Many practices take advantage of the summer months to upgrade or add new technology to their office. How do you make sure that you don’t get burned chasing a “hot summer deal” for computers? Let’s look at some potential pitfalls of under- or over-purchasing new computer equipment.
You’ve probably seen the Sunday paper ad inserts for the very low price, but low quality, PCs offered by big box stores and manufactures. Is that $399 discount computer a viable option for your practice?
To begin, make sure you know the “why’s” behind a PC’s rock-bottom price. Is it an outdated system the vendor is trying to clear out to make room for more powerful units? Is it a consumer- or business-quality PC? Do the components, including the Windows operating system (OS), meet your computing power needs for digital dentistry? Can you get replacement parts and service?
Replacing a low-quality PC can be costly in terms of not only the hardware, but also the cost of unexpected downtime and productivity loss. It pays to be an educated buyer when it comes to computer technology and you should understand what you are buying in today’s crowded PC marketplace.
One way vendors lower their PC prices is to include the most basic version of Microsoft Windows, known as Windows Home Edition. We frequently see complications when a practice attempts to use the Windows Home Edition to run their business applications in a networked environment.
Home Edition is tailored for basic home use, not business, and often does not support business software. Windows Ultimate Edition, on the other hand, is overkill for most dental software. Stick with your software vendors’ recommendations for the right foundation. You’ll also avoid frustration when you call your software vendor for support. With Home Edition on your PC, you’ll run into support roadblocks because your vendors won’t guarantee their software will work with anything but their list of supported OSes. Stick to Windows 7 Professional for right mix of feature, power and the widest range of software compatibility.
|Did you know that in the last 12 months, Henry Schein installed more than 2,500 Henry Schein TechCentral computer networks in practices nationwide? Take advantage of the experience of Henry Schein when considering your next technology purchase.|
Processor speed and memory capacity are additional areas where retailers use razzle-dazzle to try and make products look more attractive. Don’t get caught up in the gigahertz speed comparisons of yesteryear. Today it is all about the number of cores in the processor. Intel is the current reigning king with its “i” series of processors. Computers with Intel’s Core 2 Duos can still be found in entry-level computers. However, if you plan on purchasing a machine with a three-year (or possibly longer) lifespan, invest in an i5 or i7 processor. These components have four processing cores and are much faster than their two-processor predecessors. Keep in mind that most software vendors only recommend Intel-based chipsets on their hardware requirements lists.
When it comes to system memory, known as RAM, 8 GB is the wise choice. Even though many applications can’t take advantage of more than 4 GB of RAM today, they will in the future. If you plan to use your computers for more than three years, investing now in RAM means you’ll be better prepared future software upgrades. Also, 64-bit versions of Windows utilize the extra memory for faster overall computing.
Take time to understand the number, locations and types of ports a computer has to make sure you have enough of them to plug in your keyboard, mice, printers and those other dental devices you just purchased.
The decision to purchase business-class equipment comes down to both the computing power and the quality of the PCs you trust to run your business. Just because two computers have similar technical specifications doesn’t mean you’re getting the entire story. The quality of the components manufacturers use in their consumer-level and business-grade computers differs greatly. Dell offers both consumer-class computers and business-class computers.
Typically, business-class equipment has higher mean times between failures and is more reliable. The Dell OptiPlex series, for example, is a line of PCs designed for reliable business use, not light home use. These PCs are designed and tested to last longer compared to low-end PCs. Dell maintains a minimum 18-month life cycle on their business-class lines. This means that if you decide to add more PC later on, or replace your computers in phases, you have a higher chance of getting the same model of computer. Standardizing on one model of computer, or very few models, generally reduces your overall support costs and minimizes your headaches during software patching and upgrades.
Henry Schein TechCentral knows that the summer is a great time to upgrade your computers and network. We can make it easy for you to get the technology you need to power your digital practice. Contact your Henry Schein sales specialist today to find out how TechCentral solutions can help you with all your technology and computer hardware needs. Visit www.henryscheintechcentral.com or call us at 877-483.0832.