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How to Choose the Right PC: Consumer vs Business Models


The temptation when buying a new desktop or notebook computer system is to look for the system with the highest core specifications – processor speed, included RAM, included hard drive, etc. – that fits the available budget and go with that. However, it’s important to look beyond raw hardware specifications and take a look at total cost of ownership. Compare buying a computer system to buying a car – aside the upfront price, a savvy buyer is concerned also with items such as included and optional service plans; fuel economy; depreciation of value over time; and expected durability and lifespan of the vehicle. Paying less upfront can result in paying much more over time.


Business model PCs typically have a higher upfront cost of around 5-10% (depending on configuration) for similar core specifications when compared to consumer models. The total cost of ownership, however, is going to be much lower. A business model is typically more reliable; more secure; is built with business in mind; and provides an increased level of service and support when needed.

Reliability.

Business model PCs are built to be more reliable over time. Typically these systems are more thoroughly tested throughout the manufacturing process and are constructed of stronger materials. For example, business model PCs are typically built from strong materials such as carbon fiber or magnesium alloys, whereas a consumer model might be built around more fragile plastics.

Security.

Business model PCs include features designed to protect valuable business information and intellectual property from data theft. Typical features can include fingerprint readers, TPM security chips, the ability to disable unauthorized usage of external storage devices, and inclusion of data protection software.

Business features.

Business model PCs are built for business. Consumer models typically advertise features like TV tuners, enhanced graphics cards, and higher built-in speaker quality – but these features aren’t typically requirements for business, and can result in a system that’s heavier to carry and has less battery life than the comparable business model. Consumer models will also typically include a lot of pre-installed trial software compared to business PCs; this trial software takes up disk storage space, can slow a system down, and is time consuming to remove.

Support.

Warranties and service plans available for business PCs are generally more robust in the support that they offer. For example, a typical value-priced consumer notebook computer, like the HP G62, offers a limited 1 year warranty with no guaranteed response time beyond best effort. A business notebook in the same relative price band, like the HP 620, offers a limited 1 year warranty with next business day response time. Even starting to look at higher priced systems, it’s hard to find consumer models with warranties longer than 1 year; higher price band business models, by contrast, typically come with 3 year warranties (and there are some desktop systems, such as the HP rp5700, which carry warranties as long as 5 years!) Looking at service plans, to upgrade to 3 years of coverage including accidental damage protection with on-site servicing, the plan for our example HP G62 consumer notebook only promises response within 3 business days while the HP 620 business notebook service plan retains a next business day guaranteed response time.

When selecting a Business-class notebook or desktop PC, you can be certain that you’re getting a system built to be reliable, secure, and supported for business. It’s the smart choice for lower total cost of ownership, increased return on investment, and making sure that your business is less likely to be affected by costly downtime.

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