In today’s evolving technology landscape, new innovations that make it easier for employees to work anywhere, have left “legacy” solutions, such as the desktop computer, out in the cold. So is the desktop computer going the way of the dinosaurs? Not so fast.
Desktops have stood the test of time and are still relevant for businesses across all sizes and markets. However, this isn’t to say that desktop manufacturers don’t have their work cut out for them. According to Gartner, worldwide PC shipments in the first quarter of 2015 declined 5.2 percent from the first quarter of 2014, with desktop machines intended for business use being impacted the most.
The ease of working in the cloud and powerfully-equipped laptops are the main reasons why desktops are not as popular as they once were.
But if budget is a concern, as it is for most small business owners, desktop computers can actually give you more bang for your buck.
Desktops fulfill the following needs, common for most employees:
- A super-fast processor
- Tons of memory space
- Upgraded video cards
- A larger hard drive
Maintenance, upgrades and component replacements are all easier with a desktop. Furthermore, because desktops are mostly stationary and at less risk for damage, they don’t have to be replaced as often as laptops.
Ready to shop for a new desktop computer? Here are some decisions you’ll need to make:
Off-the-shelf vs. customized machine?
You may be able to get what you need at your local big brand computer retailer if you don’t need specific programs and features, but in reality few businesses fit within that description. Customizing your computer with the manufacturer lets you choose the exact processor, storage, graphics and support package you’ll need directly from the source.
How much power and memory?
For today’s multi-tasking business owners, PC Magazine recommends at least a dual-core processor, ideally AMD A4 or Intel Core i3 models. Quad-core is recommended for graphic artists and hard-core number crunchers who need more performance from their processor. More memory means you can open more programs and windows at the same time and perform more tasks without slowing your machine down. Look for at least 4GB of RAM, with Web designers and graphics- or video-oriented businesses needing 8GB to 16GB.
How much hard disk space?
For most small businesses, you’ll likely require less hard disk space for storage on your desktop than enterprise companies or even consumers. Since you should be storing most of your documents and files in the cloud, a hard drive with 300GB to 500GB of space should be adequate.
CDs, DVDs and graphics needs.
Depending on your industry, you may want a CD or DVD burner to give copies of projects to customers. Yes, you can upload and make these available to clients in the cloud, but they may also want a hard copy. Plus, you might need to read a CD or DVD on your desktop. Unless you’re doing high-powered graphics, the integrated graphics that come with desktops should be fine for general business tasks.
Is there room to grow?
One big advantage of the desktop computer is the ability to grow with your business. Make sure your computer has space for at least another internal hard drive, expansion slots and maybe space for another optical drive.
How to choose a monitor?
Monitors are relatively inexpensive, so make sure you don’t go too cheap or too small. You might be staring at the screen for nine to 12 hours a day! A 22-inch widescreen monitor is fine for basic office tasks, but if you like to have more than one window open at the same time, go for 24, 27 or 29 inches. The most common resolution is 1920-by-1080, which gives you Full High-Definition (FHD) at 1080p—great for video. If you need to see highly detailed images, look for an Ultra High-Definition (UHD) monitor. If you find yourself plugging in thumb drives and other USB peripherals all the time, get a monitor with a USB hub to make your life easier.
Most business desktops come with some sort of warranty. Consider upgrading the warranty for a longer period of time. You don’t want to risk your business’s reputation because of a technical issue. In fact, if you have more than six employees with desktops, it may be worth hiring a dedicated IT person to make sure that everything runs smoothly.