The work­sta­tion is the IT Swiss Army Knife

The Morning Bulletin - - LIFE - BRUCE KERR

WHY buy a Swiss Army Knife? There is good rea­son that the ba­sic de­sign for this knife which is now sold un­der the name Vic­tori­nox has lasted 127 years. It is a multi-pur­pose tool, it is en­tirely flex­i­ble, it is the knife you buy to take on un­known fu­ture chal­lenges so it is ex­actly what you want when you need more than just a knife.

A sim­i­lar tale can be told in the IT in­dus­try for the stan­dard work­sta­tion. It is the com­puter that you buy when you are not sure what you need now or in the fu­ture. It is the com­put­ing de­vice that of­fers the most flex­i­bil­ity and up­grade­abil­ity for its owner. Dur­ing 20 years of sales in this in­dus­try I have rarely ever heard any­one say that they shouldn’t have pur­chased a work­sta­tion.

I am not able to say the same about tablets, lap­tops and all-in-one com­put­ers. In fact this week we have again had two cus­tomers dis­ap­pointed with the choice that they made a year or two ago to pur­chase an all-in-one PC. While th­ese de­vices have their place there is lit­tle that can be done to al­ter their in­tended use.

In both of th­ese cus­tomer cases the orig­i­nal in­tended use of th­ese de­vices was for in­ter­net con­nec­tiv­ity, emails and some doc­u­ments for the house­hold. This has since changed with the par­ents prin­ci­pally go­ing to their own com­put­ers and now the chil­dren are a year older and want to play some games. How­ever, to play mod­ern com­puter games you need a mod­ern graph­ics card.

Like lap­tops, all-in-one com­put­ers have very lim­ited up­grade­abil­ity. You can some­times upgrade their RAM which can be a finicky job with hav­ing to match spe­cific brands and part num­bers and you can usu­ally upgrade their hard drives. How­ever you can rarely ever upgrade the CPU and you can never in­stall a bet­ter graph­ics card.

This upgrade lim­i­ta­tion is even worse with tablets as they are not able to be up­graded at all. Once you pur­chase a tablet there is no mak­ing it faster, more pow­er­ful or giv­ing it more hard drive ca­pac­ity.

The other of­ten over­looked ad­van­tage of work­sta­tions is their fu­ture

com­pat­i­bil­ity with yet to be in­vented/in­tro­duced op­tions. Dur­ing the last 20 years all of the fol­low­ing could be ‘in­stalled’ into a work­sta­tion that was no more than five years old – CD burn­ers, DVD burn­ers, wi-fi adap­tors, blue­tooth adap­tors, ex­tra USB ports, more RAM, larger hard drives, ex­tra hard drives, ex­tra

con­nec­tiv­ity ports, big­ger power sup­plies, more mod­ern/pow­er­ful graphic cards and in many cases – even more pow­er­ful CPUs.

If you try to com­pare the above work­sta­tion upgrade op­tions to lap­tops or all-in-ones then there is no com­par­i­son. If the two cus­tomers from this week had pur­chased stan­dard work­sta­tions then we could have eas­ily turned them into very handy PC gam­ing ma­chines. If any new worth­while com­put­ing ideas come out in the next few years then man­u­fac­tur­ers will make them com­pat­i­ble with ex­ist­ing work­sta­tions to make them worth­while ideas.

If you are want­ing a new com­puter de­vice but are at all un­sure of its fu­ture role then apart from porta­bil­ity, a stan­dard work­sta­tion still of­fers the best base from which to take on fu­ture IT chal­lenges.

Drop in to see Bruce at Kerr So­lu­tions, 205 Musgrave St, or phone 4922 2400.

PHOTO: SHARYN O'NEILL ROK261012SWINDOW1

BEST OP­TION: Bruce Kerr has rarely ever heard any­one say they shouldn’t have pur­chased a work­sta­tion.

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