Appendix 8: Microcomputer Standards for Faculty, Administration and Academic Staff and Student Labs April 2002

The TLTR committee recognizes that the following standards have been established as a guideline for replacement planning of existing facilities and the acquisition of new computer technology. These guidelines are reviewed and revised each spring. This document is written for faculty in academic departments as well as staff and administrators on campus.

Rationale

The reason for defining a set of standards is so that:

  • faculty and departmental decision-makers can compare their current systems
    and purchase requests with these minimum and recommended standards;
  • with the limited support staff, we can define a set of software and
    hardware that can be fully supported by University technical personnel;
  • faculty, staff and students know that if they use the standard software and
    hardware that they will get full technical support.

There are two hardware standards defined below.

One hardware standard, the "Recommended Hardware Configuration Standard for New Acquisitions", identifies a typical configuration for a faculty, staff or administrator who would be buying a new system. The specified configuration is capable of executing the standard application software with relative ease even with the anticipated new releases of the software. The expected useful life of these units is generally three to four years based on an acceptable level of performance to run the standard applications.

The second hardware standard, identified as the "Minimum Hardware Configuration for Running Standard Applications" specifies the minimum configuration of hardware that is needed to run the standard applications. The standard defines what is needed in terms of processor speed, amount of memory needed, capacity of the disk drive and the need for any other peripherals such as a CD disk drive. As a general rule, when newer versions of the software are released, the newer version requires more computer resources. Quite often, a user sees the new software release and would like to use it, but since the new release requires more computer resources than what's available on the user's system, the user is forced to continue to use the old version of the software until a new unit can be purchased. So, this minimum configuration that is specified here is what is required in order to run all of the earliest versions of the standard software that is still supported by University personnel.

The recommendation of these standards should be considered a guideline for departments when evaluating and acquiring computer systems. In the evaluation process, it is important to consider the total cost of ownership for the system. This includes not only the purchase price of the unit, but the on-going support costs, too. In developing these recommendations, the total cost of ownership was a major component in the consideration.

Support for the hardware and software being used on campus is provided with limited staff. These standards help define the minimum hardware that is needed to adequately run the basic set of application software. If someone is using other software, additional workstation resources may be needed. For example, a system running voice recognition software will require additional memory and a faster processor. For this information, it is best to check the recommended minimum resources needed to adequately run the specific application. By defining the standards for hardware and software, the University will make every effort to provide adequate support for the products by:

  • assisting in the installation of the hardware and software,
  • trouble-shooting and diagnosing problems via the HelpDesk and other staff,
  • connecting workstations and other facilities to the campus network,
  • and consulting with departments interested in acquiring the hardware and software.

Hardware

Recommended Hardware Configuration Standard for New Acquisitions

The minimum configuration that should be specified for new acquisitions is:

Recommended for Windows-based Desktop Workstation

Pentium IV or Celeron processor, 1.5 Ghz processor speed, 256 Mb RAM memory, 20.0 Gb hard drive, DVD, CDROM, CDRW (read/write), Combodrive or Superdrive disk drive, zip drive (250), 17" color monitor, Ethernet network connection, sound card with speakers, Windows 2000 or Windows XP(w/SP1) operating system

Recommended Windows-based Laptop Workstation

Pentium III or Celeron processor, 1.0 Ghz processor speed, 256 Mb RAM memory, 20.0 Gb or greater hard drive, DVD, CDROM, CDRW or Combodrive disk drive, zip drive (250), Ethernet network connection, 56k modem, 12.1" active screen, Windows 2000 or Windows XP (w/SP1) operating system

Recommended Macintosh Desktop System

G3 or G4 processor, 500 Mhz processor speed, 256 Mb RAM memory, 20.0 Gb hard drive, CDROM, DVD, CDRW (read/write), Combodrive or Superdrive disk drive, 17" color monitor, Ethernet network connection, zip drive (250), 2 USB ports, Mac OS 9.x and/or 10.x or higher

