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Benchmark Software For Windows 7 Rollout? 215

Posted by timothy
from the bean-counter-for-the-bean-counters dept.
tdisalvo writes "We are doing a Windows 7 rollout and I will have to compare major PC vendors. I am looking for vendor-neutral tests that will give me the data I need to present an educated opinion to my CIO. Clear, pretty charts are nice since it is for C level execs, and we need to make it understandable for nontechnical as well as technical people. More specifically, I am looking for something that will clearly show how the same processor performs (better or worse) with a particular build, motherboard, RAM, power supply, etc. My plan is to get very similar machines from major vendors and see which one's build has the highest independent benchmarks. Something with which I could test multiple computers and report on the differences in score would be ideal." As usual, free is an advantage.
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Benchmark Software For Windows 7 Rollout?

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  • The only thing I can say is a lot of benchmarking software that offers charts and nice graphs tend to be skewed. Not all of them however. A lot of hardware companies design the parts to get somewhat abnormally high results on benchmarks, thus inflating the numbers, and providing inaccurate results. Your best bet is unfortunately more time consuming. You should have multiple software testing the machine, and then make your own chart. This is much more accurate. Try rendering a 1080p video file and reco
    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 20, 2010 @08:13PM (#32287574)

      What a waste of time and effort. Firstly some machines will perform better on some benchmarks than others. Secondly there are costs, availability, configuration, reliability and many other factors to evaluate. Its hard to believe you are going to look at a few percent performance differences (if that much). After all, PCs are practically the definition of a commodity market. You might be better off picking the machines with the best paint jobs. You ought to get a job at the Pentagon where they specialize in meaningless power point slides.

      • by jayhawk88 (160512) <jayhawk88@gmail.com> on Thursday May 20, 2010 @09:46PM (#32288230)

        Yeah I have to agree with this, came here to say the same thing. Benchmarks have their uses, but chances are the real world difference between similarly-built machines is not going to be significant. Let's be honest here: Unless you're doing a roll-out to a bunch of coders or CIA Photoshop experts, chances are most of these PC's are going to be running a web browser, a groupware client, and a document/spreadsheet editor like 75% of the time.

        Choosing a PC vendor based on price, reliability, and service is going to be far more useful and have a far greater RIO than picking the one that scored 5 points higher on 3DMark or whatever. There have to be much better uses of your time.

        • Let's be honest here:

          Relax, the article's just a puff-piece.

          Most likely Microsoft noticed they hadn't been getting value for their advertorial dollars, and rushed this one into the queue to get their name on the Slashdot frontpage for a few hours.

          The story's certainly not interesting enough to be voted up on its own merits.

      • If C level executives want to be involved, or even briefed, on what PC you're picking for a hardware refresh, sell short. If you only *think* they want such a briefing, then spend a little time polishing up your resume this week. You're about to be fired.
    • by LO0G (606364)

      Ummm... I agree with your general point, but the time spent rendering a 1080p video file isn't likely to be an interesting data point. A 30 second clip should probably render in exactly 30 seconds, regardless of machine horsepower. I could see measuring system resources while rendering the 1080p video clip however.

      When my company last went through a round of desktop upgrades (6 months or so ago), they got a half a dozen evaluation units from the various hardware vendors and then had a bunch of hardware g

    • Well I use PCWizard [cpuid.com] from the guys at CPUID. While it isn't fancy, and you'll have to take the data and make your own pretty charts, but to stress the basics (CPU,RAM,GPU,HDD,etc) and give you straight data it is pretty good. Then if that doesn't give him enough raw data to use he can always run separate tests.

      But unlike some of the others I have tried data doesn't seem to skew towards one CPU or another. Maybe it is because it is from a little bunch and they aren't being used for big reviewers benchmarks, who knows, all I can tell you is the results seemed to be pretty accurate, at least for me.

      So why not give it a try? It's free, they have a portable version so you don't even have to install it on the PC you're testing, just launch, pick which test you want to run, and let her go. At the end it'll give you the raw numbers as well as show how the PC matches up to various other builds. Not a bad little tool to have on your flash stick if you need to know how a machine runs or get a full list of what hardware it has.

