If you rely heavily on Microsoft Excel, then it means you are dealing with large spreadsheets, macros, and complex formulas. And to deal with intense calculations in MS Excel, you need to have a powerful computer. The PC that you’ll pick for heavy Excel use should have a faster CPU and more RAM on it.
After all, it’s the CPU or processor that’s responsible for calculating the formulas that you apply to rows and columns in Excel. So, a faster CPU with at least 2.4 GHz or higher clock speed would make a great deal for professional MS Excel users to open large Excel files without any crashes or slow performance.
Also, Excel worksheet users can allow the interface to use multiple cores of a CPU by navigating to File>Options>Advanced>Formulas. But in the case of VBA, you can only use the single core of a CPU. We recommend going with a quad-core CPU for a smoother computing experience.
Besides that, if you are using the 64-bit version of MS Excel, then you can speed up the performance if you have more than 4GB of RAM on your system. The 64-bit interface allows Excel to use more RAM rather than being limited to a 4GB pool.
Good to KnowThe 64-bit MS Excel allows it to use up to 8000 GB of RAM, which doesn’t exists physically at the moement. But this shows that having plenty of RAM would make things smoother on MS Excel.
In this guide, we have listed some of the desktops that are good at handling complex Excel workloads. All of these desktops will give you the right value in MS Excel according to your budget and needs.
Review of the Best Desktop Computers for Heavy Excel Use
Here are the top options to consider:
Apple iMac 27-inch Desktop – Overall Best Pick for Professional Excel Users
CPU: Intel Core i5 3.2 GHz | RAM: 32GB DDR3 | Storage: 1TB SSD | Graphics: AMD Radeon R9 M380 | Display: 27-inch Retina 5K IPS
Reasons to Buy:
- Powerful CPU
- Plenty of RAM
- Bigger screen
The Apple iMac is meant for serious creators as it comes with a powerful Core i5 processor clocked at 3.2 GHz and massive 32GB RAM. These specs would be enough to smoothly open, edit, and save bigger files in MS Excel without crashing your system.
Now if you are a professional MS Office user, you would know that spreadsheets swap a lot of space on your screen. And if you are constantly dealing with VBA and have multiple workbooks open at the same time, you’ll need a large screen to get things done.
Thankfully, this Mac desktop comes with a 27-inch diagonal 5K Retina display screen to make your workbook and VBA editing tasks much easier. Also, you can open the workbook and VBA editor side by side on this screen as well.
Furthermore, there’s an integrated AMD Radeon M9 380 graphics card to deal with entry to medium-level graphical workloads. But as we are more concerned with MS Excel at this point, this won’t be affecting your performance at all.
Moreover, we have 1TB of SSD storage on this machine to store large files and projects. This kind of makes your desktop future-proof for several years before you run out of space. Also, the SSD drives make it easier to launch and switch between different apps.
Overall, the Apple Mac 27-inch desktop PC is a reliable option for professional MS Office users. It brings you more computing power and a gigantic screen to deal with complex Excel tasks.
There are plenty of I/Os on this desktop to connect your external hardware. And there’s built-in Wi-Fi to connect this PC to your home or office network.
There’s another version of this desktop that comes with Apple’s M1 processor instead of the Core i5. M1 is the most powerful CPU from Apple and would bring some serious performance to your desk. But going with the M1 version would cost you more as compared to the Core i5 version.
Although, this desktop is an expensive option, but it’ll give you the most bang for your buck when it comes to production workloads.
HP 27 Pavilion – Powerful Desktop for Intense Excel Use
CPU: Intel Core i7 2.0 GHz | RAM: 16GB DDR4 | Storage: 512GB SSD + 1TB HDD | Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 630 | Display: 27-inch HD IPS
Reasons to Buy:
- Eight-Core CPU
- Ideal RAM for productivity tasks
- Touchscreen display
The HP Pavilion 27-inch desktop is less powerful as compared to the Apple Mac desktop, but it meets all the minimum requirements that one needs to run MS Excel in its full glory. It comes with a 10th-gen Core i7 processor clocked at 2.0 GHz on each of its cores.
Now, from the CPU’s perspective, the clock speed on this desktop is lower than what we recommend. But this flaw is covered by eight cores that would bring more performance if you move into the “Advanced” settings in Excel and set the preference to “multiple core use”.
In addition to abundant CPU cores, this desktop comes with 16GB of DDR4. We all know that 16GB is the amount where things get moving in the right direction.
In content and office-productivity workloads, 16GB RAM would be plenty to deal with the toughest of tasks. Also, having more RAM would make multitasking much smoother and faster.
