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Hardware Thread, Recommendations for new teacher workstations x30 32 or 64bit windows 7 for sims etc in Technical; Looking for a recomendation for new teacher workstations we use promethean whiteboards sims office 2003 (for now until we get ...
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    round2it's Avatar
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    Recommendations for new teacher workstations x30 32 or 64bit windows 7 for sims etc

    Looking for a recomendation for new teacher workstations
    we use promethean whiteboards
    sims
    office 2003 (for now until we get licencing sorted)

    what processor should we be looking for (7 years since we got the last lot and I have not kept up with processor standards)


    Windows 7 32 or 64 bit

    wanting reliable kit and fairley quiet

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    cromertech's Avatar
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    The only consideration here really, is do you want more than 4 gig memory. If you want 4 gig or more then 64 bit is a must, otherwise 32bit will be fine.

    The next thing is office (when you upgrade), don't put the 64bit version on unless you have users using huge spreadsheets. There is no gain to a normal user and you may find that you get limited functionality as most add-ons will not work on 64bit office

    edit: sorry missed the processor bit. Any modern processor will be fine we have machine in use here with amd athlonX2 and some intel dual core. If you want something quiet and kind to the budget go for AMD Athlons or above, otherwise intel's i3/i5 series cost a little more generally but any modern processor fan is quiet even the stock ones
    Last edited by cromertech; 27th April 2012 at 09:25 AM.

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    sparkeh's Avatar
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    64bit across the site here without any issues.
    +1 for the 32bit version of Office, MS only recommend the 64bit version for specific purposes.

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    round2it (27th April 2012)

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    JonThompson's Avatar
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    For processors you want to be looking for at least an Intel i5, and at least 4GB RAM. As for x86 vs. x64, we have moved to x64 (bar a few machines) and SIMS and Discover both work fine (We are using Office 2010 Pro Plus x64). The only issues we found were with some old Science software (Testbase, and Quizdom). Testbase was sorted by buying a new online version. Quizdom is NOT x64 bit compatible and they don’t have plans to make it x64 bit compatible.

    The machines we purchased last year were HP Compaq 6200 Pro Microtowers, which we sourced through a local company. These have so far proved to be reliable and they don’t give off a lot of noise. In fact one is sitting next to me as I type this, and I can't hear it!

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    round2it (27th April 2012)

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    Quote Originally Posted by JonThompson View Post
    For processors you want to be looking for at least an Intel i5, and at least 4GB RAM. As for x86 vs. x64, we have moved to x64 (bar a few machines) and SIMS and Discover both work fine (We are using Office 2010 Pro Plus x64). The only issues we found were with some old Science software (Testbase, and Quizdom). Testbase was sorted by buying a new online version. Quizdom is NOT x64 bit compatible and they donít have plans to make it x64 bit compatible.

    The machines we purchased last year were HP Compaq 6200 Pro Microtowers, which we sourced through a local company. These have so far proved to be reliable and they donít give off a lot of noise. In fact one is sitting next to me as I type this, and I can't hear it!
    How much were you paying for those?!

    I think we're going to stick with x86 this year as it's first year of migration to 7 and I don't want any unexpected headaches from 64-bit driver \ software support. All our machines are 2GB RAM so no loss there...
    Last edited by gshaw; 27th April 2012 at 09:33 AM.

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    round2it's Avatar
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    anybody had any other problems with software like the activstudio 2 and the drivers etc

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    JonThompson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gshaw View Post
    How much were you paying for those?!

    I think we're going to stick with x86 this year as it's first year of migration to 7 and I don't want any unexpected headaches from 64-bit driver \ software support. All our machines are 2GB RAM so no loss there...
    We paid £534 pounds for each unit excluding VAT, and that included the fitting of a 1GB Radeon 5450 graphics card.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JonThompson View Post
    For processors you want to be looking for at least an Intel i5, and at least 4GB RAM.
    Why? Surely this is dependant on the situation and budget - we've not found a single instance for teacher PC duties where we need "!at least an i5", and we are heavily IT based. Pre-built i5 stuff tends to be far more expensive. i3 processors are more than up to the job for most tasks in a school (SIMS, graphics work etc). We're running Conroe and Wolfdale Core 2 stuff, which is absolutely fine. Totally agree on RAM though, and SSDs will give a massive boost if budget permits.

