Shopping for a new computer can be intimidating given the variety of options available on the market. You can read hundreds of online articles rating the best PCs, and still not find any information relevant to your company’s needs. To narrow down your needs into a manageable list, there are only a few things you need to consider.
Desktop or laptop
Whether you opt for a desktop or laptop depends entirely on your working environment and mobility needs. Laptops are portable and lightweight, making them well suited for small offices and companies with remote work arrangements. However, the tradeoff for that mobility is limited upgrade options since vital hardware components are usually fixed in place. Their compact build also means they’re more expensive and far more susceptible to overheating than desktop computers.
Desktops consume more power and are bulkier, but that allows them to run more advanced processors, cooling units, and hard drives. Additionally, desktops are easier to repair and upgrade, and are usually more affordable than laptops that boast similar hardware. If your employees are office-bound and have demanding computing requirements, desktops are the best choice.
Popular computer brands often provide unique features and proprietary software to differentiate themselves from competitors. For instance, HP offers sleek, powerful PCs designed for enterprises and come preloaded with power and data recovery managers. Apple computers come with the stable Mac operating system and high-end processors built for graphic-intensive tasks. Meanwhile, Acer’s unique selling proposition is its inexpensive yet capable budget laptops and desktops. Other indicators of a reliable brand include lengthy manufacturer warranties (1–3 years coverage) and regular firmware updates.
The size of the computer also makes a world of difference. If you often travel, a lightweight 12-inch laptop may be ideal. If you prefer a desktop, however, larger rigs provide better ventilation and simplify the upgrade process. Also, make sure you have enough room for the desktop casing, monitor, keyboard, mouse, and cables.
Operating system (OS)
There are two leading OS to consider: macOS and Windows 10. The former offers seamless mobile device integration, user-friendly features, and a bundle of platform exclusives like Final Cut and Garageband. Windows 10 has the biggest user base and works with a host of business software. The Enterprise edition also includes advanced threat prevention tools and encryption systems.
Besides the features, ask yourself which OS you’re most comfortable with. After all, you shouldn’t switch to Windows 10 if navigating Mac-based apps is second nature to you.
The central processing unit (CPU) handles the computer’s core operations. When looking for a processor, two key elements you should focus on are clock speed measured in gigahertz (GHz) and core count. Generally, higher numbers indicate faster performance, but it also depends on the applications you intend to run. If you wish to use basic productivity applications, there’s no reason to splurge on a 5 GHz Intel Core processor when a 2.3 GHz processor will suffice.
The core count also determines how well a machine can run multiple operations at once. This means a quad-core processor is four times more effective at multitasking than its single-core counterpart, making it ideal for intensive tasks like database management. However, keep in mind that fast, multi-core processors can be expensive, generate more heat, and consume a lot of power. That’s why it’s important to thoroughly evaluate your computing needs and budget before making a big investment.
Random access memory (RAM)
The more RAM you can afford to install, the better. This hardware component determines how effectively you can run multiple applications and tabs at the same time. If you’re a multitasker, a computer with at least 8 GB of RAM will ensure smooth software performance. Any device that offers more than 32 GB is designed for power users who manage virtual machines and system administrator tools.
Hard drive capacity
How much storage space you need comes down to the files and programs you use during an average day. Massive programs, videos, and databases will require 500 GB to 1 TB of storage space. More advanced users may also opt for solid state drives (SSD). These don’t store as much as hard drives, but they offer faster data access, reduced power consumption, and increased reliability.
Think about the peripheral devices you rely on. Do you still need to run DVDs? Are you planning a dual monitor setup? How many USB-powered devices will connect to your computer at one time? Once you’ve figured out what peripherals you need, looking for a PC with a DVD drive, HDMI connector, and USB 3.0 port should be easy.
Computer prices vary based on hardware specifications, operating systems, preloaded software, and warranties. Expect to pay anywhere between $300 to $5,000 for your computer, not including the additional costs associated with installations and support. At the end of the day, you have to assess your budget and purchase a PC that can address your company’s needs in the long run.
Still unsure about which computer is right for your business? Consult leading managed services provider Empower IT Solutions. Our Australian-based consultants will evaluate your needs and give objective hardware recommendations. We also have experienced IT Consultants on staff to help you with everything regarding PC setup and maintenance. Call us today to get started.