Buying Computers on an SMB Budget

Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Posted by John Beagle
SMB Computer BuyingIf you are a small business owner you know just how narrow the line you're walking is when it's a matter of getting the hardware and software value for your dollars. Depending on the business you're in, you have choices between Windows, Macintosh, or even a Linux variant for an operating system. All three have some very obvious benefits. Windows is the most popular Operating System in the world for very good reason, and almost every other software in the world is designed foremost to work with Windows. Macintosh is sleeker, simpler, and designed with the artist or personal user in mind ahead of business applications. For many years it was and in some ways still is the OS of choice for graphic designers. Linux is free! However, it shows in that millions of dollars haven't been poured into developing it like it's two big brothers have had.

Macs have been the go-to computers since the 80's when it came to a platform for graphic design and pre-press studios. Windows has had nearly 30 years to catch up in that department though, and in today's world, both of them are perfectly viable choices for any position in the field. Windows and Macintosh will even co-exist on the same network, meaning you don't have to stick with just one. Apple makes all the software and hardware for their systems, which proponents will tell you makes for a more stable platform. On the other hand, Windows will run on any old PC you put together from components from any manufacturer on the planet, which allows the Microsoft supporters to argue that Windows is the better bang for your buck because you can cherry-pick your components.

Debates have long raged in the SMB world over the wisdom of buying a laptop computer or buying a desktop computer for business use. The benefits of using a laptop are obvious: they're portable. You can move your laptop between home and work with ease, and their small size means that you don't have to dedicate a work space to their use. On the subway or the bus, in your bed at home, on your desk at the office, it all works. Portability aside though, laptops have some disadvantages when compared to desktop computers, cost being the foremost. Desktops are a better bang for your buck at every end of the scale. Faster processors are available for desktops, there's space for expansion so you can use more RAM and multiple hard drives, and they have more powerful graphic cards.

Everybody has different needs and different circumstances to guide their actions. If cost effectiveness is your primary concern you have little choice today but to go with a Windows system. Mac's proprietary software and hardware makes their systems more expensive. On that note though, their proprietary components make a great case for going with Macintosh if you want a system that will work without hiccups, even at some extra expense.

If you're undecided on which stance to take, there's always a computer rental or laptop rental until you figure out which works best for you. Both of the sites I've linked above carry a full line of both Windows and Macintosh-based computers and laptops and offer local delivery to get your computer to you quickly. Simply go to the sites, fill out an online order form, and you're in business.