Information Technology Services: Univer

sity of Hawaii








ITS Microcomputer Recommendations

February 05, 2002

With the fast-paced dynamics of the personal computer industry, making a detailed standardized microcomputer recommendation is similar to shooting at a moving target. Specific individual user and/or departmental needs must be considered together with any general recommendation. However with that said, Information Technology Services (ITS) makes the following microcomputer recommendations for both the IBM PC/compatible and Macintosh computers. Administration applications as well as ITS supported software have been considered. These are guidelines only, and the recommendations will be updated on a regular basis.

Network Access
The UH community is encouraged to use ethernet connections for access to computer and network services. Please check with your department Telecom Coordinator or Networks/ITS to find out if your office supports ethernet connections. On the Manoa campus, they may submit a Telecom Request to the Telecom Office to activate datajacks for network connections. For units that have their own network or computer specialists, 3COM 10/100 BaseT Ethernet cards for IBM/PCs are recommended. PC/PCI adapters are available via the Intel Based Personal Computers Contract. Please refer to the Multimedia section in:
Current PC Price List. Asante ethernet cards and transceivers are recommended for Macintosh computers. (Network cards not listed on the contracts must be procured by the users, although ITS will help with installations on the Manoa campus.)

General System Considerations
A 32-bit Operating System is required for many new applications (e.g. PeopleSoft and Java). ITS currently supports Windows 95/98 and Windows 2000.  Although Windows XP Professional has been released, administrative applications haven't been fully tested with this OS.  

Also, for on-campus computers, ITS will not be supporting Windows ME or Windows XP Home Edition. These Operating Systems have been developed for home use and is not recommended for some UH applications.  

Please note that our current version of PeopleSoft only supports Windows 95/98 and Windows NT 4.0.

We advise getting 128 MB memory (RAM). Current applications are rapidly using more and should you decide to upgrade your operating system, this will usually require more RAM also.   These recommendations are given with the experience of past recommendations and current changing technology. Most of the UH community find it difficult to justify additional costs of maintenance and upgrades for their personal computer. The recommendation takes into account that the original purchase will have a lifespan of approximately 3 years. Also, if given a choice of processor speed increase or more RAM e.g. purchasing a 700Mhz instead of 800Mhz or purchasing 128MB RAM versus 64MB RAM, opt to purchase more RAM.

When possible, get the 3 year on-site warranty. This offers the best value and will save you the time and expense of costly repairs.

CD-ROMs are common devices for software installation and should be purchased with your computer.  

Zip drives are also more prevalent as these devices are able to store approximately 100MB to 250MB (depending on the model) of information. They are used similarly to diskette drives, but are able to store a minimum of approximately 70 times as much data. With the newer technology, especially multi-media files, data that won't fit on a diskette could be transferred to a zip disk.

Please remember that the following are general recommendations for desktop computers and not geared for users with specific requirements. For users who have other special application needs that require more memory, more disk space, faster CPUs, or faster CD-ROMs or DVDs (for example, regular users of multimedia), even the recommended configuration needs to be upgraded. Then again, for users in computer lab environments who are running programs from a server, their requirements would be totally different. In that case, the computer specialist for that department would be better able to assess their needs.

We are also aware of budget constraints in these economic times. However, when a computer is almost obsolete by the time you purchase it and IF funds are available, it would make more fiscal sense to purchase the best you can to ensure a longer working system. Please contact the persons listed at the end of this document if you have questions or other needs that require more analysis.

IBM/Compatible PC Considerations

The Celeron class chip offers processor speed and affordability for a majority of UH users who just need a web browser, email client and a business application suite like Microsoft Office. This computer performs basic applications well but users have very limited options of expansion or upgrading. (There is only 1 other slot to upgrade the memory and usually 1 to 2 open PCI slots used for additional peripherals e.g. a SCSI device.) For the typical UH user that only will be using it with the above functionality and will not be upgrading, this computer is recommended. It is strongly recommended that the 3 year warranty be purchased.

Recommended Celeron 1 Ghz (<$800)
     Intel 815E Chipset
     Mini Tower Case
     Windows 98 2nd Edition Operating System
     128MB recommended
     20 GB Hard Disk
     3.5" diskette drive
     PCI or integrated Ethernet 10/100Base-T card
     3 yr on-site warranty

The Pentium class chip is the Intel chip of choice for persons using multi-media and more intensive graphics applications. They offer a faster cache  than the Celeron. The Pentium III/815e computers offer better CPU processor speed, support the AGP video cards, and  have an integrated sound and network controller, meaning these functions are on the motherboard. They lack ISA slots for compatibility with older devices e.g. some older scanners. The main advantage is maximum value for the cost. The main disadvantage is if something goes wrong with these functions, the whole motherboard needs to be replaced or additional PCI adapter cards must be purchased.
Recommended Pentium III 1 Ghz (<$1,000)
    Intel 815E Chipset
    Mini Tower Case
    Windows 98 2nd Edition Operating System
    128 MB RAM or more
     20 GB Hard Disk
     3.5" diskette drive
     PCI or integrated Ethernet 10/100Base-T card
     3 year on-site warranty
The Pentium 4 processor based systems come with 256MB RAM, 40GB hard disk and 5 PCI slots and Windows 2000 Pro. These machines are for the more advanced technical specialists that need the highest processing speed.
Additional Equipment:
     17" SVGA monitor
     optional: zip drive

