The 10 Best Desktop Computers For Music Production (2023)
Today, a good computer is a must for any kind of music production. There are countless models on the market today with great specs for music production, making it harder to choose the ideal desktop computer. So, here are some of the best desktop computers for music production in the market today.
My top pick is the Apple iMac Retina 5K Display model, an all-in-one desktop computer considered one of the best devices for music production.
I recommend checking Apple Mac Mini M1 Chip for tighter budgets, which provides you the famous Apple performance for a relatively affordable price.
- The Best Desktop Computers For Music Production (2023) – At A Glance
- 1. Apple iMac with Retina 5K Display
- 2. Apple Mac Mini M1 Chip
- 3. Microsoft Surface Studio 2
- 4. Skytech Archangel Ryzen 5
- 5. OEM Lenovo ThinkCentre M720
- 6. Alienware Aurora R14
- 7. Dell XPS 8940
- 8. HP 27 Pavilion All-in-One PC
- 9. Acer Aspire TC-885-UA92
- 10. HP Pavilion TG01-1020
- Are Desktop Computers superior to Laptops for music production?
- Should I go for Mac or Windows?
- How important are RAM and SSD for music production?
- Are Gaming PCs good for music production?
- What to look for in a Desktop Computer for music production when buying?
The Best Desktop Computers For Music Production (2023) – At A Glance
And now onto the full list:
1. Apple iMac with Retina 5K Display
Used in many professional studio setups, Apple iMacs are considered one of the best music production computers. The strong performance, amazing screens, versatility, and high-quality construction of iMacs put them on the top of the list of computers for music production.
- Strong performance
- Excellent screen and Retina display
- Elegant design
- Apple quality and reliability
The Apple iMac with Retina 5K Display comes equipped with an Intel Core i5 or i7 processor, depending on the configuration you choose. The base RAM is 16 GB, and the base SSD hard drive storage capacity is 256 GB. You can configure your iMac by upgrading the RAM up to 128 GB and the storage up to 8 TB.
The specs and the performance of the computer are excellent, yet you have to choose the configuration carefully. Because iMacs can not be upgraded later. To handle more tracks, have a large sample library on your project, and lots of plug-ins, you need more RAM power. Choose wisely.
The iMac has a great screen and displays up to 6K resolution. It is a great computer video production as well as music production. On the connectivity side, the computer has a headphones port, SDXC card slot, 4 USB-A ports, 2 thunderbolt ports, and an Ethernet cable port.
|Processor||Intel Core i5 3.1 GHz – i5 3.3 GHz – i7 3.8 GHz|
|Storage||256 GB SSD – 8 TB SSD|
|Ports||Headphones, SDXC card slot, 4 USB-A, 2 USB-C, Ethernet|
Although the Apple iMac with Retina 5K Display is a pretty pricey product and does not come with the revolutionary M1 chip Apple has created lately, it is still one of the best computers for music production. For the price, there is no better desktop computer for a studio setup.
2. Apple Mac Mini M1 Chip
Apple Mac Mini M1 is the smallest computer that can get you in the Apple M1 environment. The high-quality computer features the revolutionary M1 chip, which gives an excellent performance, 8 or 16 GB Ram, up to 2 TB SSD storage, along with 2 USB-A and USB-C ports.
- Powerful machine with the M1 chip
- Great value for the price
- Compact design
- Not upgradable
- Limited connection ports
If you want the optimum performance for a relatively low price, Apple Mac Mini M1 is the ideal choice. The compact design is highly powerful and more than enough for any kind of music production project. The computer is sold as just the brain without any accessories or a screen. So, you will have to buy the necessary parts separately later.
There are 2 USB-A and 2 USB-C, HDMI, and Ethernet ports on the back side of the compact computer brain. The connection options might be limited for some, but there are always USB hubs to use if you need more ports.
|RAM||8 – 16 GB|
|Storage||256 GB – 2 TB SSD|
|Ports||2 USB-A, 2 USB-C, HDMI, Ethernet ports|
Apple Mac Mini M1 is a great compact computer that firmly holds the title of best budget-friendly music production desktop computer.
