If you are buying computers for your veterinary practice, there are likely important questions that you will need to answer to ensure that you are getting the best return on investment and the correct tools. Below we address these to help you make the most suitable decision for your practice.
What device type does your veterinary practice need, desktop or laptop?
This question is very straightforward but is worth covering. It really depends on what you plan to use it for and whether this will be a shared device used by multiple people.
If it is going to be used in a shared space such as the Reception desk, prep area, consult rooms, dispensary or even theatre then it’s definitely worth going for a small compact desktop, something like a Dell Optiplex Micro which you can fit on the back of a monitor as it never needs to be moved. It looks neat as it can mount on the back of a monitor plus you won’t see many cables so can look professional.
Then go for a laptop, if COVID has taught us anything it’s to expect the unexpected. By having a laptop you will have the freedom to work from anywhere. If you fall ill or want to catch up with something at home then you can. Obviously there are multiple styles of laptops to consider, for example you could go for a bog standard model, doesn’t do anything special other than allow you to move from location to location and take your information with you. Alternatively, you could go for something like a hybrid or 2 in 1 device which would either allow you to detach the keyboard or fold the keyboard round to create a tablet for when you are on the move. Just remember a 2 in 1 laptop will spike up the price. If you are going for a laptop then we recommend you check out our blog on ‘Buying Laptops’.
What CPU or RAM do I need, and do I need an SSD (whatever that means)?
Don’t worry I am not going to get to techy on you but it is important to get this right as otherwise it can lead to significant in-efficiencies for your team which can impact your client experience all because you brought a computer that is not up to the scratch. So, lets focus on the three main components:
CPU (Central Processing Unit)
In our eyes there are only two model ranges that you should consider, which are the Intel Core i’s and then the AMD Ryzen’s. Below we outline when the basic, mid-range and high-end models are appropriate:
Starting with the basic models Intel Core i3 or AMD Ryzen 3 this is ideal for a system that is not going to be overly strained so may browse some websites, open and edit some basic documents and where you might have a cloud based PMS.
Moving on to the mid-range Intel Core i5 or AMD Ryzen 5 this is ideal for most cases within your veterinary practice and is our preferred ‘go to’ for all our clients. These processors are work horses and are capable doing most tasks thrown at them including running local applications such as Sage or even veterinary specific software such as TotalVet, Interherd and Uniform Agri.
Finally, we have the high end Intel Core i7 or AMD Ryzen 7, honestly we rarely integrate these as they are overkill for most functions within a Veterinary Practice.
RAM (Random Access Memory)
We are going to keep this super simple, do not consider anything less than 8GB. Even if your systems may be in the cloud, modern web browsers are getting more and more RAM hungry. We would recommend going for 16GB if you can, as this will be a system that will be more future proof.
To have an SSD or not to have an SSD (Solid State Drive)? This is a really straightforward answer; definitely go for an SSD! I will not bore you with the in’s and out’s but SSDs last longer, are far more reliable and are so so quick, which leads to a greater user experience for your team.
What ports do I need for my practice computers?
Something that is often overlooked is what peripherals you plan to use with your new computer/laptop. You will need to make sure it has the necessary ports as these days computers are coming with fewer and fewer ports as they get smaller and smaller. We would recommend as a minimum for a standard Veterinary Practice computer get one that has:
- A couple of USB ports (make sure you have enough)
- A HDMI port (you will plug most screens into this port)
- Audio Jack (if you plan to plug some headphones into it)
- Network port (to plug it into your network)
Do my practice computers need a warranty?
Yes, definitely! The last thing you want to do is purchase a £600 machine and it dies on you after a year and a bit. When looking at getting a warranty for we would recommend a length of at least 3 years, or for however long you anticipate to have that desktop for (no more than 5 years). This way you at least guarantee that if something goes wrong in most cases you can have it fixed or replaced the next working day.
Most basic business warranties are more than sufficient, for example with Dell we recommend their 3/5 Year basic next day business warranty, there really is no point shelling out for the extra Pro Support.
What Manufacturer should I buy from?
We have been fortunate enough to have a chance to play with a number of the big manufacturers kit such as HP, Lenovo, Asus, Dell, Acer the list can go on.
We found that HP, Lenovo and Dell are the most reliable but for us Dell just tops it. Their kit is very reliable, reasonably priced and their warranty is great. When they say they come next day and replace your kit if it’s faulty they really do, and again it is affordably priced. Dell seem to position themselves as the experts in supplying kit to the Small and Medium sized business market.
If you are having trouble deciding what computers will be most suitable for your practice needs feel free to get in touch, and one of our Veterinary IT Experts will happily advise you to find the tools that you need.