Choosing the Best Business Desktop Computer
For many of us, the focus of our workday is a desktop computer. From the time we come into the office in the morning until the time we leave in the evening, we’re spending our time in front of a computer monitor sending emails, filling out forms, creating content, or doing whatever else our job entails. It’s much the same if we’re working from our home office.
But while a desktop computer may be our constant companion throughout the workday, we don’t often think about its inner workings until it fails or is unable to handle the tasks we need it to handle.
When the day comes when it’s time to purchase a new computer, we can be faced with dozens of models, all offering different specifications and features. To help when that time comes for you, we’ve compiled this breakdown of the factors that go into the best business desktop.
Choosing CPUs for Business Desktops
Of course, what you’ll need in a business desktop depends in large part on what you’ll be using it for. A graphic artist or video editor will have different needs than someone who uses their computer primarily for email or document creation.
Still, it’s a good idea to chose a computer incorporating a CPU that’s slightly more powerful than what you need. We may not always drive our car at 80 miles an hour, but it’s nice to have that extra bit of power when passing an 18-wheeler on the interstate. A CPU that normally operates with resources to spare means it’s likely to run cooler and will last longer than one that’s constantly running at peak load. Plus, it can be handy to have that additional computing power for those occasional tough tasks. And if your computer is the foundation of your home office, there’s a good chance it’ll be used for things such as gaming or video streaming during off-hours. A CPU that’s more powerful than what you need will also extend the usable life of your computer.
When it comes to CPUs, there are two main choices: Intel and AMD. Intel’s dual- and quad-core processors are common in business PCs today, with its Core i3 and Core i5 lines being among the most popular. Although Intel also offers Core i7 and Core i9 processors, those are better suited for computers designed primarily for gaming or video creation and editing. Intel’s Celeron and Pentium dual-core processors are found mainly in budget PCs and aren’t recommended for regular business use.
AMD’s Ryzen and Ryzen Processors with PRO technologies are a popular choice for business desktops as well. The PRO CPUs offer the same feature set as other Ryzen CPUs, but also offer enhanced security, a longer warranty, and purport to feature better chip quality.
When it comes to computers, form factor is the specification of the motherboard, which in turn dictates the size and shape of the case. The form factor also determines what types of hardware may be added down the road.
Although there are dozens of motherboard form factors, the four most common from largest to smallest, are E-ATX, ATX (standard), micro ATX, and mini ITX. E-ATX and ATX motherboards typically use mid-tower (ATX) or full-tower (ATX or E-ATX) cases, ideal for someone who has room to spare underneath or on the side of their desk. Micro ATX and mini ITX form factors use smaller cases, ideal for someone who has a limited amount of desk space.
When it comes to upgradeability, ATX motherboards generally come with around six PCI slots, while Micro ATX motherboards come with around three. Mini ITX boards usually only have one PCI-E x16 slot. If you plan to add additional components, you’ll likely want to go with an ATX form factor, but if that’s not a concern a micro ATX or mini ITX form factor will suffice.
If you’re working with limited space and aren’t concerned with upgrading, all-in-one PCs are a popular choice. All-in-ones have all the internal components contained in the monitor case, offering a sleek, stylish appearance in a small package. Many are available with high-performance processors, making them more than adequate for business activities.
Graphics Cards - Dedicated vs. Integrated GPUs
When it comes to getting information from the computer to the monitor, it’s the graphics processing unit, or graphics processor, that accomplishes the task.
GPUs typically come in two flavors: integrated and dedicated. Integrated GPUs are built into the motherboard, while dedicated GPUs are separate cards. Although both types come in several varieties, in general, dedicated GPUs are more powerful. Again, the type of graphics you need depends on what you’ll be using the computer for.
Integrated graphics are more than adequate for day-to-day document creation, emailing, or Web surfing. If your job entails video editing or 3D graphics, or you’d like to have multiple monitors on your desk, a dedicated graphics card is the way to go. Also, if you want to use the computer for gaming once the workday is over, you’ll want a dedicated graphics card.
Be aware, though, that if you purchase a small-form-factor computer with hopes of upgrading to more powerful graphics in the future your choices will be limited. Most high-end graphics cards won’t fit in a small-form-factor case.
RAM, Storage, and other considerations
When it comes to RAM (memory), the best advice is “get as much as you can afford.” In terms of RAM, 8 GB is the absolute minimum. Any less than that, the computer will be sluggish even with basic tasks. If you plan to run multiple applications at once, or you’ll be working on resource-intensive tasks such as video editing or number crunching, you’ll want 16 GB or more.
Although the same line of thinking once applied to storage, with the growing number of businesses and individuals storing files in the cloud, having massive amounts of storage isn’t as important as it once was. Still, if you’re working with video content or other large files, you’ll want more storage than if you are just working with documents or spreadsheets.
In most cases, 500GB of storage is more than adequate. For power users, 1TB hard drives are increasingly common in off-the-shelf computers.
That brings us to another storage-related question: HDD (hard disk drive) or SSD (solid-state drive)? HDDs are the spinning disc drives that have been around for years, recognized by the chattering noise they make on bootup or when accessing data. SSDs don’t contain any moving parts, and as such, they’re quieter, faster, and less susceptible to damage from being bumped or dropped. They’re also more expensive than HDDs, although prices continue to fall.
And while DVD readers have been on the decline for several years, the occasion may arise where a client sends files on a DVD or asks you to do the same. Not including a DVD drive with your computer isn’t likely to result in significant savings, especially when compared with the convenience of having one when you need it.
Lenovo Business Desktops
Even with these tips on computer features, choosing the computer that’s right for your business can be a challenging task. That’s why Lenovo has designed a variety of desktop computers with business in mind.
If sheer processing power is what you need, there are the ThinkStation P Series workstations. P Series models come in packages ranging from the ThinkStation P340 Tiny Workstation, the world’s smallest workstation coming in 96 percent smaller than a traditional desktop, to the ThinkStation P520c Tower Workstation, a powerful performing tower workstation with cutting-edge processing, graphics, storage, and memory. ThinkStation P Series computers are perfect for resource-hungry video processing or number-crunching tasks.
If you’re looking for a business computer that can double as a gaming rig, there’s the Legion T Series line, featuring the latest gaming processors and dedicated graphics cards. These towers feature a tool-free upgrade system that provides easy access to internal components when you want to swap out components.
If security and budgets are a concern, there’s the ThinkCentre M Series Towers, featuring high-end security and easy expandability, all in a sleek, stylish energy-efficient (and cost-efficient) package.
No matter which computer you choose, rest easy knowing that it’s backed up by Lenovo’s industry-leading support. Membership in Lenovo Pro for Small Business includes 1 year of Think Premier Support at no cost, free expedited delivery, access to a dedicated business community, and more. Best of all, Lenovo Pro for Small Business is free to join!
No matter what your computer needs are, Lenovo has the perfect model. Let one of our experts help make the match.
Before you go, don’t forget that there are many more complementary tools to consider as you seek to complete your office, home office or on-the-go business computing package. Lenovo offers a wide range of quality business accessories and software packages that span beyond Lenovo’s own portfolio into trusted third-party offerings from major brands such as Belkin, Jabra, Linksys, Logitech, McAfee, Microsoft, Xerox and more. Shop all business accessories.