The Best Desktop Workstations for 2023 (2023)

Table of Contents
The Best Desktop Computer Deals This Week* HP Z2 Tower G9 Best General Use, Scalable Workstation Bottom Line: PROS CONS Lenovo ThinkStation P330 Best Budget Workstation Tower Bottom Line: PROS CONS Dell Precision 3650 Tower Workstation A Solid Alternative to the Lenovo ThinkStation P330 Bottom Line: PROS CONS HP Z2 Mini G9 Best Compact Desktop Workstation Bottom Line: PROS CONS Dell Precision 3240 Compact A Solid Alternative to the HP Z2 Mini G9 Bottom Line: PROS CONS Apple Mac Studio (M1 Ultra) Best Workstation-Grade Mac Desktop Bottom Line: PROS CONS Dell Precision 7920 Tower (2020) Best Workstation for AI and Machine Learning Applications (Dual-CPU) Bottom Line: PROS CONS Lenovo ThinkStation P620 (2022, Threadripper Pro 5995WX) Best Desktop Workstation for Single-CPU Muscle (Threadripper Pro) Bottom Line: PROS CONS Corsair One Pro i200 Best Dual-Use Compact Workstation for Space-Strapped Creators, Gamers Bottom Line: PROS CONS iBuyPower Creator RDY-IWRG205 Best Dual-Use Workstation Tower for Creators, Gamers Bottom Line: PROS CONS Asus Mini PC ProArt PA90 Best Desktop Workstation for Design-Forward Offices Bottom Line: PROS CONS Desktop Workstations 101: How to Buy the Right One Understanding Workstation Graphics: Professional-Grade GPUs and ISV Certifications Understanding Workstation Storage Options and Interfaces Workstation Form Factors and Expansion Connections: Which Ports Do You Need in a Desktop Workstation? Which Operating System Should You Get in a Workstation? Business and Security Considerations With Workstations Where to Buy a Workstation So, Which Workstation Desktop Should I Buy? FAQs Videos

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Workstations are the sharpest tools in the desktop world, purpose-built for everything from professional photo and video editing to scientific analysis, computer-aided design (CAD), and Hollywood-level computer-generated imagery and 3D rendering. These specialized computers are available for nearly any budget, from not much more than a normal desktop to well above the sticker of a sports car.

Anyone using extra-tough software (decidedlynotsomething as simple as Microsoft Office) or looking for a highly reliable PC for intensive tasks should consider a workstation over a traditional desktop.

Before you go workstation shopping, you should know they can be some of the most confusing computers to purchase because of their sheer configurability and a knack for offering options you've probably never heard of. Below is a breakout of our top picks among workstations we've tested. Following that is a buying guide that delves into all aspects of workstation buying, including professional-grade graphics cards, error-correcting memory, workstation-class CPUs, and warranty considerations.

The Best Desktop Computer Deals This Week*

  • Dell Inspiron 3910 Intel i7 GTX 1660 Super 512GB Desktop(Opens in a new window)$949.99with code 50OFF699
  • HP Envy Intel i5 RTX 3050 256GB SSD 8GB RAM Desktop(Opens in a new window)$849.99(List Price $1,299.99)
  • Dell XPS 8950 Intel i7 RTX 3060 Dual Storage Desktop(Opens in a new window)$1,299.99with code 50OFF699
  • Lenovo IdeaCentre 5 Ryzen 7 16GB RAM Dual Drive Desktop(Opens in a new window)$599.99(List Price $829.99)
  • HP Omen 25L Intel i7 RTX 3070 Dual Storage Desktop(Opens in a new window)$1,229.99(List Price $1,749.99)

*Deals are selected by our commerce team

The Best Desktop Workstations for 2023 (1)

HP Z2 Tower G9

Best General Use, Scalable Workstation

4.5 Outstanding

Bottom Line:

HP's entry-level Z2 Tower G9 workstation is feature-rich, highly configurable, and a solid value.


  • Versatile performance
  • Easy to service
  • Quiet operation
  • ISV certified
  • Ample security features


  • Doesn't offer liquid CPU cooling
Sold ByList PricePrice
HP$2,008.00$1,104.40See It(Opens in a new window)

Read Our HP Z2 Tower G9 Review

The Best Desktop Workstations for 2023 (2)

Lenovo ThinkStation P330

Best Budget Workstation Tower

4.0 Excellent

Bottom Line:

Lenovo's ThinkStation P330 is a model of value for an entry-level workstation, offering Xeon processors, ECC memory, and Quadro graphics cards without requiring a credit-line increase.


