Although a laptop computer is self-contained, a desktop computer requires a variety of peripherals to be useful. That’s why we’ve expanded our Readers’ Choice award desktop computer survey this year beyond the computer itself to ask about the things that come with it, like computer mouse and keyboards. We’ve ignored the monitors – we already have a survey of those – but we’ve included one key feature, graphics cards.
Desktop computers are not as popular as laptops these days. According to IDC(Opens in a new window), they only accounted for 17% of personal computing devices shipped in Q4 2021. Yet for many of us, especially enthusiasts, a desktop PC is the way to go. On the one hand, you get more for your money: since desktop PCs don’t require the same level of miniaturization and power efficiency, they are less expensive. They’re more extensible, powerful, and customizable, letting you choose exactly the right components you need for the job at hand, whether it’s computing massive spreadsheets, editing ultra-high resolution video or immerse yourself in the latest 3D games.
Are you ready for a new desktop computer? Looking to upgrade your existing setup? Thinking of building your own PC? (Many of our respondents do.) Read on to see which brands of desktop computers, graphics cards, keyboards, and input/mouse devices provide a rewarding experience, and which leave respondents wanting.
Desktop PC 2022
As is often the case, our Readers’ Choice Award winner, Apple, receives the highest satisfaction ratings for nearly every question in our survey. That’s pretty impressive, but one rating really stands out: Apple scores a satisfaction rating with tech support of 9.4 on a scale of zero (extremely dissatisfied) to 10 (extremely satisfied). A 9.4 rating on most satisfaction metrics is great, but it’s almost unheard of for tech support. Apple’s closest competitor for tech support, Dell, only gets a 7.8.
In addition to rating Apple’s support so highly, respondents left comments such as, “I had the best support experience…of ANY computer I’ve ever had.” “The phone support is exceptional. They will help you until your problem is solved.” And “Love that you can always get technical support, which I could NEVER get with my PC and Windows.”
If that’s not enough to get you considering a Mac, check out Apple’s other satisfaction ratings: 9.6 for ease of use, 9.5 for reliability, 9.4 for likelihood to recommend, and 9 .2 for overall satisfaction. All of these are significantly better than any other Windows PC brand. The only flaw in Apple’s armor is its 8.2 rating for cost/value satisfaction. It’s the lowest of all brands except Alienware (7.8), but it’s not far behind the best in this category, Asus and Dell, which both receive an 8.4.
Despite Apple’s excellent customer satisfaction ratings, many people still prefer or need a Windows PC. If you belong to this group, we recommend Asus, winner of this year’s Readers’ Choice Award for Windows desktops. One respondent described their Asus desktop computer as “simply wonderful”, while another simply said, “incredibly reliable”. Asus’ scores echo those comments. In addition to its highest value satisfaction rating, Asus has the highest ratings among Windows brands for overall satisfaction (8.9), likelihood to recommend (8.9), and reliability ( 8.9). Asus receives its highest rating for ease of use (9.0), which trails only Apple and Alienware (9.1).
alienware, a subsidiary of Dell, is the winner of the Readers’ Choice award for gaming PCs, just like in 2021. Alienware is not a budget PC brand. Four in five of our respondents said they spent at least $1,500 on their Alienware computers, and 41% told us their equipment cost $2,500 or more. Alienware’s overall satisfaction rating of 8.7 is very good and the same rating it got last year. All other company ratings improve from 2021.
While you’re considering our various Readers’ Choice Award winners, you might also want to consider building your own PC, especially if you’re a gamer. Our readers are very satisfied with the computers they build themselves. According to one of our respondents: “It’s super easy to do.” Survey respondents rate their DIY PCs at 9.1 for overall satisfaction, just behind Apple and ahead of Asus and Alienware. Several other ratings are 9.0 or better, including 9.4 for reliability satisfaction. Tempted to build your own? Consider the advice of another respondent who quoted Nike: “Just do it.”
For our specific product recommendations, read The Best Desktop Computers for 2022.
