Top 10 Desktop Buying Tips

By John R. Delaney  |  Posted 2004-09-07 Print this article Print

Match your desktop configuration to your business needs. (PC Magazine)

1. Match your desktop configuration to your business needs. If you buy strictly according to price, you may end up with systems that cant handle the workload. Likewise, dont overspend on options youre not likely to use.

2. Leave room for expansion. You may not need lots of memory or recordable optical drives now, but you may need them down the road.

3. When it comes to storage, bigger is better. Youll spend a little more up front, but if you skimp now, youll pay later.

4. Dont be suckered by "free" software offers. In some cases, all youre getting are trial versions that expire in 60 days.

5. When pricing desktop systems, check whether the cost includes monitors. If not, you may have to add $100 or more to the bottom line of each system.

6. Buy your desktops from an established manufacturer. You may end up paying a bit more, but chances are the company will be there when you need help.

7. Consider investing in an extended on-site warranty plan. If your technical resources are stretched to the limit or nonexistent, such a warranty could mean the difference between a few hours of downtime and several weeks of lost productivity if any of your systems have to be shipped out for repair.

8. If money is tight, consider a vendor financing package. Most major vendors offer financing deals designed for small businesses with limited cash flow.

9. Evaluate your workspace before you buy. Desktops come in several form factors to fit even the tightest work areas.

10. Dont take on more than you can handle. Most desktop vendors provide consulting and IT support services specifically geared to small companies so you can concentrate on your business.

Check out eWEEK.coms Desktop & Notebook Center at for the latest news in desktop and notebook computing.
John R. Delaney

John Delaney is a freelancer writer and frequent contributor to PC Magazine. A 13-year veteran of PC Magazine's Labs (most recently as Director of Operations), John was responsible for the recruitment, training and management of the Labs technical staff, as well as evaluating and maintaining the integrity of the Labs testing machines and procedures.

Prior to joining Ziff Davis Publishing, John spent 6 years in retail operations for Federated Stores, Inc. before accepting a purchasing position with Morris Decision Systems, one of New York's first value-added resellers of the original IBM PC. For the next 5 years, he was responsible for buying and configuring IBM PC, XT and AT desktops for many of New York's financial institutions. He then worked for the now defunct ComputerLand chain of PC dealers before joining PC Magazine in 1987.

John maintains a mini-lab, complete with a wireless network and a small army of test machines, at his home on Long Island, where he lives with his wife Laura, a former Senior Project Leader with PC Magazine Labs.


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