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"Business Class" xpost (wasn't sure where to post this)

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February 19, 2012 6:12:52 PM

I am consulting a University technology retailer. To be more specific they are a retail outlet that is a part of the University. Their goal is to support the university as a whole, profit is not a priority. They have told me that they are not willing to recommend or carry any products that are not "business class", they feel that these systems are more reliable than consumer level products and that students and departments require this extra reliability. That said they have agreed to in-source their warranty program.

My questions are:

1)How significant is the difference between consumer class and business class without considering the warranty?

2)What are the qualifications of "business class"?

3)What laptops currently meat the qualification of "business class"?

4)Are their reasons for preferring "business class" justified?
February 19, 2012 8:24:34 PM

Hi :) 

I own computer and laptop companies in the UK...

There is no such thing as business class these days....

What they actually mean is they want you to purchase Pcs and Laptops for twice the going rate....

All the best Brett :) 
February 19, 2012 8:31:47 PM

My clients are not computer experts and neither am I, my background in in finance and IS, not hardware. Unfortunately this is what I suspect...

Here is what they have told me:
The [Client] is only willing to recommend “business class” Windows machines. This is primarily a technical decision, although it has customer and commercial implications. Business class machines have a number of features that make them less likely to fail:
For desktops they have heavier duty power supplies that are more efficient, less likely to fail and deliver cleaner power to the computer
Motherboards tend to be higher quality, with better capacitors that are less likely to fail catastrophically, and also less likely to give random system errors (the computer is less likely to unexpectedly freeze or reboot or generate other critical errors)
Laptops tend to have stronger cases and higher-quality hinges. One test that has been applied in past evaluations that did not specify a business class machine, would involve grabbing the laptop and physically flexing it along the diagonal. The University has also “drop tested” laptops as part of RFP evaluations. Business class machines are more likely to pass these tests than consumer class machines.
Also, in the case of laptops, there are few environments which are more consistently hard on laptops than a University setting. Laptops are moved several times a day, opened, closed, carried on icy streets, dropped, and sometimes accidentally kicked inside backpacks. A lower cost consumer class machine might represent a solid choice for a home user that occasionally leaves the house, but would not be recommended by [Client University] for student use.
In general, business class machines are engineered to a higher standard and are less likely to demonstrate seemingly random errors that are extremely difficult (and expensive) to diagnoseThese technical considerations translate into business benefits – longer life under normal conditions, more resistant to breakage, less likely to randomly fail, lower support costs, and lower maintenance costs
For reference, the following machines are considered business class machines. For all manufacturers, they cost more from all of the major manufacturers than the consumer class machines with a comparable specification:
Examples of business-class desktops - HP Compaq Elite, Dell Optiplex, and Lenovo M-Series
Examples of business-class laptops – Dell Latitude, HP EliteBook, Lenovo T-series
Related resources
February 19, 2012 8:41:17 PM

If anyone knows any sources I could reference to disprove this that would also be most helpful.
February 19, 2012 9:26:54 PM

Some major oem retailers offer buisness class PCs, they aren't anything more then a normal PC except they cost more and come with a better warranty/support. Parts inside are the same for the most part, unless you buy server/workstation PCs.
February 19, 2012 9:30:20 PM

I own a computer repair business, and we have sold sever "business class" computers from Dell and HP. I can tell you that, indeed, there is a difference.

A business class laptop will often be constructed with a much more solid frame and construction. For instance the HP EliteBook has a magnesium alloy frame and monitor backing which is much more durable than the cheaper plastic used on the HP Pavilion lines. This quality is evident throughout the systems often times, including a higher quality display panel and better system cooling. This is also true on many business desktop systems, which use a higher quality power supply sometimes, or more solid chassis.

Second, a business class computer incorporates other advanced technologies that aren't included in the more budget-oriented consumer class computers. For instance, business desktops and laptops based on the Intel Q67 or QM67 chipset can accomodate Intel vPRO and some higher-functioning levels of virtualization. This is something that you can't find in the consumer-line of computers. Granted, a lot of times these technologies aren't exactly the top of the list of requirements for most student when looking for a computer, but it is a difference.