  • Offers Xeon CPUs and ECC memory at an affordable price
  • ISV certified
  • Compact chassis
  • Quiet operation
  • Standard three-year onsite warranty


  • No support for Hyper-Threading in test model's specific Xeon CPU means middling CPU performance
Sold ByList PricePrice
Amazon$1,029.00$1,029.00See It(Opens in a new window)

Read Our Lenovo ThinkStation P330 Review

The Best Desktop Workstations for 2023 (3)

Dell Precision 3650 Tower Workstation

A Solid Alternative to the Lenovo ThinkStation P330

4.0 Excellent

(Video) TOP 5: Best Desktop Computers 2023

Bottom Line:

With good (but not great) processing power and limited 3D capabilities, the Dell Precision 3650 is a solid workstation tower for data-intensive work that doesn't tax the processor too heavily.


  • Enough power for spreadsheets and data manipulation
  • Easy to upgrade
  • Lots of configuration options


  • Limited CPU and 3D performance for a workstation
  • No HDMI port as configured
  • Wi-Fi is optional, not standard
Sold ByList PricePrice
Dell$884.95$884.95See It(Opens in a new window)

Read Our Dell Precision 3650 Tower Workstation Review

The Best Desktop Workstations for 2023 (4)

HP Z2 Mini G9

Best Compact Desktop Workstation

4.0 Excellent

Bottom Line:

HP's redesigned G9 version of its Z2 Mini workstation punches well above its weight, with desktop-class CPUs, replaceable graphics, and excellent connectivity.


  • Compact VESA-compatible design
  • Impressive performance
  • Easily serviceable, even the graphics card
  • Ample connectivity
  • Modular I/O ports


  • Can get louder than expected
  • External power brick
Sold ByList PricePrice
HP$1,901.00$1,045.55See It(Opens in a new window)

Read Our HP Z2 Mini G9 Review

The Best Desktop Workstations for 2023 (5)

Dell Precision 3240 Compact

A Solid Alternative to the HP Z2 Mini G9

4.0 Excellent

Bottom Line:

With up to 10-core Xeon power and Quadro RTX graphics, Dell’s tiny Precision 3240 Compact workstation delivers remarkable performance for its size.


  • Powerful and compact
  • ISV certified
  • VESA mounting options
  • Easy to upgrade
  • Standard three-year warranty


  • Pricey as tested
  • AC adapter is external
Sold ByList PricePrice
Dell Technologies$889.00$889.00See It(Opens in a new window)

Read Our Dell Precision 3240 Compact Review

The Best Desktop Workstations for 2023 (6)

Apple Mac Studio (M1 Ultra)

Best Workstation-Grade Mac Desktop

4.5 Outstanding

Bottom Line:

If you want power, the Apple Mac Studio with an M1 Ultra chip brings it in spades, elevating the elegant desktop PC with truly impressive processing and graphics.

(Video) Brand New DELL Precision Desktop Workstations for 2023 | Hardware Overview


  • Incredible performance from M1 Ultra processor
  • Impressive industrial design
  • Plenty of ports


  • Display and accessories sold separately
  • Not user-upgradable after purchase
Sold ByList PricePrice$3,999.00$3,999.00See It(Opens in a new window)
Best Buy$3,999.99$3,999.99Check Stock(Opens in a new window)

Read Our Apple Mac Studio (M1 Ultra) Review

The Best Desktop Workstations for 2023 (7)

Dell Precision 7920 Tower (2020)

Best Workstation for AI and Machine Learning Applications (Dual-CPU)

4.0 Excellent

Bottom Line:

Dell's Precision 7920 Tower workstation is a dual-CPU monster for tasks that can leverage its server-grade hardware and require maximum reliability. Just be prepared for sticker shock if you go all-in like on our test model.


  • Sky-high performance potential.
  • Countless configuration options.
  • ISV certified.
  • Highly serviceable and expandable.
  • Standard three-year onsite warranty.


