While workforces have become far more mobile, there’s still a need for the traditional office desktop PC. It remains the most cost-effective computing device as it’s easily maintained and has the most powerful solutions available on the market.
Despite the drop in laptop prices and increase in mobile processor power, there are still distinct advantages to running desktop systems in an office environment, which is why the desktop remains the most popular form-factor for computer systems.
Speaking of form factors, the desktop PC has evolved significantly over the past three years beyond the monoliths that mid or mini-towers are.
The range of available desktop systems is as wide and varied as business needs themselves, ranging from a few off-the-shelf units for a SMB to the deployments of thousands of basic desktop PCs and everything in between.
4 Tips for buying business PCs
Here are four things you need to bear in mind when acquiring new desktop PCs for your business.
If your business is buying several computers that have the same configuration, it does make sense to have a “plus one” which may come handy when one of the computers breaks down and the fault turns out to be something that be fairly easily solved by swapping parts with the spare PC. The power supply unit, the optical drive or the memory modules come to mind.Look out for regular promotions carried out by the big vendors. HP, Lenovo and Dell often offer cashback to businesses or trade-ins (which solve the issue of recycling your existing desktop PC fleet).You don’t need to buy direct from the vendor in order to get the best prices. More often than not, online retailers such as Dabs or Ebuyer will provide with cheaper prices compared with buying direct from the manufacturer. Paradoxical but true.Decide on how you will buy your desktop PCs. Either outright, a lease or a hire purchase. The last two are probably the more attractive to businesses for whom cash flow is vital. The value of computers does depreciate very fast.How to buy a business PC?
Business PCs can be purchased either from small boutique vendors (Zoostorm, Viglen, PC Specialist, Gladiator PC, Stonegroup) or global giants (Intel, Dell, Fujitsu, Lenovo, HP, Asus, Acer).
For the sake of simplicity, we’ll exclude [a] second-hand refurbishers or overseas outlets [b] workstations and thin-client PCs [c] Chromeboxes or Android-based ones.
Other than looking at the budget and at the viability of desktops (as compared to laptops), businesses should first evaluate their compute, storage, networking needs before deploying a new fleet of desktop PCs.
Then there’s a myriad of variables that they need to consider depending on their existing IT ecosystem: what legacy software will be used? Is your equipment ISV-certified? What peripherals will connect to the computers? Where will they be located? Does it need to be on 24/7? How eco-friendly does it need to be? Etc.
Top 10 best business desktop PCs in the UK in 2016
To help narrow down your search for the ideal system for your business, here are the techradar Pro’s top ten business desktop PCs in no particular order.
Swapping old for new doesn’t have to be expensive. Zoostorm, a UK-based computer widely represented at Ebuyer and Amazon, has the cheapest, brand new desktop PC currently available in the UK. Technically, it is just a consumer desktop PC but will perform business tasks admirably.
It doesn’t come with any OS so you can load your own from previous computersIt has a GbE connectorIt has legacy portsTwo monitors can be connected to itIt uses a Haswell processor rather than an Atom-based oneHP 280 G1 MT
Got a few computers that you want to get rid from and still hesitating? Then consider the HP 280 G1, a micro-tower desktop PC, that costs £119.99 after trade-in that ends on 31st of March. You will have to fork the cash upfront but the process is fairly straightforward and painless.
It comes with Windows 7 Pro with an upgrade to Windows 10 ProIt has a powerful Pentium Haswell processor, not an Atom-based oneTwo monitors can be connected to itIt has plenty of portsIt has a GbE connectorHP 260 G1
That HP trade-in offer goes up to £125 for a desktop costing more than £350 and is also valid on tablets and laptops. If you are after a space saving business-ready device that doesn’t cost the earth, this should fill on your short-list. Note that buying it direct from HP entitles you to a 10% on HP printers.
Price includes 3-year next business day onsite warrantyIt comes with Windows 8.1 but can either be upgraded or downgradedIntel Core i3 processor provides plenty of powerIt has a mini PCIe expansion portYou can connect two monitors including a 4K one!Lenovo S500 10HS
It is just 90mm thick and yet Lenovo’s S500 comes with an optical drive and a slew of ports – 14 in all – that will satisfy all but the most demanding users. Sadly, only one of them was a legacy port although it does have an M.2 card slot. As expected it runs on Windows 7 Pro with an upgrade path to Windows 10 Pro.
Intel Core i5 should help it deliver the goodsDecent expansion capabilitiesCasing can be used vertically or horizontallyCapable of driving two monitorsWarranty is onsite albeit for one yearAcer Veriton X2631G
**We asked for Laptopsdirect to clarify its product summary**
If you are looking for something more functional for your business needs, the Veriton from Acer might fit the bill. While it doesn’t come with the level of management features as some of its competitors, it does cost significantly cheaper while punching well above its price bracket.
Great value for moneyComes with a three-year warrantyWindows 7 Pro as standard with upgrade path to Windows 10 ProComes with a biometric security solution by defaultDesktop can be used horizontally or verticallyDell Optiplex 3030
A wonderful piece of technology at an amazing price. This all in one PC from Dell is a good example of why you may want to shop around. Buying it from Dell Direct would have cost you about £25 extra (at the time of writing). Sure you don’t get to customise the PC at checkout but thanks to Amazon Prime, you can get it the following day even if it is a Saturday.
Has dual screen functionalityIntegrates with Dell’s management toolsNGFF connectorWindows 7 Pro as standard with upgrade path to Windows 10 ProPowerful Core i5 CPULenovo ThinkCentre M700z
It’s not often that you encounter an all-in-one PC certified to the MIL-SPEC but the M700z is one of the handful of AIOs falling under that category. You can spec it up from a humble Pentium to a Core i7. We did just that and upped the system memory to 16GB. Lenovo is also giving £50 cash back for systems purchased in March 2016.
DisplayPort out, allowing 4K on an external monitorHas a USB recovery media802.11ac Wi-FiMIL-SPEC certificationIntegrated handle for extra mobilityApple Mac Mini
Available from Laptopsdirect for £374.95 including VAT and delivery
Behold the Mac Mini. Apple’s cheapest computer is even cheaper when bought from a third party. It is tiny even compared to the competition but still manages to pack an Intel Core i5 with a faster graphics and Thunderbolt 2 plus a myriad of other connectors, all in a box that’s only 36mm thick and sits comfortably on an A4 sheet.
Bundled productivity applications802.11acPowerful graphicsBluetooth 4.0Power sipping laptop processorApple iMac
There’s no denying the solid build-quality and sheer design elegance of the Apple iMac all-in-one. If you were going out to build the most futuristic, glamorous looking office there’s no doubt the Apple iMac would be at the top of your shopping list. With the base model built inside a floating-style 21.5-inch display, even the “basic” model is capable of high-end video and photography work.
Full HD screen resolutionEye catching designPlenty of portsBundled productivity applicationsSupports external 4K monitorsDell Optiplex 3020
If you need a solid PC system that’s going to work day-in day-out then the Dell Optiplex range should get a good chunk of your attention. The 3020 range is based on a no-nonsense micro tower system, which comes with Windows 7 Pro 64-with a free upgrade to Windows 10 Pro. This system has everything you need to get your business up and running, while remaining expandable as you go.
Reasonably pricedReasonably powerful processorIntegrates with Dell management toolsOffers great expandabilityDisplayPort connector allows for 4K monitorsManufacturers and retailers business desktops
Below are the direct links to the range of desktop PC models from the main manufacturers as well as model pages from the major B2B retailers in the UK.