Holiday Guide: Our Picks for Best Business PCs & Best Workstation

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It may not seem like it, but businesses and corporate users (and IT departments) have needs from their computers that the rest of us simply don’t. From being able to image a desktop from across the network, remotely diagnose issues that pop up, run multiple operating systems – often simultaneously – the list goes on and on. Add to this the fact that many businesses run their PCs 24/7 and go years without an update or upgrade, and you start to see why the enterprise market doesn’t buy Pavilions or Inspirons. 

All of the PCs on our list year can ship with multiple operating systems, including Windows 7, Windows 8, some flavor of Linux, and, in some instances, no OS at all – ripe for whichever software you already use.

Still can’t make the choice as to which one of these capable machines is the best fit for your small business or home office? Never fear! The knowledgeable team in our ‘What Desktop Should I Buy?‘ forum have your back, and will walk you through your next big purchase.


#1 Dell OptiPlex 990


Best Desktop Best Workstation

Dell classifies these kinds of desktops as ‘ultra-small form factor’ units, and for good reason. The OptiPlex 990 is positively tiny, and in fact sits as small as some nettops with much weaker processors. It weighs just 7 pounds, despite a very solid metal construction on all six sides (the front does have plastic trim on top) and a chassis that is positively brimming with advanced technology.

While most consumers probably know Dell for being an affordable but desirable brand thanks in large part to their value-priced Inspiron model lineups, Dell actually services a wide range of business needs. We’ve mentioned before that the giant PC manufacturer, situated in Round Rock, Texas, seems to be undergoing something of a design resurgence in recent years.

We’ve seen the company produce such stellar works as the Latitude Z and XPS systems, and it seems like that risky design and attractive IP has come to their business desktop lineup at last. Compared to the OptiPlex small form factor models of just a few years ago (a few of which we have floating around our office), the 990 feels like a completely different company built it – it’s small, solid and no longer requires a hugely bulky external power supply.

Rating Average: 9 out of 10

Read the Dell OptiPlex 990 Review

#2 Lenovo ThinkCentre 91z


Best Desktop Best Workstation

The Lenovo ThinkCentre 91z is a stylish all-in-one desktop that is business focused but could also appeal to consumers. Featuring a 21.5-inch full HD display with corner-to-corner glass, DesktopReview felt the design was reminiscent of the Apple iMac all-in-one desktop. This business focused desktop has a unique design that sets it apart from other business oriented desktops.

While the ThinkCentre 91z is stylish, it is also durable, meaning it will be able to hold up in the standard office environment. Also, the stand is replaceable, so if anything happens to it, it is an easy fix. It features average port selection, including six USB ports, a 6-in-1 memory card reader, a VGI port, and an HDMI port. The cover is removable, allowing users to upgrade the RAM and access the hard drive

While using the Edge 91z, we noticed that it would be easy to forget that you’re working on your office PC instead of your home computer. What office PC has such a dazzling 21.5-inch display with edge-to-edge glossy glass and such a stylish design.

Rating Average: 8 out of 10

Read the Lenovo ThinkCentre Review

#3 HP Z220 Small Form Factor Workstation


Best Desktop Best WorkstationThey say good things come in small packages, and HP’s Z220 SFF WorkStation is no exception. HP’s diminutive powerhouse packs a big performance punch into a SFF (Small Form Factor) housing that is some 65% smaller than the typical workstation tower. Powered by your choice of Intel’s Xeon E3-1200 family of processors or Intel’s Core i3/i5/i7 processors, the HP Z220 SFF offers a multitude of configuration options that are housed in a quiet, tool-free chassis. 

HP is positioning the Z220 SFF Workstation series as an entry level workstation system, which is end-user serviceable, as well as upgradeable. However, the SFF design does limit expansion and add-on options. The Z220 can be configured with a variety of Intel processors, optional SSDs, supports as much as 32GB of ram, 4TB of storage and can come equipped with either Intel HD Graphics or NVIDIA Quardro 600 Pro 3D graphics. The Z220 also has room for Dual NVIDIA NVS 310 2D graphics as well. Other primary features include Intel vPro support, Intel Smart Response Technology, four USB 3.0 ports and a power supply that HP claims offers 90% efficiency.

Rating Average: 8 out of 10

Read the HP Z220 Small Form Factor Workstation Review

#4 Lenovo ThinkCentre M92p Tiny


Best Desktop Best WorkstationThis year, Lenovo unveiled their new M92p line of business-oriented desktops. The M92p seems like a reasonable new iteration of the past, but the M92p Tiny? It may be awesomely small, but it packs some of today’s hottest tech. 

Based on the surprisingly popular IdeaCentre Q line of Lenovo desktops, the M92p Tiny is no nettop. This machine is the first of its kind that manages to pack in Intel vPro along with 3rd generation Intel Core CPUs. That means dual- or quad-core core i5 processors and better. Ivy Bridge power in one of the smallest desktops on the market!

You’ll be able to configure the M92p Tiny with either super speedy flash storage in the form of an SSD, or go with more afforadble regular hard drives. Security mavens will be assuaged by the TPM Security Chips.

Rating Average: 8 out of 10

Read more about the Lenovo ThinkCentre M92p Tiny

#5 Dell Vostro 260


Best Desktop Best Workstation

The Dell Vostro 260 is an extremely affordable desktop for small businesses. Dell states that the Vostro 260 is an “essential” machine, meaning it provides just the right amount of power to get the job done.

At the end of the day, the Dell Vostro 260 Mini is a good business desktop to have. It can multi-task fairly quickly and efficiently, and users will be able to run the majority of the office productivity suites out there. This is the kind of desktop you want because you don’t have the need to spend a lot on hardware that leads to exceptional performance; as we said, the Vostro 260 is what Dell calls an “essential” desktop. Let’s face it, all of those high-end specs and bells and whistles can add up quickly

Rating Average: 7 out of 10

Read the Dell Vostro 260 Review

Back to DesktopReview Holiday Guide 2012

Want to know which desktops are tops in the minds of DesktopReview‘s readers?  Check out our Most Popular Desktops lists, based on traffic across our site!

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