In the business world, personal computers have been a part of the office since the 1980s. Prices have dropped considerably, compared to having to spend $1000 for a 10 Megabyte hard disk (!) to where the same amount of money today can buy terabytes of data storage. But when it comes to the criteria for selecting the configuration of a PC, the basics have not changed considerably. Here are some of the less obvious changes that a business needs to consider before making a final decision on a personal computer purchase.
The obvious criteria such as the amount of disk space and DVD versus Blu-ray optical reader are impacted by an unseen factor – the quality of the hardware components. Manufacturers throughout the decades have made a lot of money by using second class wiring and hardware components while selling computers at competitive prices. If you ever wondered why one computer with the same basic configuration costs more than another, check out what type of hardware components are used in the manufacturing process. The chances are, even if the purchase is being made from a popular computer retailer, the difference will be in the quality of the components.
A computer processor is roughly about one-third of the total price of a personal computer. This makes sense, even though it does not seem fair, because the processor does all of the heavy work and makes the speed and graphics of the computer possible. While many people want the fastest and most powerful processor, in many cases this is a huge financial error. The type of processor to choose is based on the activities of a department. If a computer is being used in a general office environment, a “slower” processor will likely be sufficient for the daily, routine tasks for most employees. If the department is heavily invested in graphics or mathematical intensive tasks, the more powerful processor is a must for productivity.
When budgeting for a personal computer purchase, one knee jerk reaction by many managers is to buy the best – the best quality, the best available processor, etc. Though it seems counterintuitive, the best is not always needed and will add thousands of dollars to the departmental budget unnecessarily. Buying a model with a powerful processor and putting it in a department where only 50 percent of its total capacity is regularly used will cost the company about 25 percent more for the initial purchase.
What can be easily overlooked is that a large purchase of personal computers should meet the requirements of the normal business routine. In other words, if a special project or client requires a more powerful computer for less than 10 percent of the year, it is more financially sound to buy a single machine that will meet the needs of the special project.
There was a manager who has finally received authorization to buy his own personal computer. Even though it was a medium-sized budget, he said that it was a lot of fun, being able to customize his own PC without interference. You can be happy if this happens at your business, but keep in mind that you will have to multiply the single cost by 100 or more. When you work to evaluate each department’s needs and allow for a little extra for unforeseen possibilities, you will have found the right mix of quality and price to satisfy just about everyone in your company.