Often, clients rely on us to recommend and purchase computers on their behalf, Despite that, one of the most common questions we get is, “what kind of computer should I buy?” Here are a few tips:

PC Vs. Mac

You’ll find a lot of strong opinions but in general, Macs are a must for creatives and PCs are must for more technically oriented businesses—manufacturing companies, for example. PCs are also easier to manage in a network environment. If your business has a lot of employees, multiple locations, and relies on a central server, PCs are easier to manage in this type of environment.

Outside of these situations, the best choice is the computer that you can be most productive with in the shortest amount of time. Keep in mind that Macs are significantly more expensive but they last longer, have a higher resale value, and most young college grads will come to you looking for a Mac.

Tablet Vs. Computer

Companies like Apple have done amazing things with tablets but they still only work for the most basic of computing tasks. You won’t have a hard time finding stories of high-level people using tablets exclusively but are those people doing complicated computing tasks?

People who rely on a computer for their day to day tasks still must have a traditional computer. Plus, any tablet worth having for everyday use is just as expensive, or more expensive, than a laptop.

Laptop Vs. Desktop

Most people have moved to laptops because the separation between work and home has become far more blurred. Laptops are fine for basic to intermediate computing needs but desktops are still best for advanced applications. They offer more ports, more versatility, and in the case of Macs, they’re more powerful.

How Often Should You Replace Your Computer?

We recommend to clients budgeting for a 5-year life on all computers. This means that 20% of your computers will be replaced each year. Even if a computer appears to be running fine, budget for the replacement and keep that money set aside. Old computers run slow, crash more often, and generally cause employees to be less productive. Less productivity costs you money.

Old computers malfunction more often so you’ll pay your IT company more to maintain old equipment.

Apple has a trade-in program that allows you to get a small amount of your investment back. PCs don’t have this program but you might be able to sell your used equipment.

Minimum Specs

When you purchase a computer, don’t think about what you need now. Think about what you’ll require of it in 4 or 5 years. For that reason, don’t purchase a computer for your business with anything less than these specs:

  • Processor: No Less than 2.2Mhz
  • Ram: No less than 8 Gb
  • Hard Drive: Look for a solid state drive of no less than 256Gb
  • Graphics: The graphics card that comes with the computer is fine unless you have specialized needs
  • Operating System: The most recent version of Windows or OSX

Final Advice

Use your IT company to help you create a capital replacement cycle for all equipment. If you get behind on your replacement cycle, your IT spend will get very expensive later. Second, stay with one type of computer. This cuts down on training costs for your employees and allows you to re-assign computers without employees having to learn a different operating system.

Finally, don’t let anybody talk you into a non-mainstream computer like a machine built on Linux. You job as a leader is to give your employees what they need to be productive. Give them what they already know instead of trying to re-invent a corporate IT environment.

NOTE: Because computers change so fast, we’re not going to make any specific make and model recommendations here but you can e-mail us and we’re happy to give you information on our favorite computers right now.