So, its time to purchase another computer for the office? It is important to consider if that low cost big box special is really the best solution for your business needs. Let’s take a look at a few important factors to consider before purchasing a new computer.
Business Class Windows
The first difference to consider is that almost all big box computers will come with Windows Home installed on them. That might not sound like a big deal but keep in mind that you will not get some useful features that are included in Windows Professional. Features such as: data encryption, remote desktop software, and business network connectivity. While you can upgrade Windows Home edition to Professional, that upgrade will cost you about $100. For a business, I always recommend Windows Professional to ensure your computer will work the best in your environment.
Durability and Reliability
Consumer grade computers are generally built with cost savings measures at every turn. I have seen consumer laptops that used plastic show much, that they were snapped together and didn’t have any screws. Laptops that were so flimsy you could actually bend them even when they were closed. Business class computers are built with durability and reliability as the focus. Most business class computers can be expected to last several years, while consumer grade ones will typically last only two years.
Don’t let the price of that big box computer fool you. Let’s take a look at a real world cost comparison between two laptops. In the chart below you can see that the consumer laptop only wins in one category. The consumer laptop does have a larger hard drive for storage, however, it is a standard hard drive and most business use laptops will not need that much storage. The OurNerd laptop has a Solid State Drive which is at least 5x faster (typically faster) and less prone to a failure than the standard hard drive. Now, if you need to upgrade the cheap laptop to Windows Professional, you basically wipe out the savings.
Speed and Performance
But what is the big deal, isn’t any new computer just as fast as any other, you may ask? Well, here is a visual representation of startup time associated with above comparison chart. The time displayed is the actual startup time for both of the above laptops, brand new out of the box. What I mean by startup is the amount of time it took completely load Windows and to open up Google Chrome after pressing the start button. To get a feel for how much slower the “cheaper” computer really is, click on “Click to start…” below.
Click to start…
Big Box Special
Based on the above example, if you turn your computer off every night for 5 nights a week for 50 weeks of the year, the “cheap” computer would cost you over 10 hours of wasted time just waiting on your computer to start every morning.
Today computers aren’t just a convenience, they are a critical tool that every business relies on. Consumer computers work fine for home use. When your home computer crashes, or runs slowly, its an inconvenience. When your business computers run slowly or crash, you could lose hours, or days, of downtime and potential loss of business. These are all just some things to consider when you need to purchase a new computer for your business.