  • Phoronix Test Suite (Score:3, Informative)

    by grommit (97148) on Thursday May 20, 2010 @06:53PM (#32286746)

    It doesn't run on Windows but Phoronix Test Suite [phoronix-test-suite.com] would give you a good baseline for the hardware.

  • My question is... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Knara (9377) on Thursday May 20, 2010 @06:53PM (#32286750)

    Is this really necessary for a Windows 7 rollout with corporate desktops? Most machines are already overpowered for the average user using Office and what not.

    I'd think the cost per machine for good 3-4 year warranties would be more important. At least, it has been in my experience.

    I could see doing something like this just for developer machines, but general roll-out? I dunno. Seems like you'd just compare pricing and go with the one that makes the most budget sense.

    • I almost completely agree, with a couple of additions. When comparing pricing, it's important to consider what kind warranties and/or service and support arrangements are included with each build, especially if you're pricing out a large deployment. Looking for independent reliability reports isn't a bad idea, either.
    • While Windows domains and management tools work fine with mixed versions, it is still the very easiest if you have all one version. Well, new systems are going to come with 7, so makes sense to go all 7 if you want to do single system.

      Also it is time to start looking at an XP retirement plan for enterprises. Extended support will terminate August of 2014. So, while it isn't a crunch, it is the kind of thing to start thinking about. Better to have a plan than to wait 4 years and find out that now you have to

      • by Knara (9377)

        That's what I was saying. I wasn't saying that he should have 17 different models, but rather that benchmarking just to end up with (corporate desktop) and (developer desktop) in the end was a waste of time.

        Though in reality, most shops end up with a variety of different desktops in the end, even if they're all "Optiplex" line or what not. I don't think I've ever been in a large company where all the users had the exact same model desktop.

    • Re:My question is... (Score:4, Informative)

      by Monkeedude1212 (1560403) on Thursday May 20, 2010 @07:02PM (#32286866) Journal

      Yeah. You won't need more than 1Gig of RAM, and the slowest processor processor you can get with a Windows 7 bundle should be plenty enough for IE, Office, and Adobe Reader, which is pretty much the basics across the board in the Corporate world.

      Unless you are using some software that demands more specs, than the benchmarks shouldn't be the primary concern, it should be the price.

      Not to slashvertise, but we use the Optiplexes from Dell, and besides the cheap price for decent specs, the best part about them is screw-less maintenance. You will never need a Screwdriver to replace any component on a Dell desktop. I never realized how great it was until my parents wanted me to add RAM to their 5 year old Compaq's and HP's. I'm not sure if other vendors have started doing this yet, I hope so.

      • Re:My question is... (Score:4, Informative)

        by Glonoinha (587375) on Thursday May 20, 2010 @07:19PM (#32287046) Journal

        Windows 7 and your average suite of corporate crapware (anti-virus, monitoring tools, Outlook and Word, etc) will burn through 1G of memory just getting started.
        If you are paying the piper to upgrade desktops and roll out a new OS, might as well kick in the extra $75 and get 3Gig of RAM.

        That said, if OP is intent on comparing the performance of desktops I say forget comparing across vendors (HP, Dell, IBM) and compare configurations instead (same box with 1G vs 3G of RAM, 5400rpm drives vs 7200rpm drives vs SSDs, video cards, etc.) Then forget the benchmarks and just compare long term support contracts with the vendors, and load them up with 3Gigs of memory.

        Personally I'm a fan of Dell, but that's only because I know how to navigate their support site to get the drivers I need.

        • "Windows 7 and your average suite of corporate crapware (anti-virus, monitoring tools, Outlook and Word, etc) will burn through 1G of memory just getting started."

          Odd. My 1GB Acer Laptop handles all of that just fine...I can only imagine a desktop would handle it even better, as their drives, CPU's and RAM tend to be faster.

          • by klui (457783)

            Do you just PuTTY and nothing else?

            My XP machine at work is using 1.4GB with Outlook, an SQL client, and antivirus software. Open half a dozen or so Excel, Powerpoint, Visio files and you're hitting around 2GB. I'd say 2GB would be the minimum with 4GB the sweet spot these days especially if one were to consider Windows Vista/7.

