Best Desktop Computers for Writers (2018 Buyer's Guide)

Writers don't need much to do our job.

In most cases, a computer with a basic word processor is plenty.

A scratch pad of paper comes in handy, sometimes, too.

When it comes to computers, though, you have a lot of choices. Not only are there tons of different brands, budgets, and styles to choose from, but you'll have to consider an overlooked question these days: Should you buy a laptop or a desktop?

The answer might surprise you... Though you give up portability, there are some great benefits of writing with a desktop computer.

If you're in a hurry, go take a look at the pricey but magnificent Apple iMac Pro on Amazon. It's my top pick overall.

If you're a pro or aspiring scribe looking to add to your toolkit, let's dive in to my top picks for the best desktop computers for writers.

Skip to:

Best budget desktop: Acer Aspire desktop
Best mid-range desktop: Dell XPS Tower
Best high-end desktop: Apple iMac Pro

Computer OS Processor RAM Storage Cost
Acer Aspire Windows 3.5GHz 12GB 2TB $
Dell XPS Windows 3.2GHz 16GB 2TB $$
**Our Pick: iMac Pro Apple OS 3.2GHz 32GB 1TB $$$

The advantages of desktop computers for writers

Desktop computers are so early 2000s! Right?

Wrong!

There's a lot to love about these hefty, permanently plugged in powerhouses.

You may not be able to (easily) throw them in a bag and set up shop at Starbucks, but desktops are definitely worth considering for your home office or writing space.

Processing power

Modern laptops pride themselves on maintaining a lean weight and very little bulk.

When space and weight are less of an issue, you can pack a lot more power in.

Desktop computers will almost always be faster and more capable than similarly priced laptops. They'll also typically have better graphics processing and other features.

If computer lag time throws you off your writing game, consider a desktop.

Use any keyboard, mouse, and monitor

With desktop computers, you're often free to swap in any external monitor, keyboard, and mouse that you'd like.

Of course, most laptops allow you to plug in plenty of accessories, as well, but the screen and keyboard are already part of the price of the laptop. If you end up having trouble typing on it, you've wasted your money.

With a simple tower computer, feel free to swap accessories in and out as needed.

(Check out my guide to buying the best keyboard or the best monitor for writers.)

Easier to expand

Not every desktop computer on this list will have this perk, but many do.

When your main computer components are housed in a tower or brick, they're often much easier to replace or upgrade.

Not many laptops can have a new processor inserted without tremendous cost.

Cheaper to repair (typically)

For this same reason, when something goes wrong on your desktop computer, it's typically far easier to remove the malfunctioning component and replace it.

Often when laptops break down, they're not even worth repairing because the various components are so deeply integrated together.

Imagine how much it would cost to fix a broken laptop screen (meaning you'd have to send the entire machine in for servicing, with the screen hardwired to the rest of the components!). Now consider buying an external monitor that malfunctions and replacing it or fixing just the monitor.

Pretty obvious which is the more cost effective option.

Alright, show me the best desktop computers for writers arleady!

You got it.

Let's go.


Best Budget Laptop for Writers: Acer Aspire Desktop

The Acer Aspire desktop version is a fantastic choice for any writer on a budget. It packs a speedy processor, more than enough storage for text-based documents, and a nice looking compact casing.

Best of all, the price tag is quite nice considering all you get.

OS: Windows

Processor: 7th Generation Intel Core i5-7400 Processor (Up to 3.5GHz)

RAM: 12GB DDR4 2400MHz Memory

Storage: 2TB 7200RPM SATA3 Hard Drive

Cost: $

Why it's great for writers: The Acer Aspire packs a punch with a low price tag, and has the added benefit of including a solid mouse and keyboard to get you started. The processing power should be more than enough for most writing purposes, and should be great at handling some photography and video work, if that's your thing. This is an extremely well-reviewed desktop computer tower and comes recommended by Business Insider and PC Magazine.

Get latest price & read real customer reviews of the Acer Aspire on Amazon


Best Mid-Range Laptop for Writers: Dell XPS 8930 Tower Desktop

For a super reasonable price, you can get one of the most powerful (within reason!) and functional desktop computers on the market in the Dell XPS Tower. Its design is genius, with most components fully customizable, replacable, and easy to upgrade or repair. You'll also get a powerful processor, a ton of USB ports, and as much RAM as you need to handle any task.

OS: Windows

Processor: 8th Generation Intel i7-8700 6-Core 3.20 GHz Processor

RAM: 16GB DDR4 2666MHz Memory

Storage: 2TB 7200 RPM SATA Hard Drive

Cost: $$

Why it's great for writers: The Dell XPS Tower comes with a keyboard and mouse to get you started, so hook it up to an external monitor and you'll be flying in no time. This bad boy is fast (fast fast!), stable, durable, and fully customizable. You can swap out parts before purcahse to get the exact specs you need or easily upgrade later on. You also get an optical drive and more than a dozen different USB ports for any accessories you want to add. The Dell XPS is Business Insider's top rated desktop computer overall and received a 4/5 from PC Magazine.

Get latest price & read real customer reviews of the Dell XPS Tower on Amazon


Best High-End Laptop for Writers: Apple iMac Pro

The mother of all desktop computers, the Apple iMac Pro is an absolute workhouse for writers. It's not cheap, but don't let the sticker price throw you into a panic... you can customize the options to bring the price down a little, plus the iMac Pro is an all-in-one, meaning it comes with keyboard, mouse, and one of the most gorgeous 27" Retina 5K screens you'll ever see.

For my money, there's no machine better to write on (except maybe a typewriter!)

OS: Mac OS High Sierra

Processor: 3.2 GHz Intel Xeon

RAM: 32 GB DDR4

Storage: 1000 GB Flash Memory Solid State

Cost: $$$

Why it's great for writers: What's not to like? Blazing, turbofast processor. Check. Tons and tons of RAM. Check. Absolutely gorgeous 27" Retina 5K monitor? Double check. Plus, the included mouse and keyboard are some of the finest around for writers. Mac's just have a way of working simply and beautifully, which makes them a pleasure to write on. (I write on a Macbook Air). There are cheaper options, and more customizable computers, out there, but if you're willing to pony up for the best and don't need a lot of portability, you can't do any better.

The Apple iMac Pro recieved a near perfect score from PC Magazine.

Get latest price & read real customer reviews of the Apple iMac Pro on Amazon


I hope this guide has helped!

There are more options out there than you would believe, so please feel free to use my research and recommendations as a starting point to guide your own decision.

Let me know in the comments below if you have any questions!

Happy shopping!

Also check out my guide to the best laptops for writers!


Disclaimer: I may receive referral fees from products or services mentioned on my site, but I stand by any research, opinions, or advice I offer here.

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