How to Choose a Desktop Computer for Online Learning on a Budget

What is the best budget desktop for students? We have seen a major change in our work routines since 2020, with many organizations now permanently adopting a flexible and remote working culture. This also applies to schools and colleges where online learning has now become the norm.

That is why we now need to know how to choose a computer for online learning. When schools and colleges switched to online classes last year, a lot of people had to be content with their phones or tablets, which is good if you’re just attending lectures. However, in order to complete homework, presentations and projects at home, a dedicated computer will offer much more flexibility and convenience than a phone or tablet.

While most people prefer laptops, desktops still have their advantages, such as ease of upgrading and the ability to use a larger screen. If you have space at home and don’t need to carry your computer around, a desktop computer still makes a lot of sense. Desktops come in all shapes and sizes, from mini PCs to all-in-one computers like Apple’s iMac.

Today we are going to focus on budget desktops and the kind of options available in the market. In this guide, we will only look at pre-built options from reputable brands, as after-sales support is better provided. You can also go the DIY route and build your own computer by picking and choosing your own components if you’re feeling adventurous.

NUC intel desktop ee budget desktop guide

Intel NUC mini PCs are palm-sized computers that might be great for saving desktop space, but they tend to be expensive.

Decide on the type of desktop computer you want to buy

Depending on the space you have at home, there are several formats to choose from. We are going to go over some of the most common ones available in the Indian market.

Office towers

A pre-built desktop tower will give you all of the basic guts of a computer such as processor, RAM, and storage. However, you may need to purchase other items such as the monitor, keyboard, mouse, speakers, and webcam separately, or reuse the ones you own if you are only upgrading the PC. If you don’t feel like spending on a monitor, you can always connect the tower directly to your TV via HDMI and use it as a giant monitor.

The Lenovo IdeaCentre 3 series is available with prices departure starting at around Rs. 17,500 for an AMD Athlon Silver 3050U processor or around Rs. 25,990 if you want an Intel solution. Keep in mind that these base models come with Free DOS, so you will need to purchase a Windows 10 license separately.

Increase your budget a bit to Rs. 31,000 will be have you Windows 10 Home preinstalled, with a better processor such as an AMD Ryzen 3 3250U, more RAM and SSD storage in addition to the traditional mechanical hard drive. Lenovo’s IdeaCentre 3 Series towers are relatively compact and offer a variety of configurations to suit your needs.

HP slim deck stop ww budget desktop guide

The HP Slim Desktop series offers great functionality in a compact body

Likewise, HP also offers tower solutions, such as its Slim Desktop series, which is similarly priced. However, with HP you get Windows 10 even on their entry-level model which begins to approximately Rs. 18,000. There are a variety of configurations available, most of which even include a copy of the Microsoft Office Home and Student 2019 suite.

If you’re looking for something even more compact than a slim tower PC, then mini PCs are the way to go. These palm-sized cases, similar to an Apple Mac mini, offer decent performance for basic tasks and can easily be hidden behind a monitor or TV, out of sight. One thing to note is that they tend to be a bit pricey, and these PCs are usually sold barebones, which means you’ll have to buy the RAM and storage separately, install them yourself, and then configure Windows.

Intel sells its NUC Pro mini PC for around Rs. 31,000, which gives you an 11th gen Core i3 processor, but without RAM or storage. Asus, ZOTAC and ECS also offer mini PC solutions, but these are not as readily available as they used to be.

All-in-one PC (AiO)

All-in-one or all-in-one PCs are great all-in-one solutions and also save space. These desktops usually have all of the components behind the screen, so you don’t need a lot of desk space. You also get built-in speakers and a webcam, plus Windows 10. All you have to do is unbox an all-in-one, plug it in, and you’re good to go.

You can find Dell, Lenovo, Asus and HP solutions in the Indian market. HP All-in-One 21 model starts at Rs. 28,499 and includes an entry-level Intel Celeron processor, 1TB hard drive and 4GB of RAM. If you need more power and a bit of durability, the HP All-in-One 24 series would be a better choice.

Lenovo doesn’t have too many budget options, but there’s the IdeaCentre AIO 330 that we fell on. Specifications include a 19.5-inch display, an Intel Pentium Silver processor, 4GB of RAM, and a 1TB hard drive. If you’re looking for something sleek and powerful, the Lenovo IdeaCentre A340 (22) offers a 21.5-inch screen, an Intel 10th generation Core i3 processor, 8 GB of RAM and a 1 TB hard drive at around Rs. 43,990.

budget desktop guide Asus AIO desktop www

The Asus Vivo AiO is an example of good features and performance for the price

Dell has some good AiO models, one of which we also reviewed recently, but the models currently on sale are expensive, with prices starting at around Rs. 75,000.

Asus offers some very interesting options such as the Vivo all-in-one V222 which comes with a 10th gen Intel Core i3 processor, 4GB of RAM, 1TB hard drive, a 21.5 inch Full HD display and a wireless keyboard and mouse for around Rs. 38,990. Variants cheaper and more expensive are also available for the same model, depending on how much you want to spend.

Complete office solutions

PC makers also offer complete desktop solutions that include tower, monitor, keyboard, and mouse. The only thing you will probably need is a webcam for interactive online lessons. Dell has a wide variety of configurations with prices from just Rs. 35,990. At that price, you will get the Dell Inspiron 3891 desktop which comes with an Intel Pentium Gold processor, Windows 10, 4GB of RAM, a 1TB hard drive, and a 22 inch monitor.

While this PC should serve you well for basic use like attending classes and using Microsoft’s Office suite, you can always go for one of the more powerful variants from Dell’s website, depending on your needs. workload and your needs.


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Roydon Cerejo writes about smartphones and laptops for Gadgets 360, in Mumbai. He is Associate Editor (Reviews) at Gadgets 360. He has written frequently on the smartphone and PC industry and is also interested in photography. With over a decade of experience in the mainstream tech arena, he’s also an avid sci-fi movie and TV show enthusiast and is always up for some great horror movies. Roydon is available at roydon@gadgets360.com, so please send in your leads and advice. Following

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