What We Look for When Buying New Computers

What We Look for When Buying New Computers

When buying a new computer, you can choose from all sorts of models depending on your needs. Cheaper computers often seem like a good value, but their below-average components can lead to a frustrating experience.

We keep a variety of factors in mind when shopping for new computers for your company. Let's review some of the most important components for business machines and why they matter.

A Solid State Drive

One of the most important computer upgrades you can make is a solid state drive (SSD). We've covered this in a post all about solid state drives, so we'll summarize here.

Older (and cheaper) computers typically have a hard disk drive (HDD) inside, which have physical moving parts. These drives are far slower compared to SSDs, so every task takes longer. From booting up and shutting down to transferring files, you'll notice a speed difference.

During your workday, you don't want to get slowed down by a slow HDD. Thus, we look for computers with SSDs so you can work faster.

Plenty of RAM

The amount of random access memory (RAM) determines how many programs you can run simultaneously on your computer. A lack of RAM means that your computer will suffer performance hits when you have lots of browser tabs or other heavy programs like Photoshop running.

To combat this, we look for computers with at least 8GB of RAM. While some consumer laptops still ship with just 4GB of RAM, 8GB is a good baseline for business use. Depending on your need, we may increase this to 16GB or more. Users who run resource-intensive software, like engineers, usually need this increased memory.

Long Warranty

Unfortunately, nearly every computer runs into problems sooner or later. Physical breakdowns can be costly and inconvenient to repair, which is why we look for computers with a long (preferably three years) warranty.

Under the business warranties we buy, failures of the system board, fans, network, etc are replaced next business day. The manufacturer comes to you with all the parts necessary. This saves considerable time and frustration vs to send the computer back for repair.

Without this warranty, a machine could run into serious issues a year or two into its life and turn into an additional cost in both time and money for your company.

The Latest Intel Processor

The processor (CPU) is like the "brain" of your PC, as it handles all the instructions your machine needs to compute. A fast processor accordingly means that you can complete intensive tasks more easily.

Intel is one of the most trusted names in CPUs, so we tend to buy computers with those processors. With the company's newer processors packing as many as eight cores into one CPU, it's important that we don't limit your machine's power by selecting an underpowered CPU.

Durability and Size

Many employees carry their laptops around the workplace with them, and traveling between sites or even on business trips with your computer is common too. Thus we strive to select machines that are durable.

Of course, few computers can survive catastrophic damage like a drop from a high place. But we try to avoid fragile machines that can't take a few bumps.

Additionally, size is important when selecting a PC. Someone who doesn't leave their desk often likely prefers a large screen so they can work more efficiently. On the contrary, someone who's always moving around probably needs a smaller, more portable laptop.

Current Professional Version of Windows

Lastly, we look for computers that are running the latest version of Windows Professional. The computers must have Professional and not the Home version of Windows because only Professional machines can join a domain.

Since Windows 7 will be out of support in early 2020 and Windows 8.1 isn't a good choice for new deployments, we purchase new computers that have Windows 10 Pro installed.

Computer Models We Recommend

Since we've discussed general components, let's finish by looking at a few specific computer models that we generally recommend to our clients.

For docking laptops at desks, we recommend Dell WD15 Type C docking stations.

The Standard: Dell Latitude 5490 or 5590

For a typical user, this is the laptop we prefer. The Latitude 5490 has a 14" display, while the 5590 is a bit larger at 15".

We purchase this model with the following specs:

  • Intel i5-8250U processor
  • 8GB DDR4 RAM
  • 256GB SATA SSD
  • 14" (or 15") 1080p display
  • Windows 10 Professional
  • 3 years of Dell ProSupport

Power Users: Dell Latitude 7490

For users who need a more powerful machine, we recommend this upgrade.

We purchase it with these specs:

  • Intel i7-8650U Processor
  • 16GB DDR4 RAM
  • 512GB SATA SSD
  • 14.1" 1080p display
  • Windows 10 Professional
  • 3 years of Dell ProSupport

Engineers: Dell Mobile Precision 5520

Engineers use more resource-intensive software than other users, so they need an even more powerful machine.

This workhorse features the following:

  • Intel i7-7820HQ Processor
  • 16GB DDR4 RAM (or more depending on need)
  • NVIDIA Quadro M1200 4GB GDDR5 Graphics Card
  • 512GB PCIe SSD (which is faster than the SATA SSDs above)
  • 15.6" 4K touch screen display
  • Windows 10 Professional
  • 3 years of Dell ProSupport

Desktops: Dell OptiPlex 3050

If a user doesn't need a laptop, we recommend this desktop:

  • Intel i5 processor
  • 8GB RAM
  • 256GB SSD
  • Windows 10 Professional
  • 3 years of Dell ProSupport

Computer Specs Matter

Now you have a better idea of what we prioritize when purchasing new computers. There's a baseline for general use, but power users require even better machines. By purchasing the right computers for each use case, we help your IT assets better serve your company.

Buying a computer that's underpowered leads to a frustrating experience when using it, while buying an overpowered computer is a waste of money. We aim for a medium between these two to provide you the best value.

For a more detailed look at these parts, see our explanation of standard computer components.


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