Most businesses rely on IT hardware in some form or another for the smooth operation of their organisation. But with increased dependability on IT systems comes increased risk.
Whether it’s office productivity, retail sales, service provision or hospitality, if your computer systems go down then the impact can be costly. In a recent study of 400 IT professionals, 23% of those that were able to quantify the business cost of IT outages, calculated figures ranging from £10,000 per hour to more than £1 million per hour.
While some of these outages are due to factors outside of your control, such as power cuts or internet blackouts, others are simply a result of faulty PCs and laptops. Clearly, the reliability of your business IT hardware should be of paramount importance, no matter whether you employ five people or fifty thousand.
But with such a staggering choice of PCs, laptops and mini PCs on the market, making an informed hardware choice can be difficult. So, how you do separate the wheat from the chaff?
Pre-built versus DIY or clone PCs
Thankfully, there are a number of factors that mark out a good business-class PC, ranging from the scale and sophistication of hardware testing to the level of after-sales support.
Ironically, one of the traditional strengths of the PC – namely its modular nature, whereby different components and brands can be easily mixed together – is actually a weakness when it comes to business reliability. While the components you select may be compatible, even sometimes cheaper, you also need to consider long-term availability.
For example, the memory you purchased two years ago will likely no longer be available today, and even if it is, the DRAM ICs used will be different and potentially incompatible with your existing modules. Also consider that warranties and driver or BIOS support will vary from brand to brand, and if you need to replace a product that has gone EOL (End of Life), then you need to factor the time and cost of qualifying something new. So, while short-term cost savings may seem like a good idea at the time, invariably they lead to higher long-term IT expenditure.
Key differentiators of business mini PCs
A business mini PC that is part of a corporate program, such as ASUS CSM, includes a guaranteed product lifecycle and provides notice of material changes and EOL dates. Opting for this approach assures you of a stable supply for a number of years and allows you to make informed choices about when to upgrade.
In the unlikely event of a hardware fault, a business-class mini PC, such as the ASUS PB60-series, should offer a 3-year next business day on-site warranty. Simply restore data from your backup provider and you can continue working with minimal downtime, which removes the need for time-consuming hardware diagnostics and fault finding.
Tested for 24/7 reliability
Another key differentiator of business-class PCs, compared to DIY or clone PCs, is reliability testing. Individually, most PC components from well-known brands are reliable. But it is the reliability of the whole PC that matters in a business environment, where systems can often be required to operate 24/7 and under demanding conditions.
It’s why ASUS PB-series business mini PCs undergo a rigorous suite of tests, including vibration and drop testing, port tests (continuous ‘plugging’ and ‘unplugging’) and noise testing. Crucially, this includes operation testing in a range of environments, including at an ambient temperature of up to 60°C and a relative humidity of 80% – perfect if you need to work on your proposal in the sauna.
While such tests might seem excessive (the tests that ASUS conducts actually exceed industry requirements), they ensure that the system can withstand the demands of any office or commercial environment, including continuous 24/7 operation. Can you say the same of your current IT hardware?
The capital cost of IT hardware is a challenge for any business. But it’s important to consider the long-term ROI, weighing up the cost of potential downtime, support technician time, and potentially more frequent hardware replacement cycles, against any up-front costs. When all these elements are considered, the case for purchasing a business-class mini PC is clear.