So you’ve decided that you need a workstation, now what? There are a lot of factors to consider when deciding upon the make and model of a workstation computer. Many are obvious, such as the processor speed, graphics card, et cetera. However, there are some other considerations that I feel elude the standard shopper. When looking for a computer of any kind, especially a workstation configuration, be sure to also consider the following.
Should you bye a brand named system, such as a Dell or HP? Maybe yes, maybe no… it would depend on your situation. For example, one of the major issues with the “brand named” systems is that their products are very proprietary. This means that if the fan or power supply flake out on you, you’d have to go through the manufacturer to get a replacement part. This is fine if your system is still under warranty, but no so much if that coverage has expired. With a more customized workstation, using generic parts, you can go down to Best Buy, and they’ll have a part that will work hanging on the wall. For a smaller business, this would likely be a better option, but for a larger firm this would obviously not be the case.
Another factor is the warranty. Larger companies can afford to purchase the extended warranty that is available for most brand named workstation systems, or maybe even a service plan (which are even more pricy). However, for a smaller business, such as a sole proprietorship, might be better of to piece a system together, as many components sold individually will already have a 3 year warranty. It is not difficult to figure out exactly what you need with a little research. This doesn’t mean actually “build” the systems, just simply picking out the items in your package separately, which are likely to all be different brands.
Also, the price difference, and featured software is a factor to consider. Some branded systems are certified by certain software vendors, such as Autodesk (the makers of AutoCAD). These specialized configurations would usually come with your software installed, functional, and integrated with any add-ons prior to you even removing it from the box. For a generic system you would have to manually install all of the software that you required. This could be a nightmare to an inexperienced user. However, an inexperienced user is likely to not be purchasing a workstation.
Again, there are always a ton of things to consider when purchasing any kind of new computer equipment, but I urge you to look beyond the walls of the well known brand’s box. There could even be a combination. You could get a preconfigured tower, and choose a generic brand, workstation quality monitor, and other peripherals that are just as good. The decision is always based on your means and there might be an easier and cheaper way to get that perfect system.