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dvn

Core i Series in large businesses

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dvn

Replacing an slow ol' P4 system with a Core 2 Duo, even a low-end Core 2 Duo, is great for the long-suffering users of those P4's. And believe me, I get it. Budget is the overriding factor in most organizations.

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hightechaddict

I work as a senior systems admin in the Enterprise Desktop group of a large (25,000+ seats, Fortune 250) company and we have, within the past 3 months standardized our laptops on core i3/i5 technology. We tend to spec out and buy based on a (hopefully) 3-5 year lifespan so we are not constantly replacing hardware. Our current desktop platform goes end of life early next year, so we will be evaluating those in a few months and I suspect that just like the laptops, the Core i series will prove the best bang for the buck for the long term.

 

We are also still running IE6 as our desktop browser standard due to Oracle shortcomings, and it's causing no end of headaches for us too. In fact we recently developed and released web based technology for our customers that is optimized for IE8 and won't work 100% on our in-house machines. Ahhhhh the irony :blink: There is an end in sight as we are able to migrate our Oracle to IE8 and are in the final throes of Java JRE testing to support that upgrade, but that's another story for another time.

Edited by hightechaddict

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dvn
...the Core i series will prove the best bang for the buck for the long term.

Can you expand upon that? Did your company also do a study beforehand to evaluate for increased productivity and decreased electrical costs? Other factors? To reinforce your decision? Or perhaps you have the luxury and the latitude as a Fortune 250 company to do these things without having to justify them with elaborate studies.

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usacomp2k3

We are getting i3's on all new laptops, but most desktops are still c2d. The Engineering systems are HP workstations with Opteron's in them though. Not sure when/if those will be transitioned to corei5/i7 or Xeon.

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hightechaddict

Can you expand upon that? Did your company also do a study beforehand to evaluate for increased productivity and decreased electrical costs? Other factors? To reinforce your decision? Or perhaps you have the luxury and the latitude as a Fortune 250 company to do these things without having to justify them with elaborate studies.

 

Sure. Without going into to much specific detail, yes we do all kinds of studies, benchmarking, justification, additional justification and re-justification. You definitely have the wrong impression of the "luxury" of working in a large company. :blink: These decisions have to answer to multiple levels of management up the IT food chain on technical applications and the additional multiple levels on the Accounting side of things on the financial feasability. Both of those chains of command often have diametrically opposing viewpoints on the "value" of IT systems. Ultimately, we answer to the stockholders and customers we charge for our services as well. I personally like to consider that I also answer to my own interests as a 401K/stockholder and professional in general. Any decision I have input on with the scale of desktop standards can easily run into the millions of dollars in hard costs on top of "soft costs" like the man hours to build and deploy systems. In a large company, there are many more layers of people to question every decision, so they are usualy not made lightly and must be backed up with facts. If you make a bad call, or aren't backing your decisions up with facts, you won't generally be around long enough to make another decision...

 

As to my presumption that the core series will better bang for the buck for us in the long run, a lot of that is performance based. The differences in price between a business class core 2 duo and a core i3/i5 system, after volume discounts and squeezing the vendor for every penny of their margin are relatively small. (I wish I could get the pricing my company does!) As an example, our call centers have metrics that account for the costs in human time for the agent, customer goodwill and service ratings (as measured in customer churn) that are accounted for and assigned an (on paper) hard cost in dollars and cents down to the second! If I spec out a machine that boots up and loads the full suite of applications 10 seconds faster than another machine that costs $300 less, and multiply my agent cost figure times 3 shifts a day 365 days a year times 3-5 years you can see it doesn't take a lot to make up that additional cost overhead. Of course there is a point of diminishing returns, so we can't just go out and buy the fastest stuff on the market in the name of saving an additional couple seconds here and there.

 

The green aspects of the core series are a bonus, but we use additional technology to help minimize that to begin with. Not sure how much that will come into play on our desktop evaluations, but it sure did come into play with the laptops as measurable battery life. A lot of it boils down to how much use the system will get at the end of life. Will this thing still be viable 4 or 5 years out, and can it keep up with the new OSes and applications coming down the road in the future?

 

This is starting to feel too much like being at work, so I'm going to wrap up there for now.

 

Now back to HOMEservers and only having to justify our purchases to the family budget and our spouses (admittedly not always an easy sell either!) :D

Edited by hightechaddict

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dvn

That's a great answer covering a lot of points. Thanks for taking the time.

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mrossco

I'm wondering how much Windows XP plays into this. Do any of the new i series compatible hardware (motherboards, graphics, etc.) still stupport the XP driver model? As a consultant, I walk into a lot of shops big and small, and I still see a lot of desktops running Windows XP Pro and IE6. The laptops seem to be an exception due mostly to the power-saving features in Windows Vista/7.

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hightechaddict

Speaking from the large business point of view, yes the newer systems MUST support XP. XP is still the market leader by a huge margin in business, and will continue to be for some time to come. Microsoft has committed to supporting XP through at least the end of 2014, so hardware makers will likely do so as well. Most businesses did not jump from XP to Vista for many reasons, so the jump from the XP model to Win7 comes with a significant amount of change, particularly in the security models. All of that testing takes time, and the PC makers want to be able to continue to sell systems to business during that transition and therefore must support the OS that is in place in addition to what is coming down the pike.

 

Power savings in vista/7 are nice to have on your laptop, but are no replacement for actually being able to run your line of business applications on an IT supported operating system. ;)

 

I don't know if newer consumer systems support XP still, but the business-class ones definitely do.

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