Ultimate Computer Buying Guide

Looking for a new computer? Follow this simple and easy guide

When selecting a computer for your small business your goal is to get adequate performance at the lowest possible price point. With so many options to choose from, making the right decision can be downright perplexing. At the Blue Maven IT, our goal is to make IT easier for you. We have developed this guide to provide you with information that makes selecting a computer for the typical business user simple and easy.


Specifications

When selecting a computer, the following four components are the essential attributes that should be listed in the specifications of the computer that you select:

  • Solid State Drive (SSD) – Performance will be cripplingly slow if it has a spinning hard drive (HDD).
  • Processor (CPU) – Intel Core i5 chips will provide you with solid performance for most use cases.
  • Memory (RAM) – Given the typical level of use, 8GB should be sufficient for most users.
  • Operating System (OS) – Most software is compatible with Windows. Pro indicates business grade.

You will notice that the price point for computers without some of these components may be lower. We recommend that you don’t cut corners on this minimum list of specifications. A productive business cannot be run efficiently on a slow performing computer. We will share some alternative recommendations for cost cutting later in this guide.

Supportability

As a small business owner, you will expend valuable resources dealing with hardware issues if you don’t consider the long-term supportability of the computer during your initial purchase. The manufacturer of the computer that you select should provide special software to maintain the hardware components automatically. This will help to prevent common issues with your computer. We also recommend purchasing a multi-year extended warranty directly from the manufacturer. An extended warranty may seem like an unnecessary cost, but it will save you both time and complexity in the event that a hardware component breaks. It will also provide better visibility to the total cost of ownership for your computer assets.

Where to Buy

We do not recommend purchasing business computers from big box stores. Computers sold at these types of stores are designed for personal use, not for business use. Purchase computers for your small business directly from the manufacturer’s website to access business grade computers and to avoid reseller markups. Examples of manufacturers of business grade computers who sell their products on their own websites include Dell, Lenovo, and HP. Business grade computers are designed to be repaired and upgraded easily. This helps you to get the maximum life out of your investment. Your goal is to get approximately 3-4 years of use for a laptop prior to replacing it.

Ways to Save

You may be tempted to purchase lower grade hardware components to save money. Instead, we encourage you to consider some alternative cost cutting options.

  • Consider a Desktop – Consider purchasing a desktop instead of a laptop if cost is a significant concern. Not every computer in your fleet needs to be mobile. Desktop computers are typically cheaper and last longer than laptops (~4-5 years)
  • Ignore Trends – Ignore popular trends (for example – touchscreens) unless you have a specific business need to include this feature. These added features come at a higher price point and increase the likelihood of future repairs.
  • Late Model – Purchasing a computer model from a previous generation is a great way to trim costs. Each January, manufacturers introduce new models. You can get great deals at year end as manufacturers attempt to unload their previous generation stock.

We hope that you have found this guide helpful and we wish you the best of luck in buying your next computer. Don’t forget to download our Ultimate Computer Buying Guide to use or share with a friend!

Still have questions? We’d love to help! Call us at (317)210-1199 or send us an email at itpro@bluemavenit.com.

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