Recommended Computer Configurations

The Computer and Network Services department recommends purchasing the newest computer technology that you can afford with your budget.  Buying the newest equipment possible will guarantee that you will get more use out of it before it becomes obsolete.  It will also continue to run the applications and services required by your library to serve your patrons.

All new computers will be ordered with the latest Microsoft operating system available via NY State Contract.  As of May 2014, Microsoft Windows 8.1 is the current operating system available.

The recommended OptiPlex computers, currently the model 9020, will work for Public Internet, PowerPAC, Circulation and Tech Services.

The computer listed here is the baseline

Most components listed can be upgraded to fit the specific needs of any library.  Consider upgrading things such as processor, system memory, hard drive space, CD and/or DVD burners and monitors.

This configuration is based on the current NY State Aggregate Buy contract with Dell and was arrived at by balancing cost, performance, quality of design and warranty, and technical support.

Prices of computers and components fluctuate quite frequently and prices drop often as newer technology comes on the market.  Software upgrades are frequent in some areas and yearly in others.  As soon as a recommendation like this is made, assume that something newer has already been released.OptiPlex 990 with Monitor

Circulation/Tech Services/Public Internet/PowerPAC Configuration

OptiPlex 9020 Desktop Intel Core i5-4590 (3.3GHz)
Operating System(s) Windows® 8.1 Professional 64-bit
Memory 8GB DDR3
Video Card Intel Integrated Graphics
Keyboard Dell KB212-B USB 104 Quiet Key
Mouse Dell MS111 USB Optical Mouse
Hard Drive 500GB SATA
Removable Media 8X DVD+/-RW w/ Roxio Creator & Cyberlink PowerDVD
Audio Solutions Integrated Digital Audio
Network Adapters (NICs) Intel® 10/100/1000 Gigabit Ethernet
Speakers * Dell Stereo USB Soundbar AC511
Monitor ** Dell P2214H 22″ Widescreen
Hardware Support Services 5 Year Limited Warranty plus 5 year NBD On-Site service
Parallel Port Adapter *** Parallel Port Adapter ($26.70)
 
Price $763.04

* The base configuration includes an AC511 USB Soundbar.  The Dell AC511 Soundbar is recommended for Circulation and Tech Services computers and, while not required, for Public Internet computers.  Removing the Sound Bar will reduce the price of the computer by $14.00.

** The CNS department recommends the 22″ Widescreen Flat Panel Monitor.  Other sizes are available, some for a price savings while others are more expensive.  Touchscreen monitors are available for any computer with Windows 8.1 or higher.

*** A Parallel Port Adapter is being added to computers for backward compatibility with receipt printers on Circulation and Tech Services computers. For ease of ordering, we are including it on all desktop computers. This may not always be a requirement for purchase on desktop computers as parallel port receipt printers continue to phase out in favor of USB printers.

Dell Computer Case

The above configuration uses Dell’s Small Form Factor case.  The OptiPlex 9020 is also available in Minitower and Ultra Small Form Factor with prices varying.  Depending on the location or specific task, one of these cases may be a better option.

Upgrade/Downgrade Options

As mentioned in the notes above, there are several options available with the OptiPlex 9020 that either increase or decrease the price depending on the requirements of the library.

Price Savings

Previously, the CNS department has posted downgrade options for monitors but feel that there is a benefit to purchasing new monitors with the computer systems.  Windows 8.1 takes advantage of widescreen monitors, especially for the Start screen. Monitors ordered with computers are covered by the 5 year warranty.  On a case-by-case basis we may offer to remove a monitor from a desktop if a library has a newly purchased widescreen monitor that will work with the new OptiPlex 9020 hardware.

