When Is It Time To Upgrade Your Business’s Computer System?

upgrading-your-computer-systemAt some point, you can expect that your business’ computer system requires an upgrade. That may be due to the fact that your business has grown and the demands have change (you need more memory, software updates etc.), or because your system simply became obsolete and doesn`t meet current requirements, in terms of speed and overall performance, which can cost you time and money.

It is important to pay attention to those signs that warn you to consider an upgrade as soon as possible, in order to keep up with the competition.

 When to consider upgrading your system?

Computers are essential for any business, although good IT systems that offer file security and better productivity can be really expensive. However, it is better to invest in an efficient system than going for the cheapest offer and experience glitches that may negatively impact your business operations.

If you are unsure about when to upgrade and how to do it, you should better consult an IT specialist, who will provide you with cost-effective options. A specialist will likely recommend you to upgrade or replace your business computer system every 4-5 years, because it must be capable to run the latest versions of various software in order to be effective. You will also get advice on compatibility issues, as well as on the overall expenses.

As a general rule, consider upgrading any time when this option is more cost-effective than not upgrading. Clearly, some calculations and estimates are in order.

Software update

Keeping up with software updates will prevent your system from being lazy and outdated, presenting corrupted files. Updating PC software is not a difficult task, although it may require professional help in some cases. What matters most is to always choose adequate software for your business.

Hardware upgrade

Upgrading hardware components can give your computer a new life. Adding high-capacity batteries, Random Access Memory, a new processor or replacing your old drive with a SSD can speed up your system, allowing it to better perform its tasks, while its lifespan will be increased.

Every time you consider upgrading, remember to take a look not only at your current needs, but also at the future requirements of your business. Taking the time to research on cost vs. benefit and estimate your needs may save you quite a lot of money.

 Other things to consider before upgrading

The costs of upgrading your business computer system are not the only ones; there are also hidden costs, related to transferring information on the new equipment, for instance, so make sure that you know your budget.

Upgrade your system as long as it is a profitable investment, but also keep in mind that a new computer will offer better graphics, faster speed levels, more connectivity options as well as improved energy efficiency, with no other effort besides the financial one.

It is estimated that businesses that have invested in upgrading or replacing their computer systems managed to save some significant amounts of money and experienced reduced maintenance costs as well as downtime – which pays quite well for the initial investment.

Standard Computer or Ruggedized Computer

Ruggedized computers are over-manufactured so that they can perform without failure in harsh environments. These rugged systems can deal with extreme temperatures, dust, condensation and other environmental factors that would destroy normal computers. For most business applications ruggedized computers are not necessary. If your business requires that your computers withstand extreme conditions, you may want to consider going rugged. Rugged computer manufacturers like Chassis Plans, specialize in building these ultra-durable machines. If you need a rugged machine, realize that you are going to pay a premium and work with a specialist like Chassis Plans. Their expertise and specialized equipment allow them to build systems that ordinary manufacturers could never produce.

 

Why Industrial Computers Cost More

 

rugged-industrial-serverThere are significant differences between industrial and commercial computers and one must learn to look beyond the purchase price and understand it in terms of efficiency in the long run. Obviously, industrial computers cost more, but when you get to understand the total cost of ownership, you may be surprised to see that some rugged computers cost less than commercial devices. That is because the purchase price does not reflect the real value of the product. A cheaper computer that will require regular expensive repairs and maintenance is definitely no bargain.

What are industrial computers?

Industrial computers are typically used outdoors, or in particular environments that would quickly destroy a regular computer. They are designed and tested to resist dust, moisture, extreme temperatures, vibrations and other rough treatments. Even so, many buyers still go for a cheaper purchase option and choose regular equipment instead of ruggedized. Unfortunately, statistics show that they will end up paying at least 50% more in the long run than if they had purchased an industrial computer in the first place. A rugged unit has 5-10-year warranty after which it is expected to be still fully operational; on the other hand, if you purchase a commercial computer and use it in an industrial environment, you may have to replace it a couple of times during those 5 years. This inconvenience will also come with other costs, related to lost data and downtime.

Rugged computers have a reinforced structure, with steel and aluminum, not plastic and light materials, as commercial computers. They can be used daily and for very long periods of time. Some come with solid touch screens, able to withstand heavy handed customers.

