Home vs. Business-Class Computers. Why Does It Matter?

Home vs. Business-Class Computers. Why Does It Matter?

What’s the difference between your home and business class computer? Should they be the same? Different? And the most important question: why does it matter? 

We get these questions all the time. Can I use the same computer at home and at work? What are the risks versus the benefits? 

Let’s first break down the difference between a “home” computer and a “business-class” computer (other than the obvious: one is at home, one is at work).

Business-class computers will come with business versions of the Windows Operating system, 3-5 year warranties (typically), and overall build quality will be focused on longevity and durability.

Home computers will come with the consumer versions of the Windows Operating system, 90 day - 1 year warranties, and overall build quality will be focused on cost-reduction and aesthetics. 

Consider the Workload

Simply stated, business-class computers are designed to run all the time and take a beating. Home-class computers are not. 

Examples of workloads that are best left for business-class computers:

  • 3D rendering of CAT images for a medical practice
  • Running CPU/memory/network intensive applications for 8+ hours at a time (i.e., Quickbooks)
  • Using several applications at once across multiple monitors

Using the Wrong Class of Computer is MORE Expensive.

Consider the following scenarios below. We’ll exclude installation labor to simplify the math. 

Scenario #1

You find a home-class computer at Bestbuy for $600. It comes with Windows 10 Home and a 1 year warranty.

Your IT company upgrades the PC to Windows 10 Pro, $199 for the license and $150 for an hour of technical labor to upgrade it = $949 total.

6 months into ownership of this device, it begins acting up and needs warranty work. Because you bought a home-class computer, the warranty actually requires you to unplug everything and drive the computer to an authorized repair center. Depending on the manufacturer, you’re looking at 1-3 weeks of turnaround time. If the IT company needs to drive it, this is billable time. Now you’re experiencing loss of productivity due to buying a home-class computer.

13 months into ownership of the device, it begins acting up again and needs warranty work. The warranty expired 1 month ago. You now have to do the math: pay the IT guy to troubleshoot and attempt to find part OR buy a new computer? Let’s say the part & labor is $350, and a new computer is still $600. If you choose a new computer, you’ll need to buy Windows 10 Pro upgrade again and pay the IT guy to install it for $949 total. Your total cost of ownership for keeping the original PC is $1149 OR if you bought a new one, it’s $1898 on month 13.

*Please note: this example is extreme -- we’re trying to prove a point.

Scenario #2

Your IT company quotes you a business-class computer for $1500. It comes with Windows 10 Pro and a 5 year warranty.

6 months into ownership of this device, it begins acting up and needs warranty work. Luckily the computer included 5 years of next business day on-site support. The manufacturer sends out a tech and resolves the issue.

13 months (or even 59 months!) into ownership of the device, it acts up again and needs warranty work. The computer is still under warranty and the manufacturer comes out the next business day and resolves the issue.

Your total cost of ownership has been controlled greatly by buying the right equipment up front. 

What’s the takeaway?

If you take anything away from this blog, it’s as simple as this: business-class computers should be used in businesses and vice versa for home computers. Computers are developed and designed with particular uses in mind. For optimal functioning, we recommend following their intended use.

If you have additional questions about the best computers to purchase for your organization or personal use, or if you’re interested in getting a quote for PK Tech services, we’re here to help answer any questions and provide more information. To contact PK Tech, click here.

About PK Tech


Jordan Hetrick

Jordan Hetrick

FOUNDER + CEO

Jordan is a technology and business leader with more than 20 years in the IT industry. After having successfully managed IT for a local CPA firm, he partnered with that firm’s partners to found PK Tech . Ten years later, PK Tech supports over a thousand users primarily in the professional service & healthcare industries.