I’ll define a productivity PC as a machine built for web browsing, Microsoft Office and services like Skype. These PC’s can be used for work/office, school, or general leisure.
A small business owner, who built a PC for his business in the mid-2000’s (which has now become outdated), asked me my recommendations for building a PC right now. It was a lot different back then. During that time, low-end PC’s were bad and mid-high end was best recommended for professionals. However, nowadays, many low-end and budget computers can be perfectly fine for businesses. I told him that a decent laptop/tablet or even one of those cheap mini-desktops at Walmart would serve those basic needs fine, and it’s less necessary to build them now.
However, some may still want to build a productivity PC for the benefit of customization and the personal enjoyment of building one. For that, I will provide some tips.
- Intel’s Pentium’s and i3’s within the past few years will offer more than enough speed.
- Celeron is not recommended. i5’s and i7’s are way overkill.
- Intel’s stock CPU coolers are fine for performance. (Cryorig M9i is a good alternative)
- Video card is not needed and not recommended. Intel’s integrated graphics are plenty.
- 4 GB RAM minimum. 8 GB recommended. No more.
- A solid state drive is strongly recommended for a significant speed boost.
- No need for high-capacity storage (unless your business has a security camera perhaps).
- Using a Mini ITX motherboard and case is recommended if you want a compact build.
- Spend a few extra dollars on a power supply that is modular or semi-modular.
- Logitech M185 Mouse
- Apple Wireless Keyboard 2007
- USB 2.0 ac Wifi Adapter (if Ethernet is not available)
One last tip: Use a high resolution monitor. If you can afford a 4K monitor, go for that. However, 1440p offers the most bang-for-buck of any monitor resolution. An IPS 1440p monitor can be had for $200-250, which is not a bad deal at all.
For productivity, workspace matters. You can run a full-sized web browser and Microsoft Word (or another app) side-by-side at the same time. I promise you that a 1440p monitor will give you much more bang for your buck than expensive PC parts.
Very tiny build and great performance.
- Intel Pentium G4600
- 120 GB SSD
- AsRock 1110M-ITX Motherboard
- 8 GB DDR4 RAM (2133 MHz)
- Mini-Box M350 Case
- Mini-Box 160 watt Pico Power Supply
- AC Power Adapter