Operating systems

The operating system of your PC determines the way it looks, how it works, and the type of software you can use. There are three main operating systems, each with their own benefits and drawbacks.

Windows is the most common operating system in the world, so if you've used a PC before, chances are it ran on Windows.

Windows is powerful yet easy to use, with all your files and important documents within easy access. If you're looking for a new PC for university, gaming or creative computing such as music production or video editing, Windows is a great place to start.

Well supported: The majority of software, accessories and components are designed to work perfectly with Windows

The gamers choice: All major PC game releases are optimised for Windows, making it the only choice for a serious gaming PC

If you've never used a PC before, it can take a while to learn the layout and navigation

Windows PC

OS X is Apple’s exclusive operating system. It is only available on iMac, Mac Pro and Mac mini desktops, along with MacBook laptops.

It features a bright, stylised desktop focussed on ease-of-use and stability, making it the preferred choice of professionals with focussed requirements and casual home users that prefer a simple layout.

Optimised for design: Some of the most popular design software, such as Photoshop and InDesign, is optimised for OS X and can give you improved stability and performance

Works best with Apple: OS X is designed to work flawlessly with other Apple devices, so if you have an iPhone or iPad, transferring files, contacts and apps between them is much easier. They share a similar layout too, so you’ll be much more at home and find navigation easier A lot of popular software and accessories don't work with OS X, so if you want to use something specific and it’s only available for Windows, you may need to find an alternative


Types of desktop PC

Things to consider when buying a desktop PC

Number of cores

Every PC we sell has at least a dual-core processor. This allows it to process more threads of information at once, so you can move quickly between different software windows and have more apps and tabs running simultaneously.

Quad-core processors are great for demanding software, such as photo editing and music production, as all modern creative programs are optimised to run at their best on several cores.

Shop all Dual core PCs

Shop all Quad core PCs

Shop all Hexa core PCs

Shop all Octa core PCs


Clock speed

This is measured in GHz, and determines how fast the processor runs. A higher clock speed means your software will load faster and run more smoothly.

Some processors feature Turbo Boost (Intel®) or Turbo Core (AMD) technology, which increases the speed of the processor to match the task at hand. This allows the processor to consume less power and give out less heat when it doesn't need to run at maximum output.


Memory cache

Before tasks are managed by the processor, they queue up in the memory cache. A bigger memory cache allows the processor to work through demanding tasks quickly. You only really need to worry about this if you plan on running professional-level creative software like Cubase or Photoshop - if you do, look for 4 MB and over.


Intel® or AMD?

All of our desktop PCs feature either Intel® or AMD processors. If you're looking for an everyday PC for browsing the web and typing essays, there isn't really much difference between the two brands. Instead, make sure your PC has the features, hard drive capacity and design to suit the way you work. If you're more focussed on performance, here are the pros and cons of both brands:

Intel™ processors are typically more powerful than their AMD counterparts. If you're looking for pure performance, an Intel® Core™ i5 or i7 processor is the ideal choice. These processors feature Hyper-Threading technology, which allows them to double the amount of threads they can handle. For example, a quad-core processor with Hyper-Threading can give the performance of an octa-core processor - perfect for running complicated software or the latest PC games.

Shop PCs with Intel processors

Most of AMD's processors are known as accelerated processing units (APU). An APU combines a processor and graphics card in one chip, so you can enjoy great-quality visuals without the need for a dedicated graphics card. If you do decide to add a dedicated graphics card, the graphics within the processor works with AMD graphics card for an even better visual performance.

Shop PCs with AMD processors


Random-access memory (RAM) is an important spec to consider if you're looking for a high-performance PC. Memory (RAM) has nothing to do with the amount of documents you can save - this is what the storage is for.

OS X is Apple’s exclusive operating system. It is only available on iMac, Mac Pro and Mac mini desktops, along with MacBook laptops.