Besides durability, they present many other benefits. Industrial computers must not be reconfigured so often and, due to the fact that they have long life cycles, training is required less often. They are fanless, thus quieter, and cost-saving in terms of energy efficiency. The cost saving linked to electrical consumption pays for itself over the life span of the industrial system.

Another great advantage is that an industrial PC can be customized with your brand, the functions that you need and the appearance that you prefer – which is not possible with commercial computers.

Rugged computers are designed to be easily handled and space efficient. They can save both equipment space and hardware cost. In terms of processing power and the ability to run different operating systems, they do not differ so much from the average home computers; the key difference consists in what they actually bring to the work site.

Types of rugged computers

  • Compact series industrial computers
  • Compact and rugged computers, with high protection levels
  • Panel series industrial computers
  • Steel series industrial computers

 

Today, this technology is not restricted to computers, but also to tablets and laptops. Rugged devices become more and more a must-have in many industries and sectors such as food processing, manufacturing, automations or pharmaceutical. Clearly, the balance between price and durability makes rugged computers clear winners, regardless of the higher initial cost compared to regular PCs.

 

 

 

Understanding Your Processor Performance Needs

server-processorProcessor performance is an important part of the problem when selecting the best standards and specifications for a new industrial computer. Although figuring out the temperature fluctuations it should be able to withstand or the maximum altitude it can cope with are among the highest priorities, speed and performance can be equally important, as long as you want it to be suitable for the task your require it for.

What Does Your Industrial Computer Have to Do?

The first thing you have to do in understanding and determining your target processor performance is to find out exactly what you’ll be using your new PC for. This will give you a clear picture of exactly how much processing power you will need.

The processor of a computer is in charge of making all the calculations necessary for various processes to be facilitated and coordinating all the data at high speed to ensure that it is properly managed. Processing performance, therefore, has to do both with the speed and efficiency of the computer in dealing with specific problems, managing multiple threads of calculations at the same time, and preventing overheating and other long term problems.

Since industrial computers are commonly used in data acquisition and process control, and are on the front end of other control computers in distributive processing layouts, they are not typically required to work at extreme speed and process huge amounts of data for longer periods. Although there are exceptions to this – especially when all the computers you use have to be industrial grade, highly efficient systems – this rule will apply to most applications.

Choosing a Reliable Processor for Your Industrial PC

Reliability is essential when it comes to industrial PCs. Processing power is useless if you can’t sustain it over longer periods of time, and even though fail-safe systems may be in place to prevent your processor burning up if overworked or subjected to extreme conditions, downtime can cost a great deal of money – or worse – especially when you’re using a high end industrial server.

A reliable Intel or AMD processor supporting fast communication speeds between CPU sockets (20 Gigabits per second or faster) combined with the higher number of cores associated with the latest processors in the industry will prevent your computer from presenting any issues of instability, lagging under pressure, or even suffering a burnout.

Servers and Particular Specifications

For servers, the issue of performance is much more pressing, since a computer server has to respond to numerous requests from multiple clients and provide adequate speed and efficiency.

While this normally translates to larger storage and random access memory capacity, the processing speed is equally important. A less reliable processor can freeze more frequently when subjected to higher workloads, and slower computers will make for tedious processing and data transfers, slowing down all the computers on your network.

Most companies offer four or six core industrial server processors; however, the latest AMD servers feature up to 16 cores, so it stands to reason that the performance of newer industrial servers will increase considerably over the next few years.

How Heat and High Temperatures Impact Commercial Computer Systems

high temperature computer systemMore and more businesses rely on computers as their principle assets, the machines that make it possible for them to operate. Computers are strange machines – complex and complicated, sturdy and rugged, resilient and vulnerable at the same time. To be able to get these intricate systems to work for your business properly, you need not only employees who possess the knowledge necessary for using the machines, but also the right environmental conditions, especially the right temperature – here are a few pieces of valuable information about how heat and cold can impact your commercial computer system and what the ideal temperature range for your machines is.

The Effect of Environmental Temperatures on Computers

Computers, both commercial and industrial systems need optimal operating conditions to be able to function properly. One of the most important factors to be taken into consideration when creating such an optimal environment is temperature.

