Purchasing new hardware can be a tricky task if you don't know what you're looking at and consequently, the product which is purchased may not be fit for purpose. Unfortunately, consumers and businesses receiving hardware which will not fulfill their needs is a common subject among the IT world so, how can you avoid this?
The important thing to remember to think about is what the user will be using the product for. So, for example, are they in your marketing department and completing graphics design or are they an accountant that has excel spreadsheets and accounting software open at all times? We will go through a few of the common use cases below and what hardware you could expect the different use cases to require.
So by admin staff I mean the staff that pick up the phones, work with word documents, spreadsheets and send emails all day. This use case does not require a high end laptop or PC so this is the only place (if any place at all) where you should be looking to have a tight budget. Admin staff usually perform adequately on the below specifications:
CPU: Intel® Core™ i5-10210U Processor
Storage: 256GB SSD
GPU: Not required
Some staff may be able to utilise a laptop efficiently with only 4GB of RAM and many laptops can have their RAM upgraded if necessary. This allows you to initially purchase laptops with only 4GB of RAM and upgrade any users which require it.
Marketing staff/Graphics designer
Due to the heavy graphics processes which marketing departments often utilise, they tend to require high end PC's and laptops. The hardware they often work on includes a GPU which most other use cases do not require and this increases the cost of the hardware significantly. Not only do they require a GPU but they also require the other components to be upgraded too, some recommended specifications are shown below:
CPU: Intel® Core™ i7-11700K Processor (16M Cache, up to 5.00 GHz)
Storage: 512GB SSD, 1TB HDD
GPU: NVIDIA GEFORCE RTX 3060 Ti
So for the GPU and CPU alone you are already at £700 at the time of this post, you can see how costs easily add up for the higher performance PC's. You may also notice additional storage has been added, this is for storing the video's and graphics which usually take up a lot of storage space while temporarily stored locally on a machine. It is common for these PC's to be custom built instead of being bought as a pre-built product as you can be more granular with your requirements and spending on a custom built PC.
Many businesses have staff which move around such as sales teams which usually just require the same technical specification of laptops as admin staff. In order to provide for the staff that move around, you have to start considering battery life, screen size, weight etc.
To put it another way, how often will your sales staff be away from a charge point, how difficult will it be for them to move around with certain sizes of laptops and is it going to be a suitable weight to carry around all day? These questions are often missed when purchasing hardware and it's too common that travelling staff complain about it being difficult to fit their laptops in their bags and their batteries dying too quickly. Most laptops released in recent years are fairly light so weight should usually be okay but it is always good to give it a check.
Although it may seem expensive to provide higher end hardware to your marketing staff, it is cheaper than purchasing the same hardware for all staff where it is too powerful for some users and not powerful enough for others. Micro managing the hardware which each member of staff has is cost effective and will increase your staffs efficiency so it's worth while doing so. There are many other use cases which this post does not cover but the purpose of this post is to make you aware of the common use cases and the things you should consider in order to make the correct decision.
If you are looking for some new laptops or desktops, give us a shout at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can guide you in the right direction.