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A Report on Computer Upgrade for Nutt Cracker Music Essays

Wolfgang “Moe” Zart
Nutt Cracker Music
Shop 5, 102 Ruthven Street
Toowoomba QLD 4350
Ph: (07) 4631 2156
Fax: (07) 4631 9551
Email: [email protected]

Dear Mr. Zart:

Enclosed is a detailed report that accesses and addresses your need to upgrade your current computer in order to enhance and improve your business.

The report covers both hardware and software requirements analysis for your system explaining what is needed and how much is needed. It offers suggestions on software and hardware upgrades as well as replacements. In addition to that a cost breakdown is given indicating how much the whole upgrade will cost.

The aim of the report was to offer advice and guidance on the need for you to upgrade your computer system and provide a walkthrough of what was necessary to achieve this. This aim was achieved and it was calculated that it will cost you $2312 to implement the proposed upgrades.

It is our pleasure doing business with you. Please contact us for any further assistance or clarification. Thank you.

Yours Sincerely,

Valkyries Technologies.

A Report on Computer Upgrade for Nutt Cracker Music

Nutt Cracker Music
Mr. Wolfgang Zart

23rd August 2010

4000 words
Executive Summary

The aim of the report was to offer advice and guidance on the need for you to upgrade your computer system and provide a walkthrough of what was necessary to achieve this. The report covers a needs assessment, recommendations and proposals for the upgrade of the computer system for Nutt Cracker Music.

The report was commissioned by the client Mr. Wolfgang Zart. Its purpose was to advice and informs him on how to upgrade his existing computer system in order to enhance his business. In doing this the client required us to point out what additional hardware and software he should consider buying to enhance his business.

Data collection for the development of this report was primarily through observation. This information was used in making informed decisions on the proposals made. It was also used to develop the cost breakdown table presented.

In summary it was found that you need to upgrade your computer’s memory and hard disk. A RAM upgrade from 1 GB to 4GB was proposed as well as a hard disk upgrade from 80GB to 500GB. In addition to that a new operating system was proposed along with new antivirus software and application software suites. It was also suggested that you purchase new hardware to enhance your business. These are a laser colour printer and a broadband modem/router.

It is recommended that upgrades be made where possible and new purchase made where an upgrade is not feasible. To that matter we recommend an upgrade version of the new operating system instead of a new full version copy as it is possible to upgrade from your current operating system (Windows XP) to the new operating system (Windows 7).Other hardware not mentioned such as the motherboard were found suitable enough for the proposed system.

Table of Contents
Executive Summary_ i
Table of Contents ii
Table of Figures iii
Introduction_ 1
Authorisation and purpose of this report 1
Limitations of this report 1
Scope of this report 1
Software Requirements 2
System Software_ 2
Utility Software_ 4
Applications Software_ 5
Hardware Specifications 7
System Unit 7
Motherboard_ 7
Central Processing Unit 7
Main Memory 8
Hard Drive_ 8
Laser Printer 9
Broadband Modem_ 10
System Cost Breakdown_ 11
Conclusion_ 12
Software Components. 12
Hardware Components 12
Recommendations 13
List of References 14

Table of Figures

Table 1: Windows XP vs. Vista common improvements 3
Table 2: Comparison between integrated softwares and software suites 5
Table 3 : Minimum memory requirements 8
Table 4: Minimum hard disk space requirements 8
Table 5: Cost breakdown for system upgrade 11

Introduction

Authorisation and purpose of this report
The report was commissioned by the client Mr. Wolfgang Zart. Its purpose was to advice and informs him on how to upgrade his existing computer system in order to enhance his business. In doing this the client required us to point out what additional hardware and software he should consider buying to enhance his business.

Limitations of this report
This report documents issues pertaining to technology. Technology as is known today is rapidly changing as a result this report is limited in its accuracy by time. To overcome this most sources of information used were online or internet based sources as these are the most current and up to date. In reading this report therefore one should be keen to note from the reference list when the information was retrieved as it is bound to change over time making this report irrelevant with time.

Scope of this report
This report covers a requirements analysis, proposals and a cost breakdown table to summarise it.
The requirements analysis is broken down to hardware and software requirements, while proposals are stated with each hardware or software item discussed.
A cost breakdown table at the end gives the total items needed and their cost. It is also divided into hardware and software categories giving subtotals of each of those two elements and a grand total.

Software Requirements

System Software
System software is any software that is installed on a computer system to facilitate the easy operation between input, output and storage devices and the system unit (central processing unit and main memory).There are two types of system software that need to be looked at in relation to Mr Wolfgang “Moe” Zart’s Nutt Cracker Music business: 1) the Operating System and 2) the types of Utility software needed to complement the Operating System.

Operating System
Without an operating system, a computer will simply not work. ‘An operating system (OS) is a set of computer programs that control the computer hardware and acts as an interface with application programs’ (Stair et al 2008, p. 43). The operating system currently in use by Mr Wolfgang “Moe” Zart’s Microsoft Windows XP Professional.