Price Additions

Hard Drive (price addition: $46 – $312)
For Public Internet, PowerPAC and other computers, the 500GB hard drive should be sufficient.  For staff computers that need additional storage space Dell offers a 1TB hard drive for an additional $46.37. Dell also now offers Solid State Drives in 128GB and 256GB sizes for $156.87 and $312.87 respectively.
Video Card (price addition: $70 – $169)
The video card included in the base configuration of the OptiPlex 9020 will work well for staff and public computers.  If there is a need to build a high-end graphics workstation there are two types of AMD Radeon cards available along with an nVIDIA GeForce GTX 745 card on the top end at $169.10.
Monitor (price addition: various)
As mentioned above, the base configuration includes a 22″ Widescreen monitor.  It’s possible to increase the size of the monitor to 23″ or 24″ widescreens.  A 23″ widescreen touch enabled monitor is available for $308.
Processor (price addition: various)
Intel’s Core i5-4590 processor included with this configuration is the entry level processor.  Upgrading the processor will add speed to the system and increase the life expectancy of the computer as it will be able to adapt to newer applications.  Prices range from $128 to $140 to upgarde to a faster i5 processor or move to an i7-4790.
Memory (price addition: various)
Adding memory, as with the processor, will increase speed of the computer and add to the end user experience.  Currently, 8GB is the base level for Windows 8.1 on the OptiPlex desktops. Doubling the memory to 16GB would add $136 to the cost while quadrupling it to 32GB would add $456.

Security Software

With the move to Microsoft Windows 7, Public and PowerPac computers have been using the Faronics Deep Freeze disk protection software. That software continues to be the go-to package for Windows 8.1 and future releases.

When we first moved from the free Microsoft SteadyState software on Windows XP, we were recommending two packages from Faronics; WINSelect and Deep Freeze.  WINSelect uses policies to keep patrons from making changes to the configuration of Windows, including but not limited to, changing the default homepage in Internet Explorer, adding a desktop background image or deleting printers.

Deep Freeze locks the hard drive and eliminates any changes made to the computer the next time it’s rebooted.  This offers protection against virus, malware and adware applications and undoes any changes that a patron may make that isn’t disallowed by Policies.

The CNS department found that the policy settings applied by WINSelect can be duplicated in Windows without the cost of a third party software package.  As of 2012, policies to deter patrons changing settings in Windows are applied using a Microsoft tool and the purchase of WINSelect is no longer required.

Deep Freeze is still required with all public and PowerPac comptuers

Minimum PowerPAC Configuration

Included below is what FLLS considers to be the minimum computer configuration which will display the PowerPac catalog correctly and provide an acceptable patron experience.

If you have computers at or below this minimum you should consider replacing them.

Two items of note;

  • FLLS no longer supports Microsoft Windows XP or previous operating systems nor Internet Explorer 8.0 or older.
  • In most cases the minimum configuration is hardware that is not currently available at retail.  This configuration is given as a comparison for computer systems you already have in your libraries or if equipment is being offered as a donation.
Intel Core i3 2120 (3.3GHz)
2GB RAM
100GB Hard Drive
DVD Player
Integraged HD Graphics
17” Flat Panel
10/100/1000 Network Interface Card (NIC)
Sound Card *
Mouse
Keyboard
Speakers *
Windows 7
Symantec AntiVirus

* Sound cards and speakers are not required for PowerPAC or LibData Reservation computers.

Computers being donated to a library should meet or exceed these criteria.  If they do not, FLLS recommends not accepting them.

It’s also preferred that all computers, donated or purchased, should come with software installation disks for the operating system (Microsoft Windows) and any other applications included on the computer when it was shipped from the factory.  Having the installation disks generally means that the software is properly licensed.  If disks that include software drivers for the installed hardware are also available it would be an added benefit.

Additional Computer Types

The NY State Aggregate Buy contract that Dell has with New York State includes laptop and All-in-One computers.

Laptops

Laptops have been offered with the annual bulk computer purchase program and we will provide quotes anytime a library has a use for a laptop computer.  The configurations and pricing fluctuate more frequently on laptops so a recommended configuration has not been included on this page.  As with the desktops, the CNS department always recommends purchasing the best hardware for your budget.

All-in-One

Starting in 2014, Dell offered All-in-One computers as part of the Aggregate Buy contract.  The model numbers are similar to the desktops and have similar processors, memory and hard drive options available to them. The main difference is that the computer is housed in the back of the monitor and is not a separate piece of equipment.  The monitor is a standard 23″ widescreen but a touch enabled version is available. The All-in-One computers have a smaller footprint than the desktop/monitor configurations, use fewer cables and can be a good solution for a library with limited space.  As long as Dell offers the All-in-One computers on the Aggregate Buy contract, they will be offered on the bulk purchase order form.

Tablets

Beginning in 2015, the CNS department will offer recommendations on tablet computers. While Dell offers Microsoft Windows tablets, none are currently available on the Aggregate Buy contract.  Recommendations for iPad models and Android-based tablets will also be made on request. The CNS department plans to offer tablets as part of the annual bulk purchase program.