  • Options quickly raise the price.
  • Usefulness of dual processors depends on software.
Sold ByList PricePrice
Dell$2,619.00$2,619.00See It(Opens in a new window)

Read Our Dell Precision 7920 Tower (2020) Review

The Best Desktop Workstations for 2023 (8)

Lenovo ThinkStation P620 (2022, Threadripper Pro 5995WX)

Best Desktop Workstation for Single-CPU Muscle (Threadripper Pro)

4.5 Outstanding

Bottom Line:

Thanks to an epic 64-core AMD Threadripper Pro CPU, Lenovo’s ThinkStation P620 can outrun even dual CPU workstations.


  • Highly scalable performance
  • Easily serviceable
  • ISV certified
  • Ample connectivity
  • Standard three-year warranty


  • Gets expensive quickly
  • Audible fans under load
Sold ByList PricePrice
Lenovo$4,599.00$4,599.00See It(Opens in a new window)

Read Our Lenovo ThinkStation P620 (2022, Threadripper Pro 5995WX) Review

The Best Desktop Workstations for 2023 (9)

Corsair One Pro i200

Best Dual-Use Compact Workstation for Space-Strapped Creators, Gamers

4.0 Excellent

Bottom Line:

Incredibly powerful for content creation and gaming, Corsair's One Pro i200 delivers 14-core Intel Core i9 muscle in a stylish design that's a fraction the size of a traditional workstation tower.

(Video) Best Workstations - Desktop and Laptop


  • Outstanding performance from Intel X299 platform.
  • Whisper-quiet operation.
  • Classy looks.
  • Compact design with customizable lighting.
  • Front ports for VR-headset connectivity.


  • No Xeon CPU or professional GPU options.
  • No ISV certification.
  • Limited upgrade potential.
Sold ByList PricePrice
Amazon$3,599.99 $3,239.99See It(Opens in a new window)
Corsair$4,499.00$4,499.00See It(Opens in a new window)

Read Our Corsair One Pro i200 Review

The Best Desktop Workstations for 2023 (10)

iBuyPower Creator RDY-IWRG205

Best Dual-Use Workstation Tower for Creators, Gamers

4.0 Excellent

Bottom Line:

iBuyPower's Creator RDY-IWRG205 mid-tower offers AMD Ryzen 9- and Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090-fueled creative and gaming power at an attractive price.


  • Superlative performance for just about anything
  • Well-priced
  • Top-quality components
  • Three-year warranty


  • No case lighting or USB Type-C ports
  • Wi-Fi 5, not 6
  • Includes just one storage drive
Sold ByList PricePrice
iBUYPOWER$3,449.00$3,449.00See It(Opens in a new window)

Read Our iBuyPower Creator RDY-IWRG205 Review

The Best Desktop Workstations for 2023 (11)

Asus Mini PC ProArt PA90

Best Desktop Workstation for Design-Forward Offices

3.5 Good

Bottom Line:

The ISV-certified Asus Mini PC ProArt PA90 manages to pack a serious amount of computing power for such a compact desktop, though it makes some sacrifices to achieve its blend of size and performance.


  • Stylish design.
  • Good value.
  • ISV certification.
  • Liquid CPU cooling and motorized air vent ensure quiet operation.


  • Flimsy keyboard and touchpad.
  • Requires two external power bricks.
  • Cumbersome Wi-Fi antenna.
  • Difficult to upgrade components.
  • No dedicated HDMI outputs.
Sold ByList PricePrice
Amazon$3,888.00 $3,888.00Check Stock(Opens in a new window)

Read Our Asus Mini PC ProArt PA90 Review

Buying Guide: The Best Desktop Workstations for 2023

Desktop Workstations 101: How to Buy the Right One

The central processing unit (CPU) is the lifeblood of any computer. This chip—or chips, as workstations can have more than one—is vitally important for complex tasks. Reference a CPU's core and thread count (both Intel and AMD high-end processors can handle two simultaneous computing threads per core) for a basic estimation of its processing power.

The least powerful CPUs you'd find in a workstation would have four cores apiece, while top-end ones can have 32 to 64 cores. Processors with higher core and thread counts are better for multitasking and especially long-running tasks like video encoding, though one with fewer cores and a higher clock speed or operating frequency (measured in gigahertz or GHz) may be more responsive for general use.

The Best Desktop Workstations for 2023 (12)

(Credit: Zlata Ivleva)

Today's true workstation-CPU families are the Intel Xeon and AMD Ryzen Threadripper and Threadripper Pro lines. The Threadripper has taken the market by storm by delivering more cores and threads per dollar than Xeons. Intel has responded by slashing prices, but the value edge still lies with AMD. The current Threadrippers top out at 64 cores.