Recommended Macintosh Laptop System

G3 or G4 processor, 500 Mhz processor speed, 256 Mb RAM memory, 10 Gb or greater hard drive, DVD, CDROM, CDRW or Combodrive disk drive, zip drive (250), Ethernet network connection, 56K modem, 12.1" active screen, Mac OS 9.x and/or 10.x or higher

The University supported microcomputer hardware for desktop models includes equipment from Compaq (corporate models), Gateway (corporate models) and Apple. The supported models for laptops include equipment from IBM, Compaq, Gateway and Apple. These brands have been selected on the basis of product quality, price, ease of repair, system reliability/performance and total cost of ownership of the products currently on campus.

Minimum Hardware Configuration for Running Standard Applications

The minimum standard that is considered effective in running the standard application software is:

Minimum Windows-based Desktop Workstation

Pentium II processor; 450 Mhz processor speed, 128 Mb RAM memory, 4.0 Gb hard drive, 15" color monitor, CDROM disk drive, 3.5" floppy drive, Ethernet network connection, Windows 98 (2nd Ed.) operating system

Minimum Windows-based Laptop Workstation

Pentium II processor, 233 Mhz processor speed, 128 Mb RAM memory, 2.0 Gb hard drive, 12.1" screen or larger, CDROM disk drive, 3.5" floppy drive, modem/Ethernet network connection, Windows 98 (2nd Ed.) operating system

Minimum Macintosh Desktop System

G3 processor, 233 Mhz processor speed, 128 Mb RAM memory, 6.0 Gb hard drive, 15" color monitor, CDROM disk drive, 3.5" floppy drive, Ethernet network connection, Mac OS 8.6 operating system

Minimum Macintosh Laptop System

G3 processor, 233 Mhz processor speed, 128 Mb RAM memory, 6.0 Gb hard drive, 12.1" screen or larger, CDROM disk drive, 3.5" floppy drive, modem/Ethernet network connection, Mac OS 8.6 operating system

If an employee has a system that is at or below this defined minimum standard, it is recommended that a replacement for that system be included in an acquisition plan within the next few months or next equipment funding cycle. It is important to use a computer that is at or above the minimum configuration so that as new releases of software are available, users can take advantage of the new software. More importantly, though, as new versions of software are adopted as standard, older versions become incompatible with the newer versions and ultimately get dropped from the vendor's list of supported products. In order to receive product support from campus technical staff and/or the vendor supplying the product, it is important to use relatively current hardware and software. Faculty may also have other academic or instructional software that requires resources beyond the recommended configuration which may justify additional system resources.

Printers

Various types of printers are available for use with microcomputers. For standalone computer systems, no specific recommendation is suggested. For printers that will be networked to the campus environment, standards are being recommended so that the printer fits with the network and the UniPrint solution. UniPrint is the software used for tracking and charging the printing that is used in the open labs and other locations around campus. One of the printer requirements is that it must support Printer Control Language (PCL 5.0).

Users evaluate the demand to be placed on a printer and purchase the size printer needed to meet the demand. The minimum unit that should be purchased for a computer lab is the HP-4100N with a built in network card. The standard, though, suggests that for inkjet-type printers, Hewlett-Packard(HP) or Epson models should be purchased. Hewlett-Packard(HP) is the only brand that is recommended for laser printers.

Software

The list of standard software is intended to identify software for word processing, web browsing, e-mail and other common applications and has a large user-base on campus. The purpose of defining a standard set of software is to identify to users what products are commonly used on campus and are supported by the technical staff at the HelpDesk and open computer labs.

The University has acquired a site license or limited site license on some software products. These licenses and information on how to obtain a copy of the software is available in an on-line document located at http://www.stcloudstate.edu/ctus/online/sitelice.html. This document also identified other software that is commonly used on campus and what procedure to follow in obtaining a copy.

