”What is the difference between the good and the better Liberteks computer”?

I was recently asked this question : ”What is the difference between the good and the better Liberteks computer”?

Typically I would answer that question by explaining the Liberteks' "Good, Better, Best Methodology" and then invite the discussion of whether "Good" was good enough for the business' needs, or was this a case of where they wanted to run the office better. For most small businesses "Better" computers mean longer service life, quicker performance especially when running multiple applications, and more work produced by the employees. "Better" runs your office better, so you get the maximum production from your labor expense, and return on investment from your capital expense on technology.

What our experience has found (assembling approximately 10,000 computer and installing and optimizing approximately 25,000 computers in the Capital District since 1985), is that although technology continually marches forward (with faster computers, more memory, more hard drive), it does so in discrete steps. It’s more like a staircase, than a flowing river. These steps occur due to the research, development, production, and distribution needs of the major technology vendors (e.g. Intel, AMD, Microsoft, Seagate, Foxconn).

By the time the computer, notebook, or server lands in your office, the final configuration and quality is based on many non-technology issues including the vacation policy of Chinese firms, random production plant fires, and the ability of technology vendors to motivate their supply chain to participate in their vision. It is these frictions that take the smooth flow of increased technology and create dams that make your technology choices seem more like steps, than floating down the lazy river.

To give you an example, I have created the following table that breaks down the steps between "Good" and "Better" computers a bit more. Let’s dig a little deeper using round numbers, and learn the difference between Good and Better computers.

Class of
Description Use Cost
Better Mainstream Better desktops sell for $799-$1299 in 2010 based on brand , memory, processor, and warranty When you want a Better experience, where the computer and your staff is better able to get their work done on the technology tools you have invested in. Also these have the maximum time of service so you have lower costs $950
Good Mainstream Good desktops sell for $399-$699 in  2010 based on brand , memory, processor, and warranty When Good is good enough, as long as you exceed the software vendors minimum requirements. This computer will suffice $650

So what do we get when we move from $750 or $ 850 to $950 in our current example?

  Upgrade from Upgrade to  
      Mainstream Better desktops sell for $799-$1299 in 2010 based on brand , memory, processor, and warranty
  $850 $950 Dedicated graphics designed for Windows 7. By taking the graphics off the processor and main board we make the system more reliably and boost the Windows 7 experience rating. We also reduce the odds of a having a not usable motherboard which would create down time.
      “Sweet spot” processor- Between the monthly Windows updates , Adobe .pdf, FLASH, Internet Explorer, security applications including dedicated business applications every month 3% more system requirements are needed to service information workers. Getting the ”sweet spot” processor insures the investment in the computer will last the maximum number of years for the known and un-foreseen duties it is required to perform. There are always un-foreseen requirements as these computers last far longer than the software versions that run on them.  This is done without paying more than what leverages the computers weakest link associated with reliable performance.In the beginning users see this as fast performance. Later they see it as a computer that does not have to be replaced, and keeps up with the monthly updates.
  $750 $850 A Better newer generation processor than the Good so it runs faster and generates a higher Windows 7 experience rating

A "Better" new generation motherboard that leverages the newer generation processor. These components are designed to complement each other, and they do so only when mated. National brands often promote newer generation processors, on last generation motherboards. This keeps their costs down, and you won’t open the case to catch them. All you know is you have to replace the computer to make it run faster, and you don’t get most of the benefits of your newer generation processor

A server quality hard drive that is much more reliable than a standard workstation hard drive. The odds of this step save you money and a data recovery nightmare over the life of the computer is very good.

Workgroup server grade power supply instead of workstation power supply. The top cause of computer failures are all power related. This is why national brands always under specify their power supplies. Rather than giving you a power supply that is more reliable than national brands (we do that in the Good), you get a power supply that is more of the type national brands would put in their servers. We call this Workgroup server grade.

More memory so Windows 7 performs better and your screens do not lag as time goes by

* * * * *

Now, let's consider the Good,  priced at $650 - $750, but an updated version. A Good newer generation processor that leapfrogs old processors in speed. It also uses less electricity, which save money compared to less green options.

A faster graphics that leverage Windows 7 drivers so what appears on the screen looks better, rather than relying on older video drivers that were designed for Windows Vista or earlier.

A faster style of memory which speeds up screen refresh and makes the computer more responsive to your keyboard and mouse, rather than older style memory that is slower and more expensive to upgrade.

So as we see, the steps from Good to Better can be broken down further than just Good is good enough to run the programs and Better is designed to run your office Better. When we break down these steps we see how:

1. By getting the current generation of processor, memory, and mother board we minimize weak links in the computer’s design. This leads to the lowest total cost of ownership, over the long term. Changing computers are very expensive for management and staff as they require expensive decision time and downtime. In most businesses we want to put in equipment, and rarely have to change it. Minimize the heavy touch to install it, and manage the light touches to maintain it well.

2. By getting the sweet spot of processors, we keep costs down by not paying for performance we do not need, nor will be realized with the Better computer set of components.

3. By having Workgroup Server grade power supply and server grade hard drive we have purchased reliability from vendors that focus on providing a reliable computer experience (Seagate, Foxcomm). These brands are not promoted by national brands, as they want to save money with disposable hard drives and power supplies.

4. By minimizing the odds of having to replace the motherboard, we eliminate the most costly repair possible. That is the repair that requires a change in computer, motherboard, or a system reload

It is in these four ways we find small businesses are best served with the Better grade of computer. There is an important fifth way, but I’ve left it for the end as it involved software.

5. Most brands often give their computers non-business operating systems, even in their business computers. They also provide the 64 bit versions, when 32 bit is more reliable (or vice versa). It is the rare buyer that can accurately map out if 32 bit or 64 bit is best for them now and over the next seven years. Much of the poor experience that were reported with Vista happened based on this point. It was not Vista itself, but the wrong Vista on the wrong computer. At Liberteks we give you the correct business operating system in the version for your needs. This is where having a local partner really shines.

In addition by only loading what you need to run a Better office we ensure you are getting the software performance and reliability you paid for. National brand computers have to have Best Practices brought to them, just to get them to perform as they should have, when they left the factory.

It is for these five reasons that Liberteks "Better" computers are the choice for Capital District small businesses that want the lowest cost over the long run, while giving them the tools to run a Better office.

I’ll end with one last question “Aren’t I better off with getting the Best computer versus the Better one?” In our opinion; no! Unless you have special needs, getting the "Best" computer is not the best decision unless you have special needs. The thing that makes a "Best" computer best, does not make it better for you running a better office.

So is the "Good", good enough for you? Or do you want to run a Better business through "Better" technology decisions?