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    FN-GM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by round2it View Post
    anybody had any other problems with software like the activstudio 2 and the drivers etc
    You will need to upgrade to ActivInspire

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    Quote Originally Posted by 3s-gtech View Post
    Why? Surely this is dependant on the situation and budget - we've not found a single instance for teacher PC duties where we need "!at least an i5", and we are heavily IT based. Pre-built i5 stuff tends to be far more expensive. i3 processors are more than up to the job for most tasks in a school (SIMS, graphics work etc). We're running Conroe and Wolfdale Core 2 stuff, which is absolutely fine. Totally agree on RAM though, and SSDs will give a massive boost if budget permits.
    Couldn't agree more - we have 1 i3 workstation in reception, a couple of Pentium G620s (based on i3 etc) and the rest 50/50 split between Core 2 (conroe and wolfdale) and Pentium 4. The wolfdales are still way OTT for teacher workstations, especially the DC7900s we have with E8400 CPUs which are still beasts and can be picked up for buttons.

    Obviously if going brand new though, you're looking at the latest CPU range and i3 I still think would be more than needed now, and more than capable in time to come.

    Get as much RAM as possible - DDR3 is cheaper than water (well not quite, but feels like it!) with 4GB DDR3 sticks available for £12 now, so may as well go for 8GB in the workstations simply because there is barely a budget increase and they'll be monsters when at 64bit!

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    Quote Originally Posted by FN-GM View Post
    You will need to upgrade to ActivInspire
    Mind you if you do it before september it will be free if you have an existing serial number from activstudio or activprimary

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    Quote Originally Posted by 3s-gtech View Post
    Why? Surely this is dependant on the situation and budget - we've not found a single instance for teacher PC duties where we need "!at least an i5", and we are heavily IT based. Pre-built i5 stuff tends to be far more expensive. i3 processors are more than up to the job for most tasks in a school (SIMS, graphics work etc). We're running Conroe and Wolfdale Core 2 stuff, which is absolutely fine. Totally agree on RAM though, and SSDs will give a massive boost if budget permits.
    We went for an i5 because we need the PC's to last at least 5 years, we wanted the extra power, and especially as we are heading towards BSF. The PCs are scattered throughtout College, in both Admin and Curriculum areas, so they do get well used and abused.

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    Right after speaking to promethean they say that i can upgrade for free but i need the activstudio2 licence number

    we have 8 copies left so that would cover 16 machines as one licence =2 activ inspire installs

    i have 28 boards though and threw the discs out about 7 years ago as activ studio 2 han no restrictions.


    does anyone have any old copies of activ studio 2 they might want to donate

    what sort of checking does activ inspire do to validate itself?

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    SYNACK's Avatar
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    We go i5 just for long term viability and importantly vPro support.

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    sonofsanta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JonThompson View Post
    For processors you want to be looking for at least an Intel i5, and at least 4GB RAM. As for x86 vs. x64, we have moved to x64 (bar a few machines) and SIMS and Discover both work fine (We are using Office 2010 Pro Plus x64). The only issues we found were with some old Science software (Testbase, and Quizdom). Testbase was sorted by buying a new online version. Quizdom is NOT x64 bit compatible and they don’t have plans to make it x64 bit compatible.

    The machines we purchased last year were HP Compaq 6200 Pro Microtowers, which we sourced through a local company. These have so far proved to be reliable and they don’t give off a lot of noise. In fact one is sitting next to me as I type this, and I can't hear it!
    Given that i5s are about 50% more than i3s I'd be interested to know how you justify the extra expenditure. I'd rather get new i3s each year and if anywhere needs better performance, they get the new kit and the existing stuff is moved around. ignore me, this is why i shouldn't hit "Reply with Quote" before I finish a thread...

    RE: 32/64 - any processor you get now will do either, it's just a choice of OS. And given that, for Windws 7, for a driver to be signed by MS it's required to be submitted as 32 and 64 bit, you may as well go 64 bit. Going 32 bit just limits your RAM down the line.

    The only caveat is that you're best off keeping everything consistent across your site - if you're already running on 32 bit Win7, keep with it, otherwise maintaining shortcuts and software will become a nightmare.

    SECOND EDIT: I should also check post dates before considering whether anything I say is even remotely relevant anymore.

    Roll on the weekend...
    Last edited by sonofsanta; 27th April 2012 at 01:37 PM.

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