Introduction wide-open design of a desktop PC tower

Introduction

iStar is a IT marketing
company that provides IT solutions for businesses. iStar makes IT solutions
easy by offering full white label solutions, mobile applications, websites,
complete brand customization, applications for small businesses and more.

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Hence, given a budget of up to S$200,000, this
proposal is made to provide recommendations on the type of software and
hardware the company and staff should be utilizing to maximise both their
effectiveness and efficiency. First, this proposal would compare the different
types of software or hardware and provide justifications on which type would be
deemed most reliable.

Hardware

Laptops vs Desktops

 

First, let us discuss between providing employees with
either a laptop or desktop. When deciding between a laptop and a desktop, there
are 3 key factors IStar should consider. That being Portability, Affordability
and Power.

In terms of portability, to state the
obvious, a laptop computer is the clear choice for workers who need to stay
productive when they are away from their workstations. Modern day laptops are
incredibly slim and can weigh less than 3 pounds. Therefore, in terms of
portability, a laptop is the clear winner and is most ideal for people who need
to take their work with them when they get up and go.

In terms of affordability, IStar should at least consider a desktop PC for this reason alone:
Desktop Pcs will provide better bang for their buck. Regardless of the price,
users will get a speedier computer if they do not mind being bound to their
workstations. Moreover, the extra power would allow for easier multitasking
sessions that would be less likely possible for a similarly priced laptop.

In terms of power, desktop
computers offer more power than laptops at the same price. Desktops can always
be purchased with a better processor and more RAM than a laptop at a similar
price. Moreover, desktops are also able to handle powerful dedicated graphics
cards, which provide a huge boost on tasks such as video editing. The wide-open
design of a desktop PC tower also allows systems to run nice and cool, even
during heavy multitasking, which is important as overheating can cause a
computer to run slow. This is also the main reason why laptop computers come with low-power processors designed to the device
cool as all the hardware are crammed into the laptop, however, this leads to a
lousier performance.   

Therefore, a desktop PC just
makes more sense for IStar. Despite desktops not being as portable as laptops
they provide more power for their money and would help them with daily tasks
such as creating documents, designing and running IDEs for their applications
than laptop computers. Moreover, as most workers would most of the time
stay put at their work stations to work on codes or documents, a desktop would
be a more ideal option.

 

My
Full Take on PC vs Laptop

However, when deciding between a
Desktop and Laptop, in the end, there would always be some drawbacks if we pick
on over the other. By picking a desktop, you give up on portability and by
picking a laptop, you give up on efficiency and power. However, what if the
employees are given the best of both worlds.

Computers

I would recommend IStar to get
both a PC and laptop for their workers. Although it may seem slightly absurd to
do so, it is 100% justifiable. By having both a laptop for portability and a
desktop for performance, employees would never have to give up on any of the
aspects while at the same time, still be able to perform their daily tasks.
Hence, by having a PC and a laptop at their workstation, employees can complete
slightly more intensive tasks such as html or video editing on their pcs and
whenever they need to go for meetings or complete certain documents at home,
they can always transfer their files to their laptop and bring it to wherever
they need. Hence, this way, employees would never have to give up portability
or performance. However, this comes the question: “Wouldn’t it be more
expensive then, why not just get a powerful laptop then?”

Let us view these four computers
(Refer to Appendix Fig 1.1), the
first two being the laptop and pc I have proposed to use and the last two being
high performance laptops. I have listed the more important specs of the
computer which includes the CPU, RAM, Graphics Card and Storage.

For the laptops, The Dell
Inspiron i3567 features a AMD Quad Core A9-9420 with a clock speed of 3.0 Ghz
while the razor blade features an Intel Core i7-7700HQ with a clock speed of
3.8Ghz, and the MacBook pro with dual core intel core i5 processor with a clock
speed of 2.9Ghz.  For the AfterShock Zeal
PC, it has an Intel Core i3-8100 Coffee Lake Quad Core Processor with a clock
speed of 3.60Ghz. With higher clock speeds, this means that the CPU will
complete tasks faster. Hence, as we can see, if the employees were to have the
Dell Inspiron as their personal laptop and an Aftershock Zeal as their
workstation desktops, not only would it still be cheaper at a total price of
$1427 compared to the two-high performance laptops, employees would also not be
giving up on any aspects in performance, whereby there is only at most a loss
of 0.20 Ghz.