Finally, while most times it seems that a business class computer is going to be much more expensive than a consumer grade computer of similar performance, that really isn't always the case. In most situations the cost is very minimal if there even is any additional cost.

In the end, through my business we only sell business class laptops because we see TONS of consumer-grade laptops come in with hardware issues or flat out broken after a very limited lifespan. The cost difference for the customer is almost nothing compared to a consumer laptop, but the quality they are getting is hands-down better and worth the tiny percentage of additional cost it may have. We've just seen enough quality difference that it doesn't make sense to do anything but a business grade laptop.

I highly recommend the HP EliteBook and HP ProBook series of laptops, and we've not had problems with a single one that we have sold.
February 19, 2012 10:21:16 PM

choucove said:

Finally, while most times it seems that a business class computer is going to be much more expensive than a consumer grade computer of similar performance, that really isn't always the case. In most situations the cost is very minimal if there even is any additional cost.

In the end, through my business we only sell business class laptops because we see TONS of consumer-grade laptops come in with hardware issues or flat out broken after a very limited lifespan. The cost difference for the customer is almost nothing compared to a consumer laptop, but the quality they are getting is hands-down better and worth the tiny percentage of additional cost it may have. We've just seen enough quality difference that it doesn't make sense to do anything but a business grade laptop.

I highly recommend the HP EliteBook and HP ProBook series of laptops, and we've not had problems with a single one that we have sold.



From what I have seen the difference in price can be upwards of 100% am I just looking in the wrong places?
February 19, 2012 11:56:14 PM

The price of the HP ProBooks that we sell the most of to customers begin in the $500 price range and go up from there. The average price of the last several HP ProBook laptops we have sold is $750. This is with a Core i5 dual-core processor, 4 GB memory, Windows 7 Professional, and 500 GB 7,200rpm hard drive.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16834158137
February 21, 2012 5:50:57 PM

Disregard anyone who says Business Class does not exist. They're dead wrong.

Business class will have extra features that a consumer grade system will not. For example, a TPM chipset in a laptop or desktop is considered a business class system. You can buy a laptop with a TPM chipset that is still business class, but generally these are considered consumer grade.

Dell's laptop line: The Inspiron is a consumer grade laptop not designed for general business use. The Latitude is their Business Grade laptop.

Cisco equipment is considered business class in most cases, whereas Linksys is considered consumer class.
February 21, 2012 6:07:07 PM

riser said:
Disregard anyone who says Business Class does not exist. They're dead wrong.

Business class will have extra features that a consumer grade system will not. For example, a TPM chipset in a laptop or desktop is considered a business class system. You can buy a laptop with a TPM chipset that is still business class, but generally these are considered consumer grade.

Dell's laptop line: The Inspiron is a consumer grade laptop not designed for general business use. The Latitude is their Business Grade laptop.

Cisco equipment is considered business class in most cases, whereas Linksys is considered consumer class.


+1

Have to agree with riser. If you ever look at an Asus G73/74 series (or MSI laptops with high end GPUs), then look at a lenovo thinkpad, you will notice the difference between "business class" and non "business class".

Usually business class computers don't have high end features, but feature components that are normally more reliable (doesn't have a GPU that can overheat, or all kinds of extra bells and whistles). It's not just that though, there are other many different things.
February 21, 2012 6:12:03 PM

Keyboard quality is a big change from G class Lenovos to T and X class Lenovos.

As is virtualisation tech on the mobo, look at the intel business mobos vs consumer, lots of remote control options and such. The CPUs are the same, ram is the same, hdd's are the same, but mobo features are richer.

I used a dell xps laptop M1330 for 2+ years carting it to and from site every day, now i've got a lenovo X1, feels a lot tighter, the keyboard especially.
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