            • by smash (1351)
              Have you done testing for this, or are you just basing your opinion on looking at the memory usage in task manager in Windows XP? New machines, sure 4gb is the sweet spot in terms of bang for buck. But normal user office usage on win7 - 1gb is baseline and performs well enough for most office users.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by srothroc (733160)
          It's easy enough to say "might as well" when you're an individual user talking about $75, but if you're attempting to justify the purchase and deployment of, say, 1000 computers, that "might as well" costs $75,000 and isn't such a little sum anymore. You need to back it up with data showing that the additional outlay would be justified by a return in performance.
          • by afidel (530433) on Thursday May 20, 2010 @11:28PM (#32288838)
            When you are talking about a rollout that will end up costing ~$1-1.5M then $75k isn't such a big deal, especially if it makes people more productive. Think about it this way, the job of IT is to make peoples job more efficient and $75k is only one FTE, if a trippled ram upgrade can't wring out .1% more efficiency then your organization has other issues because that should be a significant boost to productivity.
          • Re:My question is... (Score:4, Informative)

            by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968@gma i l . com> on Thursday May 20, 2010 @11:52PM (#32288976) Journal

            But there is actually a simple way to justify it. One word: Superfetch. I have found building Windows 7 PCs that having that "extra RAM" gives Superfetch the breathing room to really shine, and the customers quickly notice how their PC is soooo much more responsive, thanks to Superfetch always having the apps they use most loaded into RAM and ready to go.

            Just take two identical PCs and have one with 1Gb and one with 3Gb (on my new builds I'm sticking with 4Gb and x64, unless they have a legacy app that just won't run x64) and run them for two days then time the apps. You'll find superfetch really makes a difference with regards to application speed and responsiveness. And of course the less time they are wasting waiting for an app to load the more time they have to actually be working.

        • by smash (1351)

          Windows 7 and your average suite of corporate crapware (anti-virus, monitoring tools, Outlook and Word, etc) will burn through 1G of memory just getting started.

          Actually, no it won't.

          We're halfway through rolling out Win7 and for normal office drone use, Win7 + Office 2007 + Forefront Client security is FINE on 1gb of ram once the initial indexing process has finished.

          Power users, or new machines - sure, you'd be retarded to get less than 4gb on a new box - but upgrading old machines, 1gb is enough for

      • by Omega996 (106762)
        That's not necessarily true. My main client is a small office with a lot of overworked people light on technical know-how, with a few policies set in place by management with similar workload and technical know-how. The average user here has dual 22" monitors, and a standard workload consists of 7-10 Excel spreadsheets open at once, stupid-sized Outlook mailboxes, multiple web sites, PDF document viewers / editors, along with the craptastic line of business app they use based on Visual Foxpro. It's a strugg
      • by Knara (9377)
        I don't think I'd go any lower than 2GB with a decent video card for Win7. There's affordable corporate desktops in the Optiplex line with good Gold-level Warranties available from Dell in that vein.
      • 1GB on a Win7 machine is a bad idea. 2GB should be your starting target. Most employees will have several Web Browser instances open (with tabs), Outlook, Acrobat, Word, and maybe an Excel file too. Also, device drivers, Anti-virus software, and programs like Quickbooks will chew through memory fast.

        If you can budget it, purchase the smallest HDD drive and put the savings toward 4GB of RAM instead. Generally, users should be keeping files on server anyways.

    • Re:My question is... (Score:4, Informative)

      by darkmeridian (119044) <william.chuang@gm a i l . com> on Thursday May 20, 2010 @07:07PM (#32286942) Homepage

      (1) Pricing.
      (2) Reliability/Warranty.
      (3) Driver compatibility. Gets rid of most of the issues related to stability.

      The fastest processor is useless for word processing, web browsing, and Outlook.

