The best desktops for students
It's true that in this very guide we also recommend the Mac Mini, but that's really only for those who already have a monitor and keyboard laying around. The iMac costs more, but it wins on convenience and is no more expensive than most premium laptops. Though it starts at $1,099, we recommend stepping up to the $1,299 configuration for several reasons. For that price, you get a 4K Retina display (as opposed to 1080p) along with a discrete 2GB AMD Radeon Pro 555X GPU (as opposed to integrated graphics).
Unfortunately, both come standard with a traditional spinning 5,400 RPM hard drive, with an option to upgrade to a solid-state Fusion drive for $100. As annoying as it is that that's still not a standard feature across the line, this is one area where it's worth making an investment: We've tested both Fusion and non-Fusion iMacs, and you really can tell the difference. If money is no object, there's also the 27-inch iMac, which starts at $1,799, but we think the 21.5-inch model's size and price make it a better fit for most people (and dorm spaces).