FAQ small business Technology
HP refurbished PC

Business IT equipment – new, refurbished or upgrade?

During the recent lockdown, the availability of new laptops and even second-hand laptops had driven up prices as there was a high demand for staff to work from home.  As staff have returned to offices and IT distribution recovered as supplies from the manufacturers arrived, we have begun to see stocks return to normal in the IT distribution channels. 

Currently, with budgets being stretched for businesses, IT budgets for equipment may need to be extended while companies recover.  At IT 4 Offices, we like to give our clients a choice to help manage their budget.  We can offer several choices to help clients including:

  • New equipment which can be leased to help spread the costs over 1 or more years finance.
  • Supply Refurbished equipment, which has been bench tested and upgraded using new SSD’s and parts to meet our recommended specifications and come with a warranty.
  • Upgrade components, to improve performance and meet our recommended specifications.

Most of us want the fastest, reliable IT equipment so that we can get our work completed without having to wait for the computers to catch up.   For small businesses, balancing having the latest equipment and getting value for money is critical.    Most PCs from suppliers such as HP, Dell or Lenovo are massed produced and have been developed with reliability in mind. 

Intel CPU Generations Since 2009, Intel began defining its range of processors with the “i” prefix – Core i3, i5, i7 series were released and each new release of technology was generation.  Each Generation would provide new chipset features and instructions which improved the processes function and in turn could improve the user’s experience.

CPU GenerationDate ReleasedCodenameCoresFAB
Core i5 – 1stJan 2010Clarkdale232nm
Core i5 – 2ndJan 2011Sandy bridge2 or 432nm
Core i5 – 3rdJun 2012Ivy Bridge2 or 422nm
Core i5 – 4thJune 2013Haswell422nm
Core i5 – 5thJune 2015Broadwell4 or 622nm
Core i5 – 6thAug 2015Skylake414nm
Core i5 – 7thJan 2017Kaby Lake414nm
Core i5 – 8thOct 2017Coffee lake614nm
Core i5 – 9thOct 2018Coffee lake614nm
Core i5 – 10thApril 2020Comet lake814nm
Core i5 – 11thQ3 2020Tiger lake410nm

Intel keeps developing at the cutting edge of technology and continues to sell several generations of processors at the same time.  Currently Intel is still selling its 8th generation CPU.  This is to allow manufacturers sufficient time to develop and release products and recoup the development costs, as well as support their products for 5 or more years. 

When considering if a new PC is worth investing in, we would consider if that range is nearing the next product lifecycle.  We often see PC manufacturer skipping a CPU generation in products. 

CPU is not everything

Alongside the technology improvements CPUs, the amount of memory available and the speed of the memory in a PC also affects the performance.  Memory has had a few generations but not quite as many as CPU technology.

Disks where your data is stored have had some major improvements since the release of solid-state disks that are noticeable by the users.  Waiting 10 minutes for Windows to start up has been reduce to under a minute in most cases.    A solid-state disk has no moving parts compared to the older mechanical disks which had metal platters span at high speed and required a head to read, a bit like an old record player.  The SSD uses flash memory chips to retain the data. 

As SSD’s have become popular, the connectors on the motherboard have also improved, with PCI Express bus speed and bandwidth increasing with CPU technology, SSD’s connection such as the M.2 and NVMe allow data transfers beyond the SATA connections used by hard disk drives.

If you have an existing PC which is 3 years old (2017), you may be lucky and that may have a CPU which was an 8th generation.  If the PC was originally had a slightly older 6th generation processor, you may need a new SSD to replace a mechanical hard disk or a larger SSD to increase the capacity.  Adding more RAM will also help the operating system run more tasks at the same time without having to swap them to disk.

Other considerations

Technology improves at a high pace and electrical components do not last forever, power supply failures or motherboard faults due to a power spike may require a replacement.

If the applications you are running are graphics based, such as Auto-cad or Photoshop, then it may be worth considering a Graphics Processor (GPU).  This offloads some of the complex calculations used and add dedicated high-speed memory for the GPU.  These are often used in gaming PCs or crypto currency application.   These can also help if you are running multiple displays at high resolution.  Some Graphics cards can cost as much as some PCs.

Some PC such as Microsoft’s surface tablet and some Ultrabook laptops are not upgradable.  The hardware is designed with little or no access which allows upgrades, so it is worth ensuring before you buy that the device meets you needed now and in the next few years.

Consultation

If you feel your current PC is grinding to a halt or you have a new member of staff, speak to one of our IT consultants. We can evaluate the PC and establish where the bottleneck is. We will advise if the applications you are running are resource hungry or if you have some malware which is steeling your processing power. If you do need an upgrade our team who will advise on the best option to suit your needs. Call us on 0333 332 6600.