With so many choices on the market today, picking out the best desktop PC for your home office can be difficult. All of the terminologies can get a little confusing if you are unfamiliar with the technology. To top it all off, brand, price, and specs variations can be confusing.
Today’s article will explore the best desktop PCs for home office use. We’ll explain what makes each unit perfect for a specific use case and what to look for to get the most out of your purchase. Finally, we’ll review a few valuable tips to make your search even more accessible.
We’ve picked out the top five best desktop PCs in each category:
- Best Overall: HP Z2 G5 EliteDesk
- Best Budget Option: HP M01-F1120
- Best Compact Option: Dell Optiplex 3090 MFF
- Best Gaming Option: HP Envy Desktop
- Best All-in-One Option: Lenovo IdeaCentre 3i
Best Overall Desktop PC for Home Office: HP Z2 G5 EliteDesk
- Disclosure: Brand New Computer has been resealed to upgrade the Memory or SSD. Three-year warranty from the manufacturer. Three-year warranty for upgraded Memory/SSD for Issaquah Highlands Tech customers.
- Intel Hexa-Core i5-10500 Processor (6 Cores 12 Threads, 3.1 GHz base frequency, up to 4.5 GHz with Intel Turbo Boost Technology, 12MB L3 Cache); 32GB DDR4 Memory; 1TB SSD
- Intel UHD Graphics 630 + NVIDIA Quadro P620 4GB GDDR5 Dedicated Graphics - Expandable to 3 monitors via DisplayPort. Max resolution of the External Monitors: 4K (4096*2160) @60Hz
- 2 x SuperSpeed USB Type-C 10Gbps signaling rate (1 side) (charging), 4 x SuperSpeed USB Type-A 10Gbps signaling rate (2 rear, 2 side) (one of them is charging), 3 x DisplayPort 1.4, 1 x RJ-45, 1 x headphone/microphone comb (1 side); Intel Wi-Fi CERTIFIED 6 AX201 (2x2) and Bluetooth 5 combo (Supporting Gigabit data rate)
- Windows 10 Professional 64-bit, FREE upgrade to Windows 11 Pro available. Ideal for School Education, Designers, Professionals, Small Business, Programmers.
You can often pick out a standard desktop computer by its form factor and familiar design, but the EliteDesk is anything but familiar. This PC takes the high-performance specs of a workstation-class desktop and squeezes them into a compact box roughly the size of a game console.
Looking at the small size and unassuming appearance of the HP Z2 G5 EliteDesk, you would think it is a weak, underpowered office machine. This assumption is shattered the moment you turn it on.
As soon as your fingers leave the power button, the EliteDesk is already booting up. Thanks to the state-of-the-art M.2 solid-state drive, the desktop loads within seconds, greeting you with the familiar Windows 10 Pro interface.
Peaking under the hood of the EliteDesk, you’ll find a wealth of powerful hardware on tap. The heart of this system is the Intel Core i5-10500 processor. While this CPU is a few generations behind, it still offers solid performance for the money. With six cores and a boost clock speed of up to 4.5GHz, this processor easily tears through heavy applications.
Coupled with the Nvidia Quadro P620 graphics card, this system makes a mean multitasking machine. This system is best suited for professionals and creatives and is designed for graphically intensive tasks like computer-assisted design and 3D modeling.
If you’re looking for a gaming computer, this isn’t it. However, if you’re looking for a computer to power through AutoCAD, SolidWorks, and Adobe Photoshop, you can’t go wrong with this setup.
With two USB Type-C, three Display Ports, and four USB-A ports, you won’t run out of spots to hook up all of your peripherals, external hard drives, and external monitors. Additionally, WiFi 6 and gigabit ethernet keep you well-connected. Overall, your home office can’t go wrong with the HP Z2 G5 EliteDesk.
Check out HP Z2 G5 EliteDesk on Amazon.
