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How Much Does A Desktop Computer Cost

As the stationary desktop machine continues to live on, it's price tends to be traceable to the type of machine, expected performance and the brand name attached.

Desktop Machines & Pricing

While many a personal computer, ends up serving multiple purposes for the user, variations & upgrades are typically available for the new desktop via la carte pricing. Many of the following costs react with push-down as new innovations continue to enter:

  • Budget / All-Purpose Models - for economy-minded consumers, these often assume an all-purpose design. And are widely available in the $375 to $700 price range. The popular Lenova HP 530 and H530 mini tower pcs, each having small form factors, start at around $379 to $399 at lenova.com with at least with 4 gb DDR3 RAM and 500 GB hard drives. The HP Pre 3500 microtower is another budget solution that is found starting just over $400 with a variety of upgrades available for the processor, by drive capacity and the RAM. Many budget desktop configurations come in at under $500 depending on place of purchase & options.

  • Brand Name Desktops vs Store Brands - expect to pay at least 20% to 35% more for a big name pc label over a store brand desktop (often sold through a single pc store, or chain of stores, like the PowerSpec brand at exclusively at Microcenter.com). Off brand lines also can offer greater interchangeability when it comes to future repairs and off-the-shelf parts. Whereas a big name manufacturer may want to require servicing & warranty issues more at their discretion.

  • Business PC's - with the business desktop computer continuing to support a large percentage of total desktop sales through the end of 2015 which is expected to last through the year 2016 - they tend to cost from $500 to over $1,300. On the low side, for example, the Lenova Thinkcentre Tower desktop pc with an AMD A4-5300 begins at near $450 but this is the base machine through the lenova site where Windows 7 or 8 are offered as an OS. More realistic for many business demands, the HP Compaq Pro 6000 has a Core2 Quad 2.6ghz processor with an msrp at $889 through the HP website. An all-in-one version of the 6000 with built-in screen falls at around $1,100.

  • Gaming/Entertainment Desktops - frequently with elaborate cases & expansion slots, quicker processors, boosted ram and high-end video card graphics, many gaming desktops are found at the upper end of the desktop price scale. Occurring virtually at the price floor however the Lenova Ideacentre K450 comes packaged with home theatre audio, an Intel i5-4440 along with 12 GB ddr3 at around $700 and it can serve both gaming and entertainment purposes. At greater performance, the Acer Predator series begins at approximately $900 with an Intel i7-4770 processor and 32 GB ddr3 RAM. Desktops by other makers, such as the Maingear F131 offers customization options that start at $1,250 at the manufacturers site, featuring AMD Radeon video and Seagate Barracude 7200 rpm drives - but all in all, paying for high performance specs can top $5,000 for the serious gamer.

  • All-In-One Machines - have basically everything within a monitor case. The all-in-ones, in their most inexpensive form, begin near $400 for the Acer Aspire - a 23" running 1080p, with a Pentium G2020 processor. And the price goes up with the choice of a touchscreen and any performance enhancements. The Dell Inspiron lineup begins slightly over this amount yet within a $400 to $500 range for their 20" all-in-one having a 2.6 ghz pentium - but this line does expand to touchscreen models that exceed $1,000. Others, such as the Dell XPS 27 all-in-one that is complete with HDMI input tops $2,000.

Crucial Cost Factors

Among the cost variables that help determine the total price being paid are:
  • CD/DVD ROM drives - are critical for most users, noting that seperate burning software must normally be located and/or bought seperate. Many quality DVD combo drives can be purchased for $15 to $30.
  • Monitor - which may or may not be present. It may have to be purchased as a seperate component, many of which offer better resolution and quality than prepackaged monitors (see computer monitor).
  • Graphics Quality - some recent processors contain integrated graphics. For example, the Intel i5-4670k Haswell Quad Core and its HD graphics. Which is sufficient to some users for graphics processing without a seperate card. But to go beyond the quality of what is processor-provided or absent, can mean spending another $70 to $90 for a seperate graphics PCI card that might otherwise be possibly attributed to cost savings.
  • Keypad/Mouse - may also be excluded in the base amount. But most of these both are fairly inexpensive unless opting above mid-grade. (see keyboard, mouse)
  • Ram - considering also potential RAM expandability/number of unoccupied slots - so as not to hinder future efforts. For instance: balancing 2 GB modules vs. 4 GB modules next to 8 GB sized chips in consideration of future replacement costs in the event one goes out. A major RAM upgrade to run some software can translate to all modules being replaced given the case of smaller module sizes already occupying the existing slots. Though the cost per GB for much DDR3 on the market currently approaches less than $11 per GB under various scenarios.
  • Hard Drives/SSD conversion - if and when to convert to an solid state drive if one is not internal, or when considering the costs of replacing an SDD or that for HDD.
  • Antivirus & Firewall - are purchased seperately and must be figured into the total desktop sum. Normally buying a preloaded version of protection by a recognizable brand is not always recommended. Quality protection though can begin at $60 per year and should contain regular updates.

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