The chips' weak point is that they're harder to find in workstations from major vendors such as Dell, HP, and Lenovo, where Intel remains by far the dominant choice. That may be poised to change a bit, though. In the summer of 2020, Lenovo announced an exclusive deal with AMD, in the launch of a ThinkStation model using a new line of workstation-minded Threadripper chips, the Threadripper Pro. We tested Threadripper Pro in the first Lenovo model to host it, the ThinkStation 620, and found it quite impressive. AMD has since released several Threadripper Pro chips to retail, working on a new socket and platform using the TRX80 chipset. (We later tested a 64-core version of it in a 2022 version of Threadripper Pro, which we linked to in the previous paragraph.)

It's not uncommon to see Intel Core and Core X-Series, as well as AMD Ryzen chips, offered in entry-level workstations. Truth be told, workstation CPUs are based on the same essential technologies as their civilian desktop counterparts. It's possible for a non-workstation CPU to perform just as well, if not better, assuming similar core and thread counts, though workstation CPUs scale to much higher core and thread counts. That said, there are reasons beside sheer performance to choose a workstation CPU.

The Best Desktop Workstations for 2023 (13)

(Credit: Molly Flores)

One of those reasons is support for error-correcting code (ECC) memory. This type of RAM automatically corrects the tiny amount of data corruption that occurs in standard or non-ECC memory. This corruption is inconsequential for everyday use, but it's unacceptable in scientific, architectural, and financial fields where every decimal place matters.

Another mark in favor of workstation CPUs is the potential for high memory ceilings. Most desktop CPUs typically support anywhere from 32GB to 64GB of memory, with top-end chips just starting to support 128GB. That may sound like a lot compared to your laptop's 8GB or 16GB, but it's pocket change when you consider that some workstations can support 2TB (2,048GB) of memory or more. Simply put, workstation CPUs are a necessity when extraordinary amounts of memory are required. Similarly, workstation CPUs typically support more PCI Express lanes, a useful specification if many high-speed devices (such as multiple graphics cards for GPU-based compute, and PCI Express-based solid-state storage arrays) need to be connected.

Multi-CPU support is another capability that lies solely in the realm of workstation CPUs. The highest-end workstations can support two processors. It's expensive territory that you'd probably visit only if you need an extreme number of cores (more than can fit on a single CPU) and don't want to invest in a second computer. Ever-increasing CPU core counts have mitigated, but not eliminated, the need for what's known as symmetric multiprocessing (SMP) scenarios.

(Video) $2500 BEST-BANG-for-BUCK Creator PC Buying Guide | DIY Workstation for Creatives

A workstation CPU is the only choice if you need the advantages described above. A non-workstation CPU will otherwise offer a better value, though some desktop workstations may not give you a choice between, say, Intel's Xeon line and its Core family.

Understanding Workstation Graphics: Professional-Grade GPUs and ISV Certifications

No desktop workstation would be complete without the option for a dedicated graphics processing unit (GPU) or graphics card, as opposed to the relatively humble integrated graphics built into many CPUs. The use of a GPU can vary from simple photo editing to complex CGI and parallel processing. The more graphically intense the operation, the more powerful a GPU you'll need.

Lower-end workstations may offer gaming-class Nvidia GeForce and AMD Radeon GPUs. These can run professional apps from Autodesk and Adobe, but they may not be ideally suited for the job, and that's where the graphics vendors' professional-grade silicon—Radeon Pro for AMD, and RTX A series (formerly Quadro) for Nvidia—come in.

These cards may not appear all that different from their gaming cousins in appearance or general specifications, but the difference—and the reason for their often much higher prices—comes down to software and driver support. The drivers that accompany professional GPUs are exhaustively tested for compatibility, stability, and performance in specialized professional apps.

The Best Desktop Workstations for 2023 (14)

(Credit: Molly Flores)

This is where the concept of independent software vendor (ISV) certifications comes into play. Most major workstation vendors will advertise ISV certification for specific apps such as Autodesk's AutoCAD and Maya or Dassault Systemes' SolidWorks. The ISV certification guarantees that the workstation is optimized and will work properly for a given program.

Just because a workstation doesn't carry an ISV certification, or the certification doesn't specify the app you're using, doesn't mean the app won't work. In fact, it most likely will. However, if you're in a line of work where guarantees are required, and you want an ironclad, up-front promise that the system is built for running a given application "just so," then your shopping list will be limited to ISV-certified workstations.

