SMBs: upgrade your existing hardware and save money

Small businesses can save money by investing in some inexpensive upgrades to existing systems rather than buying new gear to replace slower devices.

I read an interesting article by Pedro Hernandez on the Small Business Computing website that talked about the savings advantage of doing some simple and inexpensive upgrades to existing PCs and servers rather than buying new devices.

The author interviewed Robert Wheadon, director of the Micron consumer products group and he argues that small business owners should take a good hard look at maximising their current IT investments before replacing them.

He asks, “How do you get the most out of your IT budget? Does it make better sense to put it all into one laptop, or put it into upgrading five laptops for your company? Budget-minded IT buyers will opt for the latter strategy.”

He points out that while a brand new PC might cost around $350 (£228) you may find it doesn’t have the OS you want or a particular Windows package and newer or non-transferrable versions of required software can drive up costs, too.

You also have to deal with setup, configuration and maintenance for a new machine that your IT people may not be familiar with. All of these things drive up costs and consume time.

But Wheadon says, "for less than $100 (£65), you can absolutely change a system's performance. You can get a 120 gigabyte SSD for $69 (£45) and put the additional dollars toward DRAM."

The combination of speedy SSD storage and the added headroom provided by additional memory can make an old system act like new. He also points out that while SSDs lose out to traditional HDDs when it comes to cost per GB, the speed improvements can be important when it comes to boot times in a sales environment.

Wheadon suggests that small business owners take it slow by installing an SSD and adding more memory to a single system. "We believe that most will see an improvement." After they're convinced, they can upgrade five more laptops for the cost of a single new PC.