Differences Between Enterprise and Consumer Grade Hardware: Why It Matters to Your Business

Aug 23, 2021

If you’re looking to replace the technological equipment you have for your business, you might be ready to head on over to Best Buy and start shopping.

However, though choosing more affordable consumer-grade products is tempting, it’s not always the best decision in the long run.

There are a handful of key differences that separate enterprise-grade hardware from consumer-grade hardware, from security to warranty to cost.

Why does this matter for your business?

Depending on the technology you choose, you’re putting yourself at risk for data breaches, increased repair costs, and unnecessary downtime.

The more you know when it comes to your hardware, the better. After all, we want your technology to be both reliable and efficient.

Here are some important differences between enterprise-grade and consumer-grade hardware to keep in mind when you’re ready for some new equipment.

 

Memory

An average consumer-grade computer typically needs only 8GB of RAM, but the average enterprise-grade machine has at least 16GB or more.

What does this mean?

Business-grade hardware is designed for just that – doing business. With a greater memory capacity, it’s less likely to slow you and your team members down.

Remember, you want your technology to be reliable and efficient. Speed is a key component of this.

Enterprise-grade hardware is meant to handle intensive work. These machines also often have RAM support built-in, along with its error-correcting code, which will protect your data from a crash.

Yes, PCs, routers, and other technological tools that go on sale during Black Friday can be tempting to settle for, but their memory and processing power isn’t something to celebrate.

Forget adding time to your day waiting on slow technology. Enterprise-grade hardware has the capacity you need to get work done faster and easier.

With more GBs, this equipment may come with a higher price tag, but its reliability is worth it in the end.

 

CPU

Another main difference between enterprise and consumer-grade hardware is their central processing unit or CPU. 

Something many of us don’t think about when it comes to our technology is the heat it generates. Heat and technology aren’t often a good match, which is why most enterprise machines are set up to function in high-demand environments.

Most consumer-grade technology doesn’t get as hot, simply because it’s not working as hard or as long as enterprise technology. That’s why these two types of systems are designed differently – one for long-term work and one for basic, daily use.

If you’re looking for a system that’s meant to last for years to come, the CPU and its design is something to keep in mind.

 

Legacy

When you’re purchasing a consumer-grade product, chances are, it has the latest and greatest legacy interface. This is mainly due to the fact that consumer-grade materials are evolving at a rapid pace due to new technological advances.

However, enterprise-grade hardware isn’t evolving so quickly. Many companies may need to access old interfaces, which is why this type of technology often develops in a way that makes it easy for companies to work around their old formats.

Consumer-grade platforms are known to dispose of older technologies as they evolve, but when you’re thinking about the legacy interface for an enterprise-grade platform, you might be operating with an older interface.

Enterprises may have software that’s essential for their workforce, while also wanting to expand their technological capabilities and provide new platforms for their teams. This balance of old and new is something unique to enterprise-grade hardware, whereas consumer-grade hardware tends to leave the past behind.

 

Managing

Consumer-grade hardware consistently has new developments in order to keep up with enterprise-grade hardware, but there’s one category where it’s still a bit behind. That’s the Intelligent Platform Management Interface (IPMI).

What is this? In a nutshell, the IPMI of enterprise-grade hardware makes it possible for systems to still operate even if they’ve crashed or shut down.

When your organization has a lot of data, employees, and work to be done, features like this can be essential.

This way, when your system is shut down, your IT provider can come work inside the system and your customers aren’t just seeing an error on their screen.

Sure, grabbing a few computers on Amazon might save you some cash, but they could also cost both you and your customers more in the long run.

 

Warranty

Most consumer-grade hardware comes with a basic 12-month warranty. Once that time is up, those costs are now something you need to take care of.

After the one-year period, you might even be left without your devices for quite some time, as they may need to be sent back to the manufacturer for examination.

Luckily, enterprise-grade hardware often comes with a minimum warranty of three years, as well as local support so you’re not left without your device for an extended period of time.

You might not be worried about your hardware breaking down right away, but when it comes to technology, anything can happen. Keep this in mind when you’re shopping for your business equipment.

A safety net like a longer warranty might just save you the time and money to make it worth the extra cost.

 

Security

Security should be top of mind for any business, and when it comes to your hardware, security capabilities can truly make or break each machine.

Consumer-grade hardware is typically designed with only basic security features that aren’t easily configurable with corporate security policies.

Business-grade hardware is usually built with advanced IT security capabilities and is easier to use in compliance with company policies.

Business-grade devices are developed with networking, reporting, and full-time work in mind, unlike most consumer-grade devices.

Enterprise-grade hardware even has options that offer encryption by default. This way, if your device is lost or stolen, your data is still protected.

Advanced features such as this are some that simply aren’t offered with consumer-grade hardware. From fingerprint sensors to smart card readers, enterprise-grade hardware is built to secure your data and protect your information.

 

Cost

With its advanced features, memory, and technological capabilities, it’s clear that enterprise-grade hardware comes at a higher price tag upfront.

However, when you factor in repair costs, downtime, and replacement costs, this same enterprise-grade hardware is going to cost you less in the long run. With its long lifespan, you’re much less likely to need new devices every few years.

There’s certainly a lot to consider when it comes to the hardware you purchase for your business, so if you have any additional questions, be sure to send us a message. We’re here to help!

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