5 Tips For Buying New Office Computers
Shopping for new technology can be quite intimidating, especially if you do not have an IT department, or background to assist you in the decision-making process. Oftentimes, businesses will purchase computers and components with specifications that are more than what is required, simply because they want to make sure they have enough room and power to do the things busy offices depend on.
This is referred to as “overkill” in the IT industry, and will result in the technology cost being much higher than anticipated, particularly for specifications that may never be utilized.
Most companies do have an IT department, or at least one person who knows about system requirements. If your office or company does not have a knowledgeable person, or IT professional, do not fear. We have compiled 5 tips to assist you in buying new office computers.
1. Decide On A budget
A good place to start is to figure out an approximate budget, or amount that your company is willing to spend. You may go a little over or under in the end, but there are many quality computers and parts available in many different price ranges. Remember that just because some computers cost a lot, it does not make them the better choice. If you are purchasing multiple units, you may also look into bulk pricing (also available for some software).
2. Pre-Assembled or Built From Components?
This section would be more reserved for those who do have an IT department or a background in computers. It can be cost-effective to purchase individual components and build the system yourself. One thing to keep in mind is that you may not get the support you need, should something break or stop working properly. You will need to know how to diagnose PC problems, and be able to remove the damaged parts to send back for service or replacement.
3. Desktop Vs. Laptop
Both desktop computers and laptops have a place in the world of business. The choice will depend on the type of work you or your employees need to do.
If you have employees who work remotely, or who leave the office for meetings and appointments regularly, a laptop may be an ideal choice. Since they are all-in-one units, you will not be able to customize them as much as you may like. They are also easier targets for theft, and should be watched closely, or kept away from public reach.
Desktops are more powerful in terms of processing capabilities and memory. They are also very customizable, offering you a choice between everything from monitors and keyboards, to higher memory and extra hard-drive room. If office space is an issue, there are tiny PC cases available, which would fit all the business-required computer specifications nicely.
4. Which Brand Should You Choose?
Some offices use PCs and some use Mac computers, as they are functionally specific to different tasks. Mac computers are made for artistic design and graphics, and PCs are more for regular office tasks. Many offices have a mixture of both to suit their needs.
If you have a certain PC brand in mind that you have used in the past, and swear by, then look for what you need from their company. If you are open to using any brand with the best prices and support offered at the time of purchase, these are the main PC providers:
- Dell – offers laptops, tablets, PCs, software, servers and storage, and accessories for the home and home office, as well as fully customizable systems, support services, and accessories for any type of business.
- HP – offers laptops, tablets, customizable PCs, servers and storage, support services, software, as well as their own line of printers for the home or home office, and any type of businesses.
- Lenovo – IBM sold the personal computer aspect of their business to Lenovo who offers laptops, tablets, PCs, accessories, servers and storage, support services, as well as software.
They each have their strong points and selling features, as well as good and bad reviews. Their services offered are all somewhat similar, so it may just be a choice of who is the most cost-effective, or who has the best customer service and support staff. Any of the above companies will work with you to figure out a package that works best for your situation.
5. What Specs Do You Need?
As much as PC “overkill” can be an issue, the same is true for not having enough processing capabilities. A good way of knowing what specifications you need is to look at the requirements of the software you want to use. However, there are some general basics such as:
- At least 2 GB of RAM – DDR3 is the most current, DDR2 will work as well
- 2GHZ Intel Processor
- At least 320 GB hard drive space – you can always add more later if you find yourself running out of room
- Windows operating system, at least XP or later versions
- Microsoft Office Suite or a suitable equivalent
- Graphics card
- Multiple USB ports
- Gigabit Ethernet – quick transmission speeds
- Warranty and support – especially important for companies without an IT department. Most units come with a 1-year warranty, but this is not enough if you require assistance after 1 year. Most office PCs should last at least 3 years, or more if you are using them for light tasks. Look for companies offering telephone, email, or chat support for any questions you may have, or problems with your unit.
Again, check the requirements of the software before you buy. The above specifications will be suitable for most office software, but you need to be sure, as software is generally not returnable, and it is a lot of work, as well as costly, to send computers back to be fit with different components. Adding more hard drive space is easy enough though; in many cases, there will be an extra slot right in your PC, or an external hard drive may be an ideal option as well.
Remember: It is important to take some time to figure out what you really need, and what your budget is, before you start looking around. If your company has its own IT team, you may look into foregoing the service and support aspect for savings, or even building your own units from purchased components, for additional savings.
Using the 5 tips above will give you and your company a head start when buying new office computers, and make the process easier, especially if it is your first time choosing.