a gorgeous piece of industrial design, and after getting to play around with it, one thing is certain - it's the first real competition to Apple's big-screen iMac that we have seen.
There have been a lot of touch-capable all-in-one desktops, and we've seen just about every one. Aside from HP's TouchSmart, they haven't been worth much. With last year's Lenovo A720, that's all changed. In a word, the 27-inch IdeaCentre A720 is impressive.
Lenovo has recently come out on top as the world's largest computer manufacturer. Being first on the market with the IdeaCentre A720 shows that they're one of the most innovative, too.
If touch isn't quite your thing - though we recommend if for use with Windows 8 - you can save some cash by getting a model without the touchscreen.
All-in-ones are especially great for people looking to take a computer to college, where space is often at a premium when it comes to cramped dorm rooms. An all-in-one, when it has HDMI-in (many new ones offer the option), can replace your computer, your cable source, your monitor for playing consoles like the upcoming PS4 or next Xbox. They're also a lot less likely to get lost, broken, or stolen like a laptop.
Still, they aren't for everyone - sometimes people just want something that's small and simple, and can be used with their pre-existing monitor, keyboard, and mouse.
The next two options on our list our for users looking for a stable, high-quailty experience, but without spending too much money, or taking up too much room.
Last year, Apple updated the littlest Mac ever, giving the Mac Mini a much-needed performance boost. The new update really puts the Mac Mini into a class of its own in terms of offering a mix of power efficiency, performance, and size - though you do end up paying a slight price premium at the higher end of the lineup.
Like the previous generation, the new Mac Minis feature a single Thunderbolt port, Gigabit Ethernet, four USB 3.0 ports, and an SDXC card slot. There's also Bluetooth 4.0 and 802.11a/b/g/n (2.4GHz and 5GHz) built in.
In terms of performance, this update finally brings Intel Ivy Bridge CPUs to the Mini line, though you're unsurprisingly stuck with dual-core chips at the low-end. Similarly, graphics are provided by integrated Intel HD 4000 on-die GPUs. The days of the discrete Mac Mini GPU are behind us, at least for this iteration.
High-end Alienware rigs are nice, but they're not where the Round Rock computer giant makes all of its money. The value-centric Inspiron desktop line has always been a consistently strong seller, offering consumers a basic desktop that handles the majority of what users need without breaking the bank.
The Inspiron line has changed very, very little over the last couple of generations - if it ain't broke, don't fix it. We reviewed the Inspiron 580s, and the new 660s features the same brightly colored facades, allowing you to personalize your computer to fit your room. Most importantly, it keeps the low, low price - under $400!
Looking for more technology gift ideas for moms, dads or grads? Go to our MDG Special Report Buyer's Guide for top picks and articles from across our sites!
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