Standard equipment for a small business

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by quidire, Feb 3, 2010.

  1. quidire macrumors 6502


    Aug 11, 2004
    Washington DC (in Kalorama Triangle)
    Hi there,

    Assume a small business (5-10 employees), all professional/white-collar. Assume meetings off-site, but that the employees will have little out-of-metro-area travel.

    $3200/employee tech budget:
    a) souped up 27" iMac ($2.5k) + iPad ($630)
    b) souped up MacBook Pro ($2.3k) + ACD ($900)
    c) Mac mini ($800) + ACD ($900) + MacBook Air ($1.5k)

    The nature of the work is primarily generic office stuff, some STATA/SAS but no audio/video/graphical work.

    Thoughts on what option to standardise on?

    arguments for each option that I see
    a) highest cost items stay on site, less chance of significant loss. Sync problems minimal. Big screen = (hopefully) high productivity, lowest sysadmin difficulties.
    b) most screen real estate, machine is portable/most off-site flexibility, sync problems nonexistent, intermediate sysadmin difficulties
    c) redundancy/no single-point-of-failure problems
  2. Buzz Bumble Guest

    Oct 19, 2008
    New Zealand
    Not quite true. You will have to backup (one-way syncing at least) the laptop whenever they come back to the office so that WHEN they drop or lose the laptop they still have most of their files and data.
  3. miles01110 macrumors Core


    Jul 24, 2006
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    If your business is actually dependent on the integrity and reliability of its technology structure, why on earth would you even consider using an iPad?
  4. quidire thread starter macrumors 6502


    Aug 11, 2004
    Washington DC (in Kalorama Triangle)
    While obviously there would have to be a re-evaluation a little while after it was released, the usecase for the iPad would be presentations, light document editing on the go, etc. Frankly, the more locked-down the OS, the greater the ability of the OS developer to ensure that what functions are permitted are reliable. All of us have iPhones, and all of them have demonstrated great reliability.

    Of course, so have our Macs, but the lesser technically literate of us have been confused by edge-case behaviour now and again.

    If you're referring to remote-lock-out, 1) we can't do that w/ Mac laptops, and 2) as the iPhone has that feature at the present time, I have a fair amount of confidence that the 3G version of the iPad will manifest the same capabilities.

    I suppose I separated backup and sync in my mind; the first is about data preservation, the second about propagation from multiple sources of updates. The first is much easier/less error-prone. Time Machine works very well, frankly, while most syncing services require a lot of user hand-holding.
  5. JNB macrumors 604


    Oct 7, 2004
    In a Hell predominately of my own making
    I don't see the need for a desktop machine at all. I've been laptop-only for over ten years in a professional setting. When I'm in my home office, I "dock up" to everything (monitor, external kb/trackball/drives, etc.), and when it's time to hit the road (30-40 weeks per year), I just unplug and go. No sync issues, period.

    At home, TM and SuperDuper! keep my local backups, and at all times I have MM Sync for some minor stuff and a full Mozy backup going daily as well, as long as I have internet connectivity.

    My iPhone acts as an extension of the MBP and as a low-end fail-back should the MBP die suddenly or grow legs.

    So my mobile/"Office" costs end up as:

    MBP 13" - $1499
    3GS 32GB - $299

    Done & done.

    I doubt seriously my productivity or ability to conduct my business would be enhanced by adding to that. In fact, it would likely be a time-waster on top of the direct hit on the budget, so I'd lose money two ways.

    Adding an iPad to the Desktop/Laptop/iPhone proposition just seems plain excessive & unnecessary, but I don't know what your business need for them would be.
  6. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem


    Feb 19, 2005
    This was my first thought regarding option B alongside the idea that the sync problems will be non-existant.

    I use a laptop docked with an external display for work 95% of the time. However, in order to get to my "office" I either VPN in or connect to Citrix. That is how everything stays on site and there is nothing on my local machine that I could not stand to lose (applications not data).

    I think option B is your best bet. That coupled with blackberries or iPhones and you should be set. There is no need to have a portable and a desktop in a small business imho.
  7. striatedglutes macrumors 6502

    Feb 22, 2009
    What about:

    d) MBA with SSD ($1.8k) + ACD ($900) ?
    or even
    e) MBA with SSD ($1.8k) + Two high quality non-apple 24"ers for around $700 each?

    The SSD makes the MBA a beast imo. Sucks about the 2GB ram limit though.
  8. dr. shdw macrumors 6502a

    Aug 27, 2008
    The MDP can output to two monitors?
  9. davidwarren macrumors 6502a

    Aug 28, 2007
    why do you need the ACD??? Get a cheaper monitor.
  10. primalman macrumors 6502a

    Jul 23, 2002
    at the end of the hall
    B [but save a bit of money with a 13" MBP and un-soup it a bit]
  11. quidire thread starter macrumors 6502


    Aug 11, 2004
    Washington DC (in Kalorama Triangle)
    Single vendor to exercise warranty, warranty of computer covers display.
  12. striatedglutes macrumors 6502

    Feb 22, 2009
    Good catch. WTB Lightpeak.
  13. quidire thread starter macrumors 6502


    Aug 11, 2004
    Washington DC (in Kalorama Triangle)
    Option "B" seems to have received quite an endorsement. Does anyone find they have app resizing issues from disconnecting from the ACD? Not that I do; I don't use my personal MBP w/ an external display, but I know OS X used to occasionally leave apps too large to size w/ the lower right corner. Has this become relatively seamless?