Moreover, as the staff will only
be doing basic tasks on the computer such as photo/video editing as well as
running IDEs for applications and websites, 8Gb of RAM would be more than
enough to satisfy the tasks. Hence, although 16Gb of Ram would be a good
addition, it is not exactly needed and therefore, to maximise costs, 8Gb of Ram
would be sufficient, making the combination of the AfterShock Zeal and Dell
Inspiron more than enough to satisfy the employees daily tasks.

In terms of the graphics card, with
the GTX 1060 and 6Gb of VRAM on the Aftershock Zeal PC, employees would also be
able to perform any video-editing with ease due the dedicated graphics card. In
terms of the storage, all computers feature a 256 GB SSD, with the Aftershock
Zeal including a 1TB HDD. SSDs are important as it will determine how fast
users are able to access and transfer their data. Hence, we can see that even
by buying the higher end laptops, there is no actual improvement in performance
as all laptops have the same specs in terms of SSD. Moreover, the extra 1TB HDD
in the Aftershock Zeal can help employees store all files they have worked on
without having to store them in the SSD, where the operating system is installed.
This is especially effective as storing more files in the SSD where the operating
system is installed may ultimately slow down the computer. This hence, further
supports the idea of having both a laptop and pc as employees can also transfer
files from their laptop or SSD drive to the HDD drive of the PC to temporarily store
their documents and files to keep the storage space used in the SSD to a
minimum to maintain the laptop’s and PC’s performance. Lastly, among the three
laptops, they have about the same weight whereby the Dell Inspiron is 1.6kg,
Razor Blade is 1.86kg and the MacBook Pro being 1.37kg. Hence, there is not
much difference in the portability despite the dell Inspiron being a lot
cheaper, hence further solidifying the reliability of the dell inspiron when it
comes to portability.

Hence, the combination of the
Aftershock Zeal and Dell Inspiron i3567 is an ideal recommendation which IStar
can have as not only does this combination match or even beat the performance
of some high-performance laptops, it provides a more affordable option and at
the same time, provides the employees with the aspect of performance without
giving up portability.

Mobile Devices

For Mobile Devices, I would
recommend the Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus. Despite being on the pricier side, it is
worth it. It packs in a lot of power, a dazzling 6.2-inch QHD Super AMOLED
display and a top-notch camera. Moreover, as the management staff would usually
oversee important communications and data, we must ensure that the mobile
phones they use in the company must be of the highest security. For the Galaxy
S8 Plus, it features Samsung’s Knox security, which the firm says is just as
secure – if not more – as BlackBerry’s DTEK50 and Priv devices. (Refer to Appendix Fig 1.2 to View Mobile
Phone Specs)

For the Galaxy S8 Plus, management staff’s
main aim for this phone is to communicate with clients through phone calls or
messages, or as a convenient way to check for their emails, hence, a 64Gb
Storage Space would be more than enough for the staff to go by. This would help
keep costs low as it would help the company get a good compromise between the
price and storage space. For the RAM, by also taking in the consideration of
the management staff’s main aim when using these company phones, 6Gb of RAM
would be most sufficient, allowing the phone to be responsive and fast even
when multitasking between checking emails and communicating with clients.
However, the main reason why I believe the Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus should be the
most ideal phone is due to its security. This S8 Plus features Samsung’s Knox
security, which consists of
overlapping defence and security mechanisms which will help protect against
intrusion, malware, and malicious threats. This help ensures that important
conversations carried out by the management staff through text, calls, emails
along with important files stored within the phone are as secure as possible.