The Best Desktop Workstations for 2023 (15)

(Credit: Molly Flores)

An up-and-coming concept in the workstation world is a more generic GPU driver that is built around maximizing compatibility with creative apps. Nvidia is already doing this with itsNvidia Studio Driver(Opens in a new window), which works on both GeForce and Quadro GPUs. The driver doesn't offer guaranteed compatibility like an ISV certification, but it's tested against creative software from popular vendors. (A list of apps is published on the driver download page.)

Let's get back to hardware. A low-end GPU is usually more than enough for photo editing, though video editors might want to step up to a midrange model with 6GB or more of display memory for 4K (or higher) source footage. If you're working with complex 3D models in product design, engineering, or other simulations, you'll generally want to invest in as powerful a GPU as possible, with 8GB or even 16GB of onboard memory. A GPU that isn't powerful enough may have trouble rendering onscreen models and wireframes.

It's common for workstations to support multiple GPUs, though caution should be used here. Adding a second graphics card to your workstation won't have much (if any) effect on performance if your application in question doesn't support multi-GPU environments, so it's important to verify your favorite apps first. As in gaming rigs, you're frankly better off buying the fastest single GPU you can afford. Explore a multi-GPU scenario only if your needs go beyond that.

Understanding Workstation Storage Options and Interfaces

Desktop workstations will offer, at the minimum, the same storage options as traditional desktops, includingM.2-format solid-state drives(SSDs), 3.5-inch SATA hard drives, and 2.5-inch SATA SSDs. They also offer other storage technologies and interfaces that are useful in specialized scenarios.

One of these is the U.2 interface SSD, which is typically the size of a traditional 2.5-inch hard drive. The U.2 format offers higher capacities than M.2 drives since it provides more real estate for housing memory chips. Most U.2 drives use the PCI Express bus for data transfer, over which U.2 supports four lanes, but the interface can also be used for SATA and SAS drives. The latter stands for Serial Attached SCSI, another kind of storage interface typically found only in high-end workstations and servers. A SAS drive is typically used in data center or enterprise scenarios where maximum uptime and reliability are required.

Another kind of drive offered in high-end workstations is a PCI Express solid-state drive that plugs into a full-size PCI Express expansion slot on the motherboard, looking something like a low-profile graphics card. These drives offer higher capacities and better cooling than M.2 drives. Some drives in this format aren't drives at all, but caddies that hold multiple M.2 drives, useful in a scenario where the workstation's motherboard doesn't have enough M.2 slots on it.

Hot-swappable drives are a server-grade technology sometimes available in high-end workstations. These take the form of externally accessible 2.5-inch or 3.5-inch bays whose drives can be pulled out of the workstation and swapped while the system is running. They're useful if having tons of local storage is key or if you need to transport your data to another computer. Hot-swapping can also allow a failed drive in a RAID array to be replaced without downtime.

The Best Desktop Workstations for 2023 (16)

(Credit: Charles Jeffries)

So which interfaces and storage formats are best? There is no simple answer to that question. It depends on the usage scenario. For bulk storage where speed and response time isn't critical, 3.5-inch SATA hard drives offer the most gigabytes per dollar. For reliability and better response times, it may be worth upgrading to a SAS drive, but the ever-decreasing cost of solid-state storage continues to make it more attractive than traditional hard drives. (See ourSSD vs. HDD: What's the Difference?article for a rundown.)

The Best Desktop Workstations for 2023 (17)

(Credit: Zlata Ivleva)

The operating system, however, should be installed on an SSD for maximum performance. It's also worth paying the premium for solid-state storage for general purposes if your workflow involves reading and writing large amounts of data, as with 4K and 8K video editing. Look for PCI Express drives that support the Non-Volatile Memory Express (NVMe) protocol for maximum throughput.

Everything discussed so far in this section involves internal storage. If being able to detach your storage quickly or take it with you is important, Intel-based workstations typically offer the option for add-in cards with one or moreThunderbolt 3ports. The Thunderbolt 3 interface supports up to 40Gbps (or four lanes) of bi-directional throughput. Fast external storage drives and RAID arrays connected via Thunderbolt 3 can perform just as well as PCI Express drives connected internally.

