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POS Terminal Buying Guide

This buying guide will help you choose the right POS terminal/all-in-one POS computer for your business.

Chances are that you own a restaurant if you are buying an all-in-one touchscreen POS terminal. The POS terminal is the most expensive component in your POS system, so it is best to think things through and not rush your purchase. You don’t want to spend hundreds and even thousands for a machine that when it arrives you realize it does not fit your needs. This buying guide should help eliminate that problem.

POS Software

First thing to do is check the supported hardware that your POS software recommends. Some POS software companies only list required machine specifications, while others will specifically list machine manufacturers and model numbers.  So always check to see what the machine requirements are for your POS software first before you buy your POS hardware.  

pos system at grocery storeOperating System

We always recommend Windows 7 Professional and Windows POS Ready 7. We only sell POS computers that have Windows 7 Professional and Windows POS Ready 7. We do this because Windows 7 Professional has all of the components that many credit card processing software programs require to operate, and POS ready 7 is a PCI compliant operating system like Windows 7 is. 

If you are building a POS system yourself, we can’t stress enough how important Windows 7 Professional and POS Ready 7 are. Always be sure to check with your POS software vendor and credit card processing software vendor first before you purchase a POS computer.  Make sure the operating system installed on the POS computer you want to purchase is compatible with your POS and credit card processing software programs. 

CPU Speed

Most of the good entry level all-in-one POS computers have a minimum of an Intel Atom Dual Core 1.8GHz CPU.  The advantage of an Atom CPU is it’s low voltage, so your POS computer can be fanless, which eliminates the problem of fans being gunged up by grease or debris.  And an Atom CPU is energy efficient, so your total cost of ownership will be lower than a fanned machine with a Core 2 Duo CPU, for example. But a dual core Atom CPU is not the fastest CPU. Again, be sure to check the CPU requirements of your chosen POS software. Keep in mind that even if your POS software says that a 1.8GHz Atom CPU is fine...be sure that it is; ask yourself these questions:

1. Will this be the only POS computer I will have?
2. Do I plan to run a CCTV/security system on this machine as well?
3. Do I plan to have other system resource intensive software programs running at the same time as my POS software?
4. Do I plan to connect a caller ID box to the POS system for incoming orders?

If you answered, yes, to any of the questions above, then it is highly recommend that you get an all-in-one POS computer with a faster CPU. An Intel Atom dual core will more than likely not be sufficient for your needs.

One last mention about Atom CPU POS computers, stay away from the Atom single core 1.6GHz machines. These machines are not powerful enough to run multi applications. They are only useful as a client machine that runs only one program.

RAM Amount

We recommend that you have no less than 2G RAM. If you know you are going to be running system resource intensive applications, then we suggest getting 4G RAM.


You want to ensure your POS computer has the right amount of ports for the peripheral devices you plan to attach. POS computers come in many different port configurations, so always make sure you have the correct amount of USB and serial ports, for example.

Integrated Peripherals

Make sure that the all-in-one POS computer you plan to purchase has all of the optional peripheral devices you want. The most common optional peripheral devices are:

  • Magnetic stripe credit card reader (MSR) 
  • Rear 2 line VFD customer display 
  • Rear 8”, 10”, 12” or 15” second customer facing LCD monitor 
  • Integrated biometrics reader

The integrated biometric card reader and rear second displays larger than 10” are not offered by all manufacturers. If you see an all-in-one POS computer you like on POSCatch.com, please be sure to contact us directly if you have questions about the optional peripheral devices. We can let you know for sure if an optional peripheral item is available or not for the unit you are interested in.

And by the way, we are very thankful you decided to shop with us. You are the bomb!