Best Budget Desktop PC for Home Office: HP M01-F1120
- REMOTE WORK READY - Study or work from home with a sleek and reliable PC from a brand that you can trust.
- MODERN DESIGN - With a bold and stylish design accompanied by a USB mouse and keyboard combo, this HP seamlessly fits into any work or living space.
- LIGHTNING-FAST PROCESSOR & VIBRANT IMAGING - Content creation is a snap with the AMD Ryzen 3 4300G Processor* and images are given new life with AMD RadeonGraphics**
- THE ENTERTAINMENT DOESN’T STOP - Get the most from you gaming and streaming experience with second-to-none graphics provided by AMD Radeon Graphics
- MEMORY AND STORAGE - This desktop’s performance gets a boost thanks to the bandwidth from 8 GB of RAM*** and 512 GB PCIe NVMe M.2 Solid State Drive****
Setting up a home office shouldn’t bankrupt you. In fact, depending on what sort of work you’ll be doing, you can build out your home office with a cheap PC without missing out on much. You can sacrifice high-performance hardware to save some money if you keep work and play divided and don’t use your home office PC for gaming or graphics-intensive apps.
That being said, the non-descript HP M01-F1120 is a prime candidate. Nothing about this desktop is impressive or mind-blowing. In fact, just the opposite. This PC embodies the principle of “good enough.” In other words, it does just enough to get the job done without striving for perfection.
When it comes to this desktop PC, you won’t find much to complain about for a home office. The system boots up in a few seconds thanks to the speedy SSD, and the 8GB of RAM is plenty for regular use. An AMD Ryzen 3 processor keeps your PC chugging along without slowing down, and day-to-day performance is excellent.
Thanks to Windows 10, this PC is simple and easy to use. Connecting your peripherals is super easy, thanks to the array of ports on the front and back of the system. You get eight USB ports allowing for plenty of devices. You also get an HDMI and a VGA port for connecting up to two monitors.
WiFi 5 offers reliable internet connectivity. Although not the latest standard, you won’t notice much of a difference for general office use. The same can be said for Bluetooth 4.2 connectivity.
All in all, this HP makes the perfect budget desktop PC for your home office. It won’t break records or draw attention, but it will let you do your work swiftly and quietly.
Check out HP M01-F1120 on Amazon.
Best Compact Desktop PC for Home Office: Dell Optiplex 3090 MFF
- ▌Computer has NO internal WIFI. It comes with an external USB WIFI Adapter.▌ Intel Core i5-10500T Processor @ 2.30GHz(6 Cores, 12 Threads, 12M Cache, up to 3.80 GHz).
- Intel UHD Graphics 630
- Memory: 16GB DDR4 RAM; Hard Drive: 512GB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD. Optical Drive: No.
- USB WiFi Adapter. Front: 1 USB 3.2 Gen1 Type-A port, 1 Universal Audio Jack, 1 Re-tasking Line out/Line in audio port; Rear: 1 RJ-45 port 10/100/1000 Mbps, 1 USB 3.2 Gen1 Type-A port with Smart Power on, 3 USB 3.2 Gen1 Type-A ports, 2 DisplayPort 1.4.
- Windows 10 Professional, English. Wired Keyboard and Mouse (Black) included.
Measuring seven by seven inches (18cm) and just over an inch thick (3.6cm), the Dell Optiplex 3090 MFF can almost fit in the palm of your hand. The MFF in the name stands for micro form factor—a fitting name, given its tiny size. Before you get too excited, the 3090 part of the name does not mean it has an Nvidia RTX 3090 GPU.
Even so, the Optiplex 3090 MFF is a reasonably powerful system considering its small footprint. Dell has managed to cram an Intel Core i5-10500T processor, 16GB of DDR4 RAM, and a 512GB M.2 SSD into this minuscule computer.
Graphics processing is the only weak point of this system, and we can’t blame Dell for not trying. The integrated Intel UHD 630 graphics are still enough to crank out HD videos and multimedia.
