When I started working from home full-time, as a freelancer, I was using an Intel core i3 laptop with 4GBs of RAM and 1TB mechanical hard drive. It was fine for that time (this was years ago) for doing content on websites. Fast forward to today, I use a gaming laptop for work. But surprisingly though, the CPU is just one tier higher even after all these years. Does this mean CPU speed doesn't really matter? What's the best CPU for working at home? That's exactly what we'll try to answer in this article.
What CPU should I use for my work from home computer?
The CPU, also known as central processing unit, acts like the computer's brain.
It's that part of the computer that processes all the actions that you want it to do.
It dictates the speed and computing power of the machine.
In general, a higher clock speed cpu (which is measured in gigahertz - GHz) will perform better than its peer within the same processor generation that sports a lower clock speed.
However, it doesn't always mean faster is better. There other factors such as the number of cores in the cpu and and how big the cache is per core, etc.,
The “GHz” or “Gigahertz” prefixes determine the clock speed, but it doesn’t really matter as much as the actual model of the processor itself. The “clock” determines the speed. But even if a processor sports a higher clock speed on paper but of an older generation (pitted against a lower-clocked but latest gen), it will probably still be slower.
But for the purpose of keeping things simple, however, just think for now that a higher number (clock speed) is better (when within the same generation of models).
Best CPU for Work at Home Computer
Pick a processor that matches the type of work you will be doing. Your workload will dictate the processor you should be using.
In my case (WordPress, Google Docs, Chrome), I don't need a fast processor as the apps I use are mainly for content writing, research and WordPress.
For this, an i3 or i5 Intel core processor or equivalent AMD CPU hits the sweet spot between price and performance.
For more demanding tasks like video editing, rendering, animation, photo editing, etc., a higher tiered Intel Core i7 or i9 is ideal (AMD Ryzen 7 or Ryzen 9 equivalent).
Work-from-home online jobs that are non-CPU intensive:
Social Media Manager
I've used both processors and while there are significant speed gains in my i5 gaming laptop, it's probably because its matched with other newer parts as well (better video card, faster SSD, faster RAM).
To be completely honest though, outside of gaming, video and photo editing tasks, my i3 laptop with its 12GB of RAM can handle my workload like a champ.
Until of course Elden Ring was launched and I ended up buying a gaming laptop so I can play it (lol).
If you'll be doing graphics-intensive tasks, minimum should be the latest i5 coupled with a healthy amount of RAM (16-32GB) and fast video card. If you can shoot for an i7 or i9, the better (also future-proofs your setup quite nicely). Ryzen 9 or Ryzen 7 if your Team AMD.
CPU Intensive Work at Home Jobs
Quality Assurance Specialist
What Computer is Best for Working at Home?
From my experience, a laptop is better than a desktop for working at home.
Because it gives you mobility and requires less space to set up.
Before the pandemic, I used to work at Coffee shops almost everyday. The ability to carry my laptop (or Chromebook) and hustle quietly at corner is important for continuity in my work and it's more convenient.
I've always wanted a fully-decked desktop gaming system. However, it would mean that I will be stuck at a desk if I wanted to work. Laptops provide better flexibility, work wherever you want in the house (which I do, especially if I'm stuck at a particular task).
I was about to have a pre-built custom desktop built by a local shop but ended up buying a gaming laptop because it turns out it will be cheaper. And that's because of the prohibitive prices of graphics cards and pc components these days. For the same cash, I got a more powerful computer for work and play.
For specs, a general recommendation would be the latest Core i5 or Ryzen 5 CPU coupled with 16GBs of RAM and 512GB of SSD storage. Add a graphics card if you're into photo, video, or animation. This is a solid setup that should handle most WFH tasks with ease.