Welcome to our list of the best workstations of 2018. These are the very best, most powerful, workstation machines that can power your business.
These days, the best workstations are around the same size as normal PCs, and offer high quality designs, without sacrificing pure power and performance. Some, such as the iMac Pro and the Surface Studio, are slimline all-in-one PCs that offer brilliant performance whilst not taking up loads of room in your office.
The best workstations can handle any application you throw at it, and they are useful tools for designers, engineers, financial analysts and researchers running more demanding applications, like rendering complex graphics, financial analysis and computations and digital content creation
We've rounded up 10 of what we consider to be the best workstations currently on the market - in no particular order - from the main vendors.
From small form factor models to powerhouses, from all-in-ones to one for all, there's bound to be one for you if you're in the market.
At the bottom of this page you'll also find our list of the best online shops for buying workstations - so purchasing the perfect workstation for your business has never been easier!
- There are even a few amazing options that come in laptop form. Check out our best mobile workstations guide.
1. Dell Precision Tower 7820
A classic workstation for a great price
CPU: Intel Xeon Bronze 3104 | Graphics: AMD Pro WX 2100 2GB | RAM: 8GB | Storage: 500GB HDD | Communications: Gigabit Ethernet | Dimensions (W x D x H): 41.4 x 17.26 x 47.1cm
The 7000 series of Dell’s Precision Tower workstations are very powerful devices, even with the lowest configurations. As it's Dell, there's plenty of configuration options as well. Dell’s website lets you configure the setup you’re buying so that it perfectly suits your needs. Dell has a great reputation for business PCs, so you know you’re in safe hands if you buy one of these.
2. Acer Veriton X2640G SFF
CPU: Intel Core i5-6400 | Graphics: Intel HD | RAM: 4GB | Storage: 1TB HDD | Communications: Gigabit Ethernet | Dimensions (W x D x H): 10 x 35.4 x 26.5cm
Acer does a good line in workstations, and most of them are pretty affordable. The Acer Veriton X2640G SFF isn’t the most powerful of workstations, but it will do the trick if you need a dependable machine for most day-to-day tasks.
There’s nothing particularly flashy about this workstation – but sometimes that’s just what you need.
3. HP Workstation Z440
Another great workstation from HP
CPU: Intel Xeon E5-1620V4 | Graphics: Intel vPro | RAM: 16GB | Storage: 256 SSD | Communications: Gigabit Ethernet | Dimensions (W x D x H): 16.9 x 44.5 x 43.2cm
HP comes out with another excellent workstation that features plenty of power in a solidly-built machine that is completely dependable. HP’s reputation for excellent business products continues with this workstation, and we think you’d be very pleased if you bought this device for your business.
The only problem with this workstation is that there's limited storage space - shipping with just 256GB of space.
The good news is that at least this hard drive is a solid state device, which means it runs much faster than a traditional spinning hard drive. You can also add a larger hard drive later on.
4. Apple Mac Pro
Worth an update
CPU: Intel Xeon E5-1650 v2 | Graphics: Dual AMD FirePro D500 | RAM: 16GB | Storage: 256GB SSD | Communications: 802.11ac, Gigabit Ethernet | Dimensions (W x D x H): 25 x 17 x 17cm
An upgrade to the Mac Pro is imminent so you might want to hold on. But when it comes to the quintessential workstation, nothing comes near to this monolith. How Apple has been able to pack so much firepower into such a small volume almost defies the laws of physics. The current model, though, is well past its prime.
It packs a 3-year old Intel Ivy-Bridge Xeon processor with up to 64GB DDR3 ECC RAM and 1TB storage (no RAID option though). Its two AMD FirePro D500 GPUs are likely to be the weakest link in the system, however, and even the top of the range model doesn't meet the minimum requirements to run the HTC Vive or Oculus Rift VR platform. It's also far more expensive than a comparable Windows-based workstation.
Read the full review: Apple Mac Pro
5. HP Z1 G3
A unique specimen
CPU: Intel Xeon E3-1225 v5 | Graphics: Nvidia Quadro M1000M | RAM: 8GB | Storage: 256GB SSD | Communications: 802.11n, Gigabit Ethernet | Dimensions (W x D x H): 60 x 21 x 55cm
There's no equivalent to the HP Z1 G3 on the market. The Z1 family was possibly brought to the market in order to compete with (or at least provide an alternative to) the Apple iMac which doesn't provide the same sort of professional-grade components.
