Tech It or Leave It
If you're dreading the cost of equipping your office with business essentials, you have nothing to fear, at least not anymore. A significant dip in PC prices and peripherals over the past year makes it possible for you to get the gear you need for your business without making a big dent in your wallet. Getting basic start-up equipment at a low cost--with surprisingly robust features--is now easier than ever.
Even though it's hard to believe you can get a PC for only $399, that's how much eMachines' T1742 will cost you. And no, it's not refurbished or light on the specs. In fact, it sports an Intel Celeron 1.7GHz processor, 128MB DDR, a 40GB hard drive, 48X CD-ROM and six USB 2.0 ports. In addition, it's Ethernet-ready and comes bundled with a keyboard, wheel mouse and speakers. Simply add a 15-inch flat-panel display from AG Neovo, priced at $429, and you've got yourself an entire workstation for less than $1,000.
The AG Neovo F-15 features 1,024 x 768 resolution, as well as a 110-degree viewing angle. It's coated with antiglare and antistatic treatment, which keeps the display both great-looking and easy on the eyes. The F-15 is available in white, black or silver, but it's not only stylish, it's convenient, too. A VESA wall-mountable arm is available if you've got to work in cramped quarters.
If your small business needs more than one of these systems, how do you network them together so they can share files and peripherals? When your company is just starting up, it makes a lot of sense to invest in wireless technology instead of running messy wires all over your office.
Although they are much slower, products using the 802.11b stand are more popular than products that use 802.11a because they are lower-priced. Until now, you had to go with one or the other. But SMC's new Barricade Turbo 2.4GHz/5GHz Universal Wireless Cable/DSL Broadband Router allows you to use both standards at the same time. So you can invest in the 802.11b standard until prices for 802.11a drop, and continue using the same router. The Barricade Turbo costs only $29 and features easy setup. It comes equipped with a VPN and SPI (Stateful Packet Inspection) firewall, so your data is kept safe. USB and PC Card adapters retail for about $65 each, while Card Bus adapters retail for about $35.
Once you get your network up and running, why not try adding a couple of peripherals? Lexmark's X125 is an all-in-one color printer, fax machine, scanner and copier. For $169, you get a 600 x 1,200 dpi sheet-fed scanner, a fax machine that stores up to 80 pages, a color printer that prints photo-quality images, and color and black-and-white copy capability, all in one compact unit.
For those business owners with more heavy printing needs, you may want to pick up an HP Deskjet 6127 to add to your system as well. This printer boasts integrated Ethernet networking, 20 ppm print speeds and a built-in duplexer for two-sided printing. Its street price is $249 . . . but did we mention it also prints in color? At up to 4,800 x 1,200 dpi, the Deskjet 6127 is the perfect choice to more than satisfy even the greatest of your color-intensive printing demands.
Adding computers as you add employees isn't a difficult thing to do, but finding a phone system that can expand with your growing business can be. The GE 29488GE2 phone system is expandable to up to 16 separate stations, features Caller ID, a hold function, call waiting and an intercom. In addition, it includes an auxiliary jack that allows you to set up a fax, modem or answering machine. The $150 phone should meet your needs as you grow your fledgling business.
|Got a few bucks left over? Why not treat yourself to these nifty add-ons?|
For reprints and licensing questions, click here.