When it comes to getting work done, we rely on the technology tools that we use every day to be reliable, possess the processing power to get the job done, and empower the team to work together and solve problems (other than troubleshooting computer issues). That's why choosing the right office computers for your business is such an important task. Finding the balance between budget, performance, and your team's needs will go a long way towards preventing the tech headaches that impact productivity.
In this guide, we provide some key considerations in choosing the right hardware to meet your current and future business needs. Whether you're an architect who needs the processing power to run Revit and AutoCAD at the same time, or you're in sales and need a slim, portable solution, we've got you covered. If you're just getting the basics of your small business started, don't forget the phone systems.
Standardization is Key
When you're buying computers for an entire office it's important to keep in mind the maintenance and cost savings you can achieve by buying standard models in bulk. This helps with troubleshooting, part replacement, and jealousy (yes, it can be a problem).
Standardization allows you to take full advantage of:
By partnering with select vendors, your managed service provider is able to increase the purchasing power and lower the overall cost of buying through price negotiations on professional grade equipment that is set up to meet clients individual needs.
When it comes to software, hardware, and user issues, it's very difficult to manage all the compatibility issues that can occur when your organization uses 10 different models of computers. Simplicity is key here. It's easier to find, isolate, and fix issues that may occur due to software updates or integrations when you're using a standard set of devices and software.
Improved Support & Longevity
If something goes wrong, every minute you're down costs the business valuable time and money. By investing in standardized, business grade computers - you're making it possible for your IT staff or managed service provider to promptly fix any issues that may arise. By only choosing a select range of standard products, the number of potential issues is limited and support can familiarize themselves with the select hardware, which creates valuable efficiencies when problems appear. This allows you to get back to work as quickly as possible.
The Summit Specs
Business class users can choose from a variety of products that suit the size, display, and style that matches their wants and needs. However it's important to make sure you're not buying something that's pretty, but doesn't function well. The key things to focus on are processors, memory, and storage.
We recommend Core I5 processors at a minimum for general business use. If you're a power user that depends on running the Adobe Suite, AutoCAD, or similar intensive programs, we recommend selecting a product with a Core I7 processor. The performance you'll need from the processor is dependent on the amount of software you generally run at one time.
Random Access Memory (RAM) allows you to perform the everyday tasks you need to do the basics of your job. Whether it's loading apps, accessing the internet, checking your email, or editing an Excel file - RAM is what keeps you active. With the abundance of web based applications in the cloud, Chrome & Firefox alone can eat up enough of your RAM to experience performance degradation. This is why memory is so important. If you're frequently multi-tasking between applications and the internet, you need more memory to keep up.
Our standard recommendation is that a business class computer come with a minimum of 8 GB of RAM, but it's important to think about how you use your device before purchasing. Video animation and editing, complex Excel documents for engineering, and various types of simulations can crash systems even with 16 GB of RAM. As the complexity of your project increases, so does your RAM requirement.
Many standard devices come with 8 GB of RAM, but the cost to get 16 GB is not significantly more. In the future, applications may grow to the point where the 8 GB option simply doesn't cut it. That's why future-proofing at the beginning is so important. The $200 difference between 8GB and 16GB could save you thousands by extending the lifespan of the computer for years.
Summit strongly recommends purchasing devices with a minimum of a 256 GB solid state drive (SSD). A solid state drive is a storage solution that requires no moving parts. All information is stored within microchips, which makes the speed significantly quicker compared to traditional hard disk drives (HDD). Think of it like a sports car compared to a family sedan. They'll both get to 60 mph, but the HDD will take you a lot longer.
SSDs increase the performance of your machine, as even a slow SSD is many times faster than a fast HDD. This impacts the speed your computer is able to open applications, web browsers, and the productivity tools you use every day. Think about how much time you would waste if it took 30 seconds to open Word every day with a HDD but only 1.5 seconds with a HDD.
The local storage you need can vary if you work with a lot of large media files. For example, a graphic designer or video editor may do better with a 512 GB or larger SSD.
My Hard Disk Drive (HDD) Computer is Slow...
Just because your computer has slowed down may not mean it's completely dead. If your device is less than 4 years old but slowing to the point of getting nothing done, you can future-proof your existing device by swapping your existing hard drive for a new solid state drive. Summit can do this on request, and you can save a lot of money by future-proofing your existing equipment.
One Size Doesn't Fit AllFor your staff to be successful, the key is tailoring your equipment to their needs. If your staff is primarily working on the road, maybe they would benefit from a lightweight tablet and powerful smartphone. If they're a power-user that is in the office almost every day, consider a desktop with ample processing power to get the job done. If your job is a mix of both, a powerful laptop that can easily connect to a docking station may be your best option.
The Bottom Line
The tools you and your team use every day to sustain your business can make or break your success. It's 2018, and technology is continually advancing. Ensure that you're able to stay on the cutting edge by investing in the key components of whichever machines you choose for your staff: processing power, RAM, and storage.
When it comes down to the details, perhaps the best question is to ask what core functions you expect your business computers to perform on a daily basis. Understanding that can help you and your team make smarter choices about which fits your needs and budget.
As always, if you need advice on selecting the right solution for your needs and want tailored advice, feel free to contact Summit today.