    No specific need for an iPad (nothing like medical apps, etc); just thought that an ultraportable that seems to be sufficiently capable for light tasks might make a good accompaniment to a desktop.

    Does anyone have a (non-facetious) argument for the advantages of a desktop (given my lack of need for cpu-intensive applications)?
  14. chameleon81 macrumors 6502

    May 16, 2006
    Why do you want to buy ACD and not other brands?

    If you need desktop and big screen , I would go for mac mini since you don't need a dedicated graphic card.

    I personally would buy 13" MBP in your case. You don't need big screen while you are on the go, you dont need dedicated graphic card. If you need big screen at the office you can easily get 22-24" monitors.
  15. chameleon81 macrumors 6502

    May 16, 2006
    Still, you will be paying much more. Anyway how many times did one of your monitors got broken?

    You can pay 200-250 dollars instead of 899 and save 700-650 dollars per monitor.
  16. calderone macrumors 68040


    Aug 28, 2009
    While of course this is a small sample, I have had to warranty 3 ACDs with bad usb logic boards. All from different POs.

    Now, given that there is no graphics work going on, I would say in this case a Dell would be a good choice. Not to mention they offer warranties that exceed Apple's in length and in services offered (advance replacement, etc.)

    Use the savings to beef up the warranty.
  17. Consultant macrumors G5


    Jun 27, 2007
    Nintendo CEO uses Apple keynote software.

    iPad runs Keynote.

    Any reason you are implying that iPad is not good for "integrity and reliability of its technology structure"?

    Resizing is seemless. You can also hit the green button to fit to screen if the app doesn't auto resize.
  18. dr. shdw macrumors 6502a

    Aug 27, 2008
    ACD is nice also because all the cords are integrated, from power, usb, to mdp. Keeps it clean.
  19. niuniu macrumors 68020


    Mar 29, 2009
    A man of the people. The right sort of people.
    I run a small business of a 15inch MBP :eek:

    Web management, photoshop work, faxing, database entry, email support is what it comes down to mostly, and the MBP's are more than capable of handling it (well not mine, mine's dying, but am waiting for the updates).

    Best part of it is, I can fold the screen down and take it out the door if necessary.
  20. chameleon81 macrumors 6502

    May 16, 2006
    nintendo's CEO doesn't represent the world. I'm sure his/her employees do use Ms Office. You can also check Apple's job posts they also want you to know MS office.
  21. zhenya macrumors 603


    Jan 6, 2005
    I would strongly recommend that you use laptops, connected to an external monitor in the office. Giving every employee two computers is probably more trouble than its worth - it creates twice as much data to back up, twice as many computers to administer, and can cause file sync issues as employees move from one computer to the other. The only reason I would consider doing otherwise is if you have some employees who really need the power of a workstation when in the office.

    Also, I much prefer two monitors to a single large one. You can buy two excellent monitors from other manufacturers and get 3840x2400 pixels of resolution for the same or less money than the 1920x1200 of the ACD. It's a pity that Apple doesn't offer a real docking solution, because that's the key to not having multiple connections to make each time you remove the computer from the desk, but I think there are 3rd party docks available. Frankly, 'having a single warranty vendor' is a silly reason to justify apple monitors. Dell has excellent warranty service (for business probably better) and either way it is one phone call. In any case, I can't remember the last time I had a warranty issue with a monitor in our office of 50+ nodes (ie. never).
  22. TheBritishBloke macrumors 68030


    Jul 21, 2009
    United Kingdom
    Option 'C' seems to be the best option to me. If there's no heavy duty work going on, you don't need big-ass power, and the MBAs are great for travelling :)
  23. pukifloyd macrumors 6502a


    Jun 25, 2008
    Another vote for Option B.

    Just get a 15inch MBP and a non apple can save more than $1000 per employee...

    or even a 13inch MBP will do your work easily...
  24. Bbusyb macrumors member


    Sep 11, 2009
    Notts, UK / Alex, Egypt
    A Vote For Option B) Macbook +ACD but without much of the Souping up.

    If Your not dealing with media, then Going for a more powerful Processor, Graphic Card or Roomier HD is probably not needed. I would Still go for the additional ram (4GB).

    Couple the Base 15" or 13" MBP )With 4GB of RAM) with a ACD or Any other Display (My personal Preference as I find the lack of other inputs except Mini Displayport on the ACD a major turnoff, as moniters will usually last for more generations then the PC itself but YMMV)

    Add a few iPads later, but do keep in mind that if you want to use them for Presentations, etc you may need to get the keynote app and a video output cable so budget the $30-50 for those as well.

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