3. Microsoft Surface Studio 2
If you are serious about music production and looking for one of the strongest desktop computers around, Microsoft Surface Studio 2 is an excellent candidate. It features Intel Core i7-7820HQ 2.9 GHz processor, 16 or 32 GB RAM, 1 or 2 TB SSD storage, 28” touchscreen beautiful display, and 4 USB-A as well as a thunderbolt port.
- Very powerful workhorse
- Great touchscreen
- Ideal laptop for creative projects
- Only 1 thunderbolt port
The Surface 2 is one of the best computers when it comes to creative projects like music production, video editing-creation, designing, etc. The strong specs and performance of the device are highly appreciated, while the versatility of the computer is top-notch.
The 28” PixelSense display acts as a touchscreen and can be folded on the keyboard to use the device as a tablet. Using DAWs gets very straightforward when you do not need any mouse or keyboard.
The laptop performs and looks great and is considered the biggest contender of Apple Macs in the Windows world. However, quality and performance come for a price, as this device is quite pricey. Another drawback is the single thunderbolt port, as more than one would have added to the versatility.
|Processor||Intel Core i7-7820HQ 2.9 GHz|
|RAM||16 GB – 32 GB|
|Storage||1 TB – 2 TB|
|Ports||4 USB-A, 1 USB-C, Ethernet ports, headphone jack|
Overall, Microsoft Surface Studio 2 is a great device for professional video creators, editors, designers, and musicians who are serious about their work. My professional pick, Surface 2, is the closest computer you can have to the famous Apple Macs in the Windows world.
4. Skytech Archangel Ryzen 5
Gaming laptops are some of the most powerful machines out there, making them ideal for music production projects. Skytech Archangel Ryzen 5 is just one of them with its AMD Ryzen 5 3.6 GHz processor, 16 GB Ram, 500 GB SSD, and more than 8 USB ports.
- Powerful computer
- Great for music production and gaming
- Good cooling system
- Bulky design
The powerful computer has three different configurations. Two of them have 1660 Super video cards, but they come in different colors with black and white casings. The last one has a 3060 Ti video card.
While the video card is not directly related to music production performance, it can make things slightly faster and the computer more versatile for use while gaming or video editing.
|Processor||AMD Ryzen 5 3600 6-Core 12-Thread 3.6GHz|
|Storage||500 GB SSD|
|Ports||2 USB 3.0, 2 USB 2.0, 4 USB 3.2 Gen1, headphone and mic jacks|
Skytech Archangel Ryzen 5 is a great gaming computer to use for music production and other creative projects as well as playing games. It is a slightly bulky computer, but portability is not an issue as this is a desktop PC.
5. OEM Lenovo ThinkCentre M720
OEM Lenovo ThinkCentre M720 is one of the most compact desktop computers that can be used for music production. The computer has many different configurations, but all come equipped with Intel Hexa Core i5-9400 2.9 GHz. The versions feature different SSD storage capacities from 250 GB to 1 TB and RAMs from 8 GB to 32 GB.
- Many different configurations
- Lightweight and compact design
- Great value for the price
- No Thunderbolt ports
The OEM Lenovo ThinkCentre M720 shines with its compact and lightweight design. The matte black casing looks nice, and the computer takes up a pretty small space. There are 6 USB ports, headphone and microphone jacks, Ethernet, line-out ports as well as HDMI and VGA outputs.
Depending on your needs, you can go with any PC layout. The base version is more than enough for music production, but if you use lots of tracks, plug-ins, and different applications, you can go for a higher RAM.
|Processor||Intel Hexa Core i5-9400 2.9 GHz|
|RAM||8 GB – 32 GB|
|Storage||250 GB – 1 TB SSD|
|Ports||4 USB 3.1, 2 USB 2.0, Headphone, Microphone jacks, Ethernet, Line-out|
There is not much to say against the OEM Lenovo ThinkCentre M720 model line as it is a great choice with its great value-for-price ratio and different configurations for everyone’s needs.
6. Alienware Aurora R14
Alienware Aurora R14 is one of the strongest desktop computers on the market today. The versatile machine can be used for music production, gaming, video editing, and any kind of creative project. The model has many different configurations with different processors, RAMs, and storage options.
