Desktop Computing Recommendations for Penn:
|Recommended Minimum Configurations for New Desktop Systems|
|Hardware||Processor||Core 2 Duo (any)
or Core i5 (any)
or Core i7 (any)
or Athlon X2 (any)1
|Core 2 Duo (any)
or Core i5 (any)
or Core i7 (any)1
|Memory (RAM)||4.0 GB||4.0 GB|
|Hard Disk||250 GB2||250 GB2|
|Display & Graphics||19-inch LCD3
discrete video card
NVIDIA integrated graphics
or discrete video card
|Sound||Built-in audio & speaker||Built-in audio & speakers|
80% efficient power supply
80% efficient power supply
|10/100/1000BaseT Ethernet||10/100/1000BaseT Ethernet|
|Recommended Operating System||Windows 74
see important notes below
|Mac OS 10.6.x5|
|Support Period||Until July, 2014||Until July, 2014|
|Estimated Price||$1,100 to $1,3506||$1,150 to $2,1006|
In response to what is often rapid technological change, ISC's Performance Desktop Purchasing Guide offers quarterly purchase recommendations for new systems that meet or exceed these specifications.
The remainder of this document is divided into several sections:
Penn's administrative systems desktop requirements are consistent with the recommendations for general purpose systems specified above, with exceptions for BEN Financials and the University's budget planning applications (Oracle EPM/Hyperion). In general, ISC is comfortable with Windows 7 as the operating system of choice for administrative systems.
Windows Vista Service Pack 2 and Windows XP Service Pack 3 are currently the only versions of Windows certified by Oracle, and Firefox version 3.x and Internet Explorer version 7 are the only browsers certified to work with Oracle. BEN Financials functions as expected using Firefox 3.x under Windows 7, however, and ISC expects this combination to be certified in calendar 2010.
Currently, all Macintosh users are able to access/view/markup invoice images in native Mac OS.
Users of Macintoshes running Mac OS 10.5.x and Mac OS 10.6.x can use Apple's Boot Camp technology to run all BEN applications by booting into Windows 7, Windows Vista Service Pack 2, or Windows XP Professional Service Pack 3 and using Firefox 3.x (or Internet Explorer 7 under Vista SP2 or XP SP3). Although a Macintosh running VMware Fusion or other virtualization software with an appropriately configured Windows environment can also run the BEN applications, such virtualization products are not certified by Oracle.
Windows Vista Service Pack 2 and Windows XP Service Pack 3 are currently the only versions of Windows certified by Oracle, and Internet Explorer 7 is the only browser certified to work with Oracle EPM/Hyperion. ISC expects Internet Explorer 8 to be certified some time in calendar 2010. Previous versions of Firefox 3.x (3.0.x and 3.5.x) were functional, but Firefox 3.6.x currently does not function. As of July 2010, Windows 7 users can use either older versions of Firefox 3.x or Internet Explorer 7 under Windows 7's XP Mode.
Previous versions of Firefox 3.x (3.0.x and 3.5.x) were functional, but Firefox 3.6.x currently does not function. As of July 2010, Mac OS users can use older versions of Firefox 3.x.
Several distinct categories of notebook systems are available, each designed to suit the needs of a particular class of users. Given the physical conditions to which they are often subjected, notebook systems generally have a shorter useful life than desktop systems (typically three years or less). Therefore, ISC continues to provide support for three years for major brands of notebook systems that meet or exceed the 2009-2010 recommendations.
The current Notebook Purchasing Guide can help you determine which combination of features and capability will best serve your needs.
For computers with warranties of less than three years, ISC strongly recommends purchase of extended warranties where departments are not prepared to make repairs themselves, especially beyond the first year or two of a computer's useful life.
Manufacturers such as Dell now offer four year warranties, up from the fairly standard three years. If a system is going to be in use for the full four year life cycle, these warranties (which typically add about $80 to the overall cost) are often appropriate, though support providers should expect the rate of system failure in the fourth year to be higher than that in the first three years.
One other option is to self-insure for the fourth year — that is, take the additional $80 per system that would otherwise be spent on extending the warranty and put that in a fund to fix or replace systems that fail during the fourth year of service.
Operating System Support
While ISC generally expects support for recommended operating systems to persist through the four year life cycle of the desktop recommendations, that may not always be possible.
Note that Windows XP Service Pack 3 and Mac OS 10.4.x will face retirement within this current four year life cycle. Please refer to the Windows Operating System Life Cycles and Mac OS Operating System Life Cycles charts for long-term guidance on the University's supported operating systems.
Low-Cost PCs Not Recommended
Price reductions resulting from market competition and continued technical innovation make definition of "Low-Cost PCs" a moving target. It is generally true, however, that computers priced in the bottom 40% of the current range compromise some combination of performance, reliability, compatibility, expandability, and warranty period to achieve the lowest possible costs.
Bearing in mind that you get what you pay for, and that the total costs of ownership associated with supporting any desktop system typically far outweigh the actual purchase price, ISC does not recommend that "Low-Cost PCs" be purchased for general use.
The Value Desktop Purchasing Guide offers recommendations for competitively priced systems that are compatible with Penn's computing environment and are widely supported on campus.
The Computer Connection offers Apple and Dell configurations that match the recommendations discussed above.
ISC provides information on supported computing products.
All desktop systems should have important data backed up and be virus-free. Additional security information from the Office of Information Seurity can be found here.
The Office of Environmental Health and Radiation Safety provides information on computer ergonomics.
If your School, department, or Center is considering major changes or investments, ISC strongly recommends a consultation to weigh the pros and cons in today's rapidly changing environment (contact John Mulhern III in ISC, firstname.lastname@example.org; x3-3567).
Information Systems and Computing
University of Pennsylvania
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