What’s even more surprising than the specs is the extensive array of ports and connectivity options this desktop has. Looking at the front, you’ll see one USB-A 3.2 port, a universal audio jack, and a line-out audio port.
Turning the system around, you’ll find even more ports on the back. From right to left, you have gigabit ethernet, four USB-A 3.2 ports, and two DisplayPort 1.4 connectors. This PC will slide right in wherever you have the tiniest bit of space.
Behind your monitor, mounted to the wall, or even concealed behind the desk, this PC will fit everywhere. With the combination of great specs and extensive connectivity, the Dell Optiplex 3090 MFF is the perfect compact home office PC.
Check out Dell Optiplex 3090 MFF on Amazon.
Best Gaming Desktop PC for Home Office: HP Envy Desktop
- THOUGHTFULLY CRAFTED – With its speedy processing power, ports for everything, and plenty of storage, The HP ENVY Desktop Bundle PC modernizes the way you create
- POWERFUL PROCESSOR – This HP computer gives you all the productivity features you need with its familiar Windows 11 Home OS (1) and powerful Intel Core i9-12900 processor (2), which provides instant responsiveness
- IMMERSIVE GRAPHICS – Enjoy a true-to-life feel with impressive visuals provided by NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 (8 GB GDDR6 dedicated) graphics
- ALL THE MEMORY & STORAGE YOU NEED – The 16 GB DDR4-3200 MHz RAM (2 x 8 GB) lets you keep multiple tabs open without slowdown, while 1 TB Intel PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD gives you plenty of storage for your favorite games, entertainment, and more
- BOOMING AUDIO – Your game’s audio is boosted with 5.1 surround sound
If your home office is also your gaming room, then your choices get a little more interesting. Enter the HP Envy Desktop. Perhaps no other company compares to HP when it comes to making the perfect home office computer. Even when focused on gaming, the HP Envy Desktop looks like it belongs in an office.
You won’t find a glass panel showcasing your internal components, similar to typical gaming desktops. Instead, the HP Envy is covered in a plain white finish, void of any detail save for the glossy HP logo on the front and the Envy designation on the side.
Underneath its plain exterior is a system chock full of high-performance hardware. Right off the bat, the Intel Core i9 processor establishes itself as the best-performing gaming processor on the market. Coupled with the Nvidia RTX 3070 GPU and a whopping 8GB of DDR6 VRAM, you have a mean gaming machine.
Additionally, 16GB of RAM and 1TB of SSD storage make this system the ideal home office gamer. You can expand every component of this system too. Push the access button on the back and lift off the side panel to gain access to every component, from the GPU to the RAM and SSD. Inside, you’ll find plenty of space for upgrades.
With seven USB-A ports and three USB-C ports, you have plenty of ports for connecting peripherals. You also get three DisplayPort and one HDMI port. Enhanced features like 5.1 surround sound connections on the back are welcome additions.
Additionally, ethernet and WiFi 6 lets you connect as fast as possible. Overall, the HP Envy is the perfect gaming PC for your home office.
Check out HP Envy Desktop on Amazon.
Best All-in-One Desktop PC for Home Office: Lenovo IdeaCentre 3i
- Built for heavy use: Engineered for heavy workloads from multiple household users, the AIO 3i packs powerful Intel processors and Intel Iris Xe graphics in its compact chassis. Plus, store everything and experience overall system responsiveness with SSD
- Instant privacy, instant login: Get started quickly and securely with facial login with the built-in webcam that can be conveniently pulled up or pushed down
- Designed to make sense: Keep your desk clutter-free with cable management built in, and better manage your PC and phone with the dedicated phone holder with the space-saving stand
- Made for family time: View your favorite Netflix show with a Full-HD display from a wide viewing angle and see more of the screen with narrow bezels on three sides. Enjoy clear audio with Harman Kardon-certified speakers
- More connectivity options: Included are two USB 2.0 ports, two USB 3.2 Gen 2 ports with 10 GB per second data transfer speeds, a Power DC Jack and HDMI-Out, as well as a microphone/headphone combo and 1000 LAN
All-in-one desktop PCs are a unique breed in their own way. While dozens of all-in-ones exist to cater to different audiences, most of them are focused on home office use. To find the absolute best, we found a gem, the Lenovo IdeaCentre 3i.
