Strike the right balance with an entry-level workstation
Not everyone needs a powerful workstation to handle day-to-day office tasks, but they still need to get their jobs done. How do you choose the right entry-level workstation to keep costs down without hampering productivity?
These days, just about every employee needs a computer on their desk, whether they’re writing reports, crunching numbers, or handling administrative tasks. Roles like these obviously don’t demand a powerful workstation designed for high-end design or multimedia editing, but saddling employees in other roles with a substandard computer can hurt the business and create IT management headaches.
Get the job done
Intel’s powerful Xeon processors might be overkill for an entry-level workstation, but don’t swing too far in the other direction by choosing a budget, Core i3 processor. They can struggle under the load of multitasking, and they lack enterprise-grade, remote-management features.
If you’re benchmarking, the Intel Core i5 processor with 4GB of RAM marks the sweet spot in terms of price and performance for an entry-level workstation. Integrated Intel HD Graphics should suffice for your day-to-day computing, so you don’t have to spend extra on a discrete graphics card.
The Core i5 is powerful enough to handle several tasks at once, so the workstation won’t grind to a halt when you’re writing a document, editing a spreadsheet, and browsing the web simultaneously. If key staff need a performance boost, there’s the option of upgrading to the more powerful Core i7 processor.
An advantage of entry-level workstations is that they’re more energy-efficient than powerhouse workstations, which makes them less expensive to run and lowers your total cost of ownership.
Stay in control
Combined with the right chipset, some Core i5 and i7 processors can take advantage of enterprise-grade features such as Intel vPro management.
The vPro suite includes Active Management Technology, which makes it easier to upgrade, repair, and protect workstations remotely, even when the workstation is powered down. It also incorporates advanced security features such as Intel Authenticate.
Some Core i5 and i7 models also support ECC (Error-Correcting Code) memory, which is designed to correct data corruption to improve stability and reduce downtime.
Make the most of your desk space
Small form-factor desktops and mini-towers let you make the most of space on your desk without compromising on the performance and reliability required in the workplace.
Don’t treat the monitor as an afterthought, even with an entry-level workstation, as it can have a significant effect on productivity. A 24-inch monitor is large enough to comfortably view two A4 pages side-by-side. As for screen technology, energy-efficient IPS LED monitors offer a crisp, vivid image with excellent color reproduction. Look for an adjustable monitor stand to help create an ergonomically sound workspace.
All-in-one PCs that build the computer into the back of the monitor might look slick and save space on desks, but keep in mind that you’re typically paying a premium for this design and they’re more difficult to repair and upgrade than a traditional desktop or tower design.