Faculty may have other instructional software that requires additional resources and support, but that is beyond the scope of this set of guidelines. In addition to the standard set of software, administrative staff have software for processing applications related to accounting, payroll, records and registration and others.

The following software is considered standard application software for desktop and laptop systems. The list identifies the latest version and the earliest version of the specific products that are supported. For example, although Netscape 6.x is available, the list identifies that support will continue to be provided to users who are still using version 4.0, but not versions prior to 4.0. This allows users to remain using an older version of the software for whatever reasons, but also encourage users to remain relatively current. Before purchasing the latest version of software, the user should ensure that the hardware being used will support the recommended software.

Operating System

Macintosh 8.6 or higher (latest version: for OS 9.x , 9.2.2; for OS 10.x, 10.1.3)
Windows 2nd Edition(SE), Windows 2000, Windows NT, Windows XP

Suite Software:

Microsoft Campus Agreement products:
MS Office 2000/XP Professional: Word, Excel, Access, PowerPoint, Publisher, Outlook (Windows)
MS Office Macintosh Edition (Office 98/2001/X): Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OutlookExpress/Entourage
MS Visual Studio Professional Edition: Visual Basic, C++, J++, FoxPro, InterDev
MS FrontPage (Windows)
MS Office Step by Step Interactive (by Microsoft Press)
AppleWorks (6.12 on OS 9.x; 6.2 on OS 10.1 or higher) (Macintosh)
Corel WordPerfect Office 2000 9.0: WordPerfect 9.0, QuatroPro 9.0, Presentation 9.0 (Windows)
WordPerfect 8.0 or higher (latest version: 2002)

Web Browser (Windows or Macintosh):

Netscape 4.x or later (latest version: 6.21(Windows); 6.21, but not 6.0(Macintosh)
MS Internet Explorer 5.01 or later (latest version: 6.0 (Windows); 5.01 (Macintosh-pre OS X); 5.1 (Macintosh-OS X))

Virus Protection:

Norton Anti-virus 7.6 Corporate edition or later (Windows)1
Norton Anti-virus 2001 (Macintosh)1

E-mail Client (Windows or Macintosh):

Recommended:
Microsoft Outlook 2000 (Windows); Microsoft Outlook 2001 (Mac)
Outlook Web Access
Pop-mail only:
Eudora or later (latest version: 5.1)
MS Outlook Express version: 5.0.3(Windows); 5.0.3 (Macintosh)
Entourage 10 (w/OS 10.x) or 2002
Limited support:
Netscape Messenger version: 6.0(Windows); 6.0(Macintosh)

HTML Editor:

DreamWeaver version: 4.0(Windows); 4.0(Macintosh)
FrontPage version: 2002 and 2000 (Windows) 1
Netscape Composer version: 6.0 (Windows); 6.0 (Macintosh)

Conversion Software:

Windows: DataViz Conversion Plus version 6.0
Macintosh: DataViz MacLink Plus Deluxe version 13.0

File Transfer Client:

WS-FTP (Windows) (latest version: 6.6)
Fetch (Macintosh) (latest version: 4.01)

Telnet Client:

TeraTerm (Windows) (latest version: 2.3)
BetterTelnet (Macintosh) (latest version: 2.0FC1)

Compression Software:

Easy-Zip 2000, version 3.5
WIN-ZIP (Windows) (latest version: 8.x)
Zip-It (latest version 1.4)
Stuff-It(w/Drop-Stuff) (Macintosh) (latest version: 6.5)
Drop-Stuff (Macintosh) (latest version: 6.x)

Utilities:

Acrobat 5.0 or latest (latest: 5.0)

1 St. Cloud State University currently has a campus-wide license for 2600 copies of the Norton Anti-virus, corporate edition, software. Individuals interested in obtaining the software should contact either the academic HelpDesk, MC-B43, phone: 255-2077, or the CIS HelpDesk, CH-37, phone: 654-5510.