Just like the Apple Mac desktop, the HP Pavilion also comes with a 27-inch IPS display screen. However, the screen quality on this desktop is a no match to Apple’s Retina 5K display.
But HP Pavilion has a touchscreen display that enables you to touch rows and columns with your fingers besides using the mouse. This makes it easier for you to scroll through cells in Excel by swiping through the screen,
In terms of storage, there’s a 512GB SSD installed on this desktop. Also, there’s an extra 1TB of hard drive space to store your other necessary files.
Just like the Apple Mac desktop, there are plenty of I/Os available on this machine to connect your external devices. There’s a smart HP 5MP camera on the top of the screen to have video and conference calls.
Overall, the HP Pavilion 27 is made for power MS Excel users. It has enough RAM and an efficient processor to execute Excel macros and formulas in real-time. On top, the large 27-inch touchscreen makes it easier to interact directly with worksheets with the tip of your finger.
Acer Aspire C27 – Best Bang for Buck Desktop for Large Excel Spreadsheets
CPU: Intel Core i5 2.8 GHz | RAM: 16GB DDR4 | Storage: 512GB SSD + 1TB HDD | Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce MX330 | Display: 27-inch HD IPS
Reasons to Buy:
- Great value for the money
- Large display with tilt adjustment
- Faster processor
- Enough RAM
The Acer Aspire C27 isn’t a cheaper option but gives you the best value for complex office-based workloads. If you are a professional MS Office user, then this is a great deal to get your projects done in real-time.
This desktop comes with an 11th-gen Core i5 quad-core CPU with each core clocked at 2.8 GHz. And this higher clock speed results in a better single-core performance to execute the intense macros and formulas written in Excel.
In addition, the C27 comes with 16GB of RAM to let MS Excel 64-bit version fully stretch its legs to deliver the best capable performance in VBA and worksheets. Also, the higher amount of RAM would help to smoothly switch between different tasks while using Excel.
The Acer C27 all-in-one desktop comes with the same size display screen that we had on the HP Pavilion 27 and Apple Mac. However, the 27-inch IPS display screen on C27 is much better than the HP Pavilion 27.
But it loses the battle when we compare it to the display panel on the Apple Mac machine. Obviously, there’s no comparison there’s a 27-inch display panel on one side and a 5K Retina 27-inch panel on the other side.
However, the great thing is, the Acer C27 has a tilt and height adjustable display, so you can rotate it according to your preference in a home or working environment.
Moreover, the display has a wide viewing angle which helps in sharing your screen with a large audience sitting next to you.
All in all, the Acer Aspire C27 gives you the most bang for your buck when it comes to heavy office workload tasks. It has a better display screen, a faster CPU, and tons of I/Os to be part of your home or office environment.
Oh, haven’t we forgotten to let you know that there’s 512GB + 1TB of HDD space on this desktop to store your important files?
Apple Mac Mini – A Tiny Desktop for Excel Power Users
CPU: Apple M1 Chip | RAM: 16GB DDR4 | Storage: 256GB SSD | Graphics: M1 Chip | Display: No Display
Reasons to Buy:
- Small footprints, easy to fit in your bag
- Apple’s M1 chip delivers immense power for productivity workloads
- Power efficient
The Apple Mac Mini is a tiny yet powerful desktop to accomplish the toughest of content creation and productivity tasks. It’s powered by Apple’s most powerful M1 chip, which is a neural chip containing an 8-Core CPU and 8-Core GPU in a single affordable package.
It has a very unique and clean-looking design to it. And if you see it from every side, then it looks like nothing other than a small plastic box with an Apple logo on top of it. But this thing is a beast when it comes to pure performance.
M1 chip along with 8GB DDR4 memory gives you a nice bump in performance when dealing with heavy MS Excel workloads. Also, if you include the 256GB SSD storage in the package, then it’s the cheapest Mac that you can get right now.
We have this mini PC in our lab, and we’ve tested it through every means we could. We thought of giving it a try in MS Excel to see how it will perform as compared to other desktops on our list.
To our surprise, this tiny-looking Mac was the fastest among all the desktops we have listed for Excel users. It’s one of the best high-end mini PCs to deal with tasks that depend upon the capabilities of your CPU.
So, if you are dealing with advanced MS Excel tasks, then it’s the most affordable mini desktop to go with. The only thing that might worry you is the limited number of ports on this tiny desktop.
There are a handful of ports, among them are the HDMI and Thunderbolt ports. You can connect higher refresh rate monitors to these ports to get the best visual experience.
