We’re all familiar with computers—most of us use them every day—but when it comes to understanding features like processing power, RAM, and storage for your business, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the options.
In this article, we’ll help you explore what matters so you can settle on a solution that will work for your business today—and as it grows.
What features are important in computers for a business?
Several features are important for almost every business. These include processing power, storage, and memory. But for businesses with on-the-go professionals, you may also need your computers to have wi-fi connectivity (available on virtually every modern model) and be portable in terms of size and weight.
Let’s look into each of these features to help you home in on what you need.
Looking for speed? Find models with powerful processors.
Many of today’s computers run on Intel processors, which helps when comparing different computer models. You’ll likely need at least a 6th generation Core processor to optimize your processing power, though many business owners prefer to work with a Core i7 or Core i9, which are even faster models.
What you need to know is that higher speeds cause batteries to drain faster. Unless your computers will always be plugged in, you may need to balance your desires for speed with battery longevity to find the right model for your business.
Your business likely stores many of its documents and technologies on the cloud, but hard drive storage continues to be important. You can find computer models that use one of the following kinds of hard drives:
- Hard disk drive (HDD). HDD storage can contain a large number of files, documents, photos, and other saved items. It tends to be the lowest-cost option and is usually acceptable for many businesses.
- Solid-state drive (SSD). SSD is a significantly faster and often more reliable option. Many businesses are now opting for SSD, which costs a bit more upfront but often has a lower total cost of ownership over HDD options.
- Embedded multimedia card (eMMC). eMMC storage is also faster than HDD, but it tends to fall behind SSD in performance and storage capacity. It’s rarely an ideal choice for business operations.
You’ll likely choose one of the first two options for your business. In most cases, you'll want to go for HDD if you have big storage capacity needs, and you'll opt for SDD if storage matters less than speed.
Memory (or RAM) enables your computer to take on multiple tasks simultaneously. With high volumes of memory, you and your teams can run the various programs and applications you need to have at the ready throughout a typical workday.
Experts recommend choosing computers with at least 8GB RAM, but higher RAM tends to work best for a busy business.
Wi-fi connectivity will allow you and your employees to connect to the Internet on the go. Almost every laptop and tablet have this capability. Verify that the models you choose are equipped by looking for the phrase “dual-band radio” or “dual-band AC wireless” in the description.
Desktop computers might be a good choice for your business if your employees will never need to conduct business remotely, but many prefer to buy laptops or tablets to give their teams the ability to work from customer sites or home offices when needed. If working on the go matters for your team, consider a portable computer or tablet device.
What about the other features?
There are lots of other features that you may find important. Built-in cameras and microphones, anti-glare monitors, touchscreens, and numeric keypads are popular options. If you browse Best Buy, you can filter options by more than 100 qualifiers to find models that are perfect for your business.
Need some recommendations?
If you’re interested in a desktop model, consider these options from Best Buy:
- Dell OptiPlex 3000 21.5″ All-In-One has 8GB of memory and a 128GB SSD, and it's highly rated by customers for setup, ease of use, and price.
- HP Pavilion 27″ Touchscreen All-In-One has 16GB of memory, a 1TB SSD, and an Intel Core i7 processor. It's highly rated by customers for speed, ease of use, and value.
- Lenovo IdeaCentre 21.5″ Touchscreen All-In-One has 8GB of memory and 1 TB HDD. It's highly rated for setup, price, ease of use, and design.
If you’d prefer a laptop computer, these are some great choices:
- Dell Inspiron 7000 2-in-1 15.6″ has 12GB of memory, 512GB SDD, and an Intel Core i5 processor. It's great for multitasking, starts up quickly, and has abundant storage.
- Lenovo ThinkPad E15 Gen 2 15″ Laptop has 8GB of memory, 256GB SSD, and an Intel Core i5 processor. It's a budget-friendly pick that's great for multitasking and speed.
- Dell Latitude 3000 13.3″ Laptop has 8GB of memory, 128GB SSD, and an Intel Core i5 processor. It's a capable, compact machine for taking on everyday business tasks.
If you’d like to consider a tablet, consider these small-business favorites:
- Apple iPad Pro 12.9″ has 8GB of memory and 512GB of storage capacity. It has a great reputation for speed, innovation, and functionality among verified customers.
- Microsoft Surface Pro 7 12.3″ has 8GB of memory, 256GB SSD, and an Intel Core i5 processor. Customers rate it highly for speed and ease of use.
- Samsung Galaxy S8+ 12.4″ has 8GB of memory and up to 256GB of storage capacity. It's rated well for speed, design, and display.
What about software?
The software you’ll need right away will likely include an operating system, antivirus software, and possibly a separate productivity suite that includes a word processor, a spreadsheet system, and a presentation creator.
Windows Pro will likely be your go-to choice if the computer you select doesn’t include an operating system. You can purchase Windows Pro from Staples, Office Max, Best Buy, Amazon, or wherever you prefer to buy your business software.
Antivirus software is important to install right from the start. While many business owners select the antivirus software they use for their home computers, you’d be better equipped with solutions that understand small business needs. AVG, ESET, and BitDefender are some best-in-class picks. You can learn about each of these options in our Solution Finder guide to Internet Security.
Finally, consider your options for productivity software:
- Microsoft 365 is a popular pick that includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Publisher (for PCs), and Access (for PCs), as well as access to OneDrive, Microsoft’s secure cloud service.
- Google’s productivity package is increasing in popularity. You can access Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, Forms, and other tools with a Google-hosted email address.
- Zoho Workplace is another great solution that includes a word processor, spreadsheet tool, presentation tool, email, file management, chat, a social intranet, and online meeting space. Click this link to sign up for a 15-day free trial.
Check out this chart to learn more. You can watch a brief explainer video for each option by clicking on the logos.