When choosing new PCs or laptops for your business, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Depending on your business, you might need a high-end desktop or a lightweight 2-in-1 laptop that helps you show off in client presentations. In fact, you’ll most likely need a combination of machines customized to the needs and roles of specific employees.
When choosing the devices that will work best for you, here are three questions you should ask yourself and your team to make sure the computers you buy are the right fit.
What’s Your Budget?
Computers can cost anything from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars. Not only that, but at every price point, you can upgrade components, which can further increase the cost.
To keep from overspending, you should set a budget before you go shopping to ensure you don’t waste time considering high-end machines that cost more than you can afford. At the same time, use your budget as a minimum guideline for what you want to spend to avoid being sucked in by cheaper computers that might not provide the performance you need.
To develop a budget, work with your staff to understand how they use their machines and then price out computers with the performance specs and capabilities they require. Keep in mind that a cost-effective solution would be to buy a device with good specs and then upgrade components as needed to improve performance.1
Desktop or Laptop?
There are a variety of advantages to both desktops and laptops. A desktop with 8th Gen Intel® Core™ processors and Intel® Optane™ memory will provide more performance and responsiveness for your money compared to a similarly priced laptop. One study showed that computer users could experience web performance that was as much as 66% faster with an 8th Gen Intel® Core™ i5 processor with Intel® Optane™ memory vs. a five-year-old PC.2 However, a desktop is virtually fixed to a workstation, making it most appropriate for stationary workers.
Laptops, on the other hand, are meant to be moved. These smaller, lighter devices are great for working at a desk, at a coffee shop, on a plane, and anywhere in between. While some laptops might not have all the power or storage space of a desktop, laptops with 8th Gen Intel® Core™ processors can handle compute-heavy tasks, delivering up to two times overall system performance with an 8th Gen Intel® Core™ i5-8265U processor vs. a five-year-old PC.3 However, mobility costs money: Laptops are typically more expensive than desktops with comparable specs.
When comparing the prices of desktops and laptops, don’t forget to factor in the cost of a monitor, keyboard, wires, and a mouse for each desktop you plan to purchase. Since all of those items are built into the laptop, you may find that the price difference isn’t quite as significant as it first appears.
What Should You Upgrade?
While bigger is almost always better for any component, there are three components you should consider spending more money on to make sure you’re getting a really strong performance from your computer:
- Processor: A fast processor can mean the difference between a responsive computer and one that lags. For the latest computers running on the 8th Gen Intel® Core™ processors with Intel® Optane™ memory, everyday tasks are more responsive while allowing employees to simultaneously run multiple applications quickly.4
- RAM: Random access memory is used to temporarily store data while the computer works. The amount of RAM you need depends on the complexity of the programs you run; video editing requires lots of RAM, for instance, while basic web browsing and spreadsheets can generally be handled with an entry-level amount. RAM is easily upgradeable, so you can always add more as your needs change.
- Storage: A large hard drive (HDD) or solid-state drive (SDD) not only stores all your files, but is used to launch and operate your programs and operating system, so you want to make sure you have as much room as possible. An alternate solution is to add an external hard drive you can plug into the computer as needed.
Your computers are most likely some of your most important pieces of business equipment. Because technology evolves so quickly, it generally pays to invest in the machine that fits your budget now and then plan to upgrade it as necessary over the life of the computer so it can keep up with the ever-increasing demands of your business.
One thing to keep in mind with upgrades is that desktops are not only generally easier to upgrade but you can upgrade more components on them than you can with a laptop. Laptop upgrades are usually limited to memory and storage. A laptop upgrade is also more technically challenging, often requiring the assistance of a professional to take the case and keyboard off to install new parts.
Given these restrictions, if you decide to purchase laptops for your business, it usually makes more sense to spend a little more to buy machines with the performance capabilities that not only fit your current needs but your future needs as well.