      • by nmb3000 (741169) <nmb3000@that-google-mail-site.com> on Thursday May 20, 2010 @07:50PM (#32287350) Homepage Journal

        This is exactly it. Our department typically buys Dell Optiplex (business class) machines with the cheapest processor and a minimal amount of memory (around 2GB lately). Combined with a 5-year NBD warranty and we have a machine that is a perfectly capable office machine for 5 years.

        Who cares if Vendor A's machine performs 5% better than Vendor B at the same price? That analysis is a waste of time -- you'd be better off spending it researching reliability and compatibility. Any more a modern computer's hardware will fail before the system becomes too underpowered to be useful.

        • by Nimey (114278)

          Any more a modern computer's hardware will fail before the system becomes too underpowered to be useful.

          Not if you cheap out. A couple years ago a department wanted the cheapest laptop possible... you know the rest.

    • by GIL_Dude (850471)
      I came to the thread to say mostly the same thing, but to also add in that raw performance doesn't mean anywhere near what reliability and break/fix experience do. You really want to base your decision on a mix of reliability / break-fix / and price.

      If you want to get some data, you can really just use xperf from the Windows Performance Toolkit. You can get great info on boot times, etc. and what is slowing them down, doing all the disk I/O, etc. using the xbootmgr tool that comes with it as well. I'd real
    • Is this really necessary for a Windows 7 rollout with corporate desktops? Most machines are already overpowered for the average user using Office and what not.

      Very true. Corporate desktops are often frustratingly insanely slow, but this is usually not related to the basic power of the machine (i.e. due to doing stupid things on inadequate networks or similar). Unfortunately it is probably easier to believe the logic that "your computer is slow, so you need a faster computer" than "I need $100k for a new network infrastructure".

    • The more sturdy the machines the better. Especially with todays over powered hulks. Less desktop support the cheaper by far.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Jaime2 (824950)
      I agree with everything except the warranty. A home user should get a warranty, but medium to large corporatations should buy reliable computers and deal with failure themselves. Buying one spare for every ten computers costs far less than a warranty on all of the computers an gives you immediate repacement instead of one day. The pulled computers can be refurbed at your liesure. A typical failure will be a hard drive, power supply, or maybe RAM. That's less than a hundred bucks in parts. The labor is
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by ultranova (717540)

        A home user should get a warranty, but medium to large corporatations should buy reliable computers and deal with failure themselves. Buying one spare for every ten computers costs far less than a warranty on all of the computers an gives you immediate repacement instead of one day. The pulled computers can be refurbed at your liesure.

        But that requires storage space for the extra computers, extra IT staff to manage the replacement, and a good accounting system to keep the pulled and spare computers separat

    • For anything outside media production or CAD, there is almost no point in comparing machines of similar hardware specs these days. You will find that vendor guarantee coverage and time-spans, and response times and quality are all more important in terms of TCO, at least in my experience.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    You haven't said what you actually do with these computers. The relevant benchmarks should look like your actual workflow, otherwise you are just drag racing.

  • Hmm (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward

    I haven't benchmarked in a while, but this new game came out recently. iD Software's Quake3. All of my hip friends use it to test their machines.

    My Slot-A AMD Athlon rocks out like 75 frames a second! Try it out!

  • Phoronix Test Suite (Score:5, Informative)

    by mtippett (110279) on Thursday May 20, 2010 @06:54PM (#32286766) Homepage

    Phoronix Test Suite ( http://www.phoronix-test-suite.com/ [phoronix-test-suite.com] ) supports Win7 now. It also allows comparison against OSX and Linux ( http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=article&item=linux_windows_part3&num=1 [phoronix.com] ).

    It's Free, it's Open Source and has a bucketload of tests already. You can combine result sets and you can even get the results uploaded for comparison at http://global.phoronix-test-suite.com/ [phoronix-test-suite.com]

    Creating your own tests is nice and easy too.

    (Full disclosure - I am one of the project members).

  • Authority (Score:5, Insightful)

    by White Flame (1074973) on Thursday May 20, 2010 @06:54PM (#32286770)

    Questions:
    A. Do have the authority to make the decision?
    B. Are you tasked with giving him your "expert opinion" on the matter?
    C. Are you tasked to actually educate him enough about a technical decision that he has no technical skills to currently evaluate an answer?