- Very powerful performance
- Wide range of ports
- Great looking design
- Great design and construction
- Very pricey
Even the base model is capable of professional music production with its AMD Ryzen 5 5600X processor, 8GB of RAM, and 256 GB SSD storage capacity. However, if you will be working with many plug-ins and tracks, you can go for a higher model. The top model features AMD Ryzen 9 5900 processor, 1 TB SSD, and 32GB RAM.
The graphic card choices of models vary between RTC 3070 and RTX 3080, which are both high-performing latest tech cards. The PC also has a great range of connectivity options with more than 10 USB ports. The PC is very aesthetically pleasing with its futuristic design.
|Processor||AMD Ryzen 5 5600X – AMD Ryzen 7 5800 – AMD Ryzen 9 5900|
|RAM||8 GB – 16 GB – 32 GB|
|Storage||256 GB – 512 GB – 1TB SSD|
|Ports||Headset port, 2 USB 3.2 ports, 1 USB 3.2 port with PowerShare, 1 USB 3.2 port Type-C port with PowerShare, 2 USB 2.0 ports, 2 USB 2.0 ports with Smart Power, 2 USB 3.2 Type-C ports, 2 USB 3.2 ports, Line-in and Line-out port|
Overall, it is a great desktop computer with great performance specs for music production. You can go with the Alienware Aurora R14 model line if you are after the serious performance, even though it is quite pricey.
7. Dell XPS 8940
Dell XPS 8940 features great performance specs with its Intel Core i7 processor, 32 GB RAM, 512 GB SSD, and 1 TB HDD storage capacity, along with more than 10 USB ports in total. The high-performing computer shines with its great value for price ratio as these specs are rare to find in the price range.
- Great performance specs
- Wide range of connectivity options
- Relatively affordable
- Silent performance
- Not the best graphics card
- Limited expandability
The only drawback about the performance specs is the average graphics card which makes the computer not the best for gaming or video editing. However, the computer delivers excellent performance for music production and other creative projects.
Another great aspect of the computer is its silent performance. With the 7200 RPM fans, the XPS Tower is quiet even when it works close to its full power. The computer has 10 USB ports in total and more connectivity options for higher versatility.
|Processor||Intel Core i7-11700|
|Storage||512 GB SSD + 1 TB HDD|
|Ports||8 USB 3.0 ports, 2 USB 2.0 ports, Memory Card Slot, headphones jack|
In short, if you are after a powerful computer for an affordable price, Dell XPS 8940 is a great choice that sacrifices video graphic card power for affordability.
8. HP 27 Pavilion All-in-One PC
HP 27 Pavilion All-in-One PC is an elegant-looking desktop computer without a tower part. The computer features high-performance specs, including an Intel Core i7-10700T processor, 16GB of RAM, 512 GB SSD, and 1TB HDD, as well as 5 USB ports.
- Great performance
- User-friendly design
- Great touchscreen display
- Elegant design
- Bulky design
- Lacks adjustability
One of the shining stars of the show is the display of HP 27. The touchscreen display is great when using a DAW as it gets your hand free from the mouse and keyboard.
The processor and the RAM are both powerful enough for professional music production. At the same time, the price tag is reasonable, making HP 27 Pavilion All-in-One PC ideal for a home studio with tighter budgets.
|Processor||Intel Core i7-10700T|
|Storage||512 GB SSD and 1TB HDD|
|Ports||4 Superspeed USB Type-A, 1 Superspeed USB Type-C, Card Reader, Headphone Jack, Ethernet|
All things considered, HP 27 Pavilion All-in-One PC is a great choice for musicians. It is a bit bulky, just like most all-in-one PCs without tower parts. But, if portability is not an issue, you can get all your musical projects real with this one.
9. Acer Aspire TC-885-UA92
Acer Aspire TC-885-UA92 is a budget-friendly desktop computer with good performance specs, perfect for beginners to step into the music production world. The computer features an Intel Core i5-9400 processor, 12 GB RAM, 512 GB SSD storage capacity, and 8 USB ports in total, along with a highly affordable price tag.
- Good performance specs
- Wide range of connectivity ports
- Highly affordable
- Cramped interior
The computer’s specs are more than enough for entry-level music production and creative projects. However, it comes with an integrated graphics card, making the computer less versatile and not as usable for gaming or video editing projects.
