Despite the increasing in using mobile devices for work, many of us still need a traditional office desktop PC for working on.
This is because they remain the most cost-effective computing device, and they are also easily maintained and upgraded, while being more versatile than their portable cousins.
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 beige monoliths that mid or mini-towers used to be.
The range of available desktop systems is as wide and varied as business needs themselves, ranging from a few off-the-shelf units for an SMB to the deployment of thousands of basic desktop PCs and everything in between.
Top 10 best business desktop PCs in the UK
To help narrow down your search for the ideal system for your business, here are Techradar Pro’s top 10 business desktop PCs.
1. Dell OptiPlex 3050 Micro
CPU: 7th Generation Intel Core i3-7100T | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics | RAM: 4GB | Storage: 500GB HDD | Connectivity: Gigabit Ethernet | Dimensions (W x D x H): 18.2 x 3.6 x 17.8 cm
Dell is a well-known and well respected name when it comes to business computers, so you can be sure when you buy a machine from Dell that it is a well-built and well-supported device. The Dell OptiPlex 3050 Micro offers very good base specs that can be customised to your needs, for a very compelling price. The slim line case also keeps your desk or office from feeling cluttered.
2. Zoostorm 7260-3041
CPU: Intel Celeron 1037U | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics | RAM: 4GB | Storage: 500GB HDD | Connectivity: Gigabit Ethernet | Dimensions (W x D x H): 18 x 40 x 36cm
Swapping old for new doesn’t have to be expensive. Zoostorm, a UK-based computer vendor 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 this machine will perform business tasks admirably.
3. HP Elite Slice for Meeting Rooms
CPU: Intel Core i5-6500T | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics | RAM: 8GB | Storage: 256GB SSD | Connectivity: Gigabit Ethernet | Dimensions (W x D x H): 16.5 x 3.5 x 16.5 cm
The HP Elite Slice for Meeting Rooms proves that business desktops don’t have to be big and bulky. This simple yet powerful device has a small form factor that makes it slot onto desks or in meeting rooms with ease, and with dual-microphones, HP Noise cancellation and specialist conferencing software, it makes it the perfect device for holding meetings on.
4. Apple iMac
CPU: Intel Core i5 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 6000 | RAM: 8GB | Storage: 1TB HDD | Connectivity: Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11ac Wi-Fi | Dimensions (W x D x H): 53 x 17 x 45cm
There’s no denying the solid build quality and sheer design elegance of the Apple iMac all-in-one. If you were setting 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 lowest-end model built inside a floating-style 21.5-inch display, even this ‘basic’ offering is capable of high-end video and photography work.
Read the full review: Apple iMac
5. HP 260 G1
CPU: Intel Celeron 2957U | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics | RAM: 2GB | Storage: 32GB SSD | Connectivity: Gigabit Ethernet | Dimensions (W x D x H): 18 x 18 x 3.5cm
If you are after a space saving business-ready device that doesn’t cost the earth, this should be on your short-list. Bear in mind that the price includes a 3-year next business day onsite warranty, which is certainly not to be sniffed at if things go wrong. Note that buying it direct from HP entitles you to a 10% discount on HP printers.
Read the full review: HP 260 G1
6. Microsoft Surface Studio
CPU: Intel Core i7-6820HQ | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 980M | RAM: 32GB | Storage: 2TB SSD | Connectivity: Gigabit Ethernet | Dimensions (W x D x H): 25 x 22 x 3.22 cm
If you’re looking for an incredibly powerful, yet stylishly designed, all-in-one PC that’s not made by Apple, then Microsoft’s brilliant Surface Studio will be for you. It comes at a price, but for build quality and performance, you’ll not want to look any further, especially if you work in the creative industry.
Read the full review: Microsoft Surface Studio
7. Dell Optiplex 3030
CPU: Intel Core i5-4590S | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 4600 | RAM: 4GB | Storage: 500GB HDD | Connectivity: Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11n Wi-Fi | Dimensions (W x D x H): 7 x 33 x 49cm
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. You can buy this machine from Dell Direct, but you may find it cheaper at Amazon – while that means you might not get to customise the PC at checkout, thanks to Amazon Prime, you can get it the following day even if it is a Saturday.
8. Apple Mac mini
CPU: Intel Core i5 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 5000 | RAM: 4GB | Storage: 500GB HDD | Connectivity: Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11ac Wi-Fi | Dimensions (W x D x H): 3.6 x 20 x 20cm
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 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.
Read the full review: Apple Mac mini
9. HP ProDesk 400 G4 Tower
CPU: Intel Core i7-7700 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics | RAM: 8GB | Storage: 256GB SSD | Connectivity: Gigabit Ethernet | Dimensions (W x D x H): 17 x 33.8 x 27.4 cm
The HP ProDesk 400 G4 Tower is an excellent desktop PC that, thanks to its 27% smaller chassis than the previous generation, will look great in modern offices, while providing plenty of power for workers.
10. Dell Optiplex 3020
CPU: Intel Core i3 4160 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 4400 | RAM: 4GB | Storage: 500GB HDD | Connectivity: Gigabit Ethernet | Dimensions (W x D x H): 9 x 31 x 29cm
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-bit 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.
The types of desktop PCs
A recent development in the desktop PC world has been a modest diversification of the system case. The typical business PC comes in a mini-tower box, which is probably best sited under or next to your desk.
But if space is at a premium, a smaller case would be a better choice. Dell, for example, delivers its Optiplex models in mini tower, ‘thin’ desktop and ‘compact’ small form factor sizes, each model offering the same computing power but in a different case.
Three other formats that have grown in popularity are:
 All-in-one, otherwise known as AIO, which combine the monitor with the base unit. The move to power-efficient components, the falling price of LCD panels and the ubiquity of touch functionality make AIO an increasingly popular choice for businesses. The all-in-one PC essentially resembles a slightly larger than normal LCD display that contains the processor, hard drive and memory built-in to the screen casing. The end result is a very elegant, clutter-free desktop PC.
 Ultra-small form factors, otherwise known as net tops or mini PCs, which borrow a lot of their designs (and components) from laptops. They are essentially laptops without a screen, input peripherals and a battery.
 HDMI dongles which have been inspired by tablets and smartphones and often share parts with the latter. These are usually used for display signage or in niche markets. They are usually not powerful enough for most tasks but things are likely to improve by the end of 2016.