When it comes to buying desktop computers for your business, it helps to be able to look over the shoulder of your colleagues and see what they went with, and why.
So, we’ve asked Scott Pankonin, IT chief for AllBusiness.com, “How come we’ve got all Dells here?”
Mainly, he says, it’s because Dell’s prices are pretty good, and it’s convenient to buy — he likes the Dell configurator better than those of other vendors.
We have all Dells, including three configurations of Dell laptop. Our desktops, Dell Dimensions, are all pretty much the same — variations are due to the components changing over the two years we’ve been buying systems.
The standard system we buy at the moment (early 2006) has a 3.0GHz Intel Pentium 4 processor, Windows XP Professional, 512MB of RAM — though RAM is becoming so cheap, he’s started specifying 1GB. The developers all get a gig, and anybody doing any kind of graphics gets a gig, as does anyone doing heavy project work — lots of spreadsheets open at once, for example.
He buys the middle-of-the-road hard drive — about 80 gigs — and 17-inch LCDs all around. As for processor, in keeping with Scott’s Rule of Thumb, he buys whatever’s in the middle of the configurator at the moment &mash; not the cheapest, not the (expensive) fastest. This month it’s 3.0GHz. For the programmers, it’s a 3.2GHz processor.
Scott says make sure when you’re buying through the configurator that you don’t get stuck with XP Home by mistake, and be sure to specify Microsoft Office because they like to leave it out to lower the starting price.
If you’re buying several desktop PCs, or a server or two, then do this: Use the configurator to set up your desired models, then call Dell sales (the 800 number is at the top of every page), tell them you called because you want a better discount.
You should be able to get them to knock off five or ten percent — and maybe even get free shipping.
It’s not worth the trouble for only one order, but if you’re buying three — well, then, take advantage, because it can add up.