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Corporate PC

Description: A PC for the typical PC user in a medium-sized or large business. This would be for "average" applications; I am not talking about the engineer who's running a fancy design package and so on. These systems are typically purchased and maintained not by the person who uses them but rather by a central IT department. This can create a clash between the needs and wants of the user and the needs and wants of the person buying the machine. :^)

Typical Applications Used: Frequently, the most important application will be the company's main business system, which is used to operate the business. This could include various functions ranging from accounting, sales, purchasing, inventory and so on, depending on the company. The needs of this software will dictate the requirements for the PC more than any other--but usually, its needs are modest because most of the processing occurs on a server, not the local PC of each user. Other office applications are also common, and so are communications and networking applications.

More Important Requirements Factors: Reliability, availability, ergonomics, usability, cost.

Less Important Requirements Factors: Performance, upgradeability, expandability, service.

Performance Priorities: Unless the business system is particularly demanding, performance is a low priority for these machines. Most corporate PCs are overbought. Top of the line CPUs and video cards are usually a waste of money here. It's more important to pay attention to issues such as ergonomics; spend the money on better monitors, not faster processors.

Recommended PC Types: New build-to-order or configure-to-order PC. For ease of maintenance, and to lower cost, it is best to buy multiple machines of the same or similar configuration at one time.

Recommended Sources: The best solution is for the IT department to establish a long-term relationship with a reputable vendor. This will enable cost savings, customizability in purchasing new systems, the ability to get systems in the future that use the same or similar components as existing machines (to make maintenance easier) and better service. A distant second choice is purchasing from one of the better mail order companies. "Home building" for corporate PCs is usually not cost effective; if the IT people are capable of doing it, they are probably too busy (and expensive) to justify the time it will take them. :^)

Budget: It should be possible to get these sorts of machines for about $1000, since peripherals will be minimal--even printers are usually shared in a corporate setting. If going with larger monitors or other ergonomic niceties, cost will increase towards the $1500-$2000 range.

Next: Multimedia Manipulation Machine

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