If you’re still relying on an old-school hard disk drive (HDD) to power your desktop computer, you could be seriously missing out on speed. Solid-state drives (SSDs) have become standard-issue for any PC built in the last few years, and for good reason. Compared to antiquated HDDs, SSDs deliver blazing fast load times, quick file transfers, improved multitasking performance, and rock-solid durability.
With SSD prices dropping rapidly, now is the perfect time to upgrade your desktop PC or build a new system to take advantage of these high-performance data storage wonders. In this post, we’ll cover the key factors to consider when choosing a desktop with an SSD, spotlight the top models on the market, and answer frequently asked questions to help you make the right selection. Let’s get started!
Key Factors in Choosing a Desktop PC with SSD
When shopping for a high-powered desktop with the performance advantage of an SSD, there are several components and features to evaluate beyond just the solid-state drive itself. Here are some of the most important considerations:
The CPU (central processing unit), commonly referred to as the processor or chip, is essentially the brain of your computer. For SSD-equipped desktops, look for current generation Intel Core i3, i5, or i7 processors or AMD Ryzen 3, 5, or 7 chips to balance speed, efficiency, and value. Avoid outdated or low-end CPUs, which will bottleneck your system regardless of your SSD.
Random access memory (RAM) is another vital component that contributes to your desktop’s overall responsiveness. 8GB is the minimum required for acceptable performance these days for light to moderate use. For heavy multitasking or content creation, 16GB or even 32GB of RAM is ideal to take full advantage of your SSD’s ultra-fast load times.
Integrated graphics processors (GPUs) built into the CPU are sufficient for everyday office work and web browsing, but discrete graphics cards are mandatory for gaming, video production, 3D modelling, and other graphically intensive applications. Nvidia and AMD currently dominate the desktop graphics card market with their GeForce and Radeon offerings.
For your operating system drive where your SSD will be installed, a minimum of 256GB is recommended, though models with 512GB+ give you more room for games, media files, creative apps, and other programs beyond just Windows and everyday applications. You can supplement the SSD with a high-capacity HDD for additional cheaper storage if needed.
Look for a desktop PC with ample USB 3.0 and USB-C ports for connecting peripherals, high-speed data transfers, and external storage. If you frequently use memory cards, a built-in SD card reader can be convenient. Ethernet and Wi-Fi provide networking options, while Bluetooth enables wireless peripherals.
Desktops come in a variety of shapes and sizes. All-in-one PCs integrate the internals into the monitor for a compact, minimalist setup. Mid-towers offer expansion room in a moderate footprint, while massive full towers cater to high-end gaming PC builds. And don’t forget small form factor and mini PCs if tight spaces are an issue.
Most desktops run Windows 10 or 11, which offer broad software compatibility and familiarity for many users. Apple’s MacOS requires Mac hardware like an iMac or Mac Mini. Linux is a free, open-source OS choice often favored by technical users. Keep software ecosystem and compatibility in mind.
Brand Reputation and Support
Well-known consumer tech brands like Dell, HP, and Lenovo offer polished designs, extended warranties, dedicated tech support, and premium brand recognition. Meanwhile, smaller custom PC builders provide more customization and personalization in exchange for less hand-holding.
Now that you know what to look for in a desktop class PC equipped with a high-performance SSD, let’s run down the top options available in 2023 based on speed, features, quality, and overall value.
Top 5 Desktop PCs With SSDs
1. Dell XPS 8950 Desktop
The Dell XPS 8950 blends speed, expandability, and vendor reliability in a sleek package perfect for everything from office work to hardcore gaming. Dell packs the XPS with premium components like 11th-gen Intel Core CPUs up to an i9, potent Nvidia RTX graphics, and ample DDR4 RAM up to 128GB.
Storage-wise, it sports both a speedy 256GB NVMe SSD to handle the operating system and frequently used programs, as well as a high-capacity 2TB hard disk drive for media files and backups. That’s the ideal setup to get the responsiveness of flash storage without sacrificing space.
Four SuperSpeed USB-A ports plus a Type-C port provide connectivity for peripherals and external drives. Dell’s signature clean, modern aesthetics and tool-less case make this PC easy to upgrade and maintain. And with Dell’s stellar reputation and support, the XPS 8950 is a worry-free workhorse.
Pros: Potent CPU and GPU options, abundant storage space, great connectivity, stylish design, reputable vendor
Cons: Can get expensive when maxed out with high-end parts
Price Range: $900 – $2000
2. Apple iMac 27″ With SSD
Apple fans know the iMac needs no introduction, and the 27″ model gives you that sharp 5K retina display plus oodles of computing might. Configurable with either Intel Core i5 or i7 processors along with AMD Radeon Pro discrete graphics, this all-in-one has the muscle for demanding creative workflows even when decked out with stunning 5K visuals.
