Most jobs these days rely on a computer for at least some responsibilities. But how important is the power and performance of that computer? If you’re stuck with a 10-year-old rig with limited processing power, is that going to compromise your productivity? Or, if you splurge on a $5,000 super-PC, is that going to supercharge your performance?
These are complicated questions, but it pays to consider them in your work environment.
How Your PC Impacts Your Job
Let’s start by taking a look at how a PC can affect your job.
- Bootup and load times. For starters, the time it takes for you to boot up your computer and load programs will have an effect on how much you’re able to get done every day. If you have to wait several minutes before even accessing the content on your computer, you’ll start the day with a delay. And waiting additional minutes for critical programs to open can be downright aggravating.
- Processing power and raw speed. You’ll also need to think about the processing power, memory, and functional “speed” of your PC. When you make an input, does it register right away? If you’re rendering video or downloading important files, how quickly do these tasks go? A delay of a few seconds, or even a few minutes may not seem like much, but it can add up over time.
- Multitasking. Multitasking in the traditional sense is ineffective because it forces you to split your attention between different areas. But multitasking on a PC is almost a necessity. Having multiple windows open, or handling jobs while background tasks are running are vital to achieve peak productivity – but this is only possible if your computer is powerful enough to handle it.
- Niche applications. Certain tasks and projects require specific PC specs or they’ll be borderline impossible. Rendering videos and running intensive graphics software, for example, requires the user to have an impressive GPU. If your computer isn’t up to the task, certain applications will not be available to you.
- Screen size (and monitor placement). Your job will also be affected by the size of your screen, what types of monitors you have, and how those monitors are placed. Put simply, the more screen “real estate” you have to deal with, the better. Larger screens and additional screens allow you to keep more windows open simultaneously and review more data at the same time, without having to juggle your open windows or perform complex maneuvers.
- Accessories and peripheral items. You’ll also need to consider the relationship between your PC and other items in your surroundings, such as your choice in office furniture. It’s important to keep your PC on a desk with the right height and plenty of space, so you have adequate room to work. It’s also important to invest in a chair that supports good posture while you’re working with your PC, as well as a comfortable, ergonomic mouse and keyboard.
- Personal feelings and morale. Most of the points in this list have focused on the effects of a PC on your productivity, and how much you can get done in a day. But you also need to think about your personal feelings and morale. You might be able to tolerate a slow PC, eating the loss of time as you wait a few seconds for each program to load, but if you’re ambitious or if you like to feel in control, this can eat away at you. In extreme cases, you may grow to resent your job – or even accelerate your path toward burnout.
Qualities to Consider in a PC
How can you address these key areas and get the best PC for your job?
Every job will need something different, but these are some of the most important factors to consider:
- CPU/GPU. CPUs give you raw processing power, while GPUs are specifically designed for graphics and video processing.
- RAM. Higher RAM will help with multitasking and certain complex tasks.
- Hard drive. Upgrading your HDD to a SSD will give you much faster loading times.
- Monitor and peripherals. Buy the biggest monitor you can afford (especially if you like having multiple windows open at once) and consider investing in one or more side monitors.
- Price. Of course, you’ll also need to set a strict budget and work within it; there’s no reason for most of us to pay $5,000 for a PC.
Depending on your job, a good PC might be an indispensable element to satisfactory performance, or it might just be a nice luxury to have. Either way, most people work more productively and happier with a sufficiently powered PC.
That said, it’s also possible to overspend on features you’ll never fully utilize – so do your research and make the choice that best fits your role and your responsibilities.