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August 26, 2011

VIDEO: What makes a PC “commercial grade?”

Here on the Windows Experience Blog we spend most of our time talking about consumer PCs. But there’s a whole world of commercial grade hardware out there that are used by business professionals worldwide. Lee Sabow, a colleague of mine who works on the commercial side of the Windows business, and I shot a video of some of our favorite commercial PCs. As you’ll see, they aren’t just big, black, boring “pizza boxes”; there’s as much choice, color and customization in this segment as there is in the consumer world. Check it out:

To recap, here’s Lee’s summary of what makes a PC “commercial grade”, and why you want one if you’re buying for the business world:

What makes a PC great for business beyond that trite answer that it’s used for business? Well, that trite answer is a true one. Ben and I showed a whole variety of PCs that you don’t expect to see within the workplace. Businesses are expanding the selection of PCs available to their workers as they recognize that employees have different work styles and that everyone has a personal choice for what powers their day. What I love about the Windows environment is that each PC offers something different to the end user, but still enable the same great value for the business: employees being productive from anywhere with a PC that fits their work style; and IT being able to secure, manage, and deploy all the various PCs with a common Windows 7 image.

There are features that help make some of the PCs even better for business, like backlit keyboards for working in dimly lit areas, fingerprint readers for security, VGA ports for projecting, webcams for video conferencing, etc. Those are “on the surface”, but there are some hidden features that help end users like stronger construction materials for durability, hard drive roll cages and shock absorption to handle lots of movement, strengthened hinges for repeated opening and closing, TPM chips for security, and spill-proof keyboards for when that morning coffee takes a tumble.

Finally, IT departments that purchases 100s of machines at a time enjoy elements of serviceability and standardization from traditional business laptops – like common chargers and docking stations, easily accessible and replaceable parts (and I know power users like Ben enjoy making their own upgrades, too), and same-day on-site manufacturer support.

It’s a great time to be in the market for a business PC. I only wish we had time to show off every great commercial computer that comes across our desks!