    Answers:
    A. Evaluate on the specs you know are important on the job, give him a specific brand, and say "trust me, buy these"
    B. Evaluate on the specs you know are important on the job, give him a specific brand, and say "trust me, buy these"
    C. You're boned.

    • by geekoid (135745)

      C. is the best if you know what your doing. ALL his information comes from you and source you supply.

    • by Sorthum (123064)

      Actually, if you're going to be blamed if it doesn't work out just right, endorse an option you KNOW they won't go with. That leaves you in the (enviable) position of being able to say "Well, I recommended $VENDOR_X but you shot it down" should things not work out going forward, rather than being the chump who suggested the failing equipment.

      • by jimicus (737525)

        I've heard of that trick being used before. In fact, IIRC the last time I heard of it being used the person using it discovered - to their shock and horror - the executives did go for the recommended option.

        • by Sorthum (123064)

          Well, there's certainly that risk. :-p

          Hence the wise man hedges his bets and picks something he actually likes first!

  • Pointless... (Score:5, Informative)

    by MarcQuadra (129430) on Thursday May 20, 2010 @06:55PM (#32286782)

    This is pointless. Really. All the machines will test within a few percent of each other. It's not like a Dell is significantly faster than an HP (especially if the software image is the same).

    If the machines have different CPU/Chipsets/Video Cards, that's a different story, but a PC -is- really just the sum of its parts.

    Tell the C-level execs that the best value would be to skip the benchmark and go right to the bidding, let the vendors undercut each other for an extra month.

  • by imemyself (757318) on Thursday May 20, 2010 @07:00PM (#32286840)
    Why should C-level execs care about what model processor is used in their computers? Office users aren't looking for the absolute greatest performance, they're looking for reliability, manageability, and cost. I can guarantee that no typical* medium or large size business will make a decision on which vendor to use for office computers based on the performance benchmarks. Frankly, who gives a shit about the motherboard in a typical office user's computer. It doesn't matter, certainly not to upper management. Choose something that has a reasonable cost, a solid long term support contract, and is easy to manage in your existing environment. If anything, the support contract, expandability (adding dual monitors later, or adding more memory for heavy data analysts or future software upgrades), and the existing vendor relationships are far more important than performance benchmarks. *Assuming they're not using them to render lots of graphics or do other very specific, specialized tasks.
    • by lymond01 (314120)

      Office users aren't looking for the absolute greatest performance

      1) They're looking for a machine that boots quickly. An SSD will help there but may be too little bang for the buck...just avoid 5400 RPM drives.

      2) They want to open every application at once and leave them on for days without paging warnings. 3GB in a 32 bit system. But really, get a 64 bit system if all your apps support it. If you're going Core i processors, get 6 GB of memory to optimize the three channel memory. You'll pay an extra $

      • The Dell 6400 and I believe 6500 series laptops have the SSD option. We have several of the Platter and SSD versions of the 6400 series laptops and, yeah...the difference is *more* then just noticeable.

        For around $100 more per unit, we're increasing the performance of the system more than any RAM, CPU or GPU unit could ever hope to accomplish. Boot times go from over 30 seconds to under 20, apps not only respond faster UI wise, but *functionality*-wise as well (Win7 blows the doors off of XP in UI respons

    • Especially when you can tell them that the required EULA won't allow people to publish benchmarks. You get out of this one easy but don't let them read any of the EULA or they might wonder how businesses can accept that and run Windows.

      LoB
      • by yuhong (1378501)
        That part is I think for the .NET Framework, and it is included because it is bundled with Windows Server 2003 and later.
    • Why should C-level execs care about what model processor is used in their computers?

