University of California, San Diego

April 19, 1999
SUBJECT: Administrative Computing Recommendations for PCs and Macs
This is an update to ACT's recommendations regarding personal computer
hardware and software for administrative computing purposes. These
recommendations are intended for those of you who are planning for upgrades or acquisition of new computers. Existing hardware and software with older or lower-powered systems may work just fine with UCSD
Given the decentralized nature of the campus and the wide variety of our
computing needs, it is not necessarily desirable or possible to impose
common standards. However, since there seems to be significant interest,
we have decided to send out this message with the understanding that the
specifics mentioned henceforth should be regarded only as general
recommendations and should be evaluated based on individual departmental
and user needs.
With all these caveats, we currently recommend the following:
PC Recommendations
DESKTOP HARDWARE: Intel Celeron or Pentium III processor (366MHz or faster)
with 128MB RAM, 4GB+ disk drive, 17" monitor (or larger)
                  with resolution of 800x600 or higher
OPERATING SYSTEM: Windows 98 or Windows NT Workstation 4.0
E-MAIL:           Eudora Pro 4.1 or other popmail system such as Outlook 98
WEB BROWSER:      Internet Explorer 5.0 or Netscape Communicator 4.5
WORD PROCESSOR:   Microsoft Word 97 (Office 97)
SPREADSHEET:      Microsoft Excel 97 (Office 97)

Macintosh Recommendations (see notes in Appendix 1 below)
DESKTOP HARDWARE: Power Macintosh G3, iMac, or G3 Upgrade Card with
                  64MB+ RAM, 4GB+ disk drive, 17" monitor (or larger) with
800x600 resolution or higher
OPERATING SYSTEM: MacOS 8.1 or higher and Mac Runtime for Java 2.1 or higher
E-MAIL: Eudora Pro 4.0
WEB BROWSER: Internet Explorer 4.5
WORD PROCESSOR: Microsoft Word 98 (Office 98)
SPREADSHEET: Microsoft Excel 98 (Office 98)
It should be noted that our recommendations will surely change over time
given the rapid evolution/mutation of the technology. Therefore, we will
do our best to issue periodic revisions to this notice. This message and
future updates can be accessed at http://www.act.ucsd.edu by clicking on
the "Suggested PCs" button.
I hope that you will find this information useful for your planning
purposes. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at
mailto:eharel@ucsd.edu or at x43396.
Thank you.
Elazar C. Harel
Assistant Vice Chancellor -
Administrative Computing & Telecommunications (ACT)
APPENDIX 1 - Notes on the Macintosh specifications
About "Current" G3's
The current G3 machines, both the blue-and-white G3 and the iMacs, have
potential issues to be aware of. They do not include built-in floppy
drives, but if a floppy drive is needed, an external USB floppy drive can
be purchased. Likewise, these machines do not include a built-in SCSI
interface, so if one is needed, it must be purchased separately. These
machines include 100 megabit Ethernet; however, to take advantage of the
additional speed, networking equipment may need to be upgraded. They
will also work with older 10 megabit Ethernet.
About G3 Upgrades
G3 upgrade cards are available for all Power Macintosh computers, including
the first PowerMacs and the 6100/7100/8100 series. These cards provide
adequate speed when running MacOS 8.1 or 8.5, and compatibility has
generally been good. However, upgrade cards will not be supported when
Apple releases its next operating system upgrade, OS X, which is expected
to be released sometime in the second half of 1999, or possibly in 2000.
About Older Macs
Macs released prior to the Power Macintosh are not recommended. MacOS 8.5
is not supported on these machines. PowerPC (not G3) upgrade cards are
available; however, even with such a card, MacOS 8.5 is not supported.
MacOS 8.1 is supported only on Macs with a 68040 processor. None of these
machines can run current versions of the Macintosh Runtime for Java (MRJ),
or Java applications or applets, in a recommended configuration. (Some
special configurations may work, but they are NOT recommended).
About RAM
64MB of RAM is enough for most uses. However, to run many different
programs simultaneously while also working with Java, consider 128MB.
About Java
For running Java programs, the most up-to-date version of the Macintosh
Runtime for Java (MRJ) is recommended. The current version, as of April
1999, is 2.1.1.
To run Java Applets in a Web browser, use Internet Explorer 4.5 or 4.0, and
make sure that Internet Explorer's preferences have "MRJ" selected as the
Java VM. Netscape Communicator 4.5 and earlier versions do not support Java
applets adequately, and are not recommended. Both Internet Explorer 5.0 and
Netscape Communicator 5.0 are expected to have improved support for Java.
The current version of MRJ (2.1.1) is not particularly good at handling low
memory situations; it usually quits or crashes without any warning. To
avoid this, buy plenty of RAM or quit other programs before running Java