Maingear Ephex (Intel Core i7 965)
Maingear earned a permanent spot among 2009's top five desktops, which is also why we named it our top luxury pick. We can hardly leave it off our top overall picks list, and if you have the financial wherewithal to spend $8,000-plus on a gaming PC, you'll find yourself in excellent hands if you opt for a system from Maingear.
Apple's 30-inch Cinema HD Display: $1,799. Apple's 27-inch iMac all-in-one computer (with only a few less pixels than the 30-inch LCD): $1,699. The largest display in a Windows-based all-in-one at this price: 24 inches. Say what you want about its lack of a Blu-ray drive or a quad-core CPU, the 27-inch screen sells this iMac, and we can think of no reason why it shouldn't
HP TouchSmart 600
The 23.5-inch TouchSmart 600 won't fit on every countertop, nor will its price tag fit every budget. But of all the PCs boasting touch-based input following the release of Windows 7, HP's is the only all-in-one we've seen that elevates touch beyond novelty status: it has an amazing touch-and-voice-activated recipe program. Kitchen PCs won't become universal for a while, if they ever do, but HP's TouchSmart 600 is the most convincing proof of concept we've seen yet.
We probably recommended this PC 20 different times after we reviewed it. Thanks to strong performance and the right selection of ports, this $450 PC practically invited you to connect it to your TV to serve up digital media in your living room. Its fast performance and low price also gave us a reliable counterpoint to the running Nettop gag the PC industry tried to play on us this year. Budget PCs don't have to suck, and they can actually do some amazing things if vendors are willing to give them some thought. Gateway showed that with the SX2800-01.
Velocity Micro Edge Z30 (Intel Core i7)
Expert construction and fast performance are the two traits we've come to associate with Velocity Micro, and the Edge Z30 is a perfect example. This tidy little desktop has a reasonable $1,350 price tag, but there's not a game on the market this PC can't play smoothly with the detail cranked on a 22-inch LCD.