Finally, there's network storage. The workstation's built-in Ethernet jack(s) may not provide enough bandwidth for storage demands, so you may see enhanced network interface cards (NICs) that provide high-speed Ethernet connections up to 5Gbps. Built-in Ethernet connections typically top out at 1Gbps.

Workstation Form Factors and Expansion

It pays to invest in a workstation that's more powerful than your current workload demands, so it will support your workflow in the long term. Take note of your workstation build; have you maximized its component choices? If so, it makes sense to step up to the next model so you have breathing room for upgrades.

For example, while you might not currently need more than 64GB of memory, it's nice to have the ability to expand to 256GB later. Storage limits aren't quite as set in stone, as storage capacity continues to grow in a given form factor, but you'll still want to ensure the workstation can handle your future storage needs, internally or externally.

The Best Desktop Workstations for 2023 (18)

(Credit: Molly Flores)

The upgrade potential of a workstation is related to its physical design. Tower-style workstations based on traditional form factors, such as full ATX or Extended-ATX (E-ATX), have the most upgrade potential since they can house standardized parts, allowing for nearly any kind of component upgrade. By contrast, mini desktops and all-in-one designs (with the workstation in the base or back of a monitor) can greatly limit your upgrade options down the line and tend not to be the most cost-effective investments.

The Best Desktop Workstations for 2023 (19)

((Credit: Zlata Ivleva))

The GPU (or GPUs) in most workstations should be upgradable, provided the GPU is of a standard format such as a PCI Express card. The main concern with a GPU upgrade is whether the workstation's power supply can handle it. If your graphics needs may increase, think twice before opting for a lower-wattage power supply in your build, as you may end up needing to upgrade that if you add a more powerful GPU.

Connections: Which Ports Do You Need in a Desktop Workstation?

Nearly all workstations will have the types of ports you'd find on a normal desktop, including USB, video-out connectors, network connections, and audio jacks.

However, nonstandard or uncommon ports may be required depending on your workflow. Older or specialized equipment may still require serial or PS/2 connectors, while other workflows may require video input. Higher-end workstations usually offer any manner of add-in cards to provide functionality like this. Such cards can usually be added after purchase, though you should verify with the workstation maker that this is the case if you aren't configuring the system with add-in cards from the get-go.

The Best Desktop Workstations for 2023 (20)

(Credit: Charles Jeffries)

The Thunderbolt 3 cards mentioned above are ideal for more than just adding external arrays of high-speed storage. Their high bandwidth makes it possible to connect devices such as external GPU enclosures.

Which Operating System Should You Get in a Workstation?

The apps you run will largely determine your choice of operating system, though you still might have a debate if your apps are cross-platform. Cost is always at the forefront. There's no such thing as a cheap macOS-based workstation, so you'll be looking at a Windows or Linux machine if you're spending less than the $5,000 starting price for Apple's sole standalone workstation model, the2019 Mac Proor the equally priceyiMac Pro(which starts at the same price). Both are in need of an update, as they haven't gone over to M1 or M2 processing. The Mac Pro tower is as high-end as workstations get, offering Xeon CPUs from eight to 28 cores, up to 1.5TB of memory, and one or two AMD Radeon Pro GPUs. It's an excellent example of a purpose-built desktop workstation, but we'd expect an eventual replacement. Arguably, the 2022 M1 Ultra-based Apple Mac Studio could suffice as one, for many Mac users,.

While Windows and macOS dominate mainstream desktops, it's common for workstation vendors to offer Linux installs or support. The supported distros such as Red Hat or Ubuntu vary, but the allure is the same. Unlike macOS and Windows, most Linux distros won't require you to pay for an operating system license, and many powerful software tools are available, often at reduced or no cost.

Something to note about Windows workstations is that Microsoft offers an upgraded and Xeon-optimized version of Windows 10 calledWindows 10 Pro for Workstations(Opens in a new window)that incorporates many features found in Windows Server operating systems. It's naturally more expensive, so save your cash with a regular Windows 10 Pro license unless you need them.

One other factor in operating system choice is hardware support. If you need (or prefer) Nvidia GPUs, you can count out the Mac Pro or iMac Pro, as Apple offers them only with AMD Radeon Pro graphics cards. Windows and Linux workstations offer the widest latitude when it comes to choosing hardware. Also be mindful of any special hardware you need for your workflow, such as video-capture cards that may not be usable under certain operating systems. Apple's Boot Camp software can be used to run Windows on a Mac, but there's no official way to do things the other way around.

