If you own a small business, you know how important it is to have the right tools to maximize efficiency. Perhaps when you first started working, your personal laptop was a good enough choice for all of your business needs.
However, as your company grows, you will eventually get to a point where you’ll want a computer that can handle more demanding applications and allow you to multi-task without crashing or encountering significant lag time.
The first step is to evaluate your workflow and decide whether you want a laptop, a desktop, or an all-in-one setup. You will need a workstation that enhances your business productivity and reflects your lifestyle.
But one feature you may not immediately think about is your computer processor. As the “brain” of your computer, the CPU is a critical element to keep in mind as you shop for a business PC
. The best CPU for business, however, will depend on how much processing power you need and what applications you plan to use.
Why should I care about the CPU of my business computer?
It’s important to understand what a CPU is and does before you decide which one best suits your business needs. The central processing unit, otherwise known as the CPU, does all the heavy lifting behind the scenes. It’s the part of your computer that thinks and reads instructions.
More specifically, the CPU executes programs and directs them according to highly detailed instructions. The faster and more powerful your processor, the more responsive and more quickly your computer will run applications and programs .
What do I need to know about a CPU’s specs?
You’ll want to pay attention to a CPU’s clock speed
, cores, and threads. But also take note of RAM and the amount of cache when making a purchasing decision. Both the CPU and the RAM will affect the speed and usability of your new business computer.
1. Clock speed
A CPU’s clock speed is the number of instructions it can handle and process in a given second. This is measured in gigahertz (GHz). However, a CPU isn’t the only element of your PC that speeds up processing; there are also many other pieces of computer hardware and software that affect speed.
Another aspect of CPUs you should think about when you’re shopping for a business PC is the number of cores the computer contains. CPUs come in single core, dual-core, and quad-core varieties. So, what’s the difference between them?
In a dual-core processor, there are two processor units alongside each other. This means the central processing unit can handle twice the amount of instructions compared to a single core. Naturally, this improves performance.
Along the same lines, a quad-core processor has four processing units side-by-side, so four times as many instructions can be interpreted and processed as compared to a single core.
Some CPUs can virtualize cores, which improves performance without the addition of physical cores. Virtual CPU cores are referred to as threads. A single CPU core with multiple threads
means more instructions can be interpreted and processed at the same time. However, more physical cores will always improve performance over virtual cores .
A computer’s random access memory (RAM)
is your device’s short-term memory. If you don’t have adequate RAM for the number of applications and programs you’re trying to run, your computer will still be slower despite a fast processor.
A CPU’s cache is the part of a computer’s memory storage that the processor can access the most quickly. It is a temporary virtual storage room for data you frequently use. More cache means more space to hold this information.
The cache is located close to the main processing unit so it is much faster than accessing the rest of the RAM data. In general, computers have one-tenth the cache memory as the main RAM . When you’re looking at a computer’s specifications, note that the larger the cache, the more quickly the computer will run because it increases the PC’s immediate memory.
Common processor types
As you shop around for computers, you’ll notice certain processor names that continually pop up. One of the most common is the Intel® Core™ series: the i3 processor, i5 processor, and i7 processor.
As the names suggest, the i3 processor is less powerful than the i5, and the i7 is the most powerful of the three. Keep in mind that the numbers do not refer to the number of cores; they simply refer to their processing power relative to one another.
The Intel Core i3 series has dual-core processors and its more powerful cousins, the i5 and i7, come in both dual-core and quad-core varieties. As you can imagine, each variation of these cores results in differences in performance .
Intel Core i3 processors:
- Physical cores: 2
- Lower graphics quality
- Casual PC users
- Ideal for surfing the web, applications like Microsoft Office, and social media
Intel Core i5 processors:
- Physical cores: 2-4
- Average graphics quality
- Good for intermediate users who want better performance
Intel Core i7 processors:
- Physical cores: 2-4
- High-level graphics quality
- Power users
- Perfect for multi-tasking and running high-powered applications or computations
For a business user, an Intel Core i5 or i7 processor is probably better suited to your needs, especially if you need to multitask or run robust software for video editing or advanced calculations. For professional power users, the latest Intel i9 processor
may be most appropriate. However, if you only need a computer for basic functions like using the web to send emails, Microsoft Office applications, and other simple tasks, an i3 processor will be sufficient.
Another popular CPU manufacturer is AMD, which creates processors that are competitively priced to Intel CPUs. For example, the AMD Ryzen is comparable to Intel Core i5 performance .
Shopping for a PC with the right CPU and features for your business
A good CPU can help you get more done, faster. In most cases, it’s safe to assume you won’t be building a PC from the ground up, so the CPU will be one aspect among many you’ll have to consider when shopping for a computer. You’ll also need to determine if you need a laptop, a desktop, or a hybrid - like a detachable notebook.
allows you to create a mobile workstation that is ideal for users who like to work on-the-go or while they travel. If you don’t have a permanent office space, laptops can help you make the most of your nomadic work life.
