While a lot of people are using desktop computer replacement solutions for their daily computing needs, I find that I need a bit more power when I'm at home. This can only mean one thing: a combination of a desktop computer coupled with a notebook is best for my own needs. How about yours?
For most people, a desktop replacement laptop, like a MacBook, will work well. This all depends on exactly what you do with your computer. If you do any tasks that necessitate a lot of processing power, some graphic design, 3D design, lots of big photos in Photoshop, then you probably have no choice but to complement your powerful laptop with a desktop.
In most cases, you don't have to go for a full tower desktop. As an example, we've mentioned how some users are combining MacBook Pros with Mac Minis to get some more power when they are at home. It also allows them not to have their laptops on all of the time. This can also be duplicated with PC laptops, using an HTPC of some sort, or a small form factor PC.
If more power is needed, then you should give the all-in-one computer a try. They aren't that expensive and they still manage to look quite good. Since you've got no full tower to deal with, they're not that problematic to place in your home office. Of the all-in-ones currently available, if I had to get one, I'd probably get a 27-inch iMac. It's simply better designed that its rivals.
So, all-in-ones aren't powerful enough? Well, now it's time to get a full-tower desktop. If you are choosing these computers for their overall processing power, you'll find that initially, Macs will appear pricey. However, once you equip similar PCs with the same components, you'll end up almost on par price-wise. We've checked out a few manufacturers, and the Dell Alienware gaming rigs are almost on par with the Mac Pros, so it's basically up to your personal preference. While a 12-core Westmere Mac Pro might seem cool, it can get pricey fast. Our best advice is to not go overboard with the options to try and keep the costs low. You'll need enough RAM, processing power, and graphics cards to be able to power multiple monitors, because these are the rigs that are able to do so, without any problems.
If you're on a budget and need a desktop, the only way to keep costs low is to have a shop assemble a PC for you. These prices will be lower than the ones that you'll be able to get from Alienware and other high-end PC manufacturers.