Intel Buying Guide 2022: Laptops and Desktops

This discussion has a more recent version.
edited December 2023 in Reviews & Buying Guides

Written by Sean Mekinda

Intel has been and remains an industry leader for a very good reason: they make fantastic processors. So, let’s look at why people choose Intel CPUs, and what type of Intel option might make the most sense for your unique use case.

Image: Intel

Why choose Intel for your PC?

Intel has long been a reliable, go-to brand for millions of PC enthusiasts everywhere, from folks looking for easy-to-use home desktops to hardcore gamers and workstation PCs.

Their processors have remained on the cutting edge of CPU technology for years and show no sign of slowing down. With their recent 12th gen launch, Intel introduced DDR5 RAM to the general public as well as brought PCIe 5.0 power to motherboards, making them blazing fast, no matter what you’re using your PC for.

12th Gen has also introduced Performance- and Efficient-cores, designed to help streamline tasks to maximize speeds. Background tasks will be handled by Efficient-Cores, or E-cores, leaving the heavy lifting of gaming, editing, or anything else you may be doing to the powerful Performance-cores, or P-cores.

What will best meet my needs?

The answer varies for everybody based on how you intend to use the computer. First, and perhaps most easily, you need to determine whether you need a laptop or a desktop computer. While desktop computers generally outperform laptops, many folks have a lifestyle or workstyle that demands a laptop in order to keep up. Determine which of these is right for you and then keep reading for our recommendations on what to buy.

The Laptop Options

The Perfect Entry-Level Laptop:

Acer Aspire 3 A315-58-39QZ 15.6" Laptop Computer – Silver

Long considered fantastic entry-level PCs, the Acer Aspire series is the perfect mix of price and power. The Acer Aspire pairs an Intel Core i3 with a lightning fast 256GB SSD. Driven by Intel UHD graphics, this is a great PC for anyone looking for a daily workhorse or intro PC. With a lightweight design and excellent battery life, this is a computer that’s ready whenever you need it, no matter where that may be. At the end of the day, if you’re looking for a work from home, or even a work from your local coffee shop option, this sensible computer might be a great fit for you.

The Daily Workhorse:

Dell Inspiron 14 5420 14" Laptop Computer – Silver

The Dell Inspiron is an absolute stellar laptop. It boasts an Intel Core i5126th Gen 1235U 1.3GHz processor with 8GB of DDR4 RAM to keep things moving right along. It offers a large, 512GB solid state drive, which means it uses flash memory to pull up your files in a mere instant. Microsoft Windows 11 Pro will display beautifully on it’s 14” 2.2K Anti-Glare screen thanks to intel’s UHD integrated graphics. The Inspiron is a solid, business-class option that is a fantastic fit for work and play.

Great for Gamers:

ASUS ROG Strix SCAR 17 G733ZW-XS96 Gaming Laptop

The ASUS ROG Strix is a perfect laptop for hardcore gamers. Featuring an ultra-powerful Intel Core i9 12th Gen 12900H 2.5 GHz processor, this beast of a laptop is ready to crush the competition, wherever you are. With 32GB of DDR5-4800 RAM, a 1TB SSD, and let us not forget the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 Ti GPU. All this comes together to power a gorgeous 17.4” 240Hz display so you can get yet another leg up on your opponents. And if you’re looking for just a bit more “oomph,” the MUX switch will allow the GPU to communicate directly with the display, giving you even more gaming power.

The Desktop Options

The Tiny Tower:

Lenovo ThinkCentre M70q Gen 2 Tiny FF Desktop Computer

Looking for a compact option? If that’s the case, the Lenovo ThinkCentre M70q is your friend. The ThinkCentre features an Intel Core i5 11400T 1.3Ghz Processor, and 8GB of RAM. Designed to be a tiny powerhouse, the ThinkCentre is great for anyone looking for a system that won’t take up much space but still offers customizability when it comes to display choices.

 The Everyday PC:

PowerSpec B685 Desktop Computer

If you’re looking for a highly customizable option that still comes in at a mid-range price, the Powerspec B685 might be the best option for you. Pre-equipped with an Intel Core i5 12th Gen 12400 2.5Ghz Processor, 16GB of DDR4 RAM and a 500GB SSD, but that’s just the start.This Powerspec PC was designed with a panel that users can remove quite simply, which will allow you to upgrade your hardware in order to ensure you always have the exact amount of power you need (or more!) to get the job done.

 Top-Of-The-Line Gaming:

Dell Alienware Aurora R13 Gaming PC Platinum Collection

If the primary reason you log onto your computer every day is to grind ranked or blast away in the latest AAA release, then the Micro Center Exclusive Alienware Aurora R13 might be the ideal model for you. With an Intel Core i9 12th Gen 12900KS, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080Ti, and 32GB of DDR5 RAM, the R13 just about the pinnacle of gaming power. No matter what type of gamer you are, this is a PC that’s ready to handle everything you can throw at it and then some.

 Ready to upgrade your PC?

If you’re ready to pick up a new Intel PC (or build your own!), we’re ready to help. Head to your local Micro Center today to chat with our incredibly knowledgeable associates about what is best for your individual needs.

Want to browse ahead of time? Visit our website to browse all of the top deals and, if you find your dream PC, have it ready for in-store pickup in 18 minutes. 


  • Rye_Bread
    Rye_Bread ✭✭✭✭
    First Anniversary 5 Likes First Comment First Answer

    I love recommending the B685 to folks, you get a good amount of performance for the money. Plus since its one of Micro Center's brands, customers can take advantage of our manufacturer warranty directly with us rather than have to go through an RMA process.

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