The 1TB SSD built into every 27″ iMac provides responsive, reliable storage for macOS and applications with room left for media files, documents, and more. Four USB-A ports, two Thunderbolt 3/USB-C ports, and Gigabit Ethernet deliver wired connectivity, while built-in 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.2 handle wireless duties.
With its first-party integration of Apple hardware and software plus dedicated technical support, the iMac 27″ is a foolproof choice for Mac power users. Just be prepared to pay Apple’s premium pricing.
Pros: Gorgeous 5K display, strong Intel/AMD internals, robust SSD storage, seamless Apple ecosystem Cons: High cost, limited build customization and upgradability
Price Range: $2000 – $2500
3. ASUS ROG Strix G10CE Desktop
Gamers on the hunt for a high-end rig able to handle next-gen titles at max settings need look no further than the ASUS ROG Strix G10CE. Between Nvidia’s ultra-powerful GeForce RTX 30-series graphics and AMD’s fastest Ryzen 5000 chips, this desktop delivers uncompromising frame rates in immersive 4K or buttery smooth 1440p.
For rapid-fire game loads, Windows boots, and app launches, ASUS outfits the ROG Strix G10CE with a 1TB M.2 NVMe SSD. Two additional drive bays allow expanding the storage with traditional hard drives or larger SSDs. Killer networking plus abundant USB ports offer connectivity flexibility.
With commanding performance tuned for gaming, edgy Republic of Gamers aesthetic, and extensive modification options, the ROG Strix G10CE is a gamer’s SSD desktop of choice. The only major limitation is availability, with restocks selling out instantly in today’s supply-constrained environment.
Pros: Top-tier AMD/Nvidia gaming performance, future-proofed specs, M.2 SSD + HDD support
Cons: Frequently out of stock, expensive when configured with high-end parts
Price Range: $1500 – $2500
4. HP ENVY Desktop
HP’s Envy brand comprises its premium consumer PC offerings, and the latest ENVY desktop exemplifies why. Available with both Intel 11th-gen and AMD Ryzen 5000 processors plus dedicated Nvidia GTX graphics, this capable all-in-one powers through demanding creative workloads.
The ENVY desktop’s SSD options include 256GB, 512GB, and 1TB capacities, so you can select the right amount of speedy solid state storage for your needs and budget. Your storage can also be augmented by adding a traditional HDD. Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.0, USB-A, and Thunderbolt 4 handle connectivity with all your modern peripherals.
Sleek silver styling with an edge-to-edge front display provides form to match the ENVY’s function as a premium consumer desktop. Combine that with HP’s strong brand reputation and support, and the ENVY is appealing for creatives lacking Apple’s budget.
Pros: Powerful specs, large SSD options, great connectivity, stylish all-in-one design
Cons: GPU performance trails dedicated gaming PCs, expensive at higher configurations
Price Range: $1200 – $2000
5. Dell Inspiron Desktop
You don’t need to spend a fortune to enjoy the benefits of an SSD equipped desktop PC. Case in point: Dell’s Inspiron 3891, available for just over $500 but still packing a speedy 256GB NVMe SSD alongside a potent Intel Core i5-10400 chip and 8GB of RAM.
Integrated Intel UHD graphics power the 23.8″ 1920×1080 display fine for productivity and media playback, though this Inspiron isn’t built for gaming or creative workloads. But with its SSD enabling rapid boots and app launches plus four USB ports for peripherals, this budget desktop handles general office and web tasks admirably.
While premium features like advanced networking and tool-less cases are absent, the Inspiron 3891 still bears Dell’s reputation for quality along with capable tech support. If your needs are modest and wallet is light, this affordable Inspiron desktop lets you boot up modern Windows 10 swiftly thanks to SSD power starting under $600.
Pros: Low cost, capable Core i5 and SSD specs, reputable Dell build quality
Cons: Integrated graphics lack power for gaming/creative uses, limited configuration options
Price Range: $500 – $700
How to Choose the Right Desktop PC with SSD for You
With so many tempting options, choosing the perfect desktop PC featuring a super-fast SSD can feel overwhelming. Let’s break down the key steps in making sure you select the right system to match your needs and budget:
First, reflect on how you plan to use your desktop. Simply browsing the web, word processing, and managing household finances has very different requirements than competitive esports gaming, video editing, or computer programming.
Next, make a list of must-have specs based on your intended use case. If gaming is a priority, a dedicated desktop graphics card is a prerequisite. Creative pros need more RAM and a large SSD. Frequent business travelers will want a portable all-in-one. You get the idea.
With your needs defined, now determine a comfortable budget based on your finances. Higher budgets allow more power, but don’t go overboard on spending for top-end parts you won’t fully utilize. Today’s mid-range components often provide the best bang for the buck.
Size and space limitations should also inform your selection. Measure where you plan to set up your new computer to ensure you have room for a hulking full-tower gaming PC or choose a more compact mini PC if space is tight.
