The devices you buy for your small business are likely to be very different from the devices you buy for personal use. This also includes a desktop PC. Every computer you buy needs to be powerful enough to do a variety of day-to-day tasks like sending emails to customers, running business applications, and anything else you might need.
While not all desktops are suitable for small businesses, our top picks are powerful and versatile so you can get the most from your investment.
The best desktops for small business
The best desktop for SMB: Lenovo ThinkStation P330 Tiny
Why You Should Buy This: It's everything most small businesses could need for one great price at no additional cost.
For who it is: SMBs that need solid, no-frills PC performance.
Why we chose the Lenovo ThinkStation P330 Tiny:
Lenovo's “Think” brand is often viewed as the gold standard for businesses because of its simple design, durability, and configuration options. You'd think all of these features, along with an enterprise-class warranty, would cost a premium, but they don't. You can buy P-Series systems for well under $ 1,000, and while our recommendation is a higher price tag, we think this is the best – although configuration options and price leave some wiggle room.
The ThinkStation P330 Tiny is equipped with an eighth generation Intel Core i7-8700T, the version of its flagship chip of this generation with lower power consumption. It has six cores and, thanks to hyperthreading, supports up to 12 threads simultaneously. This provides excellent multithreading support and a decent 4.0 GHz clock speed for less thread-intensive tasks that require some processor grunt. The system starts with 16 GB of memory, which should be sufficient for most SMB tasks. However, if you'd like, there's a 32GB option for a few hundred more dollars.
Elsewhere in the configuration is a 512GB SSD for quick startups and operations whether you're browsing the web or browsing spreadsheets. There's even a miniature Nvidia Quadro P620 graphics card, which isn't a powerhouse but offers a little more oomph for 3D rendering tasks and video editing.
Connectivity is instantly fantastic, with full support for Wi-Fi 5 (802.1ac) and Bluetooth 5.0, as well as a high-speed Ethernet LAN for wired connections. You also get five USB-A 3.1 ports and a single USB-C port for accessories and charging devices. A headphone jack is integrated directly into the small housing.
This is also one of the system's biggest selling points: its size. At just 1.3 x 7.1 x 7.2 inches, this tiny little PC will fit almost anywhere. Under a desk, in a desk, on the floor, behind a stud wall – wherever you want to put it. This is a great PC for the SMB with lots of options for those who need a little more or less.
The best SMB desktop with discrete graphics: Dell XPS 8930
Why You Should Buy This: You need a stylish desktop that gets your job done at an affordable price.
For who it is: Users who need an affordable solution today that they can upgrade in the future.
Why we chose the Dell XPS 8930:
Most people are familiar with Dell's XPS branding from its eye-catching designs and the outstanding performance of the XPS 13 and XPS 15 series notebooks. Fortunately, Dell's understated design also applies to the XPS 8930, a desktop tower that makes it to stay business friendly without just another black box on your desk. The glossy front panel gives the PC a little flair and makes it look attractive both in a cabin and in the reception area of a customer-oriented front office.
The base model is equipped with an Intel Core i3-9100 processor and 8 GB of memory and costs just $ 550. However, this does not give you any discrete graphics. From there, you can get more memory, a faster processor (everything in the ninth generation up to and including Core i9-9900), discrete Nvidia GTX and RTX graphics up to an RTX 2060, and fast NVMe SSDs up to 2 Add TB and additional storage drives. This makes the XPS 8930 fantastic for just about everything from basic computing in the lower section to video and photo editing in the upper section. If you need even more performance, there are “Special Edition” upgrades for a Core i9-9900K and up to an Nvidia RTX 2080 graphics card.
Just as many small business employees have to juggle multiple hats and roles throughout the day, the XPS 8930 can not only do your Microsoft Office tasks, but is also versatile enough to create content for social media platforms.
There's even a USB-C port on the case, which helps keep this desktop future-proof. However, there are also plenty of older USB-A 3.1 and 2.0 ports for more traditional accessories and device charging. If you want to update it in the future, the option is available thanks to the versatile and spacious tower housing.