The computer comes with Windows 10 Home, a USB keyboard, and a USB mouse. It features 8 USB ports in total along with 5.1 surround sound, 802. 11AC Wi-Fi, Gigabit Ethernet LAN, and Bluetooth 5.0. The computer’s design also looks pretty good even though the tower is a bit large. The interior parts are still cramped, nevertheless.
|Processor||Intel Core i5-9400|
|Storage||512 GB SSD|
|Ports||3 USB 3.0, 1 USB Type-C, 4 USB 2.0, Headphones and Microphone jacks|
Acer Aspire TC-885-UA92 is one of the most affordable ways to step into the music production world, thanks to its great performance specs for music production and reasonable price tag. It is ideal for beginners.
10. HP Pavilion TG01-1020
HP Pavilion TG01-1020 is an affordable option ideal for beginner-level music producers. The computer features a great value for the price offered with its Intel Core i5-10400F processor, 8 GB RAM, 256GB SSD storage capacity, and 5 USB ports.
- Great value for the price
- Ideal for basic music production
- Great 4K display and decent graphics card
- Compact and good-looking design
- Not the greatest performance specs
- Limited storage capacity
- Can get a bit loud
The performance specs of the device are quite good for the price, but it may not be ideal for more professional projects where you need to use lots of plug-ins and tracks. However, for basic projects and recording to step into the music production world, it is a great computer.
The display is great with 4K support and the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 graphics card. So you can use the computer for gaming or video projects if you like. The tower of the PC is eye-catching with a compact and good-looking design. Plus, it comes with a USB mouse and keyboard.
|Processor||Intel Core i5-10400F|
|Storage||256 GB Solid State Drive|
|Ports||Headphone jack, 4 USB Type-A, 1 USB Type-C, Media Card Reader|
In short, if an affordable and basic computer for music production is what you need, HP Pavilion TG01-1020 is one of the best choices with a great value-for-price ratio.
Are Desktop Computers superior to Laptops for music production?
The music production performances of a computer or a laptop depend on the specs of the devices. However, desktop computers are upgradable, modifiable, and more affordable than laptops, making them slightly more convenient. However, laptops are way more portable than desktop computers.
If you are a musician on the go and looking for a portable laptop for your projects, you should check out the 10 Best Laptops for Music Production to find the best laptop for music production yourself.
Should I go for Mac or Windows?
Both Mac and Windows can deliver great performances for music production. The choice depends on the DAW of your choice, as some are Mac-exclusive and some are Windows-exclusive. The DAW you want to use decides the operating software.
For example, one of the most popular daws is Logic Pro which only works on Macs. So personal preference plays a big role when choosing Mac or Windows. For more information on Mac and Windows music production processes and DAWs, you should check out this Mac vs Windows For Music Production article.
How important are RAM and SSD for music production?
While RAM and SSD help for high-quality music production, the vital aspect is the CPU power. With more RAM, you can use more plug-ins and tracks in your project, and SSD can make the process faster. However, without the proper data processing power from the CPU, you can not produce music.
If you want to learn more about CPUs and CPU models that are ideal for music production, you can check out the 7 Best CPUs for Music Production.
Are Gaming PCs good for music production?
Gaming PCs are great for music production as they are powerful computers with great performance specs. However, gaming PCs are often high-end computers with premium prices and come with extra specs like high-quality graphic cards that you don’t necessarily need for music production.
What to look for in a Desktop Computer for music production when buying?
When buying a desktop computer for music production, you should look for the processor, RAM, and storage specs as well as the price. For music production, you should aim for a 4 GHz processor frequency, at least 8 GB Ram capacity, and 256 GB SSD storage capacity at the very least.
A good computer is vital for music production projects, and desktop computers are the choice of many musicians as they are relatively more affordable compared to laptops and are upgradable for later use. There are many great models on the market for every budget and level, from affordable entry-level music production computers to professional workhorses.
My top recommended computer is the Apple iMac Retina 5K Display model, a highly versatile and powerful computer for most creative projects.
If you are after a more affordable computer, I recommend you check out the Apple Mac Mini M1 Chip, which features the latest technology M1 Chip of Apple delivering top-quality performance for a reasonable price.