Lenovo has been in the PC industry for many years now, and its expertise in producing quality PCs shines through in this system. The most striking feature of this computer is the unique stand. With a solid base and sturdy metal arm holding up the 27” 1920 by 1080p monitor, this design makes a strong impression and adds a touch of flair to your home office workspace.
It doesn’t stop there—the entire PC is a bold design statement, with a top-mounted camera, razor-thin bezels around the display, and a tapered edge. Despite its good looks, we didn’t pick this system based on the design alone.
The Lenovo IdeaCentre also packs some potent hardware. An Intel Core i5-1240P processor, 8GB of RAM, and a 512GB SSD are right behind the display. To top it all off, Intel Iris Xe graphics give you enough graphics power to handle demanding workloads.
All of your ports are on the back of this PC. From left to right, you have an HDMI port, two USB 2.0 ports, a gigabit ethernet jack, and two USB 3.2 ports.
You also get a headphone/ microphone combo jack for connecting your headsets and audio devices. Overall, the Lenovo IdeaCentre is the perfect all-in-one desktop PC for your home office.
Check out Lenovo IdeaCentre 3i on Amazon.
How To Pick The Best Desktop PC for Home Office: Step by Step
With so many desktop computers on the market, you can quickly come down with a case of information overload. While the terminology can be confusing, there are a few key factors you can educate yourself on to help you pick out the best desktop PC for your home office:
- Processor and graphics
- Storage and RAM
- Ports and connectivity
Let’s discuss these in a bit more detail.
Historically, desktop computers have been gigantic. Often taking up a whole desk and weighing a few dozen pounds, old PCs were monolithic devices. Fortunately, modern computers come in all shapes and sizes. Moreover, you can often find the perfect desktop form factor with precisely the specs you need without sacrificing quality.
Size is one of the more manageable factors to contemplate. Desk space is typically the only factor playing a part in this decision. If you are working with limited space, you should look for small form factor (SFF) or ultra-small form factor (USFF) desktops. A PC of this size can easily slide right behind your monitor to save space.
On the other hand, if you have no space limitations at all, you can go all out and pick the largest desktop you can find if you so choose. The advantages of larger desktop PCs include better cooling, more ports and connections, and better expansion capabilities.
The processor, or CPU, is basically the heart of your PC. This component is vital for cases like office use, gaming, multimedia, streaming, and more. A better processor contributes to a faster PC, although it is not the sole component responsible for performance. You can often boil your CPU choice down to a few factors.
If your PC only runs office programs, crunches numbers, and processes documents, you don’t need to worry about getting the best processor. Often, entry-level CPUs like the Intel Pentium or Core i3 are enough. For AMD options, you can’t go wrong with any CPU from the Ryzen series.
The complexities start to show if you use your PC for more than office applications. Gamers will require the most powerful hardware. If you plan to use your PC for both office use and gaming throughout the day, you’ll need to opt for higher-performance processors like the Intel Core i5, i7, or even i9.
Alternatively, competent AMD processors like the Ryzen 7 and Ryzen 9 also make great CPUs for demanding tasks. Graphics is even more important than the CPU for specific tasks.
Graphic design, video editing, and primarily gaming all require a powerful graphics card. This might limit you from getting smaller PCs since you will need to have enough space for the graphics card. Conversely, if you only need to use your PC for typing documents and spreadsheets, you won’t need to concern yourself with graphics as much.
