Depending on the type and extent of a business, there are different models of home office computers that can fit into a home office environment while also providing an adequate level of power. Small computers such as laptops or docking stations for handheld devices are effective for small businesses that do little work online and keep most records on paper. Average desktop systems and up-to-date laptops can be powerful, economical and potentially expandable so they can grow with a business. High-end home office computers exist that are small in size and can be used for processor-intensive multimedia creation or software development without the need for large servers. A home-based business might be a hub for other home office computers, in which case it requires a powerful server setup that can run casually and without the need for constant maintenance.
Very small home office computers can help to keep a business on track with electronic records or an online presence without creating a great expense via extra hardware that might be unnecessary. For a home office that only needs to connect to a larger server that is located somewhere else, the computer can actually be just a keyboard, monitor and mouse hooked into a device that is as small as a wireless router. Docking stations for handheld devices can be attached to full-size monitors and keyboards so it can function as both a handheld device and desktop computer when needed. Small laptops with little processing power and a small footprint can run most office software and connect to the Internet without problems and have the advantage of being very economical.
Home businesses that use a large variety of productivity software, or that need to run multiple programs simultaneously all day, could require the processing power of a standard desktop computer. These home office computers can run most mainstream software and endure long hours of work. One advantage of a desktop system is that the internal parts are easily upgraded, allowing a single computer to be scaled up with the needs of the home business.
Some professionals who work from home require computers that can handle high-end software for graphics, programming or engineering. These systems are generally slightly larger than a standard desktop, but they also are more expensive, because they are loaded with hardware designed to accelerate mathematical calculations and graphics. High-end home office computers also can include expansion slots that allow for the installation of custom hardware such as video-editing devices or audio interfaces.
A home-based business might be a central point for satellite businesses, or the business might be providing a service online. In these situations, there are server-style home office computers that are designed to handle large user loads and have mechanisms for efficient concurrent processing. These systems can be the size of a tall bookshelf in some cases and could require special broadband lines to be installed in the home, although they will generally last a very long time and are designed to be upgradeable.