Desktop Computing Recommendations for Penn:
|Recommended Minimum Configurations for New Desktop Systems|
|Hardware||Processor||Intel Core i5 (any)
or Intel Core i7 (any)
or AMD Phenom II (any)1
|Intel Core i5 (any)
or Intel Core i7 (any)1
|Memory (RAM)||4.0 GB||4.0 GB|
|Hard Disk||320 GB2||320 GB2|
|Display & Graphics||19-inch or 20-inch LCD3
discrete video card
discrete video card
|Sound||Built-in audio & speaker||Built-in audio & speakers|
80% efficient power supply
hardware-based systems management technology
80% efficient power supply
|10/100/1000BaseT Ethernet||10/100/1000BaseT Ethernet|
|Recommended Operating System||Windows 7 SP14
see important notes below
|Mac OS 10.6.x5|
|Support Period||Until July, 2015||Until July, 2015|
|Estimated Price||$1,150 to $1,5506||$1,600 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 Service Pack 1 as the operating system of choice for administrative systems.
Windows 7 Service Pack 1, 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, Internet Explorer 7, and Internet Explorer 8 are the only browsers certified to work with Oracle.
Currently, all Macintosh users are able to access/view/markup invoice images in native Mac OS.
Macintosh users can use Apple's Boot Camp technology to run all BEN applications by booting into Windows 7 Service Pack 1, Windows Vista Service Pack 2, or Windows XP Service Pack 3 and using Firefox 3.x, Internet Explorer 7, or Internet Explorer 8. While it is possible for a Macintosh running VMware Fusion or other virtualization software with an appropriately configured Windows environment to run the BEN applications, such virtualization products are not certified by Oracle.
Windows 7 Service Pack 1, Windows Vista Service Pack 2, and Windows XP Service Pack 3 are currently the only versions of Windows certified by Oracle, while Internet Explorer 7 and Internet Explorer 8 are the only browsers certified to work with Oracle EPM/Hyperion. Firefox versions 3.0.x and 3.5.x were functional, but Firefox 3.6.x and 4.0.x currently do not function. Though the 64-bit versions of Windows are fully functional, 64-bit versions of Microsoft Office do not function with the SmartView add-in.
Firefox versions 3.0.x and 3.5.x were functional, but Firefox 3.6.x and 4.0.x currently do not function. As of July 2011, 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 provides support for three years for major brands of notebook systems that meet or exceed the 2010-2011 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 when 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 will be in use for the full four year life cycle, these warranties (which typically add about $70 to the overall cost) often are 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.
Another option is to self-insure for the fourth year — put the additional $70 per system that would otherwise be spent on warranty extension into 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 10.5.x will face retirement within this current four year life cycle, with Windows XP Service Pack 3 expected to retire at the end of Fiscal 2012. 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 Desktops Not Recommended
Price reductions resulting from market competition and continued technical innovation make definition of "Low-Cost Desktops" a moving target. It is generally true 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 since total costs of ownership associated with supporting any desktop system always far outweigh the actual purchase price, ISC does not recommend that "Low-Cost Desktops" be purchased for general use.
As an alternative, 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 applications, middleware, and operating systems.
All desktop systems should have important data backed up and be virus-free. Additional security information from the Office of Information Security 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, email@example.com; x3-3567).
Information Systems and Computing
University of Pennsylvania
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