Request for comments - Minimum hardware specs

Published March 17, 2009 by morne

The following’s a pre-draft of some proposed standardized hardware for use on campus. It’s basically what we support now with some added info. We don’t yet have anything like this cast in stone. The post is just to get some internal comments before going to draft stage. So, please comment so that there’s a basis for setting and/or modifying this…

The University of Zululand, through its ICT department, is in the process of standardizing hardware on campus. This is required to improve and streamline the deployment and support of desktop and laptop PCs. Having a standard specification allows for imaging new PCs with standard operating system and applications in 1-2 hours per standard machine compared to 2-3 days for a custom installation on non-standard hardware.

Please note that the University of Zululand currently only supports Windows XP Professional as standard operating system for PCs and laptops as used on the University’s network infrastructure.

This operating system has been selected as standard due to the following reasons:

Windows XP Home edition is a streamlined version of Windows XP Professional with reduced security and networking capabilities that will impact how the PC or laptop behaves on a corporate network as on the University campus.

Windows Vista versions have compatibility issues with a number of standard applications as utilized on campus. These include Office suites, Anti-virus products, network clients, productivity suites, web services such as ITS, programming languages and many as-yet undiscovered packages. It has to be noted that many companies throughout the world have opted to “downgrade” from Vista to XP specifically for the purpose of continuity and compatibility with the current large user base of XP-based software and services.

It must be noted the operating system may affect the make and/or model of laptops specifically as some laptops are sold as Vista-only products with no option or possibility to install Windows XP. ICT will only purchase and supply laptops that are available from suppliers who can guarantee the installation of Windows XP on said laptop or desktop computer.

Recommended Desktop Computer Configurations for 2008-2009

Specific models of PCs have been tested as compatible with the University of Zululand’s network infrastructure and services. The following makes and models are currently purchased centrally:

Hewlett Packard HP DX6120

Hewlett Packard HP DX7300

Hewlett Packard HP DX7400

Hewlett Packard HP DX2400

These specific models are purchased from a single preferred supplier as the University has an existing lease-purchase contract with said supplier. The University qualifies for a bulk discount prices per PC when purchasing batch quantities from said supplier.

The minimum recommendations for Windows PC computers on this site meet the hardware requirements of Microsoft’s Windows XP Professional operating system.

Desktop Configuration 2008-2009

Platform

Windows PC

CPU

Intel Core 2 Duo2GHz or higher

RAM

1 GB or higher

Hard Drive

160 GB or larger

Optical Drive

CD-RW/DVD±RW burner combo

Sound

Vendor default configuration, integrated on the PC motherboard

Graphic
Card

DirectX 9 capable, integrated on the PC motherboard

One free PCI-Express expansion slot internally for future expansion

Display

17-inch flat panel LCD

Network

Wired: 10/100 or 10/100/1000 Base-T wired Ethernet card, integrated on the PC motherboard

Wireless: 802.11g internal PCI card or external USB device

OS

All PCs used by staff and students must be pre-installed with Windows XP Professional.

Warranty

3-year parts & labor is highly recommended (an on-site warranty is recommended). This is included in centrally-purchased PCs

Recommended Laptop Computer Configurations for 2008-2009

The minimum recommendations for Windows PC computers on this site meet the hardware requirements of Microsoft’s Windows XP Professional operating system.

Laptop Configuration 2008-2009

Platform

Windows PC

CPU

Intel Core 2 Duo 1.6GHz or higher

RAM

1 GB or higher

Hard Drive

160 GB or larger

Optical Drive

CD-RW/DVD±RW burner combo

Sound

Vendor default configuration, integrated on motherboard

Graphic
Card

DirectX 9 capable, integrated on motherboard.

1x standard VGA out for connecting laptop to audio-visual data projector equipment

Display

Laptop displays should have a minimum resolution of 1024×768, but more importantly, the display should be comfortable to read and view. Laptop displays vary in size from about 12 inches up to 17 inches; however be aware that the larger the display, the more the computer weighs.

Laptops intended to primarily be used as a sometimes-portable Desktop PC should be purchased with a 15.4-inch screen as standard. Where possible non-widescreen displays are recommended to ensure comparable views between desktop and laptop displays. This is recommended as documents formatted on widescreen displays may appear different on standard displays. This is the standard that will apply to all centrally-purchased laptops.

Laptops with 14-inch screens are more suited to on-the-move users who will be accessing their laptops in confined spaces like airports or vehicles. Laptops with screens larger than 15.4-inches will require a separate motivation or will have to be purchased from the specific department’s own funds.

Network

Wired: 10/100 or 10/100/1000 Base-T wired Ethernet card, integrated on the motherboard

Wireless: 802.11g wireless, integrated on the motherboard

OS

All PCs used by staff and students must be pre-installed with Windows XP Professional.

Warranty

3-year parts and labor is highly recommended (an on-site warranty is recommended if funds permit)

General notes and disclaimers related to hardware

Please note that webcams, Bluetooth adapters and other connectivity solutions such as 3G modems or data cards are not supplied by ICT as these devices are not classified as essential for on-campus use as ICT supply wired or wireless connectivity as a service already.

Bluetooth connectivity is generally only used to connect cell phones to laptops for data transfer. While most current laptop models may include Bluetooth, ICT will not purchase laptops with non-standard specifications in order to ensure Bluetooth availability.

The cost of laptops with integrated webcams is significantly higher than purchasing a laptop and webcam separately. The quality and adaptability of integrated webcams are also inferior to separately-purchased webcams. Integrated webcams have a limited field of view and focusing capability while “stand-alone” webcams can be rotated or pointed in different directions than staring straight out of the screen at the person sitting directly in front of said screen. Staff members who require webcams will be required to purchase these devices from departmental funds.

Broadband connectivity solutions such as 3G or DSL lines will not be supplied by ICT. Staff members requiring internet or email access from mobile computers, i.e. laptops, away from University connectivity solutions should approach the Buying department’s Contracts sections to enquire into a 3G Data Access contract with one of the University’s cellular service providers. ICT will assist staff members in installing and configuring 3G solutions on laptops but all connectivity or service-related issues must be addressed to the cellular service provider for resolution.

ICT will not assist staff members with home DSL connectivity. All issues with these broadband connectivity solutions should be addressed to the service provider.

The University has a rental contract with Nashua for the supply of printers on campus. This agreement includes maintenance and the supply of toner. This is currently the preferred and only supplier. The purchase or rental of new or replacement printers is managed by the Buying department’s Contracts section. ICT will assist staff members in gaining connectivity to networked or stand-alone printers supplied by Nashua.

ICT is the University’s authorized Information Technology management body and all purchases of equipment intended to interface or connect to the University’s IT infrastructure and services must be cleared with ICT prior to purchasing or connecting to the University’s infrastructure.

ICT will where possible assist staff with recommendations on hardware where specialized equipment is to be purchased that does not meet current University hardware standards.

Filed under Uncategorized

Comments (0)

Comments RSS - Trackback - Write Comment

No comments yet

Write Comment