IFSM 310 – Hardware Evaluation Report

Background

Upton, Martin, Ulysses, & Clapper (UMUC) is a financial evaluation company that is of medium-size.  The company specializes in performing independent market and economic assessment for government regulatory agencies, mortgage lenders, insurance companies, and banks. The company also offers independent validation and verification services for report and assessment developed internally by the listed entities. To accomplish all its duties, the company workers highly depend on computer based financial analysis software.

The company is currently faced by a challenging task that involves performing more complex, national-level evaluation of write-off data, default, and credit card fraud. To handle this project, the company wishes to refresh 35 of its desktop personal computers to be able to obtain computers with enough operation power to handle the project. Highly powerful hardware is required to run complex computations, and to accommodate unique equations, formulas, queries, data models, databases, and the economists and financial analysts’ individuality. In this regard, the company’s IT personnel are required to provide new 35 personal computers with ability to handle the new project.

Purpose of This Report

The UMUC Company needs new personal computers with enough operation power to handle their current task. The main purpose of this report is to analyze the tasks to be accomplished by the company’s users and identify the best hardware components that can be used to accomplish these tasks effectively. The report will focus on the methods to be employed in identifying the best computer hardware to match the identified tasks and give recommendation on the best hardware specifications that can be used to accomplish the new company’s task.

Evaluation Methodology

To ensure that the best hardware for the current job demand is purchased, the Senior IT specialist and System analyst will follow a specific evaluation strategy. The strategy will start by evaluating operations in the financial department to understand specific software requirements for individuals performing different tasks. The IT specialist will then group users in different classes based on the kind of application software that each group intends to use. This will make it easy to purchase hardware that fit each worker in the department, based on his or her uniqueness of tasks performed.

The IT specialist will then evaluate each application that is to be used in the new process and identify their hardware requirements based on the processing speed, virtual memory space, application size, and bus requirement among others. This will be followed by determining whether a particular application will be used alone or with a combination of other application software that have a higher hardware specification than the evaluated one. The IT personnel will then draw a hardware requirement sheet for each application in each user’s group.

In the last evaluation phase, the IT specialist will evaluate the sheet for each user group and identify the maximum hardware requirements for the combined applications to be used in each category. The maximum hardware requirements for each group will be picked and used to define the actual computer hardware specifications for each category of users. Where different software have different maximum specifications for different components; for instance if one software demand highest Ram and another demand  the highest processing speed, a combination of maximum requirements will be used to define the maximum hardware requirement for that category. This information will be used in making new computers order. The number of computers per category will be determined by the number of employees working in that category.

 

Report Summary

The hardware requirement will mainly be determined by the operating system hardware requirements which acts mainly as a platform for other application software installed to enhance the specific company operations. Based on this particular company, the new machine must be able to hold windows 8.1 professional which require a processor that can support 64 bits, SSE2, PAE and NX (Office, 2015). The computers will use i5 quad core processor with a processing speed of 3.5GHz. The company should use a Ram with a minimum of 8GB to ensure effective operation even when a few programs are running.

 

The company should also accommodate a large hand drive due to a number of data that will need to be stored in those machines. This includes databases, photos, and videos that will needed to be stored in the hard drive. In this regard a hard drive of not less than 500GB will be required. Other requirements will include the use of 64 bits data buses to complement the 64 bits processor register. The computers will also need to use a number of connectors and ports which include RJ45 for Ethernet connection, Serial and parallel ports for other peripheral devices, and a number of USB ports to enhance external connection during data importation (Cs.sru, n.d.).

The computers will also use BTX motherboard. This motherboard is selected due to its ability to enhance the operation speed which is highly essential in this case. It is also used due to its high cooling ability especially when computer is involved in complex tasks that require high processing speed. The motherboard will have a number of slots to allow expansion, installation of graphic cards, and addition of an extra RAM if need be. All this will result to development of powerful computers that will be able to handle the new task (Moersch, 2005).

 

Evaluation & Recommendation Matrix

Hardware Component Recommended Attributes Justification & Comments Requirements Satisfied
RAM The recommended attributes here is provision of two RAM each with a minimum capacity of 8GB and a maximum capacity of 12GB ·         Window 8.1, 64 bits requires Ram of 2GB

·         Microsoft office 2013 2GB

·         Acrobat XI. Pro requires ram of 1GB

·         SAS RAM of 2GB

·         Mat Lab a ram of 2GB

·         STATA 1GB.

Therefore if four these programs with maximum capacity were opened together the total minimum RAM required ensuring effective operation of a computer will be 8GB RAM. The user should only open what is necessary concurrently to ensure effective utilization of RAM and thus, this will be enough for all possible operations (Office, 2015).

This recommendation considers RDA requirement 001 to 009, 011 to 016, since all computer activities requires a virtual space during execution.
Hard Drive The minimum hard disk requirement would be  not less than 360 GB This is recommended because, apart from the space required for OS and application software installation, the hard drive will have to store all manipulated databases and other financial records whose capacity keeps on increasing as the operation continues. Therefore a minimum of 360 GB hard disk will be necessary This satisfies requirement RDA001 to RDA009, RDA013, 014, 015, and 016. RDA 012 and 017 will use drive in the server.
Processor Must have 64 bits architecture with 64 bits register, support SSE2, NX, and PAE. The processor must be from Pentium 4 generation, with minimum of i5core with 4 cores, and processing of 3.2 GHz These specifications are provided since the OS required must have 4 bits register and must support the PAE, SSE2 and NX. Moreover, the computer will be used to handle complex multimedia documents, video and audio files and thus a more powerful processor will be necessary. This will cater for requirements from RDA001 to RDA017
Bus The bus must be 64 bits This is because the computer will be holding 64 bits operating system and thus all other application software mu` This applicable to all requirements from RDA 001 to 017
Connector and Ports The connecter include RJ45, serial ports, parallel ports and USB ports All these ports will be necessary to allow connection with internet components, This was applicable to RDA010
Mother Board The company will settle for BTX motherboard. Should a graphic card slot, PCI expansion slots, RAM expansion slots, BTX motherboard will be used because due to its high operation speed and its ability to ensure a higher cooling ability. The computers are high likely to overheat due to the tasks involved and thus, BTX will be the most suitable motherboard This will be applicable to all requirements since they will all require one aspect of a motherboard or another.

 

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