      They shouldn't, but they do. Middle management (that's what a C-level executive used to be called, right?) likes to think they know everything about everything, but they are influenced by all of the same marketing hype that fools the average consumer - they think they need something based on fancy names, rather than taking a more practical approach. If the machines in question are for general business use, this talk of pe
      • I forgot: if you want them to just STFU and approve your plan, throw in as many pointless technical specifications as possible: the CPU's corporate codename, bus speed, manufacturing process, etc., and compare them to what you have now rather than anything else currently on the market - bigger numbers always win, even if they have no idea what they all mean or whether or not they are entirely relevant.
  • by whomeyup (635503) on Thursday May 20, 2010 @07:01PM (#32286852)
    Performance? Really? Personally I'd want stability, reliability, and top notch support. Your average computer user loses far more productivity from downtime due to cheap hardware dying, unstable drivers, etc than to their machine starting (insert app of your choice) .2 seconds slower. I want to be able to order an exact replacement 2 years down the road if a machine dies. I want replacement parts available for the forseeable lifetime of the machines on which I standardize.
    • by geekoid (135745)

      "Personally I'd want stability, reliability, and top notch support."
      I can get you all that on a 386. are you SURE performance doesn't matter?

      • Who, may I ask, is offering "top notch support" for 386 systems??

        • by Nimey (114278)

          FTM, find me a 386 system whose parts will still be reliable in five years.

      • by smash (1351)

        Performance amongst available current hardware offerings DOES NOT MATTER, no.

        I386 PCs have not been available for about 20 years, so bringing them into the picture is irrelevant.

  • Does your company have any contracts with a vendor now? If so you may not have much choice. But I would factor in 5 year (or greater if they offer it) warranty. This way the machines are covered against hardware failure for that time. Since not replacing these machines for a while sounds like an idea, go a bit bigger to cover you for the long haul.

    You didn't say what this is for. Regular office apps, cad apps, number crunching apps, etc. The intended use of the machines really effects hat you should be look

  • ...but do include Gig ethernet and a big fat pipe to the 'net.

    The sooner the employees get their porn downloaded and get back to work, the higher the productivity on that little dual core.

  • Or a similar package is best. You get a nice number you can put into graphs and/or powerpoint presentation which such top brass is known to like. IMHO as long as your desktops are reasonable I wouldn't worry. The future is going to need good network infrastructure performance. Focus on gigabit ethernet, as someone mentioned above.
  • What type of workers do you have? It makes a huge difference if you are rolling out just business desktops that do nothing other than an office suite, email, web, and DB queries, versus whether you have folks doing CAD, Engineering, Scientific or Creative applications. For the former, any modern computer will probably be more than enough, for the later some users will need the most powerful computer you are willing to pay for. For instance many 3D applications can make use of a huge number of cores for r

    • by LetterRip (30937)

      Also forgot to add, that many users (DB, spreadsheet, standard office documents, and creativity, scientific, technical) would benefit from dual monitors for productivity.

  • Like they will know you did?
  • by sexconker (1179573) on Thursday May 20, 2010 @07:42PM (#32287256)

    Here's what you do.
    You go to techbargains.com slickdeals.net techdealdigger.com techdeals.net etc.

    CTRL+F DELL

    Note specs and prices.
    Do this for a week.

    Then next week, jump on the first deal that meets or beats the best deal from last week.

    Then order up a bunch of machines.

    If the number you're ordering is an issue, just call Dell, ask for the supervisor, and then get X machines at the quoted price after agreeing to upgrade them all to the 3-year, NBD warranty.

    Corporate will love the price.
    Whoever manages the machines (you?) will love the NBD warranty for when a PSU fails, or a fan starts getting noisy. (When, not if.)
    You won't have had to do any real work.

    Everyone wins.

  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Thursday May 20, 2010 @08:06PM (#32287516) Journal
    Not only were the machines similar they were virtually identical. Unless you were looking at the case badge, or the PCI vendor strings, you would have been hard-pressed to tell which was which. Same intel silicon, very similar HDDs and optical drives(not that that really mattered, neither party was willing to quote anything other than a capacity, so the brands we got in the test boxes were assurances of nothing). The RAM was within spitting distance of one another and(again), the vendors would assure us of nothing other than "X capacity, verified compatible) so it wasn't as though the specifics of the test samples told us much.

    We ended up going with Dell, just because they were cheaper, their driver download pages are modestly less unpleasant, and their "ImageDirect" tool is actually pretty handy.