Business and Security Considerations With Workstations

Business and enterprise workstation buyers should be conscious of their needs for remote-management support and general device security. Intel tends to be the strongest on this front with its vPro platform, which is readily available on its Core and Xeon CPUs. AMD's alternative is Ryzen Pro on the mainstream Ryzen chips.

True workstations are designed for around-the-clock operation under stressful conditions. Their internal components are more robust than a normal desktop's, especially the power supply and motherboard. Their cooling systems are also more advanced so the workstation can keep its temperatures under control during nonstop operation.

The Best Desktop Workstations for 2023 (21)

(Credit: Zlata Ivleva)

If long-running tasks are part of your workflow, look for a workstation that isn't just a consumer or business PC with workstation components, as is often the case with lesser-priced models. Standalone workstation models are purpose-built and won't share much with their non-workstation brethren.

Manufacturers usually include workstations in their business- or professional-level support departments. This practice will vary with smaller vendors that may not offer separate support for consumer and business PCs. Regardless of the vendor, new workstations will come with a limited warranty that covers hardware defects for at least a year. It's sensible to invest in at least a three-year warranty on workstations over $1,000; you'll want to get at least that much time out of your investment.

The Best Desktop Workstations for 2023 (22)

(Credit: Zlata Ivleva)

Adding accidental damage coverage should be done at discretion; it might be a negligible expense next to the cost of a tricked-out workstation. Other warranty add-ons include enhanced support with rapid response times, including onsite service. The latter is almost always worthwhile, not only to minimize downtime but to save your workstation from the rigors of shipping if repairs are needed. Large workstation towers are especially vulnerable to damage in transit, regardless of how well they're packed.

All told, the total cost of any extended warranties and coverage generally shouldn't exceed 20% of the computer's price. This is rarely a problem when buying an expensive workstation, as even top-tier warranty coverage shouldn't run more than a few hundred dollars.

Where to Buy a Workstation

Workstations are best purchased directly from the vendor or an authorized retailer. This ensures you can get a system configured to your specifications, with a clear line of communication for sales and after-sales support. If you're going through a retailer, verify that any extended warranties or services are honored by the workstation vendor.

Think of a workstation as a longer-term investment that should expand to handle changing workflows. Start by choosing a software platform (macOS, Linux, or Windows) and then find a suitable model. Mac users have limited choices, but Linux and Windows fans have a slew of vendors to choose from. Only major vendors are likely to offer ISV certifications, if those are required for your work, and they'll also offer more comprehensive warranty and onsite support options.

The Best Desktop Workstations for 2023 (23)

(Credit: Molly Flores)

When it comes to hardware, choose components that match your workflow, but don't overspend. Opting for pricey ECC memory when it's not needed, for example, won't have any real benefit. You can also pinch pennies by going with a gaming-grade GeForce GTX or RTX GPU and using an Nvidia Studio driver, though there's no replacement for a professional GPU when it comes to compatibility and stability with creative apps, especially if you'll leave your workstation running around the clock crunching data or media.

Refer to the paragraphs above for the finer details on workstation buying. All told, your purchase should be a hybrid of your current and future needs, as a workstation definitely isn't an impulse buy, nor the kind of computer you'll buy often.

So, Which Workstation Desktop Should I Buy?

Below is the spec breakout of our favorite desktop workstations tested within the last year or two. They should get your shopping started with a look at the shapes, sizes, and capacities available. Now, good luck and get cracking.

(Video) Top 5 Best Desktop Workstation (2021)


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Which brand of desktop is most reliable? ›

The 10 Most Reliable Desktop PCs You Can Buy
  • Apple iMac 24-inch (M1, 2021) Michael M. ...
  • HP Envy 34 All-in-One (2022) HP. ...
  • Intel NUC 12 Extreme (Dragon Canyon) SimplyNUC. ...
  • HP Chromebase All-in-One 22. HP. ...
  • Apple Mac mini (M1, 2020) C. ...
  • Corsair One a200. Corsair. ...
  • MSI MEG Aegis Ti5 (2022) MSI. ...
  • Apple Mac Studio. Wachiwit/Shutterstock.
Oct 11, 2022

What is the most powerful workstation PC? ›

The 32-core Threadripper Pro 5975WX, having launched alongside the rest of the Threadripper 5000 Pro series in 2022, is the best overall workstation CPU right now.