When you do anything on your desktop, a request for the process is stored in the RAM, where the processor picks it up and makes it happen. Normally this happens instantly, but if you've ever had a computer stutter or delay before something happens, chances are there wasn't enough memory. More RAM allows the processor to take on more at once, which is vital if you use demanding software or have a lot of different windows open.

Shop all desktops with 4GB RAM

Shop all desktops with 8GB RAM

Shop all desktops with 16GB RAM

Shop all desktops with 32GB RAM

Shop all desktops with 64GB RAM


While desktops are the functional choice for computing, there's no reason they can't look good too.

Mini PCs are the most design-focussed desktop computers. They've been designed to look just as at home next to the TV as they do on a desk, so if you want a discrete yet stylish way to access your documents and online content, a mini PC is a great choice.

All-in-ones suit even the most style-conscious PC users. They don't clutter your desk up with cables and the slim bezels on the latest designs give a clean, modern look that fits into any home or workspace. Apple's all-in-one PC, the iMac, is renowned for its minimalist and distinctive design.

If you want your PC to really stand out, gaming PCs have space inside for you to customise them the way you like. Gaming PCs feature distinctive cases, with many giving you the option to add LEDs and other visual accessories for a truly personalised look.


A dedicated graphics card is a processor with the specific role of handling graphics, visuals and videos. They are available in varying specifications and range from those designed to give you improved multimedia playback to high-performance cards made to run the latest games at their absolute best.

If you plan on gaming, editing videos or creating visual media, a dedicated graphics card is a vital. Gaming or editing photos at very high resolutions (above 1080p) needs serious power, so if you plan on connecting your PC to 4K monitor or TV, look for a PC with a high-end NVIDIA GeForce GTX or AMD Radeon R9 graphics card.


Extra features


Bluetooth is a type of wireless connection that syncs two compatible devices together, such as a tablet and a set of Bluetooth speakers.

Shop all desktops with bluetooth Right Arrow


DisplayPort is a port that allows you to connect laptops, tablets and desktop PCs to a monitor or TV. It is much smaller than HDMI, so is used on ultra-thin laptops, tablets and gaming PCs that support multiple monitors. DisplayPort supports Full HD and 4K video, along with high-definition audio.

Shop all desktops with DisplayPort Right Arrow


DVI stands for Digital Visual Interface. It is a common way to connect desktop PCs and monitors. It transmits Full HD video without audio.

Shop all desktops with DVI Right Arrow


Ethernet is a port that allows you to connect you PC to the internet via a cable. There are two speeds of ports: 10/100 Ethernet and 10/100/1000 Gigabit Ethernet. The numbers refer to the maximum data transfer speeds they support (in Mbps). Gigabit Ethernet is great for streaming HD content and online gaming.

Graphics card

A graphics card is a processor dedicated solely to handling the visuals your PC produces.


HDMI stands for High-Definition Multimedia Interface. It is a port that allows you to connect your device to a TV or monitor. It is capable of transmitting Full HD video and audio.

Shop all desktops with HDMI Right Arrow


The motherboard, or main board, is a major component in your PC. All the other components connect to it, including the processor, RAM, storage and graphics.


PCIe stands for Peripheral Component Interconnect Express. PCIe ports are found inside desktop PCs and are used for adding graphics cards, sound cards and other internal components.

Power supply

A power supply can be either external (in laptops and tablets) or internal (desktop PCs). Desktop PCs power supplies are rated in watts.

Processor cores

A core is the part of the processor that processes information.


USB stands for Universal Serial Bus. It is a universal port for connecting peripherals to your PC or tablet.


VGA stands for Video Graphics Array. It is an older way laptops and desktops connect to monitors and TVs. It is being replaced by HDMI, DisplayPort and DVI. It cannot transmit HD video or audio.

Shop all desktops with VGA Right Arrow


Wi-Fi is a wireless connection to the internet. It is the standard way laptops, desktops and tablets connect wirelessly to the web. AC WiFi is the latest iteration of WiFi and offers a fast, stable connection between your device and router.

You might also need...

Help and advice from our blog