Enterprise
Servers

In the company, Servers
would require a relatively powerful computer as servers would be used by users
as web, file or even email servers. Moreover, these servers may also be used
for services such as DNS and DHCP. Therefore, when taking in these factors into
account, I will recommend the Dell Power Edge T30. (Refer to Appendix Fig 1.3 to view Server Specs)

The Dell
entry-level server comes in a tower case with room for upgrades. This server
comes with an Intel Xeon 3.3GHz Quad Core processor and 16GB of RAM. This would
allow the server to run better as compared to servers running typical i5 or i7
CPUs as they are able to handle heavier and more task-intensive loads. A faster processor would also help produce faster file
transfer speeds and allow operating systems to be able to run smoothly. For the
quad-core processor, it would come useful when during virtualisation as each
core can be put to work simultaneously on a given task. Hence, if the company decides to use VMWare to test certain
services, they can then run one or more virtualised operating systems so that
they can run multiple virtual servers from a single machine.  

 

However, although CPUs are important, the server’s RAM can be
more important as CPU processing cycles can be shared between workloads if
necessary, but memory space cannot. This means that a server will need enough
memory to hold every anticipated workload. Hence, with the Dell Power Edge T30
providing 16GB of RAM, it would help provide sufficient memory to host any
required services in the server. Moreover, as the RAM uses ECC (Error Checking & Correction) memory, it can detect
and correct single and multi-bit errors that could potentially crash a server
or corrupt data. 

The T30
comes with a 1TB hard drive but has space for up to four 3.5″ HDDs or six 2.5″
ones. This would help the company store their large projects to the server and
expand their storage space any time they need to. That also means it can
support up to RAID 5 if that’s a business need. The Four PCIe slots and six USB
3.0 ports will also come in useful for expansions. Lastly, the storage devices
are also hot-pluggable, hence, there is no need for the server to be shut down
when the storage devices are either remove or added into to the server.

Software

Computers OS

For the
Staff Computers, when purchasing the Aftershock Zeal and Dell Inspirion 13567,
it has come pre-installed with Windows 10 Pro, hence there is no need to
purchase any operating systems, helping the company reduce costs. However,
despite Windows 10 Pro being given free for the employees to use, it is not a
downgrade or a disadvantage for employees. When comparing Windows to the MacOS
and Linux, as macOS
and Linux are under the UNIX family, they are not entirely ideal for doing the
kind of work related to IStar. Also, by having Windows 10 Pro Over Windows 10,
users gain much more features such as managing computers joined to a domain or
even remotely access the computers even when the staff is at home. Also, when
it comes to security, the BitLocker feature in Windows 10 Pro would help
protect the important data of the company to prevent any important information
from being compromised by hackers. (Refer
to the appendix Fig2.1), you may view the comparison between features
Windows 10 Pro provides compared to the normal Windows 10 Home.

Computer Antivirus

IStar
is a business which offers full white
label solutions, mobile applications, websites, complete brand customization,
applications for small businesses, hence most of their work along with any
important data and files would be stored on the computer or on the servers.
Hence, IStar should invest in an antivirus to ensure that their data is
protected with the highest level of security to prevent their data from being
compromised. Below is a table of the three Antivirus I have shortlisted.

Antivirus

Avira Antivirus for
Endpoint

Avast Business Pro
Plus

Bitdefender
GravityZone Business Security

Price for 20
computers and 3 servers (3 years license)

$548.90

$735.77

$700

For these three antiviruses, they
all provide close to the same number of features. This includes, supporting
100-300 users at a time, an antivirus, baseline
network protection, web filtering and file server protection and optimisation,
along with application whitelisting and blacklisting. However, the features
that makes the Bitdefender Gravity Zone stand out is that features can be
managed from a central console to control and monitor the remote users, along
with being able to create and apply security policies according to the user or
even by their location. Hence, this can help restrict access to certain
websites and applications, block the transmission of sensitive information from
and to any unknown locations, remotely deploy the product to unprotected
systems, and even allow or deny users the ability to modify their security
settings. Hence, despite Bitdefender Gravity Zone not being the most affordable
among the three short listed antiviruses, the extra layer of security
Bitdefender Gravity Zone provides makes it the antivirus I would recommend to
the company.

