Are you planning to buy computers for your business? Are you evaluating different computer brands? Are you confused about the different types of computers? Then you are in the right place; in this guide I am going to give you an insight about the different computer brands and different types of computers.
Different classes of computer brands
Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) is the rebranding of equipment and selling it. The reseller does not usually add any extra value to the equipment, but simply brands it with their own logo. In the realm of computers, an OEM manufacturer usually assembles a computer from different computer hardware parts, like a Motherboard, RAM modules, a hard disk drive and sells it under their own brand.
There are different classes of OEM though. As you can imagine OEM can be a local store which assembles computer parts and reselling them under their own logo, or a big corporation like Dell, HP and IBM, with extensive quality control processes, excessive testing procedures and huge contracts with complementary software vendors.
How to choose between different types of computers
Most computer brands provide different types of computers for different buyer needs. Home computers, business computers, servers and workstations are the most common.
Usually, home computers cost less than business computers. Someone may conclude, just by reading the product brochure, that the specifications of a home computer look similar to the specifications of a business computer, in terms of memory, processor, resolution, and so on. However, this is not the case and the reason is quite simple: a business computer is built to last; with higher quality components and rigorous testing processes. Business types of computers are stable, secure and manageable. Business types of computers are the best fit in a typical corporate computer environment.
Workstations are types of computers targeted to engineers, architects, researchers, developers, etc. More expensive than their business computer counterparts, offer better performance, greater scalability, higher availability, faster graphics and ISV certifications.
Servers are types of computers that provide essential services across a network. Servers are designed to run long periods of time without interruption. Server computer hardware is usually specialized and with low failure rates. Often, a server computer system is equipped with extra power supply units, extra memory modules, extra processors and extra hard disk drives to improve service availability.
How to choose between different computer brands
Good support is essential
For a business it is essential to have a consistent, good support for their desktops, their laptops and especially their server computers. Such service should be provided by the computer company, as a complementary service to the support offered by an IT service provider or an internal IT department.
To be specific, if a server fails on the hardware level, that server will go down until that computer hardware part is fixed or replaced. The internal IT department cannot do much in such a situation, unless they are equipped with spare computer hardware parts for each and every different computer model in the business.
In such a situation it is best to contact the computer company, to report the issue and raise a service request. According to your support contract, the provider may fix or even replace the failed computer hardware part in a predefined timeframe dictated by a service-level-agreement. Afterwards, your internal IT department or the IT service provider can take over and bring the system online, initiate a restore procedure or whatever is deemed necessary to bring the business back online.
Mediocre computer brands have no clear support options and usually offer in-store support or limited on-site support. Mediocre computer brands can sometimes pose a real hazard to your business, because they do not plan for long-term hardware support, making things complicated in the case of a computer hardware failure where no stocked computer hardware parts are available by the computer company.
On the other hand, respectable computer brands like Dell, HP and IBM, offer different support options, with clear response timeframes (usually next-business-day and 4-hour response time), sometimes around the clock (24×7) and with a well-defined duration (usually up to 5 years). Note that these services are frequently marketed as a warranty extension or even included in the standard warranty service.
Computer management options
Respectable computer brands design systems with stability, security and manageability in mind. It is best to be able to predict a computer hardware failure or to avoid a stability issue rather than just let it happen.
Most respectable and well-known computer brands offer a free version of their own management software, specifically designed for their systems, which allows you to monitor the computer hardware status of each and every component.
Usually, a paid license of the management software is available which unlocks more features, including the inventory management, the remediation and the monitoring of the entire infrastructure as a whole. Features that make things safer and faster.
A well-thought computer brand website can make things more stable for your business
Mediocre computer brands offer no driver downloads for their product lines. Since OEM vendors assemble computers from different computer hardware parts, they often refer you to the original manufacturer’s website for firmware and driver updates.
Such tactics can make things quite unstable for two reasons: Firstly, the original computer hardware manufacturer is not aware of the parts that were used to assemble your computer. Have you ever seen that “blue screen of death”? Has your computer ever restarted all by itself? This could be due to a motherboard driver that may be incompatible to a certain video card driver. Secondly, it is very difficult for your IT team to keep drivers and firmware updates in sync between computer models.
Respectable computer brands on the other hand, have a well-structured support website that offers model-specific driver and firmware updates. They sometimes offer an online warranty status checker by typing your computer’s asset tag in a web form. Their website usually has a knowledge base, a proper product documentation, forums, blogs, and so on.
Respectable computer brands assist your IT department and your IT service provider so as to provide you with the best support in each and every situation.
A few years ago, I was summoned by a medium business owner to resolve a “major issue regarding their architecture department” (their words). They had recently purchased 6 “powerful computers” (their words too) to use for their design work.
The problem was that these computers were crashing randomly, causing them to have to work twice as many hours, because they were forced to repeat the same process all over again as a result of unsaved data loss. The computer company kept referring them to the IT service provider and the IT service provider back to the computer company.
To make a long story short, after 2 weeks of excessive testing and 17 billable hours of work, we were able to find an effective driver combination.
Had they acquired these supposedly “powerful computers” from a respectable computer brand, would this have happened? Definitely not!
Had the company been informed about the risks, as presented above, would they have made the same choice purchasing these allegedly “powerful computers”? It is up to you to decide.
Lefteris is an experienced IT specialist / infrastructure architect with an extensive background in the small-to-medium project-based business.
Since 2002 Lefteris has been providing IT Services that improve the information and technology set-ups of small and medium businesses to an ideal level, therefore reducing your company’s operating costs and increasing your staff’s effectiveness.
Unlike other IT specialists and service providers who focus on plain-vanilla IT support, we focus on your company’s improvement by the use of technology.