    Unless you have particular reason to believe otherwise, exhaustive benchmarking will be a waste of your, and the exec's time. The only exception that I can think of would be if you were advocating for something unusual but potentially interesting(ie. Most corporate desktops are brutally I/O bound, straining under the load of A/V, constant patches and updates, and so forth. SSDs would make them fly, comparatively. Particularly if your company actually has a lot of expensive people running around, a "number of minutes from cold boot to productivity" benchmark could be eye-opening.)
    • We ditched Dell for lenovo thinkpads.. A bunch of executives came from other companies that had used them when they where owned by IBM.. Damn was it a big mistake. yes, they are more solidly made. We have less repairs. However, replacing a motherboard (and because of the USB layout on the T400 laptop, you will be replacing lots of motherboards) take 4 times as long as the Dells, we counted 44 screws! Of course, you can only replace the motherboard when you get a new one. Enjoy waiting a week or more, f

      • by jimicus (737525)

        We did the same thing, for similar reasons.

        What the execs didn't seem to appreciate was that for a comparable laptop, Lenovo charge about 25% more than Dell.

        If you're a huge company, you can get discounts on the order of about, oooh, say 25% - but we're not a huge company, we just hired some people who probably wanted to go from being a relatively small fish in a huge pond to being a big fish in a much smaller pond.

        Oh, and if you've got an account manager with Dell you can also get discounts.

  • Spend the time to find a vendor who will work with you and help you through the migration. IMO, PCs with similar CPUs, FSBs, memory speeds won't vary enough in performance to justify the effort of quantifying performance differences.
  • This is specialized for architects but we went from a five minute "save to central" time cost with Windows XP 64Bit to two seconds on Windows 7. Our cost to deploy ROI was achieved in one week's work. "Save to Central" is an Autodesk feature for writing to a SQL Server database on a server. Talk about low hanging fruit. Management surely understands that when people are no longer standing around yapping, more money is being made; not to mention happier workers as well! Your results may vary. Of course wit
  • What you will see is marginal differences. Other aspects, like component quality, noise levels, support, etc. will be important, the slight performance differences will be completely unimportant.

    I would strongly suggest that you are trying to optimize an entirely unimportant parameter and are overlooking several very important ones. Rethink what you actually want.

  • by BUL2294 (1081735) on Thursday May 20, 2010 @08:55PM (#32287904)
    Here's why this guy is being asked that... Suppose Machine A is "5% faster" than Machine B at the same price point for a common task. Let's say that task is something everyone does often and is easy to measure: booting up. So, if Machine A takes 60 seconds to boot, Machine B takes (0.95*60)=57 seconds--3 seconds faster.

    So, here's how the C-level execs think... Say you have 1000 employees, each saving 3 seconds/day in bootup time. 1000 employees * 3 seconds/day = 3000 man-seconds/day. 3000 man-seconds/day * (approx) 225 work days/year = 675,000 man-seconds/year = 187.5 man-hours/year saved! Just think of how much more productive we are due to that 5%!

    Of course, that assumes that all your employees are robots and use every second of time productively. To add, by the time the OP gets all the machines, runs the benchmarks, and creates the pretty PowerPoint slides for the C-level execs, this little experiment probably cost the company a lot more than 187.5 hours... (Although you could probably shoehorn a 3-4-year NPV calculation showing a savings for this project...)
  • I've used Passmark Performance Test before to bench Windows machines:
    http://www.passmark.com/products/pt.htm [passmark.com]

    Very straightforward for Windows dorks to install and use, and provides lots of simple graphs and an easy engine to make comparisons. I mostly used the demo version, but the commercial version didn't seem expensive.

    Also, props to them for providing this handy reference:
    http://www.videocardbenchmark.net/ [videocardbenchmark.net]

    Again, be sure to test in as close to the final deployed configuration as possible. I've s

  • There's no business/office productivity software that requires Vista or Windows 7. In fact, I'm not aware of any software of any kind that REQUIRES Windows 7.

    You can run everything on XP.

    Now ask yourself: "Why are we spending -any- money on upgrades?"

    Two paths from this point.

