Whether you’re upgrading existing equipment, or just starting out, it’s important to do some due diligence when choosing computers for your business. Besides pricing, other important factors you should look at are your employees’ roles in your company, durability, reliability, and compatibility.

Because computer technology is complex and changes so quickly, getting help from IT support services providers familiar with the latest technology can ensure that you make good choices that will maximize your employees’ productivity and flexibility and deliver good value. This is because they are immersed in working with computers on a daily basis and therefore have personal first-hand experience with different brands and the latest features. Although you could fill your technology needs on your own and maybe save money up front, the benefits of getting advice from experts in this area will usually outweigh the risk of making suboptimal decisions. Durability and compatibility are also factors that should be taken into consideration, and you can make the best choices with help from professionals who “live and breathe” computers.

Computer System Variables

Generally speaking, the higher the cost of a computer, the better the quality will be in terms of speed and/or capacity. The higher the speed of the CPU, RAM memory, and GPU, and the higher the capacity of the RAM, disk storage, and CPU and GPU cache memory, the better your performance will be.

CPU

The CPU or “central processing” unit speed, will vary across different models of computers. CPUs in computers sold today are measured in hertz (“Hz”), (typically gigahertz or “GHz”). The higher the hertz value, the faster the unit is.

CPUs are also designed with different amounts of cache memory integrated into them. The more cache memory built into a processor, the faster it will generally perform.

The third consideration for CPU’s is the number of cores and parallel “threads” a computer can support simultaneously. The simplest way to look at this feature is that the more threads a CPU support, the more tasks it can do simultaneously. In other words, more threads supported means the computer is better at multi-tasking. This allows the computer to split tasks up so that they can be processed in parallel instead of being held up in a single queue. The end result is higher overall performance.

RAM

The more RAM that’s installed in a computer, the higher its potential performance will be. For any given software program, the software manufacturer will recommend the amount of RAM you need on your machine for optimal performance. Computer gaming, for example, typically requires a higher amount of RAM memory than word processing programs (e.g., Microsoft Word). RAM capacity is measured in bytes (typically gigabytes, or “GB”). RAM speed, however, is measured in hertz (typically megahertz, or “MHz”). The higher the capacity and speed rating is, the higher the performance it will have. RAM is removeable and/or upgradeable in some systems, which can increase the useful lifetime of the machine.

GPU

The purpose of a GPU or graphics processing unit is to accelerate graphics rendering on your screen. They come in different forms–integrated with computer motherboards, built into CPUs, or integrated on dedicated graphics cards. Like CPU and RAM memory, they are not created equal. Dedicated graphics cards, for example, range from relatively inexpensive to hundreds of dollars in cost. Higher performance graphic cards are higher speed, and have more cores and thread handling capability for smoother and more responsive graphics display.

Disk Storage

Disk storage can be based on either HDD (magnetic hard disk drive) or SSD (solid state drive) technology.

HDDs use an actuator arm to access fragments of data on a stack of spinning magnetic metal platters. It is an older, and less expensive technology.

SSDs work faster and more smoothly because there are no moving parts. They consume less energy, are less vulnerable to damage caused by dropping your machine, and last longer. However, when they fail, they tend to do so in a more abrupt manner.

The amount of disk storage on the computer is another factor to consider. This refers to its data storage capacity. 256 GB is sufficient for most roles that do not need to store a lot of large files such as photos, videos or drawing files on the machine.  Supplementing this with cloud storage can provide more flexibility.

Employee Roles

The specific duties assigned to employees should determine the processing power (CPU, GPU and RAM) and disk storage of the computers given to them. Providing more hardware power than what is needed is a waste of resources.

A desktop or laptop computer with medium processing power will generally handle all the needs of an office administrator. Computers designed for hardware-intensive uses such as engineering computations or graphics processing, for example, would be more than what would be necessary for the tasks they would need to perform — file processing, typing, or processing payroll data. At the time this article was written, a computer with an Intel i5 or i7, or a Ryzen 5 or Ryzen 7 CPU with 8 to 16 GB of memory would usually suffice here, with no need for a high-performance GPU.

Engineers, draftsmen, and architects are the types of roles that would require a high level of computer processing power. Multi-core CPUs with high-speed ratings, for example, are needed by employees working in these roles. Additionally, because they will need to deal with engineering and architectural drawings, and maybe even 3D graphics, they will need high end graphics cards or other GPU implementations, along with a large amount of installed RAM memory.

Employees across the board may also require mobility, and laptop computers are perfect to accommodate this need. If they are carrying out office administrator type tasks, average processing power is fine. Some laptops, however, are designed for hardware-intensive purposes, and enable engineers and other more technical personnel to take their work on the road.

Compatibility

Brands

It’s generally easier to administer computers when there are two or fewer brands to deal with — it can also reduce confusion among employees and simplify the work of IT support services. For this reason, buying no more than two brands is recommended, e.g., Apple and Lenovo, Lenovo and HP, or Dell and HP.

Operating Systems

There is usually no problem with purchasing computers that use different operating systems, e.g, Microsoft Windows and Apple MacOS, as long as the brands are the same.

Other common issues are software and employee-related. When software is known to work well on a particular hardware platform, it makes organization and compatibility across the company easier when there are two or fewer brands to maintain. Moreover, there tends less confusion for employees when they only need to be familiar with a few models.

Another advantage to staying with two or fewer brands is being able to get better volume discounts. This is because the more machines you buy, the better the discount will tend to be.

Summary

There are many things to think about when selecting computers for your business. Working with IT services professionals like the experts at GSDSolutions can make the selection process easier and help you get the best value for your money. Picking the right computers for your particular business needs can help optimize the performance of your business operations, and reduce your IT maintenance burden in the long run.

GSDSolutions provides IT services in the Bay Area and the Central Valley. Our managed IT services provide a bundle of commonly needed technology services at a predictable cost. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you!

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