Basic Work
Software on Computers

According
to IStar’s job scope, I have shortlisted the few basic software that IStar
would require,

Name of Software

Office 365 Business
Premium

Adobe Creative
Cloud

Visual Studio Code

UXPin

Price of
Subscription

S$12.50/month

S$104/month

Free

S$49/month

Total Price

$12.50 x 20 =
S$32.50

104 x 20 = S$2080

66.28 x 20 =
S$1325.60

Firstly,
by purchasing Office 365 Business Premium, it would provide all employees with a
business-class email with a 50gb mail box, allow HD Video Conferencing for communications
and also versions of Outlook, Word,
Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, plus Access and Publisher for writing of any needed
documents, PowerPoint slides or even any form of documents the employees are
required to do.

Next,
with Adobe Creative Cloud, employees will gain access to the many applications
such as Photoshop, Adobe After Effects, Adobe Premiere Pro, etc. Hence,
employees would be able to use these applications to edit photographs, creating
vectors and icons to be used in their applications and even create videos for
any of their clients.

Next
Visual Studio Code would be used as the code editor for employees to programme
html and any other application which require them to perform coding. Not only
is Visual Studio Code free to use as it is an open-source, it supports almost
every programming language as there are many available extensions to add to
this editor.

Lastly
UXPin is a wireframing and prototyping tool. This can be used for brainstorming
on how the GUI and design of the applications can be before implementing their
ideas into the coding aspect. Perks of UXPin includes support for importing layered designs from Sketch and Photoshop, hence
allowing this app to work hand in hand with Adobe Creative Cloud which we have
bought.

Servers

In terms of the Servers, I would recommend Windows Server
2016 DataCenter. This is because as most of the computers in the computer would
be using windows OS, the type of OS used should be the same so that employees
would be more familiar with the interaction with the servers. Moreover, by
choosing the Windows Server 2016 DataCenter over the Windows Server 2016
Standard, it would provide a lot more features and security. (Refer to the Appendix Fig2.2) to view
the difference between the two.

Lastly, Windows Server 2016 DataCenter also includes the
support of unlimited Hyper-Vs which supports many OSes whereby it would allow
for virtualization to be done, hence, reducing space taken up and cost of
hardware when new operating systems are required.

Mobile Phones

For
the Mobile phones used by management staff, not much has to be installed into
the phone as only the phone would only be used for basic communications and web
surfing. Moreover, due to Samsung’s Knox security feature, vpn software may not
exactly be required by the management staff., however, it should still be added
as a backup whenever it is needed. Below are the following applications to be
installed into the phones.

Application

OneDrive (Word, PowerPoint,
Excel)

Skype

Hotspot Shield VPN
Proxy

Publisher

Microsoft

Microsoft

AnchorFree

Price

Free

Free

Free

Conclusion

Refer to the
Appendix Fig 3.1 for total Cost.

To
Conclude, in terms of the computer sot be used by staff, I have opted for a
combination of a laptop (Dell Inspiron 13576) and a PC (Aftershock Zeal) as not
only are they an affordable combination, employees would never have to give up
on portability or performance. For the Mobiles, I have opted for the Samsung
Galaxy S8 Plus due to its impressive specs and it security due to the Samsung
Knox Security Feature. For Servers, I have opted for the Dell Power Edge T30 as
not only is it affordable, it provides user with good enough specifications for
the server to run smoothly. Moving on to software, all computers would use the
Windows 10 Pro and servers would use the Windows Server 2016 Database Edition.
Applications such as UXPin, Visual Studio Code, Office 265 and Adobe Creative
Cloud would also be bought to increase productivity. The antivirus BitLocker
would be used due to its impressive features which are ideal for IStar. Hence,
all in all, the hardware and software provided despite not being very costly, it
provides IStar with a reliable and impressive setup to ensure that their
company runs smoothly. Hence with a total of only 97377.20 spent, the company
can invest the remaining budget left on our factors