What is high end workstation? ›

High-end GPUs

Workstations are most often used for tasks like video editing, 3D graphics, engineering design, and data science visualization, so their graphics processing cards matter. Higher-end GPUs are engineered specifically for CAD and 3D rendering jobs.

How long will a workstation last? ›

Every situation is different, but you can expect the average desktop PC to last between three and eight years. Desktops tend to kick on longer than laptops due to the extra space inside the box.

Which is the No 1 company for computer? ›

Which is the No 1 Company for Computer? At present, Lenovo is the No 1 Computer Hardware Company in the world. It is the Largest Manufacturer and Supplier of Computer Hardware in the world with 23% of Global Market Share. Microsoft remains the No 1 Computer Software company in the world.

What brand of computer does Bill Gates use? ›

Despite the Surface Duo being the spiritual successor to the Microsoft Courier concept, Gates opts for a Samsung Galaxy Z Fold3 as his mobile handset choice and uses a both a Surface Laptop 4 and Surface Studio 2 to get work done in and out of his home office.

How much RAM should a workstation have? ›

While 4GB or 8GB may be enough for the OS and a few applications, don't expect to multi-task or have large files open at the same time without affecting performance. A mid-range configuration may require double that and high-end gaming systems and workstations need as much as 32GB or more to run smoothly.

How much RAM is good for a workstation? ›

Generally speaking, 4GB of RAM is the benchmark when dealing with a low-end office workstation. Although, if you're running a 32-bit OS with 4GB of RAM, keep in mind that you will only be able to access 3.2GB. Additionally, when using a 64-bit operating system, you'll have access to the whole 4GB (and higher).

Which RAM is best for workstation? ›

Best DDR4 RAM for Gaming Rigs and Pro Workstations
  • Patriot Viper RGB DDR4-3600.
  • G.Skill Trident Z Neo DDR4-3600 CL16.
  • G.Skill Trident Z Royal 16GB DDR4-4000 CL18.
  • TeamGroup T-Force Xtreem ARGB DDR4-3600 CL18.
  • Kingston HyperX Predator DDR4-3200 CL16.
  • Crucial Ballistix DDR4-3200 CL16.
  • Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4-3200 CL16.
Mar 15, 2021

What is an ideal workstation? ›

What is an ideal workstation? An ideal workstation should be set up correctly to promote comfort, convenience, efficiency, and productivity. It has massive effects on employee's job satisfaction, motivation, and morale.

What is the difference between a desktop computer and a workstation? ›

A workstation is a more powerful version of a desktop computer, often one that's purpose-built for a specific task rather than for general use and versatile applications. Workstations come with technical upgrades that enhance speed, security and reliability. For example, they may offer: Larger, faster hard drives.

How do I choose a workstation computer? ›

Workstations can outperform desktops in areas of importance in the media and entertainment industry.
  1. Graphics card for workstation versus desktop computers. ...
  2. Memory and RAM supports. ...
  3. Computing cores. ...
  4. Cores vs. ...
  5. Minimalist interface versus state-of-the-art display.
Mar 24, 2022

How often should you replace workstations? ›

Experts recommend replacing machines every 3 to 5 years, while smaller companies may be able to get by with replacing on an “as-needed” basis. Staying on top of a replacement schedule can help ensure your work environment is as productive and secure as possible.

Is 16GB of RAM enough for a workstation? ›

Generally, we recommend 8GB of RAM for casual computer usage and internet browsing, 16GB for spreadsheets and other office programs, and at least 32GB for gamers and multimedia creators.

What is the disadvantage of workstation? ›

Workstation is expensive than low capacity computers. The higher cost is because of higher RAM, hard drives and multiprocessor support. High power usage: The workstation uses more electricity than other devices like tablets, smartphone, laptops and desktop computers.

Is Intel better for workstations? ›

Know the apps you use: If your apps take advantage of superior core counts or memory channels, you might want to get an AMD chip. But if you're using lightly-threaded apps or want the broadest spate of officially supported software, Intel tends to perform better.

What is a professional workstation? ›

Workstations are mobile computers, stationary towers, or rackmount systems that are specifically designed and configured to meet the most demanding professional workloads and workflows.

Which is better HP or Dell workstation laptops? ›

The HP prioritizes portability and general user experience over sheer performance, while the Dell laptop prioritizes performance over user experience. If performance isn't the most important aspect and you just want a portable laptop with a comfortable keyboard or better-sounding speakers, go with the HP.


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