If the temperature around the computers fluctuates or it is not in the right range for longer periods of time, your computers suffer either from overheating or by being unable to warm up properly. Each of the components of your computers operate optimally in a certain temperature range. If the environment around them is too hot, the excess heat will decrease the electrical resistance of the components, which will, in turn, allow electric current to pass through them while it is still too strong, thus damaging the components.

Computers are equipped with multiple temperature sensors which inform the motherboard in the case of overheating and instruct it to slow down, so if your computers fail to react to your command with their usual efficiency, one of the causes of the problem might be excessive heat.

It is not only overheating that can harm computers – temperatures that are too low are also dangerous for your computer system, especially if you are in the habit of turning it off. While turned off, the components of the system cool down to the temperature around. If that temperature is too low and you turn on the system, the electricity that passes through the components causes them to warm up and to expand too fast and the process can cause condensation as well, both phenomena being very harmful for the mechanical and the electrical components of the system.

If you have computers that are moved from a cold environment to a room that is sufficiently warm, it is recommended to wait until the entire system warms up to the temperature of the room before you assemble the system and turn it on.

Ideal Temperature Conditions

Computer systems are sensitive to changes in temperature, but the temperature range in which they are able to function properly is quite large, usually between 10 and 30 degrees Celsius (50-86F). If the temperature range in the rooms where you need to place your computers is significantly higher or lower than that, you may have a special system designed to suit the operating conditions in your facility – nowadays you can find super-rugged systems designed especially for harsh environments.

How to Choose the Right Industrial Computer for Your Application

Evaluating PCsAdvanced technology is pushing all industries to their limit, and these days without a reliable set of equipment, you can’t really monetize your efforts too easily. With precision instruments like computers becoming more and more complex, it can be a challenge to choose the right computer system for industrial purposes.

 

Still, it is possible, and that’s precisely what industrial computers are for. Designed to fit a variety of environmental conditions, these machines will deliver the level of quality and durability you need even under the most trying of circumstances.

 

Evaluating the Best Characteristics for Your Work Environment

 

Your work environment is the first criteria you have to keep in mind when choosing a durable industrial computer system. Dust and debris, as well as humidity and temperature changes can easily damage a regular commercial computer over time. However, by choosing the right casing and safety measures as part of a dependable industrial PC, you can easily prevent long term damage.

 

The first step to take is to figure out exactly what type of damage is more likely to affect your computer. Is your work environment constantly at risk from flooding or fire damage? Do you work with large industrial equipment and precarious building materials? Maybe you need a computer that can withstand impact damage from heavy objects.

 

Industrial computers fitted with fanless and ventless enclosures and an internal cooling system will help prevent long term damage from being exposed to a dusty environment. A high grade, water-resistant casing may also be needed if you work on a ship or other environments where flooding may be a constant risk. Also, a solid state system without any moving parts should be your selection of choice to prevent damage from shock and impact.

 

Tips for Choosing a Practical Computer System

 

Durability, of course, isn’t the only issue you have to deal with when selecting a suitable industrial computer. Space requirements, special mounting considerations and power outages are also key aspects you have to take note of whenever you want to buy the very best computer systems for industrial purposes:

 

  1. Power surges can be extremely dangerous when you’re dealing with the sensitive circuitry of an advanced computer system. Before you buy your PC, make sure you’ve made a detailed list of all the power requirements involved: whether you have an AC or DC power supply, how large you can expect the power fluctuations to be, what extra measures you will need in place to connect the computer to an auxiliary power supply etc.
  2. Not all computers will be mounted on a desk. Be sure that you fully understand the mounting options that industrial systems can provide you with, in case you have to keep the system firmly in place on a platform, mount it within a larger electronic framework, or integrate it into an existing IT infrastructure for monitor-free operation.
  3. Finally, think ahead to take into account the space constraints involved. Keep in mind that you will have to get a small form factor industrial PC that will also fit in all the cooling and impact-resistant elements within the limited space you have at your disposal.

 

There are plenty of considerations to keep in mind when choosing a dependable industrial PC for your applications. Think ahead to keep these recommendations under advisement, and you won’t have to deal with any additional issues later on.