In today’s business office, the computer is the number 1 tool for around 90% of employees. The PC handles most, if not all work related tasks, down to every last details, including human interaction. Computers are the “bread and butter” of every business. That’s why it’s very important that every company’s IT infrastructure functions flawlessly. The hardware performance of every workstation needs to be both strong enough to support any software updates brought on by its developers as well as flexible enough to be able to handle any drastic changes demanded by the company’s management.
However, malfunctions (and male-functions) aside, computers do age, and their life span is limited. Before that time even, the time when computers go to that “big trash bin in the sky,” they become too obsolete to handle the stress imposed by the new generation of software applications and operating systems. The retirement age varies greatly depending on the initial configuration, but many companies, in an attempt to cut their costs, choose to push their computers well past the “honorable discharge” age.
And while they succeed in reducing expenses, what they don’t understand is that they also reduce their income by an even greater amount.
Old, sluggish computers can greatly affect the productivity of your employees. This is not caused by the extra time taken by the computer to process a certain command, but by the stress inflicted on the user. No one can argue just how much annoyance an ineffective tool can generate, regarding of profession. This annoyance acts as an additional stress generator, an additional stress that can become the determining factor in one’s ability to complete a task. The inability to focus on the task at hand is one of the direct results of stress and can easily result in failing to meet a deadline.
Companies are aware of the negative effects of stress at the work place and are always looking for ways to minimize them. Be it by offering their employees elaborate break rooms, or by using team building events to decrease social tension and discomfort between fellow colleagues, companies seek to use employee satisfaction to solidify both their business community as well as their financial stability.
Another simple way to reduce stress for your employees is to provide them with competent, efficient tools. In today’s business, that would mean powerful computers.
Most companies tend to delay for as long as possible purchasing new IT assets or upgrading them, especially if they are not a dedicated IT company, because they see it as a very costly investment that will not last very long.
The PC market is known to be a very aggressive one as far as technological evolution goes, and for a good reason. A new, more powerful generation of PC components is revealed by manufacturers several times in the same year, at times, and this rapid expansion is often too much for most individuals to keep up with. However, a stable, cheap and powerful computer platform can be made with a lot less money than you think and it can also be a long-lived one.
One simple tip to achieve such a platform is to avoid pre-made PC systems and to create your own custom configurations. This may require a little bit of know-how, but it should be no problem for your IT manager to provide you with such a configuration, if you give them a few base guidelines.
The basic rule to remember is compatibility, since most components work best when paired with “partners” from the same family. AMD processors tend to work better with ATI video cards (especially since AMD purchased ATI a few years ago), and in turn, Intel processors tend to get along better with Nvidia GPUs.
Another tip for ensuring that you system is both cheap and efficient is to look to the second-latest generation of components available on the market. However, if the latest generation has just hit the shelves, and is not older than 3-4, months, it would be better to postpone your IT infrastructure upgrade.
Manufacturers will not lower the price for their previous generation of cards as soon as they release a new one, in order to encourage buyers to take an interest in their new release, a decision which makes perfect sense as far as buyer-logic goes. The two products are almost just as expensive, but the new one is more powerful, so why wouldn’t you buy the new one?
But as the hype goes down and PC enthusiasts have had their full of the new gimmick, the price of older cards begins to go down. The consumer market will begin to regard them as “old” products, and they will be unwilling to pay their full price. In turn, manufactures and third-party suppliers don’t want to remain with products on stock, so they will have no choice but to lower the price.
This is the perfect time to make a purchase, since the price of the IT component has gone down, but its uses and value has remained the same.
Another tip for making a stable, versatile office PC configuration is to purchase a dedicated graphics card. This might seem like an unneeded luxury, more so even if that computer is not supposed to be used for any kind of image or video processing, but it’s not. An on board graphics card, Jack-of-all-trades as it may, means that it will suffer from not being able to do any task properly, just all at an average level. An onboard graphics card shares its resources with the central processor unit (CPU), which means that whatever technical resources your CPU may have, they will be cut in around half.
A dedicated graphics card will ensure that your CPU load stays at a minimum level and that the processor itself can dedicate all its power to handling the tasks and process that only it can do. Considering that we are trying to also keep costs in mind, we won’t be looking at any of the high end graphics card. A 1Gb of DDR3 memory should be more than enough and you can get it at around $40, even less if you’re making a large purchase for your company and negotiate a discount.