Off topic: Technical Problem
Thread poster: JCEC

JCEC  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:00
English to French
Feb 28, 2004

I would like to call on the expertise of those of you who are familiar with computers.

A request for proposal for a microcomputer-based turnkey system specifies: "The system shall function in a Windows environment".

According to you, which minimal characteristic should the system have in order to meet this requirement ?

This is not a joke. I won't tell you more at this stage so as not to influence your answer but I promise to give you the whole story later.

Thank you,


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Andrzej Lejman  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:00
German to Polish
+ ...
It depends on Windows Feb 28, 2004

Here are some examples:

According to Microsoft, the basic system requirements for running Windows are as follows:

Windows® XP Professional / Home Edition:
Computer / Processor:
required: 233 megahertz (MHz) minimum;
recommended: 300 MHz or higher
Memory: 128 MB of RAM or higher recommended (64 MB minimum supported; may limit performance and some features)
Hard Disk: 0.5 GB of available hard disk space.
Display: Super VGA (800 × 600) or higher resolution video adapter and monitor
Drive: CD-ROM or DVD drive
Peripherals: Keyboard and Microsoft Mouse or compatible pointing device

Windows® 2000 Professional:
Computer / Processor:133 MHz or higher Pentium-compatible CPU
Memory: 64 MB of RAM recommended minimum; more memory generally improves responsiveness
Hard Disk: 2GB hard disk with a minimum of 650MB of free space

Windows® 2000 Server:
Computer / Processor:133 MHz or higher Pentium-compatible CPU
Memory:256 MB of RAM recommended minimum [128 MB minimum supported; 4 gigabytes (GB) maximum]
Hard Disk: 2GB hard disk with a minimum of 1.0 GB of free space (Additional free hard disk space is required if you are installing over a network.)

Windows® Me:
Computer / Processor: Pentium 150MHz processor or better
Memory: 32MB of RAM or better
Hard Disk: 480MB to 645MB free hard-disk space
Display: VGA or higher resolution monitor
Drive: CD-ROM drive

Windows® 98 Second Edition Version Upgrade:
Computer / Processor:486DX/66 MHz or higher processor
Memory: 24 MB RAM; more memory improves performance
Hard Disk: Typical installation requires approximately 205 MB of available hard-disk space (includes 45 MB average for backup files during installation), but may range between 140 MB and 315 MB, depending upon system configuration and options selected
Display: VGA or higher resolution monitor
Drive:CD-ROM or DVD-ROM Drive

Above is according to Micro$oft. In my opinion it does NOT definitely provide a reliable and first of all, comfortable work.

Best regards

[Edited at 2004-02-28 19:15]

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Edward Vreeburg  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:00
Member (2008)
English to Dutch
+ ...
wow what a list! Feb 28, 2004

Thanks Andrzej!!

Now if we dubbel the memory and tripple the speed - we should be up and running (hey still no applications, just the OS)...

: )


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invguy  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:00
English to Bulgarian
In addition to Adrzej's reply Feb 29, 2004

Andrzej is right, these are the officially stated requirements. However, in my experience, they are way too low (probably to avoid frightening the users...) and are actually sufficient for running only the OS itself and its modules... um... without too frequent crashing, that is If you try to use a 'heavier' application on such a system, you may find it either so slow that it's practically useless, or downright impossible to run. I, for one, wouldn't risk running any WinWord higher than ver. 2.0 on a DX2/66... also preferably under Win 3.11...

John, to get a more realistic picture, I suggest you consider a CPU at least one level up plus 50% more RAM (e.g. Pentium 90 w/ 36 MB RAM for Win98SE). Mind you, I'm still talking the absolute minimum that would comfortably carry the OS and some fairly simple apps. HD space requirements are altogether correct.

You should, however, add the resources that the application itself would need.

This would require consulting the programming team, as it needs to account for various factors normally unknown/invisible to the user - e.g. necessity of MMX instructions set, number of simultaneously running processes, typical swap file size (if any), number and size of memory-resident modules needed for the application etc. etc. For instance, there are apps that are memory-intensive while using little disk space, and vice versa; other may pose special requirements to the video bus/card; some may need specific peripherals like a network card etc.

Hardware compatibility may also be an issue, especially with the products of smaller software developers who don't have the resources to carry out extensive compatibility testing. Thus, a suggested configuration may include brand names, too - e.g. a Creative (or SoundBlaster-compatible) sound card, an Intel m/b chipset higher than i810/815 and the like.

There is something else you might suggest, just to cover all bases: some software manufacturers give both minimum *and* recommended system configurations (where the recommended one is about the minimum for flawless operation). Kinda fair warning to the customer...


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