Best PCs for 2013

Desktop computing used to be confined to ugly, hulking towers and bulky CRT monitors, but not any more. The market is more diverse – and more exciting – than ever.

Best PCs for 2013

There are plenty of options if you’re looking for a new PC, so take a look at our guide to the year’s top machines. Systems of every stripe are here, from high-performance towers and touchscreen all-in-ones to passive media PCs and even the groundbreaking Raspberry Pi.



The HP Z1 combines the best attributes of all-in-ones and tower systems to create one of the most innovative workstations we’ve ever seen.

Its 27in IPS screen offers quality rarely seen outside of high-end professional monitors. What’s more the whole thing can be tilted to a horizontal position with the front panel lifting up like a car bonnet – giving easy access to the interior.

Most of the parts can be removed, replaced or upgraded, and there’s a huge amount of power already included, with an Intel Xeon processor and Nvidia Quadro graphics.

Read our full HP Z1 review

Raspberry Pi

Raspberry Pi (Model B)

It’s been a big year for the tiny computer from Cambridge. The Raspberry Pi costs less than £30, and is a system stripped back to the bare essentials: a minuscule motherboard with an ARM-based chip. Its low price and home-brew ethos has made it hugely successful – it’s a tinkerer’s delight, and a bargain for anyone interested in programming.

Read our full Raspberry Pi (Model B) review

Follow our step-by-step tutorial to create your own Raspberry Pi game

Read our feature: can the Raspberry Pi save computing?

Apple iMac 21.5in

The Apple iMac has long been the best-looking all-in-one around, and this year’s version is better than ever. Apple has borrowed manufacturing techniques from the aerospace industry to create a 5mm-thin edge around the iMac’s aluminium frame.

It’s been given a boost on the inside, too: the new Fusion Drive combines SSD and hard disk to make the OS, apps and files more responsive, and current-generation Intel and Nvidia hardware gives it plenty of grunt.

Read our full Apple iMac 21.5in review

PC Specialist Vortex Destroyer

PC Specialist Vortex Destroyer

The Vortex Destroyer costs a pretty penny, but it ticks every box when it comes to high-end desktop PCs. An overclocked Intel Sandy Bridge-E processor, Nvidia GeForce GTX 680 graphics card and high-end SSD are strapped into a stunning chassis and deliver superb benchmark results. The 27in, 1080p monitor is also top-notch, 5.1 speakers deliver great sound, and the Razer keyboard and mouse will satisfy the most demanding of gamers.

Read our full PC Specialist Vortex Destroyer review

Tranquil PC MMC-12

Tranquil PC MMC-12 - floating

PCs don’t have to be confined to the bedroom or office – Tranquil’s MMC-12 is perfect for the living room. It’s 40mm thick, milled from a single block of aluminium, and totally silent. Despite this, there’s plenty of power – easily enough to handle 1080p video playback, and it boots directly into Windows Media Centre. It looks the part underneath your TV and, while it isn’t cheap, we think it’s a premium worth paying.

Read our full Tranquil PC MMC-12 review

Sony VAIO Tap 20

Sony VAIO Tap 20

The launch of Windows 8 has been accompanied by a raft of all-in-one systems hitting the Labs, but few have made first impressions like the touchscreen Sony VAIO Tap 20.

That’s because it has a 3,500mAh rechargeable battery that allows it to be used as a giant Windows 8 tablet – something that we tried on the streets of London.

Read our full Sony VAIO Tap 20 review

Scan 3XS Z77 FT03 Nanu

Scan 3XS Z77 FT03 Nanu

Scan is well known for delivering high-quality desktops, but its latest system pushes the boundaries of small form-factor systems. The Nanu is tall, narrow, has a Blu-ray drive, an Nvidia GeForce 660 Ti graphics card, Intel Core i5-3570K CPU and an SSD – in short, enough power to handle work, gaming and movies without breaking much of a sweat. We’ve never seen so much inside such a small chassis – Scan’s machine could keep you going for years.

Read our full Scan 3XS Z77 FT03 Nanu review

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