When outfitting your team with new desktops or workstations, you should be aware that today’s manufacturers are loading their systems with pricey, top-end technology. While this approach is great for a handful of niche users, the majority of corporate, and even private users, will never utilize these specialized features. By evaluating your user needs, you can thoughtfully build systems that contain exclusively useful elements. Customized, pared-down systems will not only help with your equipment budget, you’ll also end up with more functional, streamlined machines. Your team will have more efficient tools, and your IT staff will be saddled with fewer repair tickets. It’s a win-win for everyone.
The first step in determining where the lion’s share of your money will be best spent is the evaluation of the machine’s purpose and most-likely uses. If you don’t imagine your accounting team will be editing too many videos, you can easily eliminate that hundreds-of-dollars-plus graphics card that manufacturers pre-load onto nearly every new machine.
On the other hand, both graphic design and video editing require large amounts of memory and processing power, as well as high pixel depth or IPS monitors (key for detecting errors in images). This is an example of when to spend the maximum amount within your budget, as you will truly get your money’s worth. While a decent graphics card is a good idea, it is a huge misconception that your cost need be in the thousands. And that accounting team, though they may experience lag (most teams upgrade due to user latency complaints while running accounting software packages like Quickbooks and Sage), do a thorough investigation of the server/database side before you do an upgrade. Most users find the slowness usually originates in that space. CAD and “3D” design can be extremely resource intensive. Software like Solidworks and Maya will require high-end processors and large amounts of memory to function at peak performance, and in this instance, you will also need proper graphics processing. Interestingly, while these programs render images in 3D, the most common 3D graphics cards will be insufficient for this type of software. NVidia GTX series cards, while most common and popular, are designed for gaming, and their drivers are programmed for exclusively that. Money is better spent on the NVidia Quardo series, which handles these types of software more efficiently and are, unfortunately, much more expensive.
Lastly, one of the most important factors in a new desktop and purposefully not mentioned yet, is the hard disk drive system. Any computer system, desktop or otherwise, is only as fast as its slowest component. Historically, the HDD has been the slowest component of any system, and this remains true even with solid state drives. Despite this, NSDS wholeheartedly recommends an SSD drive as a must-have. The performance difference between and SSD drive as compared to a classic spindle-type HDD is so great that the added expense is an easy choice. Budget systems utilizing a solid state drive will typically outperform high-end systems with an older spindle hard disk drive system depending on the application.
Building systems that will maximize your budget and your team’s efficiency is a process that requires thoughtful consideration. Manufacturers work hard to earn your business, and their sales reps will add or subtract features as you request.
If these waters seem uncharted, NSDS sails them regularly, and would be happy to help you steer the ship. We can work with you and your vendors to build the systems you want with the options you need. Give us a call at 978-888-0201.