Advice on desktop specification

We are currently doing a refresh of all our IT infrastructure and I was interested on what the current advice is on purchasing desktop equipment. One question which jumps to mind is whether purchasing 64 bit hardware is a better option in regards to future proofing our systems. We currently refresh equipment on a 10 year interval.  Is VDI technology still popular or is it really only viable for companies with 50+ workstations?
rabpwh1000Asked:
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JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
One question which jumps to mind is whether purchasing 64 bit hardware is a better option in regards to future proofing our systems.

I hope today you do not have any 32-bit hardware.  YES, if purchasing hardware, only purchase 64-bit machines capable of at least 16 GB of memory. We have not see need for more, but some companies might. Desktops often allow 32 GB of memory.

We currently refresh equipment on a 10 year interval.   <-- That is too long for desktops systems. Even top quality systems are long in the tooth after about 7 years and manufacturers have started limiting BIOS updates (Necessary) to 5 or 6 year old machines.

In my space of 15 to 50 employees, desktop computers, and more and more laptop computers are still very standard.

Windows 10 Pro 6-bit or Enterprise 64-bit is the preferred operating system.
Andrew LeniartIT Consultant & Freelance JournalistCommented:
Hi rabpwh1000,
 
One question which jumps to mind is whether purchasing 64 bit hardware is a better option in regards to future proofing our systems.

With today's Windows operating system, 64-bit capable hardware is almost essential, especially in a business environment. Remember that on a 32-bit machine, the maximum amount of RAM usable is about 4GB - that's now the recommended minimum if you want to have any decent performance expectations from Windows 10.

64-bit hardware machines will vary with the amount of RAM they will accept, but when upgrading, keep in mind that the absolute minimum amount of RAM which should be included (in my opinion) is 8GB on a 64-bit Windows 10 install. With that said, the more RAM that you can afford, the better Windows 10 will run, depending on how many applications you are intending to run on those machines.

Whether that's 16GB or 32GB or whatever, all depends on what you intend to run at the same time. There is no "this amount is good for all" recommendation that anyone could give you. But I'd recommend you not even considering a Windows 10 32-bit environment on "any" desktop you're upgrading. Doing so would be a decision you would almost certainly end up regretting in the long run.

We currently refresh equipment on a 10 year interval

I actually think that's fine if the hardware is performing for you to "your" required expectations.

Ie: Do your main business applications run fast enough for your employees? If yes, why upgrade? The longer you wait, the more value you will get when you DO need to upgrade. Computing technology has a benefit of getting cheaper as time goes on and it's improved, so if your equipment is performing to your satisfaction, waiting to refresh isn't such a bad idea if only for that reason alone.

It's when you start to notice that your applications are not performing as well or fast as you would like them to, or employees are complaining about delays that are first determined to be caused by insufficient hardware capabilities, it's only then that your refresh interval should be re-assessed.

It's on an as-needed basis - and that's different for everyone, so there's no reason to upgrade sooner rather than later until a need shows up for "your" specific circumstances. Doing so too soon just to have the latest and greatest can often be likened to flushing money down the loo. :)

Is VDI technology still popular or is it really only viable for companies with 50+ workstations?

VDI Technology is becoming more and more mainstream for Server use - not so much for workstations. Certainly, VDI capable and optimized server hardware is important these days, but for a workstation? Not so much. Why would you need virtualized capable and optimized hardware on a workstation unless you plan to use it for a specific reason? That's just spending money that doesn't need to be spent in my opinion and far better to put aside for upgrading the workstations when needed.

Hope that answers your queries adequately.

Regards, Andrew

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nobusCommented:
and be sure to use SSD's for the OS and applications;  sata, or NVMe types for having optimal disk speed
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pgm554Commented:
You cannot buy 32 bit preinstalled anymore.
M$ in their infinite wisdom has seen fit not allow ANY  major OEM to sell it preinstalled.
Been there done that.
Andrew LeniartIT Consultant & Freelance JournalistCommented:
You cannot buy 32 bit preinstalled anymore.
Preinstalled - no. Installed by the end user though, yes. Cheap Mainboards that also do not support 64-bit software can also still be purchased, unfortunately, usually by bargain basement suppliers, so worthwhile noting to ensure whatever hardware is upgraded fully supports 64-bit software imo.
pgm554Commented:
Well,in some cases if you have a 32 bit custom app that only runs on 32 bit ,having the flexibility to order it from say Dell or HP or Lenovo is a nice thing to have.

I talked to one of the guys from Dell and was told M$ basically said no,not allowed.

Why they would do this is anybody's guess as they still push you to install 32 bit over the 64 bit version of office.
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
@Author:  I dumped 32-bit hardware 10 years ago and never once looked back. You should not buy cheap hardware (referenced above) if you wish to future proof as you said.

Purchase only commercial high quality 64-bit hardware and upgrade any software applications that will not run in Windows 10 Pro 64-bit (or Enterprise).
rabpwh1000Author Commented:
Thanks to everyone who responded. Was really helpful.
Andrew LeniartIT Consultant & Freelance JournalistCommented:
You're very welcome rabpwh1000, and thank you for returning to close this question.

Regards, Andrew
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