Storage and RAM
When considering storage and RAM, you should ask yourself the following: do you plan to store many files, such as documents, music, and pictures? Or will you mainly store your files in cloud-based apps like Google Drive or Dropbox?
If you prefer to store your files locally, you should ensure you have enough space to do so. Generally speaking, 500GB or larger is enough to hold all your applications and files. RAM is more straightforward. More is almost always better, although there is the point of diminishing returns.
Computers with less than 8GB of RAM should be avoided at all costs. While this is a safe minimum to run your operating system and multitask efficiently, you’ll quickly run into slowdowns if you have any less.
The difference between 8GB and 16GB of RAM is noticeable enough to warrant an extra expense, but the difference between 16GB and 32GB is less obvious. You should only worry about packing more RAM than 16GB if you run complex applications like AutoDesk and CAD software. Fortunately, desktop PCs are almost always expandable, meaning you can add more RAM later if you need it.
Ports and Connectivity
Plenty of ports and connectors are vital if you want to plug in your hardware, peripherals, and monitors. Take stock of what you use daily to figure out a starting point. For example, your monitor will require an HDMI or a DisplayPort connector. Having a few of these ports handy gives you the freedom to add more displays as you see fit.
Accessories like mice and keyboards are often wireless, but you should still get at least a few USB ports for odds and ends like external hard drives, hubs, adapters, and other peripherals. New standards like USB Type-C provide an even faster experience, and additional ports like ethernet, headphone jack, and SD card readers always come in handy for something.
As for internet connectivity, desktop PCs may offer wired or wireless connections, or both. Look out for PCs with WiFi 6 if you prefer to connect wirelessly. WiFi capability gives you the freedom to move your PC around to another location without worrying about having an ethernet cable lying around.
With the increasing work-from-home trend, many companies require their employees to use wired connections. Fortunately, desktop PCs frequently offer gigabit ethernet ports. Having at least one ethernet port will ensure that your PC provides a secure wired connection.
What To Know Before Buying a Desktop PC for Home Office
Rushing into a purchase is the last thing you want to do when buying a new PC for your home office. Getting stuck with an overpriced or underpowered PC is all too easy if you are not careful. To ensure you get exactly what you need, you should determine your requirements first.
Figuring out your requirements might seem daunting if you don’t know much about tech, but it’s a relatively simple task. Think of the applications you use your computer for. Consider the apps and programs you might have to install for work.
Simple office programs will have low hardware requirements. More complex applications will have specific minimum and recommended system requirements. This task is even easier if you know precisely what applications you plan to install on your new PC.
Almost every company makes the minimum system requirements to run their program freely available online, just a Google search away. To ensure your system handles your apps easily, you should aim to buy a PC that matches or exceeds the recommended system requirements of the most demanding ones.
Using Desktop PCs for Home Office: What It’s Like
No matter which desktop PC you choose, one unifying quality should be ease of use. Fortunately, thanks to Microsoft Windows, all of the PCs on this list are intuitive and user-friendly. Using your computer basically comes down to interacting with the operating system. Fortunately, Windows makes this a painless task.
The only complexities you should encounter when using your home office PC should be connected to your work. The PC itself is a piece of cake. Plug it in, boot it up, and you are in business. Of course, if you’re tech-savvy, you might challenge this concept a bit. For example, instead of Windows, you could choose to load a version of Linux instead.
Different operating systems carry different requirements and levels of difficulty, but the fact remains; your PC makes it easy for you. A modern desktop PC has all the ports you need to connect devices and the internal functions to carry out your day-to-day tasks. The same can be said when it comes to upgrading your PC.
Generally speaking, you can expect a reasonably high-quality desktop PC to last at least five years. Upgrading your hardware can potentially squeeze a lot more use out of your computer. The best desktops will have swappable RAM and storage, allowing for easy expansion. Full-size desktops have the added benefit of extra space for graphics cards and additional drives.
Last update on 2022-11-21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API