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The Best Budget Desktops

written by: Daniel Barros•edited by: Rebecca Scudder•updated: 6/8/2009

So you've got some spare desk space you say? Well, fear not, we've found some cheap PCs for you to put up on your table and use for everything from movie watching to PC gaming.

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    The Best Budget Desktops

    Being in the market for a laptop these days is becoming increasingly a more costly task - more often than not, you can get a desktop PC which is two times as potent as the laptop for half the price or less. As desktop PCs aren't portable, there's less of a market for them currently, so if you don't need to lug around your computer, it'd be best for you to grab a desktop. Wondering which one to pick? That's why we've compiled this list:

    1. Acer Aspire AL5100-UD4400A

    The Acer Aspire AL5100 is hands down the best pre-fabricated desktop currently available on the market for you to purchase. The processor is incredibly fast, being both a 64 bit processor and dual core, running at about 2.3 GHz or so. Furthermore, you can't beat the sheer value that you're getting with this. Not only are you getting the computer tower, you're also getting everything you need but the monitor - the keyboard, the mouse, and the speakers. Sure, everything isn't the ultimate quality good that it could be, but it's more than enough for your very first desktop or just to replace your current desktop with something smaller. The front I/O panel includes two USB drives, a microphone port, a speaker/headphone port, and multi-card reader. Ultimately, this PC is everything you need to get started in the desktop game. Not to mention that it's incredibly small and sleek; even I can't believe they managed to shove in so much capability in such a small machine - it's just an awesome hardware prospect. If you don't have a desktop currently, it's incredibly affordable and even though it's about 100 dollars more than the other two PCs on this list, I highly recommend it; not to mention Acer is a good brand.

    2. HP Pavilion a6700z

    The HP Pavillion a6700z is just another desktop computer and it doesn't come with all the features of the Acer, but it does include two drive bays for further CD/DVD support. As a traditional tower computer, however, it carries with it the added benefit of being easily upgraded. Just pop open the side panel and start replacing the hardware pieces. This computer deftly avoids the problems that plague the smaller computers like the Acer above this one - you can just replace the hardware the minute you get tired of it (following our Bright Hub guides). However, the CPU is not as potent as the Acer, and the Acer includes keyboard, mouse, and speakers as well as a better computer for only about $100 more.

    3. Dell Inspiron 530s

    I am always hesitant to recommend a Dell product to people just because of the bad experiences I had with Dell in the 90s. They were a greedy company, and I got tired of seeing all my non-initiated friends (read: couldn't build computers) snapping up Dells only to find that they were not what they were expecting. However, with the laptop boom since 2002, Dell has been a company that has turned around their business and now produces quality computers, even though they're a little too mainstream for me, personally. However, as a person who's looking into a new desktop or a first desktop, the Dell Inspiron 530s is as small and sleek as the Acer, and for a lower price; sure, you'll lose some CPU power, but you can opt to go with your own keyboards, mice, and speakers.

    And there you have it - now get out there and make me proud!