The Best Small Business Computers

By Dawn Marcotte , last updated June 19, 2011

Choosing the best small business computer will require understanding how much power is needed in the core processor, how much data storage is needed, programs included and weight preferences. Business computers are not the same as personal computers. They are built to last longer and have better security included. Business computers will be more expensive than personal computers from a big box store, but the initial investment will pay off later with a computer that is able to run the many different programs required for a small business.

Core Processor and Data Access

Business computers can come with dual-core or quad-core processors. The processor determines the speed at which the computer works and the number of programs that can be used at the same time. Most non-graphic or technical businesses can use a dual-core processor. Those businesses that need to create or use integrated graphics or have programs doing a lot of complex number crunching may want to upgrade to a quad-core processor. Verify the computer has at least 2 GB of RAM or memory. This is one option where more is always better. The more memory available the more programs that can be open at the same time. Some businesses can get by with only 1GB, but as the business grows this amount may soon be too small.

Storage

Business computers are not generally used to store music, movies or photos. These items use a lot of memory where Word documents and Excel spreadsheets do not use as much space. 200GB of storage should be enough to begin with. Storage can also be increased by adding an external drive such as a jump drive. This not only makes data mobile, but can be used as a backup in case data is lost for some reason. A DVD burner is a good accessory to add as some information may need to be burned onto a DVD and mailed if the document is too large to email. The DVD burner should have a drawer that opens (as opposed to a slot that accepts discs), so that any unexpected jams can be easily cleared.

Graphics and Other Programs

Most business computers come with a basic graphics program already installed. This program should be sufficient for most businesses. It will allow the use of logos, clip art and other standard image features. If additional graphics are needed, more advanced programs can be added at the time of purchase. Other specialized programs that may require additional memory or storage should be discussed with the merchant to ensure the computer will be able to handle them.

The above-mentioned considerations are important with both laptop and desktop computers. There are additional considerations for a laptop computer that are addressed below.

Size and Battery Life

A laptop computer can be taken almost anywhere and will work well until the battery dies. When the computer will be used for long periods of time with no access to electricity, it is important to choose one that has a long battery life. Many business laptops can be purchased with additional battery cells that will extend the life of the computer without the need for electricity. Such an addition will add weight but is well worth it in the long term.

Weight

Laptops come in many different sizes and weights. This feature is no longer the concern it once was, as laptops have gotten smaller and lighter with improvements in technology. There are several features, in addition to the battery, that will influence the weight of the computer. An Increase in the size of the monitor and the addition of a DVD burner will add weight to the machine. Make choices according to the business needs and personal preferences for the machine. When a laptop is going to be carried on a daily basis it may be important to reduce the weight, but personal preference may require a larger screen for easier viewing.

Choosing a Business Computer

Once the basic requirements for the computer are chosen, it is time to make some comparisons. Utilize a site such as Consumer Reports, PC Magazine or PC World for informed reviews of computers that meet the specific requirements. Contact other business owners for personal recommendations if possible. Review how the computer will be serviced before making a final choice.

Business computers are more expensive than personal computers, but are often more powerful, better built and easier to service when something goes wrong.

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