Business/Commercial machines Versus Consumer/Retail machines

Attracted by heavily marketed features like large amounts of memory and hard drive storage it is easy to assume that the consumer or retail grade computers will perform quickly and efficiently. But those impressive sounding specs are already often spoken for in the way of hardware, software and services designed for the needs of home or very small office environment.

You can easily find Consumer or Retail machines like Vaio, Asus, Inspiron, Pavilion and Satellite models at most any retail store such as Best Buy or an Office supply store. Retail machines usually won’t come with any of the operating system software that you will need to join the new laptop or computer to your business domain. The ability to join a domain gives access to ease of network management that can help you to keep labor costs down. Network domain access also enables you to set up the new machine to interact properly with the other members of your network or gain access to important network resources such as login scripts or mapped drive updates.

Typically these types of products come with a few things you won’t need or use that will serve as another point of failure such as card readers, firewire or camcorder outlets, tv or tuner based video graphics that use a lot of resources ( processor and memory ) even when they are not used or needed.

These machines often come with an abundant amount of pre loaded software to uninstall or disable. Collectively, these are sometimes called “bloatware” for obvious reasons. Here are a few examples,

– Greeting Card software

– Photo book software

– Home Video creation software

– CD Case labeling software

– Toolbars, Firewall, Games, Quickweb and internet browser helper software.

– Trial software

Services that can run on a consumer grade computer can also have a big impact on setup time and labor as well as overall day to day performance degradation. Some versions of Windows that are typically found on Home computers have recording services known as Microsoft Digital Video Recording and other services that are unneeded and, worse yet, often leech valuable resources from the system.

But possibly worse of all, consumer/retail machine does not typically come with any media to reload the operating system on the computer. Often you will find the disk they come with is simply an image restore and not the operating system CD/DVDs. Without the actual operating system disk, it can be hard to clean up damaged files resulting from from viruses or disk corruption. With the operating system disk you can boot from a stable, safe source and perform a Microsoft repair or access other tools such as System File Checker, saving time and labor.

To quickly summarize:

Retail or consumer grade computer or laptop is designed with home or very small office in mind and can be a great fit for that environment. However, the added deployment time and labor to setup and maintain this class of hardware in a business environment is an added cost and disadvantage.

Business or Commercial grade computers and laptops are designed with office use in mind. They focus on the specs and features that are most commonly found in office environments.

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