All in all, the Apple Mac Mini with M1 chips is an incredibly faster machine for professional MS Excel users. It’s cheaper and easy to carry around due to its tiny dimensions. It definitely worths the money you pay for it.
Intel NUC 11 – The Cheapest Desktop for Excel Professionals
CPU: Intel Core i7 2.8 GHz | RAM: 16GB DDR4 | Storage: 512GB SSD | Graphics: Intel Iris X Graphics | Display: No Display
Reasons to Buy:
- 11th-generation quad-core CPU
- Compact dimensions
- Classic NUC design
- Supports multiple monitors
Intel’s NUC line-up is the first choice of many content creators and office users. It falls into the category of ultra-small form factor desktops that pack some serious productivity power on their end.
This desktop comes with an 11th-gen Core i7 quad-core CPU clocked at 2.8 GHz and a boost clock speed of 4.4 GHz. Also, we have the same amount of 16GB of DDR4 RAM that we have on the Apple Mac Mini.
Now, with these specs, this SSF desktop can conquer any Excel-related workload that you’ll throw on it. From heavy spreadsheets to intense VBA, this desktop can let you pass through any task without slowing down your performance.
Moreover, Intel has allocated 512GB NVMe SSD on this device which can be replaced with a higher capacity later on if you need it. But if your use is limited to MS Office-based applications, then this storage capacity would be enough to have a good start.
The Intel NUC 11 comes with more connectivity ports as compared to Apple’s Mac Mini. At the front, there are two USB 3.2 ports, and at the rear, you’ll find RJ-45, two HDMI ports, two USB 2.0 Type-A ports, and two USB Type-C ports.
Moving further, you can attach up to four monitors to this desktop at a single time. This would give you a great edge in opening your Excel worksheets on multiple screens and interacting with them at the same time.
Intel NUC 11 is a true performer in productivity workloads despite its smaller size. You can squeeze a lot of performance out of it if you are dealing with complex Excel workloads. It’s a cheaper option for workday productivity and scenarios where you need multiple displays to deal with your work.
Factors to Look in a Desktop Meant for Excel Workload
Here’s what you need to consider:
- CPU: Microsoft Excel and related worksheet programs need a fast CPU. Generally, a dual-core CPU can easily handle MS Office programs. However, handling large Excel files would require you to have a powerful CPU. You’ll need a CPU that comes with at least quad cores and a higher clock speed on each of its cores.
- RAM: As we’ve discussed earlier that higher capacity RAM would result in better performance. 8GB is a good start, but 16GB would give you plenty of power to open, edit, and save complex Excel workloads like a breeze.
- Display: Usually, a larger display screen would help in dealing with large rows of data more quickly as compared to a small screen. But this isn’t a mandatory factor to look at, you pick a screen size that you feel comfortable going with.
Finally, these were some of the best computers for Excel power users. Now, which one of these is the right one for you? Well, this entirely depends upon your budget and needs. Every desktop in this guide packs some sort of value for users.
But if we had to pick from one of these, then it would be the Apple Mac Mini. Not only this is the most compact option to go with, but it has the Apple M1 chip processor and 16GB of RAM to crush any products that you’ll throw on it.
Although it lacks I/O ports, you really don’t need any extra hardware besides a monitor, keyboard, and mouse when you are dealing with MS Excel. Lastly, it’s cheaper and easy to carry anywhere you want.
What is the best processor for large Excel calculations?
Usually, any processor with 2.0 GHz or higher speed would be good to execute large Excel spreadsheets. Normally, Intel Core i5 or AMD Ryzen 5 Series processors are good for tackling heavy Excel files.
Is Excel CPU Intensive?
Yes, Microsoft Excel depends upon your CPU for quick calculations. So make sure you have a computer with a fast CPU if you rely too heavily on MS Excel or any other spreadsheet application.
How much RAM do I need for large Excel files?
Generally, Excel doesn’t consume a lot of RAM, so having 2GB would be enough to get your work done. But if you are dealing with large Excel spreadsheets, then you must have at least 16GB of RAM on your computer.
In order to allocate more RAM to Excel, I recommend you to go install the 64-bit version as the 32-bit version cannot use more than 2GB of RAM. Having a 64-bit MS Excel version would allow Excel to use most of the available RAM on your computer.
If you are dealing with workbooks having workbooks that are more than 100,000KB in size, and you running complex Excel formulae, then having more RAM will result in a smoother experience.
Hi, this is Masab, the Founder of PC Building Lab. I’m a PC enthusiast who loves to share the prior knowledge and experience that I have with computers. Well, troubleshooting computers is in my DNA, what else I could say….