Byte Me Article 423 – Reliability and Robustness #3

The Reliable, Robust Champ
After eliminations, we have the device we want

This week we continue to sift through the mass of modern computer offerings with an aim of finding the most reliable and robust devices on the market.  In previous weeks we have eliminated computing devices that were flimsy or poorly designed.  We also eliminated mechanical hard drives, dedicated video cards, gaming PC’s and most laptops due to their portable nature.

Last week we also touched on tablets from Samsung and Apple and must award them points for reliability however all tablets have limited use & flexibility in comparison to a Windows based machine.  It could be said that owning a tablet is like owning a single screwdriver, whereas a Windows based PC offers the use of a comprehensive tool kit!

So, what devices do we have left?  The only contenders still standing are commercial quality desktops and All-In-Ones with a single solid-state drive, 8 to 16GB of Ram, integrated video and no fancy add-ons or extra complexity.  We can go another step further and remove from our short list any device with an internal power supply, as these can fail and are not user replaceable.

With this last elimination we can say goodbye to standard sized desktop towers and All-In-Ones with internal power supplies.  Looking closer at All-In-Ones we would also need to eliminate those models with touch screens as once again the added complexity does not offer much extra useability and the cost of any replacement screen for a touch screen device is ludacris.

Although All-In-Ones offer a minimum number of unsightly cables they are heavy devices which are hard to transport for servicing and if replacement is needed then you are also up for the cost of a new screen every time – regardless of how good the existing screen still is.  At this point, I think we have arrived at the destination we initially set out to track down.

The most reliable & robust modern IT device is one of the commercial model ultra-small form factor or micro form factor desktop PC’s made for office use with an external power supply.  They take up very little room, can easily be transported to a service centre, produce very little heat and use very little power.  They have no unnecessary or fancy attributes to give problems and are capable of many years of reliable service.

If you still use CD’s or DVD’s then the ultra-small form factor desktop will suit – otherwise a micro desktop will be smaller yet and can still provide the same power and capacity as a massive computer tower.  Micro desktop computers weigh around 1kg and are around 130mm square and only 35mm high.  They can normally power 2 or 3 screens, have around 6 USB ports, an Ethernet port, speaker ports, a power connector and can come with Internal Wi-Fi.

We have changed all 11 of our shop PC’s over to these devices because of space saving, reliability and reduced power consumption.  Since doing this 3 months ago, not one has missed a single beat and I am sure we will get at least 5 years of service life from all of them. 

Future Byte Me topics can be emailed to [email protected] and Bruce is contactable at Kerr Solutions, 205 Musgrave Street or on 49 222 400.

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