10 essential ingredients of a killer Windows 8 business PC

To get the most out of Windows 8, you need hardware designed to take full advantage of the unique capabilities the new OS has to offer.

By , PC World |  Hardware, computers, desktops

Do you use devices that connect via FireWire? Do you need an SD memory card slot to transfer images from your camera to your PC? Does your monitor connect through a standard VGA cable or via HDMI? Do you have USB 3.0 peripherals? The available ports vary from one device to the next, so you need to consider all of the devices you might want to connect to the PC, and then choose hardware with the ports that meet your needs.

Windows 8 tablet models, such as Microsoft's Surface RT, generally have more standard ports and connectivity options than Android tablets do, and certainly more than the iPad does. The Surface RT boasts a standard USB port, a Micro HDMI port, and a MicroSD slot. Pay attention, though, to details such as USB 2.0 versus USB 3.0. While USB 2.0 has a maximum data transfer rate of 480 mbps, USB 3.0 is more than 10 times faster, with maximum data throughput of 5 gbps.

7. Networking

Before buying any hardware, consider how you wish to connect to your network or the Internet. For wired connections, you might need a gigabit ethernet adapter; for wireless networks, you may want 802.11n or even 802.11ac capabilities.

Part of the unique appeal of Windows 8 lies in Ultrabooks and tablets that are designed to be used from virtually anywhere. Mobile professionals may need to be able to access information while they're out and about, in which case 3G or 4G broadband access will come in handy. Tablets and Ultrabooks that offer 3G or 4G connectivity as an option, such as the Lenovo ThinkPad 2, do exist, but they are much less common than Wi-Fi-only devices. Of course, mobile hotspots and USB dongles are available to connect Windows 8 devices, so its not imperative that a wireless radio be built in.

8. Durability

When youre carrying around a mobile PC for mission-critical business tasks, you need it to survive a bump or two. You dont necessarily need a tank (like something from the Panasonic Toughbook line), but you should consider the conditions you'll use your PC in, and avoid choosing hardware thats prone to cracking or breaking.

Microsoft went out of its way to engineer the Surface RT tablet for durability, and company representatives like to drop them on the ground to prove that point every chance they get. That said, we don't think the Surface RT's kickstand, however durable it may seem, will survive much abuse. Like all moving parts, it's susceptible to a certain degree of failure.

Originally published on PC World |  Click here to read the original story.
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