Some of the high-profile startups seem to always be flush with cash, like Uber, a company that just raised another $3.5B. They may not make any profit, but they don’t really have a budget in the way that you might think about a budget. Your startup business, on the other hand, definitely has a budget. And you have to watch every penny as closely as you can.
That means that in the beginning, some corners are going to be cut. Some luxuries are going to be deferred. And one of those luxurious corners is likely going to be high-end computer equipment. If you don’t have $3,000 to sink into a fully maxed out 5K iMac, you are going to have to make due with something less, possibly much less. What you don’t want to be is penny wise and pound foolish. Here is how to get the most computer with your startup budget:
Choose an HDD Rather than an SSD
An HDD is a hard disk drive. An SSD is a solid state drive (or disk). Besides holding your data, and the letter D, they have almost nothing in common. An HDD operates with parts that spin insanely fast, and generate a lot of heat. As fast as those platters spin, they are not nearly fast enough to keep up with the read/write speed of SSDs.
HDDs are bigger, heavier, hotter, and slower than the newer tech. The only reason you will want to choose one is because they are significantly cheaper. You spend a fortune buying SSDs in gigabytes. You spend comparative pennies buying HDDs in terabytes.
Just be aware that an HDD is less reliable than the alternative. You are going to have a lot of data related to your business. To manage that, you are going to need a large, fast RAID (redundant array of independent disks) system. To protect yourself against data loss due to failure, always keep a backup.
Catastrophic failure of your RAID is not the end of the world. There are RAID data recovery services that can potentially restore lost data so that a disaster does not grind your business to a halt. It would be great if you could start out with the more expensive headway. But HDDs still have a lot of life in them. And it is what your budget needs for now.
As Much Computer as You Need, and No More
How much computer do you really need to be productive? If you are starting an engineering firm, the answer might be quite a lot. If your business is more about sales, inventory, and generating reports, your hardware needs will be relatively low. It is not about getting the most computer you can afford. It is about getting as much computer as you need, and no more.
Consumers often get more computer than they need because they are not as disciplined about what it is they want to do with a computer. They fantasize about all the things they might do down the road, but never actually end up doing. As a startup, you have to be more disciplined. Know your business, know what it calls for. And get that.
Yes, someone else used that computer before you. Get a new mouse. Get a new keyboard. And get over it. When you buy a refurbished computer from a reputable vendor, you are getting a quality guarantee and new warranty. That allows you to get a lot more computer than you would be able to if you insisted on buying shrink-wrap.
If you are buying an easily upgradable PC, you can further save money by getting it with the minimal amount of RAM and storage. With a little knowhow, you can install a lot more RAM and storage that you purchased separately, and for less.
This is not to say that you should go out and get a bad PC because that is all you can afford. Just be smart about your purchase. Go for the HDD instead of the SSD, which can be purchased later, along with more RAM. Don’t get more computer than you need. And always get refurbished when available.