Computer reliability in its simplest terms means whether the computer will be available when you need it. There are various ways to measure or assess reliability: MTBF, historical data, and testimonials from customers.

Computer manufacturers may do formalized testing during the development or production phase to measure rate of failure, often calculated as mean time between failures, or MTBF. Components within a computer that may be tested for failure rates include disk drives, CPUs, power supplies, or memory. One or more sample PCs are placed in a temperature-controlled environment and operated at top speed over a period of time (usually several days). Temperatures gradually increase as the testing continues, and the failures of components are tracked and plotted. These numbers are then extrapolated over time to arrive at an expected future MTBF over the PC’s lifetime.

Another way that manufacturers can measure reliability is the use of historical data, expressed in terms of number of units shipped versus number of units returned for repair over time, along with some insight on root cause of the problems that required repair. You can request this information from the manufacturers whose PC you are considering.

Existing users and customers are a great source of information on reliability of PCs that they use. One way to find this information is to visit the websites of the PC vendors you’re targeting and reading the case studies, success stories and testimonials to find out what customers have to say about reliability. Sometimes you will even find quantitative information there, which you can compare to your own situation. For example, if a customer is using the PC in a 24/7 environment and there have been no failures over a period of years, that gives you another data point on the PC’s reliability.

Examples of some of Cybernet’s testimonials:

“They work great for our needs, and we’re very happy with their power and reliability, since they are on 24/7.”

“Cybernet’s iOne PCs with touch screen are an ideal fit for our new high-tech EMR system. The units stand up to the challenging emergency room environment, with the performance and reliability we need in order to provide the best patient care to our local rural community.”

“The Cybernet systems have never required servicing or repairs. Such high reliability definitely has had a major impact on overall IT productivity.”

“The Cybernet all-in-one PCs were an ideal choice to run our EMR system. The features and configuration were exactly what we needed, they were fast and easy to deploy, and the reliability is outstanding.”

Whenever you are in the market for new PCs, it’s a good idea to take the time to get some reliability data. Request MTBF or historical data directly from manufacturers. Do research at their websites on what their customers have to say, or even ask to speak to their customers. Make sure that your all-in-one PCs can handle continuous or near-continuous operation to meet the needs of your users.