The desktop PC is the staple of any office and is the means with which we communicate with employees, clients and the outside world in general. The simple beige box has become as indefensible as the office phone, but it's often overlooked.

Desktop PCs are evolving and you'll find an amazing array on offer, with big screens, multiple-core processing and hard drive sizes that only a few years ago seemed an impossibility now commonplace. That doesn't mean you should opt for the most expensive, far from it. We recommend that you look at your immediate and mid-term needs and budget accordingly.

An office PC should last you a minimum of three years and you should be looking to upgrade your systems every five years. This isn't to say you won't be able to use it after this period; but advances in technology and the filtering down of costs of makes it a more viable option to buy new rather than upgrade.

If office space is at a premium then you may wish to consider opting for the latest advancement in desktop computing, the All-in-One. While a traditional PC is a box that sits under your table and connects to the monitor via a cable, with an All-in-One you'll find the computer itself is an integral part of the design, sitting behind the screen.
 
They may offer a great space saving device but it's worth bearing in mind they use laptop technology to pack as much into as little a space as possible, so can't match the latest desktop machines in terms of performance or upgradability.

The prices below are meant as a guide only – if you want the best deals you have to do some legwork. Shop around online, talk to sales staff and see who can give you the best bargain.

Top 5 business desktop PCs

Apple Mac Pro
This quad-core desktop is very much the entry-level model in the range but offers the busy professional everything they need from a desktop PC.  
Price: £2041
Processing: Intel Xeon Processor 2.8GHz
Hard Drive: 1TB
Memory: 3GB
Screen Size:
Graphics: ATI Radeon HD 5770
Contact: Apple UK

Dell Vostro 460
Built with small business users in mind, you'll find the latest Intel processor offering plenty of performance and even a large screen for detailed on-screen analysis.
Price: £390
Processing: Intel Core i7-2600
Hard Drive: 500GB
Memory: 4GB
Screen Size: 21.5-inch
Graphics: 1GB ATI Radeon HD 5450
Contact: Dell UK 
 

HP TouchSmart 610
Combining a large touchscreen display with the latest high-end features, such as Wi-Fi and Blu-ray, this is much more than just an office PC, it's your multimedia hub.
Price: £1200
Processing: Intel Core i5 650
Hard Drive: 1.5TB
Memory: 6GB
Screen Size: 23-inch
Graphics: ATI Radeon HD 5570
Contact: HP

Lenovo ThinkCentre M90z
The latest crop of All-in-One machines are great for smaller offices and this  cost-effective solution has a great design and offers plenty of performance for the price.
Price: £800
Processing: Intel Core i5 650
Hard Drive: 250GB
Memory: 2GB
Screen Size: 23-inch
Graphics: Integrated 
Contact: Lenovo UK

Sony VAIO VPCL21S1E/B
This All-in-One offers the largest touchscreen on the market to-date and comes with Full HD resolution, which if perfect for use with the built-in Blu-ray drive, which is also write enabled.
Price: £1299
Processing: Intel Core i7-2630QM
Hard Drive: 1TB
Memory: 8GB
Screen Size: 24-inch
Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GT 540M
Contact: Sony Business

*All prices are approximate and will vary – they were correct at time of writing and include VAT.