How to Pick a Computer That Fits Your Needs
Written by David Malmborg
If you’re a small business owner looking to upgrade your existing IT equipment or buy new computers for your expanding operations, it’s important to take the time to make the right decision. Purchasing too little computing capacity can hinder your employees’ ability to work, while too many just waste resources.
Here are a few key computer specs to keep in mind when deciding what kind of hardware you really need:
For most common business tasks—internet use, word processing, spreadsheets etc.—you likely don’t need a lot of processing power. Look for a processor with speeds of around 2 to 4 GHz and a dual-core (or quad-core). If your company is heavy into image or video editing, on the other hand, you will need to invest a little more to pick up a quad-core or beyond. Make sure the software you’re using can take advantage of multi-core processing
- Processor – The processor handles all computing tasks, no matter how simple or complex—your computer can only go as fast as your processor will allow. Choosing the right one is not a simple matter of finding the fastest operating frequency, however. You should consider whether the processor in question is single- or multi-core and whether the system comes with an appropriate cooling method to keep the temperatures safe.
- RAM – Random access memory (RAM) plays another huge part in computer speed. RAM is short-term memory that is used to load software and manipulate data. Having more RAM allows your computer to work faster by reducing the number of times that the computer must read from or write to the hard disk in order to complete a task. It’s a good idea to get as much RAM as you can afford, with 4 GB becoming the standard. Keep in mind that the more applications you run, generally the more RAM you’ll need—buy enough memory to keep up with the demands of your business growth.
- Storage – Storage is relatively inexpensive, so in general, it’s a good idea to get the largest hard drive that you can so you don’t have to worry about software installations or downloads later on. On the other hand, if your business uses a centralized storage network, you may consider only getting just enough space for essential applications in order to encourage use of the network.
- Graphics card or other components – Unless you’re buying a gaming laptop for your company’s break room or you need powerful visuals for computer-assisted design, you’re probably fine with the standard graphics card and other components.
- Desktop or laptop – Finally, you should decide whether you want to invest in a desktop or laptop. A laptop offers your employees more mobility, but you generally get more bang for your buck with a desktop.
More SMB Computer Buying Tips
- Buy in bulk where possible – You can save a lot of money when buying computers in bulk—it’s usually better to upgrade your entire office at once or invest in hardware for the future. You don’t have to buy hundreds of units at once to take advantage of bulk pricing, either—often buying as few as three to five at a time can reduce your costs significantly.
- Save money on refurbished – Buying refurbished hardware can reduce your costs by a lot—they’re just as good as new components, and they have the added benefit of being looked at by the manufacturer and checked for quality before shipping.
- Set up buying agreements – Many vendors are willing to enter into buying agreements with small businesses to offer volume discounts and similar promotions. Check to see whether this is an option for you.
Buying new computers for your office can be a challenge, but one that you can accomplish with the right preparation. Good luck.
About the Author: David Malmborg works with Dell, and enjoys writing about technology. In his spare time he enjoys reading, the outdoors, and spending time with his family. If you would like to learn more about Dell computers, click here.
Intelliwave SiteSense boosts APTIM material tracking
“We’ve been engaged with the APTIM team since early 2019 providing SiteSense, our mobile construction SaaS solution, for their maintenance and construction projects, allowing them to track materials and equipment, and manage inventory.
We have been working with the APTIM team to standardize material tracking processes and procedures, ultimately with the goal of reducing the amount of time spent looking for materials. Industry studies show that better management of materials can lead to a 16% increase in craft labour productivity.
Everyone knows construction is one of the oldest industries but it’s one of the least tech driven comparatively. About 95% of Engineering and Construction data captured goes unused, 13% of working hours are spent looking for data and around 30% of companies have applications that don’t integrate.
With APTIM, we’re looking at early risk detection, through predictive analysis and forecasting of material constraints, integrating with the ecosystem of software platforms and reporting on real-time data with a ‘field-first’ focus – through initiatives like the Digital Foreman. The APTIM team has seen great wins in the field, utilising bar-code technology, to check in thousands of material items quickly compared to manual methods.
There are three key areas when it comes to successful Materials Management in the software sector – culture, technology, and vendor engagement.
Given the state of world affairs, access to data needs to be off site via the cloud to support remote working conditions, providing a ‘single source of truth’ accessed by many parties; the tech sector is always growing, so companies need faster and more reliable access to this cloud data; digital supply chain initiatives engage vendors a lot earlier in the process to drive collaboration and to engage with their clients, which gives more assurance as there is more emphasis on automating data capture.
It’s been a challenging period with the pandemic, particularly for the supply chain. Look what happened in the Suez Canal – things can suddenly impact material costs and availability, and you really have to be more efficient to survive and succeed. Virtual system access can solve some issues and you need to look at data access in a wider net.
Solving problems comes down to better visibility, and proactively solving issues with vendors and enabling construction teams to execute their work. The biggest cause of delays is not being able to provide teams with what they need.
On average 2% of materials are lost or re-ordered, which only factors in the material cost, what is not captured is the duplicated effort of procurement, vendor and shipping costs, all of which have an environmental impact.
As things start to stabilise, APTIM continues to utilize SiteSense to boost efficiencies and solve productivity issues proactively. Integrating with 3D/4D modelling is just the precipice of what we can do. Access to data can help you firm up bids to win work, to make better cost estimates, and AI and ML are the next phase, providing an eco-system of tools.
A key focus for Intelliwave and APTIM is to increase the availability of data, whether it’s creating a data warehouse for visualisations or increasing integrations to provide additional value. We want to move to a more of an enterprise usage phase – up to now it’s been project based – so more people can access data in real time.