With the right upgrades, the XPS 8930 promises to stay as fast in the future as it is today. Owners receive the standard one year warranty. However, you can opt for Dell's premium protection plan if you want to keep this affordable workhorse for a while.
Read our full Dell XPS 8930 review
The best SMB workstation for creative people: Falcon Northwest Talon 20th Anniversary Edition
Why You Should Buy This: It's a super powerful system in an attractive, quiet chassis.
For who it is: Creatives and data analysts who need a powerful desktop today.
Why we chose the Falcon Northwest Talon 20th Anniversary Edition:
The Falcon Northwest Talon 20th Anniversary Edition isn't a cheap PC that starts at $ 2,500 and runs to the top five-digit. However, this desktop offers workstation-class performance in a compact space. The Talon was built in a medium-sized desktop case and is not a miniature system, but it is quite compact considering the hardware inside. Available with Intel or AMD processors in focus, you have a choice of some of the fastest CPUs in the world – our trial version with the 12-core Ryzen 3900X – and the performance shows that our tests show near-unparalleled CPU performance, in particular in multithreaded tasks.
This powerful core of the system is supported by loads of high-speed memory, powerful and flexible memory, and high-end graphics options should you need them for rendering or 3D work. There are options from an Nvidia GTX 1660 Ti for beginners to two Titan RTX cards or a professional Nvidia Quadro RTX performance up to two RTX 8000 GPUs.
With this hardware on board, there's nothing this system can't do, and it works even at low noise levels thanks to well-implemented water cooling and great fan configurations. You can even see it all in action through the attractive side panel, though you can opt for a more low-key look if you prefer. Not everything needs RGB.
SMBs who buy this PC benefit from minimal interruptions to their workflow in the event that something goes wrong thanks to a generous standard warranty of three years. Unfortunately there are no upgrade options. After this three-year period, you are alone. But with the build quality and high-end components, this system should last a lot longer no matter what you want to do with it.
Read our full Falcon Northwest Anniversary Edition review
The Most Powerful Workstation for SMBs: Puget Systems Threadripper Workstation (s)
Why You Should Buy This: You need state-of-the-art performance at a relatively affordable price.
For who it is: Money can buy SMBs working in industries that need the best performing hardware.
Why we chose this::
The workstation's CPU performance has seen a revolution in the past year and is called Threadripper. The third generation of AMD Ryzen Threadripper CPUs ruined the desktop processor's performance and made everything else seem pedestrian by comparison. While powerful workstations have focused on Intel's Xeon server CPUs for years, Threadripper 3000 chips offer higher performance at lower power and higher clock speeds, which makes them fantastic for multi-threaded and single-threaded tasks.
Puget Systems is one of the first workstation manufacturers to take advantage of the raw power of the latest high-performance CPUs from AMD and its customers are benefiting from it. With 24, 32, and 64-core options with the Threadripper 3960x, 3970X, and 3990X CPUs, Puget's Threadripper workstations stand above anything Intel's alternatives can offer, at a very competitive price.
While the starting price of $ 5,000 isn't cheap, you'd have to spend more than double that for an Intel Xeon equivalent that can even hope to keep up.
In addition to this high-performance CPU, you can choose from a variety of high-end Nvidia graphics cards, including the RTX 2080 Ti and powerful Quadro rendering cards, as well as plenty of storage space, a high-end power supply unit and quiet and powerful cooling solutions with advanced thermal paste for efficient heat transfer.
As we wait for the top systems builders to learn about AMD Threadripper's success stories, Puget leads the way in the most powerful desktop workstations you can buy today.
Read our tips for the best Mac Pro alternatives
The best budget-friendly desktop for SMBs under $ 500: Lenovo ThinkCentre M715 Tiny
Why You Should Buy This: You have limited desktop real estate and need a versatile, high-performing workhorse.
For who it is: Offices with limited budgets and space.
