What should you use for your business, Mac or Windows? It doesn’t matter. Go with what you’re comfortable with, but use it for your whole business and use it for the long run. Pick one, go with it. They’re both solid operating systems, they’re both secure. Just pick one and go with it. Should you get a laptop or a desktop? Nowadays price isn’t a whole lot of a difference, but desktops are easier to repair. They’re usually upgraded easier, and there’s more upgrade options to them, but laptops provide a lot more mobility. If you’re ever planning on working at home, get a laptop. If you know you only want to work at work, and you don’t want to take it with you, get a desktop. Also, desktops are sometimes easier to work with, but you could do the same with a laptop, but you have to get a docking station, a little bit of extra cost.

Personally, in the businesses that I’ve been in, a lot of small businesses, I find that owners and people associated with them are overly dedicated to their business like myself. They take their work with them wherever they go. It’s like a mobile workforce. I find that laptops docking stations are generally the way to go, so what kind of specs should you look for in those computers? Let’s get specific here. It might be over your head but write this down, and when you go to shop for that computer you’re going to see it. Get the best processor you can afford, i7 is probably the leader. It’s going to be about the fastest processor you’re going to see in desktops and laptops, i7, I as in igloo. It’s the top of the line Intel processor. I’d stay away from AMD. Intel has the market corner. They have the best processors. AMD isn’t bad. They’re not bad processors, they’re good processors. They’re fine for a lot of people. We happen to love and recommend Intel.

If you can’t quite swing an i7 processor, get an i5, i5 is a good general processor. Most of the workstations we sell to our customers are i5s. They’re good general use processors. I avoid i3 processors, just something I would have my grandma use and actually is one she does use. She surfs the web, checks her email, that’s it. When you get into a little more advanced tasks where you have multiple windows open you’re going to really benefit from that i5. All our computers are i7s because we like fast. We don’t like sitting there and waiting. RAM, get at least 8 gigs of RAM. You can upgrade it later. Most computers easily upgrade to 16, 24 gigs of RAM. Most laptops have 2 slots. You want to fill them both, so it’s going to be paired RAM in the slots. If you have 16 gigs of RAM, you’re going to have 2 8 gig sticks of RAM in the slots.

Why do you want to have 2 matched pair? It’s 2 points of entry. That means the computer can talk to both 8 gig sticks at the same time instead of 1 16 gig stick. There’s only so many paths in and out of that RAM, and it can talk to both of them at the same time. Not as important, but just the small things, but processor is more important. Get the biggest processor you can get. Another little thing to look at is the kind of hard drive you’re getting. There’s traditional hard drives that operate like a record. They spin inside the hard drive or inside the hard drive case. Then there’s the newer ones called SSDs. That stands for solid state drive. It operates on the same technology that the little thumb drives or flash drives, the little ones that are the size of your thumb. That technology has been expanded and made into full-sized hard drives. They’re usually about that big, and they’re full hard drives now. They’re a little more expensive, but they’re about 10 to 20 times faster than a traditional hard drive.

Your higher end computers are going to come with those hard drives as the main drive. The hard drive is always the bottleneck in the computer. If you can get a computer with that kind of a hard drive in it, get it. Spend the extra dollars, and it will serve you in the long run. It will give you extra life and extra speed. What kind of video card do you need? Do you need a video card? Lots of computers you’re going to buy these days have onboard video. What does that mean? It means the video is integrated into the motherboard. It doesn’t have what’s called a dedicated video card.

Why would you need a dedicated video card? Are you working in Adobe products? Are you working with Photoshop, InDesign, all these products where you’re doing video rendering, picture rendering? If you’re doing that kind of stuff, get a dedicated video card. What that means is it’s a separate engine just for rendering that stuff. Otherwise, what it does is it shares the processor, uses some of the dedicated video or uses some of the onboard video graphic engine and then some of the processor engine. What you really want is you want to offload some of that work or all of that work onto the dedicated video card. It will make your computer a lot faster, so you can multitask, so you can hit render in Photoshop or whatever process you’re doing, and it’s not going to slow everything else down. While that’s rendering you can go about and do other stuff.

What kind of computer should you buy? Don’t buy refurb, please buy new. It’s going to benefit you longer. Try not to buy last year’s model. If you can buy this year’s model, it’s going to benefit you longer. You might save a few bucks, but you might also be costing yourself longevity. Remember that you’re going to be using this computer every day and for years to come and so are your employees. It’s worth it to spend the extra $100, $200 bucks to get the newer model, to get this year’s processor. They might name them the same. They might both be i7 processors, but in the generations they actually do get faster. If you get into the texts and the details, there are benchmarks, and they do get faster, they do get better. It’s like technology. Would you rather get last year’s Lasik eye surgery or would you rather get this year’s Lasik eye surgery? It’s the same thing. Spend a little extra dough and do this year’s model.