A 17" SVGA monitor can be used for any of the above recommended configurations. Other monitors and computers are available as our faculty and staff encompass a variety of needs. Please check the Current PC Price List for other configurations and options regarding Intel Based Personal Computers for the University of Hawaii. More information about the UH Intel contract can be found  at PC Contract; while the PDC Systems vendor web site is

In addition to the UH Intel contract, UH has recently joined the Western States Contracting Alliance (WSCA) which allows non-mandatory purchase of computer equipment at discounted prices. Please refer to the following links for more information:

The UH Dell Store is customized for the University of Hawaii to make it easier to make an order on-line under the WSCA contract. Detailed ordering and purchasing instructions are available.
Macintosh Considerations

Mac Recommendations:
A)  G4/733 MHz
128MB recommended
      40 GB Hard Disk
      CD-RW drive
      Zip drive (internal, optional)
      Ethernet 10/100/1000BaseT
      17" monitor (optional)

or   All-in-one IMAC
B)  G3/500 MHz (all-in-one imac)
      20 GB Hard Disk
      CD-RW drive
      Ethernet 10/100BaseT
      built-in 15" CRT
      Zip drive (external, optional)

The pricing for the two examples were obtained from the Apple Store. You would need to click on the link for "UH Custom Apple Store for Institution Purchases". 

An  iMac G3/500 MHz with built-in 15" monitor, 128MB RAM, 20GB hard drive, CD-RW drive, 10/100 Mbps Ethernet, USB, Firewire, built-in sound, and internal 56K modem sells for $899. The iMac has only two memory slots (one is filled from the factory) and no PCI expansion slots. However, most of the features are built-in e.g. monitor, ethernet, firewire, USB, sound, and video ports. There is no built-in diskette drive, so consider purchasing an external USB diskette drive ($79) or external USB Zip drive ($99 for the 100mb Zip drive, $149 for the 250mb Zip drive). For basic internet browsing, e-mail and office applications this machine should be adequate. 

A PowerMac G4/733 MHz system with 128MB RAM, 40GB hard drive, CD-RW drive, 10/100/1000Mbps ethernet, USB, Firewire, built-in sound, and internal 56K modem sells for $1529. A Mitsubishi Diamond Plus 73 17" monitor sells for $259. This Macintosh allows for expansion with a total of three PC-133 SDRAM slots for memory, and 4 PCI slots. There is no built-in diskette drive, so consider purchasing an internal Zip drive ($90) or an external USB diskette drive ($79). If you have legacy external SCSI devices that need to be connected to this machine, consider purchasing the Ultra SCSI PCI card option for $44.  This machine should be considered over the iMac for those that need more processing power (e.g. if you are using applications such as Photoshop), expansion capability, or flexibility in choosing a monitor. 


PostScript printers should be considered for printing from UH administrative systems. The preferred connection for these printers is via LPR, a printing utility that generally uses an ethernet connection and has the capability to identify your printer to the UH network. ITS has been recommending the internal JetDirect Ethernet adapter cards with the Hewlett Packard LaserJet 4 (or higher) printers with Adobe PostScript. Administrative applications requiring printing have also been tested with the HP 4000N printer with an emulated PostScript. Since the same PostScript is used in HP's other laser printers, we can recommend the HP 2100TN, 4050N, 5000N and 8000N printers for administrative use as well. Anyone purchasing other printers must take full responsibility for testing all applications for themselves and resolving any incompatibilities with the vendor on their own behalf.

Printer Specifications and Pricing:

Please check the following URL for information regarding the technical specs and estimated pricing for black/white HP laser printers. Note that the 'N' in the model numbers e.g. 4100N, 5000N refer to a network printer, which is recommended for the administrative printers.

           HP Laserjet Printers Comparison

Please call or e-mail for current education prices. Some suggested vendors selling HP printers include:
   1.  Memco Systems (Memory Co.) 522-0000
   2.  Micro Warehouse
        James Vernocchi, Higher Ed.,
        (800) 696-1727, ext. 7144
             3.  PC Connection
        Todd Bryan, Education Account Manager,
        (800) 800-0019 ext. 33038
   4.  Insight
        Vicki O'Reilly,
        (800) 467-4448 ext. 5973
Efforts have been made to license programs that are necessary for the University community to accomplish their work. With the exceptions of the Operating Systems software i.e. DOS, Windows, WFW, Win95 or Win98, most of the software have been either site licensed or are available as freeware for University work. The licensing agreements vary for specific programs, so caution is advised - program sharing with colleagues at other universities or social friends would be a criminal offense for some of the licensed programs.

The following links detail some licensing agreements and programs that ITS supports:

Please talk with your local support staff or contact
Osamu Makiguchi (956-3877), Therese Nakadomari (956-8316), or Byron Watanabe (956-6969) regarding IBM/Compatible PC configurations or Teresa Sakata (956-2399) for Macintosh assistance in tailoring systems to meet your needs.

Please check the following for current departmental price lists: Technology Price Lists

Maintained by:
Byron Watanabe
Copyright 2001 University of Hawaii
Last Updated:  02/05/02 March 27, 2002