    1) Slap yourself, rebuild your corporate image with a nice current minimal build and give users the option to rebuild their machines with said image dynamically, at boot time. This will produce vastly greater productivity than any

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by smash (1351)

      A few reasons why you should go Win7

      • Windows XP SP3 support from microsoft ends in mid 2011
      • Branchcache
      • DirectAccess
      • Powershell 2.0 and WinRM on all your desktops as standard
      • You can bet your arse that future MS offerings will not support Windows XP

      If you have hardware that was even half reasonably specc'd in the past 3 years, Windows 7 is fine. And it is not always slower than XP. Try doing a search through your email in XP vs Win7 (you know, something that actually MATTERS in reality) and compare.

  • There are plenty of benchmark tests around. For C-level executives, the ones that score the machine overall performance with a number would be the simplest. Also see what customer reviews say.

    The simplest way to go (and that's what I always do) - spec out a machine according to what you need + a little extra. Go shopping among the vendors (Apple, Dell, HP, ...) and see what the prices say for the machine you spec'ed out (don't forget all the little additions you need to make to make a machine complete - dis

  • Benchmarks are for proving whether particular solutions can meet requirements. But you have to start with a weighted list of requirements first, and get agreement on that list, before you benchmark anything. That list of requirements will contain a lot more than the boot-up time or whether you can open a browser window infinitesimally faster. For example, you could equip every user with solid state disks to improve boot-up performance, but could you afford it, would those SSDs provide enough capacity, and w
  • by vinn (4370) on Friday May 21, 2010 @02:04AM (#32289734) Homepage Journal

    I hope you were merely tasked with finding benchmarks and that you're just a tech. If your CIO tasked you with picking the next platform and you decided to perform technical benchmarks, then you really missed the boat.

    1. First, you need to be analyzing support you'll get. Don't get too hung up on it, but you need something better than a 90-day warranty. There are diminishing returns though, at some point it's not worth getting a 3 year or 4 year contract.

    2. Next, you need a vendor that will help you with license management. Being able to audit your licenses for Office or Symantec or whatever quickly will help you. If you don't have volume licensing, now is the time your vendor should be helping you with it.

    3. Usability matters a lot, but what matters almost as much is how cool your laptops are. When your marketing director, you know, the one that always wears cool clothes and would have to have his iPhone pried out of his cold dead hands, goes to a conference you better make sure he has the coolest laptop of any of the other marketing geeks. A lot of companies overlook this, but I guarantee you he doesn't want to be carrying around a Latitude E6510 clunker.

    4. There's a nice price point right now around $1000 for decent corporate laptops and you'll get about 3 years out of them.

    5. You need to be negotiating with your sales rep hard if you're making a purchase like this. Your rep isn't going to be able to make huge discounts on laptops like they can on server equipment or some software licenses, so see if you can get some killer pricing on servers while you're shopping for a big laptop package.

    Skip the benchmarks, it's not worth your time. Anything you teach your boss about Core duo, i5, etc will be useless knowledge for him in six months when Intel introduces some new spec.

    • by RMH101 (636144)
      What he said.
      Only thing I'd add to this is you might also want to consider if a vendor can guarantee availability of that exact model for x years. If you use a standard build you might want to guarantee that it'll work on any new hardware you buy for a few years. Some vendors pull stupid stunts like swap the brand of integrated NIC mid lifecycle which can be a real PITA. Nothing you can't work around, but Fujitsu and Dell definitely offer this on their corporate line.
      Oh, and it never hurts to pick sexy
  • by smash (1351) on Friday May 21, 2010 @02:54AM (#32289940) Homepage Journal

    Performance benchmarks for typical desktop office machines are pointless. What is FAR more important is: driver stability/support and vendor support in the case of hardware malfunction. So long as your desktops have > 1gb ram they will be fine for 7, for normal office use.

    We're currently a dell shop (sigh), my baseline cut-off for Dell laptops is Latitude D510 with 1GB ram for Win7 pro x86. Desktop machines - anything with similar spec to that is fine for x86.

Man is the best computer we can put aboard a spacecraft ... and the only one that can be mass produced with unskilled labor. -- Wernher von Braun

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