Using a mixture of laptop components (memory and 2.5-inch storage solutions) combined with an enterprise-grade desktop Intel Xeon CPU is an interesting alternative which we'd like others to explore, even in the laptop segment.
For now, the Z1 G3 remains the only viable option if you are looking for a transportable workstation with an all-in-one form factor. Oh and regarding the price, it comes with a 4K monitor, Thunderbolt ports, HP's nifty Remote Graphics Software and a three-year onsite warranty, upgradable to five with defective media retention.
6. Apple iMac Pro
A fantastic all-in-one workstation
CPU: Intel Xeon W | Graphics: AMD Vega 64 (16GB HBM2 RAM) | RAM: 128GB | Communications: Gigabit Ethernet | Dimensions (W x D x H): 65 x 20.3 x 51.6cm
The Apple iMac Pro is the most powerful PC that Apple has ever made, so if you love the design of Apple's devices, while using its software, then the iMac Pro is an excellent workstation. Its all-in-one form factor gives you plenty of space on your desk, but it is very expensive, which turn some people off.
7. Microsoft Surface Studio
A fantastic all-in-one from Microsoft
CPU: Intel Core i5 – i7 | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 965M – 980M | RAM: 8GB – 32GB | Storage: 1TB HDD; 64GB SSD – 2TB HDD; 128GB SSD | Display: 28-inch PixelSense (4,500 x 3,000) display
Microsoft has produced a brilliant all-in-one workstation that rival's Apple's iMacs for power and desirability. If you're wedded to the Windows 10 ecosystem, then this is a great alternative to the iMac Pro. Versatile and forward-thinking, Microsoft’s all-in-one puts the iMac to shame by introducing an all-in-one that can not only replace your lingering desktop tower, but your Cintiq as well.
8. HP Z240 SFF
CPU: Intel Core i7-6700 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 530 | RAM: 8GB | : | Communications: Gigabit Ethernet | Dimensions (W x D x H): 34 x 38 x 10cm
This is HP's entry level workstation and one which is very keenly priced with a very compact form factor (about 11L). It's hard to believe that the Z240 has an Intel Core i7-6700 CPU with 8GB of RAM and a 1TB hard disk drive. There's even an optical drive. The company's engineers have managed to deliver a system that weighs less than 6Kg and somehow has 20 (yes, 20) connectors and expansion slots (not all of them empty of course).
It even has four DIMM slots to take full advantage of dual-channel technology. As for the rest of the HP workstation family, this one comes with the Remote Graphics Software as well as a three-year onsite warranty bundled. The only major compromise is the fact that it will only take low profile graphics cards. HP also offers the option to buy the workstation for as little as £16 per month excluding VAT.
9. Lenovo ThinkStation P910
CPU: Dual Intel Xeon E5-2603 v4 | Graphics: Nvidia Quadro K1200 | RAM: 16GB | Storage: 1TB | Communications: Gigabit Ethernet x 2 | Dimensions (W x D x H): 20 x 62 x 44.7 cm
At the opposite end of Lenovo's portfolio is the mighty P910, a workstation that offers one or two Xeon E5 CPUs; there's no E3 here and definitely no consumer parts. It is expensive, industrial in its looks, yet functional in its design. And when we say expensive, we mean it. A fully specced model with 28 cores, half a terabyte of RAM, six half terabyte SSDs and two Nvidia Quadro M5000 cards in SLI will cost you around £15,000. You can pack even more in, but you will have to do it over the phone.
The P910 uses patented Tri-channel cooling to keep the main components from overheating, which requires fewer fans and should, therefore in theory, translate to less downtime. As for most other workstations, you won't need a single tool to swap components and there are no cables or plugs to worry about.
10. Fujitsu Celsius J550
CPU: Intel Xeon E3-1275 v5 | Graphics: Nvidia Quadro K2200 | RAM: 16GB | Storage: 256GB SSD + 1TB HDD | Communications: Gigabit Ethernet | Dimensions (W x D x H): 33 x 34 x 8.9cm
The small form factor market is attracting more manufacturers as they are vying to shed the bulky and wieldy image of the traditional workstation. Few, if any, however, can pride themselves on designing and manufacturing their products in the same area. Fujitsu can – take the J550.
It can take a Xeon E3 CPU, a full-size professional graphics card, 64GB of RAM, offering up to 13.5TB storage and nearly 20 ports and expansion slots including quite a few legacy ones. Fujitsu is also the only company to offer a three-year warranty (either onsite or bring-in) across the EMEIA region, which spans across the whole of Europe, into Africa and stretches as far as India.