Why we chose the Lenovo ThinkCentre M715 Tiny:
The ThinkCentre M715 Tiny is a compact desktop that gives the Mac Mini a chance. This desktop with a volume of 1 liter can be placed on or next to a desk, under a desk in a cubicle or for an office with limited space behind a tiny-in-one monitor, so that the setup like a modular all-in One monitor works. In-one PC for an even more elegant setup. Starting at $ 590, the M715 offers plenty of power for everyday computing. Optional upgrades like a dust cover help it withstand tougher conditions in harsher business environments such as storage rooms, manufacturing centers or auto repair shops.
Starting with AMD's Ryzen 5 Pro 2400 GE, you get a fantastic quad-core CPU with support for the eighth thread and some powerful onboard graphics. RAM options include 4, 8, and 12 GB. However, 8 GB should be sufficient for most tasks. This small PC comes with a 500 GB hard disk drive. However, you can get additional performance by adding a secondary M.2 format NVMe solid-state drive, which can open apps and larger files faster.
Discrete graphics are not an option here as it is too small a system. However, there are many more options in this list for affordable workstations with an additional graphics card.
This desktop can compete well with the compact NUC desktops from Intel. Users with higher GPU requirements should check out the Intel Hades Canyon NUC, a system with discrete graphics support. However, if you choose Intel solutions, you will be missing out on Lenovo's clever tiny-in-one design. As with other Think products, the ThinkCentre M715 Tiny warranty can be updated to provide longer coverage.
Research and buying tips
What are the factors to consider when buying a desktop for SMBs?
After selecting a desktop PC with the components that meet your current and future power needs – processors, graphics card, memory, and storage – small business owners should also consider the design and warranty options available. For example, a more compact design can be more inconspicuous and out of the way to encourage better customer interactions when used in the reception area of the front office. However, these miniature PCs may not be as upgradeable as larger tower models. And while a tower can take up a lot of space, the spacious chassis makes upgrading a breeze and can help protect your investment.
When it comes to extending the life of your investment, a solid warranty policy can ensure that your business is up and running with minimal downtime. Consumer desktops often come with a one-year default policy, but business workstations and desktops often come with a three-year warranty that buyers can sometimes upgrade to up to five years. If you do not have a dedicated IT infrastructure to maintain your devices, an extended warranty policy can help keep disruptions to your workflow as low as possible. If your PC manufacturer doesn't offer an extended warranty, consider shopping at retailers who offer their own extended protection plans that cover standard manufacturing defects as well as accidental damage.
Should my desktop computer have an SSD or GPU?
Solid-state drives and graphics cards are optional upgrades that can add more performance to your desktop, especially if you intend to keep your investment going for years. Fortunately, the price of SSDs has dropped significantly in recent years, making them a solid investment for getting more performance out of your desktop. If you are on a budget, consider a workstation with multiple drive bays. You can load the operating system and frequently used apps onto a primary SSD to take advantage of the speed advantages and transfer larger files and documents to a secondary hard drive to save money.
It is not uncommon for a typical SMB user to wear lots of hats in the office they work in, which means they are in charge of several daily operations like social media management and general accounting. Because of this, it is a good idea to have a graphics card to support basic graphics or even video, even if your business is not in the creative field.
How much computing power does my SMB desktop need?
You don't have to go all out – a simple, entry-level GPU is all you need to expand the capabilities of your desktop. Office apps and even the Chrome web browser shift some of the heavy lifting from the CPU to the GPU. If your business doesn't have the budget for a GPU today, but you think you will need one in the future, you can add a graphics card later for a tower design with enough internal storage.
While it's nice to be able to buy a PC with the latest desktop with a 3rd generation Intel 9th or AMD Ryzen CPU, not every SMB has the budget to get a fully loaded system. Stick to your budget and buy only what you need. If your workflow involves juggling large files or extensive multitasking, you should focus on AMD's 3rd generation Ryzen or even Threadripper CPUs, as their support for multitasking workloads far outperforms Intel's competition.
Multiple graphics cards are only worth considering for heavy 3D work or CAD design. In most cases, a single high-end GPU is sufficient.