However, one drawback to relying on laptops is that these compact devices have to strike a balance between battery power and processing speed. Unlike a desktop, access to a power source may be limited, so laptops usually have less powerful processors to conserve energy.
If you work primarily out of an office, a desktop might be a better choice. Desktops
can offer a large amount of power at an economical cost. Plus, you can expect faster processing speeds and a bigger local storage capacity. Desktops also tend to last longer than laptops since they aren’t subjected to the constant jostling of portable devices.
A hybrid option can help you find the sweet spot between these two choices. For example, if you have a small office but you need more power than a standard laptop can provide, an all-in-one desktop
might be the perfect solution.
What are the best computer processors I can have for my business PC?
The best processor for a business PC is dependent on your specific needs. If you regularly use video editing software or find yourself heavily multi-tasking when you’re online, a higher level processor will serve you better and allow you to work without any lag time.
If you have a less powerful CPU, it might mean software and applications that you run could crash or slow down without warning.
So, what’s the best CPU for your business computer? HP® offers a selection of laptops, desktops, tablets, and 2-in-1s that deliver high processing power, long-lasting battery, and low-profile designs for any office setup.
Desktops are a great choice
for professionals looking for a permanent workstation setup. HP’s EliteDesk family is designed specifically for the modern entrepreneur.
Models like the HP EliteDesk 800 G3 tower desktop
can be customized with 7th Generation Intel Core processors and PCle Gen3 solid state drives. Up to 64GB of DDR4 memory gives you plenty of breathing room for multi-tasking and storing complex files. Expand your PC’s functionality with five bays and four full-height slots, two M.2 connectors, and plenty of ports.
Short on space? The HP EliteDesk 800 G4
mini desktop is perfect for a small office. Powered by an 8th Generation Intel Core i3 processor, 8GB of memory, and 500GB HDD storage, this small form factor PC can help you grow your business. A single USB-C cable and rear I/O ports mean less clutter and distraction so you can focus on the task at hand.
As for security, HP Sure Start Gen4 means you can expect the highest level of security and self-healing BIOS on the market. You can even choose to store and lock up your mini PC and its power cord in an optional HP lock box
Laptops offer the most flexibility for the on-the-go professional. Wherever your work takes you, you’ll be prepared with an HP business laptop
like the HP EliteBook, HP ProBook, or the HP ZBook.
The HP EliteBook 850 G5 business laptop
boasts an 8th Generation Intel Core i5 processor to power you through your workday. Plus, a 15.6-inch diagonal Full High Definition (FHD) touch display gives you more screen real estate to multi-task and whip through your tasks. It’s built for the modern professional who needs powerful tools for collaboration without compromising security to keep your client data away from prying eyes.
HP ProBook x360 440 G1
is another example of a great business laptop. With an 8th Generation Intel Core i3 processor complimented by the Windows 10 Pro 64 operating system, you’ll make all of your work deadlines with ease.
Need even more power? You have the option to customize your laptop and upgrade to an Intel Core i5 processor. If you want a device that adapts to the specific way you work, look no further. The HP ProBook x360 can fold into a tablet or be used in presentation mode depending on your needs on any given day.
If you work in a creative industry, your laptop is crucial to your workflow. HP® has a line of laptops built to support video editors, digital artists, and animators: the HP ZBook series.
The HP ZBook x2 G4 detachable workstation
, for example, is equipped with an 8th Generation Intel Core i7 processor to keep up with the most demanding video editing software. A 14-inch 4K touch display can be detached from the keyboard for total flexibility. Not to mention it has twice the memory of any other HP detachable PC along with NVIDIA 3D Graphics.
All-in-one desktop PCs
If you want the power of a desktop PC without the unnecessary clutter, the HP EliteOne 800 G4
is a model that has it all.
An 8th Generation Intel Core i5 processor is complemented by 8GB of memory and 256GB SSD storage. A 23.8-inch FHD touch display, a pop-up IR camera with a rear-facing FHD camera, and crystal-clear audio make it easy to collaborate with colleagues or connect with clients.
The best computer processor for your business and lifestyle
A computer processor doesn’t determine your business success, but it can certainly help elevate it. But a good processor isn’t the only important aspect of your work life it’s simply one facet of your entire setup. You’ll also want to consider RAM, local storage, screen size, screen resolution, keyboard setup, and port and connection options.
In addition, you’ll need to determine whether or not you want a desktop, a laptop, a convertible device, or an all-in-one that combines it all. Each option has its own pros and cons, so you’ll have to decide what device works best for both your lifestyle and your office environment.
Whether you’re a small business owner trying to grow your client bases or are simply upgrading from your personal PC, a faster computer processor in a brand new device can help you take your productivity to new heights.
About the Author: Michelle Wilson is a contributing writer for HP® Tech Takes. Michelle is a content creation specialist writing for a variety of industries, including tech trends and media news.