When shopping for computer hardware for your business, there are a few key aspects that should be considered before you spend your first cent. Your computer may well be the backbone of your business and is a crucial piece of equipment to keep everything running smoothly and efficiently, so ensuring that the equipment you purchase meets all your needs is vital.
Equipping your business with the best desktop hardware available isn’t going to help if most of the work your business does is off-site or on the road. This means that ensuring you choose the right form factor for the correct application is your first step in outlining your computing needs. Laptops are the obvious choice for any work that has to be completed in various locations, but these come at a premium price.
Desktop computers offer far more value for money, but these can’t be moved around easily and have many more components to be mindful of. Another advantage that a desktop enjoys over laptops is their near infinite upgradeability, so if any of your components aren’t keeping up with your processes, or you need to add an expansion card like an Intel Arc Graphics card, it’s a simple process of taking the side cover off your PC and adding the upgrade.
The brain of your computer is a powerful silicon-based chip called the Central Processing Unit (CPU). The CPU’s speed, measured in gigahertz, has a significant impact on how efficiently your whole computer operates. For common office tasks, even the most basic CPU has sufficient power, but you may need a higher-end CPU for more intensive tasks like video editing or game development. Most software solutions have their recommended specifications listed on their packaging, so make sure that your components meet these specs, and you should have a smooth time operating the software.
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If you run programs that benefit from multi-core processors, like video editing software, then it’s a good idea to equip that computer with as many processor cores as you can find on a single CPU chip. However, most everyday users could manage with a single-core processor, so be sure to tailor your chip to your needs.
RAM, also known as Random Access Memory, provides a unique form of storage that differs from that of a hard disk. Instead of long-term data storage, consider RAM as the short-term container that lets your CPU quickly fetch information that needs to be frequently accessed. RAM has an impact on a variety of factors in your computer, including how efficiently computer software runs, and the number of tabs you can run simultaneously in your internet browser.
Users who need very little computing power, like those who only edit documents and browse the net, may get by with as little as 4GB of RAM. Video editors and other power users will require more in the 16GB to 32GB range. The majority of users will find their needs somewhere in the middle, with 8GB to 16GB of RAM being sufficient for heavier web surfing, huge spreadsheets, and other common computer tasks.
Storage is an often-overlooked part of your computing needs, but once you run out of it you’ll know why it was so important. Because most operating systems actively use hard drives to store, access, and fetch files they need to operate, running out of drive space can leave your system unresponsive or sluggish. Ensuring you have enough storage across your business will keep things operational. Investing in central storage systems, such as a Network Access Storage (NAS) system, can simplify data backups and ensure your critical data is safe. Cloud storage is another valid option for any businesses that enjoy a fast and stable internet connection, which can save businesses a small fortune in hardware costs.
Laptops will come with their own built-in monitors, but if you opt for a desktop solution then you’ll need to buy a separate screen. A bigger display could be what you need if you need to have many windows viewable simultaneously, while a smaller monitor could be better if mobility is important to you. You could always choose a rather modest monitor as a concession and then buy a second monitor to give you the extra space you need.
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You could also add a second monitor to your laptop to give yourself much more screen space to view large quantities of data. While a single monitor is good for a variety of tasks, a dual-monitor configuration is particularly helpful for activities like data entry, where you can view the information to be added on one monitor while capturing the data on the second.
Operating System & Software
Your operating system is the software that interprets your commands via the keyboard and mouse and implements your instructions via the hardware. Your operating system can severely impact how and which programs will work on your computer, and how staff interact with that software. There are three main operating systems to choose from, with Windows being the most user-friendly and most widely adopted. Windows also has the most comprehensive support for most applications, especially business-oriented solutions.
Apple’s macOS is the second most adopted operating system available. While it doesn’t have as many enterprise offerings as Windows, macOS has positioned its operating system as the best for creative use, with strong support for video and image editing, music production, and graphic design. Linux is a free, open-source operating system, but due to its less user-friendly user interface and more complex features and navigation, it isn’t recommended for everyday office use.
The computers you purchase for your business will be some of the most vital pieces of equipment that you could own. Because of the rapid advancement of technology, it usually pays to future-proof your computers and opt to buy hardware more powerful than you currently need. You could go the other way and build your machines for the needs you have today, with plans to upgrade when and as you require, but this may involve expensive downtime and the risk of future compatibility issues. No matter what you choose, make sure you understand the scope of work the computers need to carry out, and that you purchase hardware to meet those needs and ensure future success.