Graphics cards and chips 2022
We have been testing and reviewing graphics cards for a long time. This year, for the first time, we’ve added the graphics card and GPU categories to our Readers’ Choice Award survey. For most of us, the graphics built into our PCs can handle our day-to-day tasks: browsing, emailing, spreadsheets, watching videos, and more. However, if you’re a serious gamer or content creator, you want a graphics card with a dedicated GPU (graphics processing unit) from AMD or Nvidia to handle the heavy lifting.
EVGA is our first PCMag Readers’ Choice Award winner in the Graphics Cards category, out of six companies that passed the required minimum number of responses to be included in our survey analysis. The company, which only sells Nvidia-based graphics cards, receives the highest satisfaction ratings on every question except satisfaction with cost/value ratio.
EVGA earns an overall satisfaction rating of 9.1. Asus (9.0) is the only other company to receive a 9.0 or higher on this measure. Interestingly, Asus doesn’t fare as well on any of the other satisfaction measures, and its 8.5 recommendation rating is barely ahead of the last company on this measure, MSI (8.4). In contrast, EVGA has a Likelihood to Recommend rating of 9.2. Nvidia is its closest competitor with 8.9. Many EVGA customers point to the company’s responsiveness to technical support and RMA processes as particularly impressive areas.
Respondents give all brands high satisfaction ratings for ease of use, setup, and reliability. EVGA has the highest ratings in all three categories, but every company scores 9.0 or better except Asus, which barely falls short on configuration satisfaction (8.9). AMD-branded graphics cards have the lowest overall satisfaction ratings (8.7), but AMD leads all companies in cost-to-value satisfaction at 8.7.
When we slice our survey results by the chip of the respondents’ graphics cards, the numbers (for AMD vs. Nvidia) are incredibly close. One respondent’s comment sums it up best. “My experiences with AMD and Nvidia are pretty much the same… Kudos to both companies for making great products.” Still, our readers expect us to pick a winner, and we must award our first Readers’ Choice Award for GPUs to AMD.
AMD-based cards receive an overall satisfaction rating of 9.0 to Nvidia’s 8.9, and AMD holds an advantage in cost-to-value ratio satisfaction of 8.4 to 8.1. The two companies are tied in satisfaction with ease of use (9.2) and reliability (9.2), while Nvidia stands out slightly in satisfaction with setup (9.2 to 9, 1) and the probability of recommending (8.7 to 8.6). You’ll probably be happy with a card based on either GPU, but AMD has a slight advantage here.
For our specific product recommendations, read The Best Graphics Cards for 2022.
A large percentage of respondents indicate that they don’t care about the keyboard that came with their PC. In fact, 70% purchased a new keyboard from a third-party vendor, and the majority are from Logitech. Apple, Corsair and Logitech have identical overall satisfaction ratings of 9.0, ahead of Microsoft and Razer, but Logitech is most likely to be recommended and our winner.
Logitech also came out on top when we focused the analysis on gaming keyboards and wireless keyboards. However, if you spend all day pressing keys, you might want to consider a mechanical keyboard, in which case take a close look at Corsair. Overall company satisfaction (9.3) and likelihood to recommend ratings (9.0) outpaced the competition.
For our specific product recommendations, read The Best Keyboards for 2022.
computer mouse 2022
We didn’t get many applicants, but for third-party input devices, purchase satisfaction is high across the board. Again, the vast majority of people buying a mouse go for Logitech. Only two other brands receive enough responses to make our results – Microsoft and Razer – both of which had overall satisfaction ratings of 9.1. However, as with keyboards, Logitech is most likely to be recommended with a 9.0 rating, ahead of Razer’s 8.9 and Microsoft’s 8.4.
Logitech is the clear leader when it comes to wireless mice alone. But if you’re a gamer, take a look at Razer, whose gaming mice come out slightly ahead in overall satisfaction (9.2, versus Logitech’s still excellent 9.1).
For our specific product recommendations, read The Best Computer Mice for 2022.
The PCMag Readers’ Choice Survey for Desktops and Components was conducted in the field from April 25, 2022 through May 16, 2022. For more information on how our surveys are conducted, read the methodology of the investigation.
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