Don’t neglect important factors beyond core specs either. The reputation of the vendor, included warranty, and availability of technical support vary widely between brands and can impact ownership experience.
Rather than obsessing over benchmarks, keep the total user experience in perspective. A thoughtfully designed desktop suited for your exact needs will reward you with years of hassle-free computing happiness more than an ultra-powered rig bursting with excessive specs.
On a practical note, some forethought on likely future needs will enable upgrades and expansion down the road. 500GB may be enough SSD space today, but in several years you may appreciate having 1TB or more. 16GB RAM gives you breathing room to grow into.
Last but not least, exercise some patience and hunt for sales, especially around major holidays. That hot new SSD-equipped desktop you have your eye on could get discounted 10% or more if you can wait a few months, saving you serious cash.
By carefully considering your desktop computing needs, setting a budget, weighing specs and features accordingly, and watching for deals, you can land the ideal SSD-boosted PC at the intersection of performance, practicality, and price. Investing some time up front will pay off for years down the road of enjoyment.
Frequently Asked Questions About Desktop PCs With SSDs
Why are SSDs better than HDDs for desktop PCs?
SSDs have no moving parts and can access data almost instantly, rather than needing to physically locate it on spinning platters as with HDDs. This translates into dramatically faster boot times, quicker application launches, and snappier file transfers. Durability is also improved thanks to the lack of fragile mechanical components.
Are SSDs worth the higher cost compared to HDDs?
The huge speed advantage SSDs offer over HDDs is well worth the moderate price premium for most users. Think of it as an investment that will pay off each time you turn on your PC and open apps instead of tapping your fingers waiting on traditional hard drives. Dropping SSD prices also continue to improve the value proposition.
How much faster is an SSD compared to an HDD?
While speed varies based on the exact models compared, SSDs generally offer several times the data transfer speeds and access times of HDDs. Boot times can be over 50% quicker thanks to SSDs. Game and app load times see similar benefits. Overall system responsiveness and multitasking see a massive boost with solid state storage.
How to check if my desktop PC has an SSD or HDD?
You can check whether your PC has an SSD or HDD by looking in the system information for details on the C: drive. Rapid transfer speeds and low access times indicate SSDs. Slower speeds and higher latencies confirm an old-fashioned hard disk drive. SSDs also lack the audible spinning sound of HDD platters.
What SSD capacity should I get – 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB?
128GB is too small for most users today. 256GB can work for light computing with room for some applications beyond the OS. 512GB gives you space for many games, media files, creative apps, and documents in addition to Windows or MacOS. 1TB or higher capacities provide ample room for even power users.
Should I get an additional HDD for more storage if my PC has an SSD?
Adding a high-capacity yet cheaper HDD alongside a lower-capacity SSD is a smart play. Use the SSD for the OS, apps, and active games/projects, while storing media libraries, archived files, and other docs on the HDD so they don’t occupy precious SSD real estate. This combo gives you speed and ample space.
What’s the best brand for SSDs – Samsung, Crucial, Western Digital?
The top brands for SSD reliability and performance include Samsung, Crucial/Micron, and Western Digital. But SSD technology has matured to the point that most name brand drives from reputable companies will provide satisfactory everyday performance assuming you compare models of the same interface and form factor.
How long do SSDs last compared to HDDs?
SSDs are generally rated for hundreds of terabytes written (TBW) versus as little as dozens of TBW for HDDs. While HDDs can mechanically fail at any time, SSDs slowly lose capacity after their rated write total is exceeded. In real-world use, SSDs should reliably operate for 5 years or much longer in typical consumer desktop PCs.
How can I tell if an SSD is starting to fail?
Signs of a failing SSD include dramatically slower performance, issues booting up, problems copying or saving files, odd noises or vibrations, and abnormal SMART diagnostic results. Most SSDs today have spare capacity set aside to compensate for failed memory cells over time. Backup your data regularly regardless of drive type.
The sheer speed, snappiness, and silent running of solid state drives have quickly made them standard issue for today’s desktop PCs. Choosing a computer equipped with a quality SSD empowers you to boot up, launch apps, browse files, and multitask at astounding velocities your old HDD could only dream of.
Carefully weigh your performance needs, budget, and use case when shopping for a new desktop class PC featuring an SSD. Top brands like Dell, HP, and Apple all offer compelling options spanning the spectrum from affordable office PCs to hardcore gaming rigs. No matter your specific needs, outfitting your next desktop computer with an SSD should be a top priority.
The modest price premium for solid state goodness pays back dividends with each satisfyingly swift boot sequence and lightning fast app launch. Once you experience desktop computing accelerated by flash memory speeds, you won’t want to settle for the plodding platters of yesteryear ever again. Stop waiting and start really working with a high-octane SSD desktop upgrade. The future of speedy storage is here.