The arrival of Microsoft Windows 8 has prompted the inevitable surge of interest in what the operating system can do for business, and is prominent in thoughts about upgrading ageing systems in small, medium and large companies.
While the new operating system has attracted criticism in the consumer space, the fact that it is tailored more tightly to the hardware provides a nuMber of distinct advantages for businesses. These include far faster boot times - down to ten seconds from cold - greatly improved power efficiency, and enhanced security from a new secure boot. Also, at its core is an enhanced release of Windows 7, with the same deployment tools, just a bit slicker.
It also promises consistency in working from desktops, laptops, tablets and phones, and to homogenise the workflow and the user experience across all these devices. While training staff in its use is an issue, this could ultimately be reduced as all your devices will work and run the same software with unified cloud storage.
This is all leading IT managers to look into the best value and best running Windows 8 desktop PC options on the market. The range of desktop systems is as wide and varied as business needs themselves, from deployments of hundreds of basic desktops to a single purchase of a high-end specialist system.
Currently the tier one range of Windows 8 equipped systems is limited, and if anything we're seeing a move to all-in-one systems, which are actually hitting a competitive price point and competitive specification. The following provides a guide to some of the best options in the market.
1. Dell Vostro Desktop 270 ST
If there's one thing Dell knows how to build well, it's a business PC. Its latest Vostro 270s Compact Tower range isn't doing anything to detract from that. From its solidly built mini-tower case to its well selected spec and price point, everything about the Dell Vostro 270s is designed to please the business user.
It's a mere 10x14 inches and is just under four inches thick, weighing just 6kg. That diminutive size does have one drawback, just a single drive bay slot, but with even this basic model utilising a 500GB hard drive storage shouldn't be an issue.
Again the impressive aspect is even this basic model comes with a full third generation Intel Core i3 3220 Ivy Bridge processor. That gives it excellent processing power, more than a match for every office task. It also provides a decent 3D capability, if you should need it. At this price something does have to give and that's the 2GB of memory and the one year collect and return warranty.
2. Lenovo ThinkCentre M72z 3543
Proving that an all-in-one (AIO) investment doesn't have to carry a heavy price tag, the new Lenovo ThinkCentre M72z comes with Windows 8 Pro 64-bit installed and a 20-inch display that is touch capable. Designed for the modern office, out of the box it's capable of a seamless VoIP and video chat capability with its built-in mic and front facing camera.
Many AIOs have their roots in the consumer market and lack the security and management a business would expect. But Lenovo has a business background and the ThinkCentre M72z has everything you would expect from a business desktop either built-in or available as an option. For example, it automatically detects when you're away and locks the system.
This is excellently priced, considering that it includes an office competent, latest generation Pentium G645 dual core processor, a decent 4GB of memory plus a 500GB main drive and the 1600x900 20-inch touchscreen. It's also highly power-efficient. The only flaw is a basic one-year warranty, but this can be extended up to five years.