The ultimate cheat-sheet to picking a computer for your home office

This guide should hopefully provide a solid list of options depending on your industry and specific role. You can always upgrade your machine so don’t jump on the most expensive item right away. Due to how quickly these become obsolete you might find yourself getting a new computer every few years anyway. 

The copy-writers, bloggers, sales, and marketers

If you fall into this group you find that the software you need isn’t necessarily resource-intensive. Most of your time is spent either in the web browser or a word processor.

You’ll find yourself more limited by your budget than your technical needs as just about any new computer would be able to handle your needs. The two below are some good examples:

If you are an Apple user, or plan on taking a laptop with you to meetings, trips, or generally will be out of the office often, the Macbook Pro is a solid machine. It’s expensive and unless you had your mind set on it, I wouldn’t recommend it as your full-time work computer.

The developers

Developers tools are certainly a bit more robust than they used to be, but like above, most computers nowadays would generally be able to handle the task.

What you want to keep an eye out for is a decent amount of memory (16G or higher) along with a fairly decent video card, and ideally both a Solid State Drive (SSD) for your software and second hard drive for storage. Something like these machines would handle quite nicely:

The designers

Designers, video editors, 3d artists, and game developers usually require the most beefy machines. If you’re already a Windows user, the computers listed in the developers section above would work quite nicely, but in this industry you’ll see a lot of software options in the Apple environment. Grabbing an iMac from Amazon would be a great starting point, but if you reallllly want to go fast (and if you have the money), your eyes should be on the Mac Pro.

Build your own

Building your own computer is a complex topic I’ll be covering in a future post.

Note though that while this in most cases will be the most cost-efficient solution, you should already be fairly comfortable with researching parts and the basics of what they do. Simple mistakes can cause the build to not work or you could end up with incompatible parts that may or may not be returned.

Regarding Monitors

The monitor setup usually comes down to personal preference but I’ve found myself most productive with 3 total monitors, and a MINIMUM of 2. With at least two monitors you can have your email or task list open while completing the tasks using your browser, code editor, or whatever else you use on the second screen.

I would actually prefer two smaller, cheaper monitors over one large robust one (as long as your computer is setup to accept 2+ monitors). When you purchase multiples, make sure to get the same kind so they don’t look funky sitting next to each other. I’ve always gone with Acer, and actually have these specifically since they are pretty affordable.

What industry are you in and what have you decided to go with?
Let us know!