It is suggested that this operating system be updated to Microsoft’s latest operating system platform – Windows 7Professional Edition. Windows 7Professional Edition is:

Everything you need for work and home. With Windows 7 Professional, fewer walls stand between you and your success. You can run many Windows XP productivity programs in Windows XP Mode and recover data easily with automatic backups to your home or business network. You can also connect to company networks effortlessly and more securely with Domain Join. With all the exciting entertainment features of Windows Home Premium, it’s a great choice for home and for business.
(Microsoft 2010a)

Table 1 provides a comparison of some common improvements found between Windows 7Professional and Windows XP Professional:

Table 1: Windows XP vs. Vista common improvements

Windows 7
Windows XP
Windows 7 Difference
Security
Windows Defender protects your computer against the latest generation of threats, such as worms and spyware.
Windows File Protection prevents you or your applications from accidentally changing the core operating system files. This helps protect your system proactively and automatically.
Enhanced protection.

Performance
Improved performance means quicker start-up, shut down and resume as well as faster application and file loading.
Improved performance of Windows 98.
Improved performance and increased reliability.
Search
Easier to store, find manage, and organize the data and programs that you work with every day.
Indexed File System provides you with the capability of indexing the contents of the file system; this allows you to locate files easily and quickly based on a file name or search string.
Windows 7 uses features like Quick-search, Preview panes, high resolution icons as well as richer meta data to vastly improve search capabilities.
(Adapted from: Microsoft 2010b)

The Professional Edition is suggested as it contains features more suitable for a small business.

Some specific reasons for upgrading to Windows 7 Professional include:

·         Get quicker access to all of your stuff—use Pin and Jump Lists to keep the programs and files you use the most right at your fingertips.
·         Do more and wait less—improvements that can accelerate sleep and resume to and make your PC more responsive help you get more done.
·         Better compatibility–works with a larger set of software and devices.
·         Share files and printers among multiple PCs–from one Windows 7-based PC to another, you can share files, music, phones, and even printers across your home or work networks.
·         Keep your PC better protected with fewer interruptions–enjoy fewer system messages and alerts while still enjoying world-class security.
(Microsoft 2010c)

Of benefit to the business is the Windows 7Professional’s Internet firewall security feature that protects data from theft and hackers while the computer is connected to the Internet. This would be advantageous as it will allow Mr Zart to access the Internet via the Microsoft Internet Explorer web browser for business sales, promotional activities and email needs safely.

As the business continues to grow, it is possible that it may further develop a need for concurrent access to multiple computers facilities for staff, networking of computers and printers. Windows 7Professional facilitates easy establishment and management of networks, the wizard especially allows easy step by step development of filing sharing and printer sharing between computers (Microsoft 2010b). Windows 7 Business will meet Mr Wolfgang “Moe” Zart’s Nutt Cracker Music business’s needs and will enable the business to keep up with future technological trends.

Utility Software
Utility programs are another form of system software and run concurrently with the Operating System. They normally provide extra functionality not included within the Operating System. One important utility program that is essential for the business is an anti-virus program.

Anti-Virus Software
Anti-Virus software is a program that detects malicious software e.g. viruses and worms, prevents them from harming your computer and takes action to disarm or remove them. (Microsoft 2010d)
It is important that an anti-virus program is suggested on top of the inclusive Windows 7 Professional firewall protection to ensure maximum security of sensitive data. The anti-virus software suggested for Mr Wolfgang “Moe” Zart’s Nutt Cracker Music is McAfee Total Protection 2010.

McAfee Total Protection 2010is a third party utility program that is reliable and will effectively prevent the intrusion of viruses and other malicious programs into the business’s computer system.

This software will result in a more secure business computer and will provide protection of the business’s critical information against loss of data.

Applications Software

Applications software is any software program designed to assist the productivity of the computer user. They include word processors, spreadsheets, databases, image and video editors, web authoring, as well as software suites and integrated software programs.

Software Suite
Mr Wolfgang “Moe” Zart’s Nutt Cracker Music business currently utilizes Microsoft Works 2002 for Windows as its main software for business computer operations. While this integrated software program is suitable for general home usage it does not have the extra integration and software features of the contemporary software suites that are on the market. Table 2 shows the differences between an Integrated Software Application (Microsoft Works) and a Software Suite (Microsoft Office):

Table 2: Comparison between integrated softwares and software suites
Aspect
Integrated Software Applications
Software suites
Price
Integrated software applications are considerable cheaper than their suite counterparts.
Usually cost more than integrated options.
Features
They ship with fewer features and those available are built in as add-ons.
They ship with more features and standalone software for every need or application the whole suite is intended for.
Ease of use
They are easier to learn and use as you have all application under one program with one user interface.
Are challenging to learn as one has to learn all the individual stand alone applications
Sharing of Data
Since one works with only one application it is easy to share data across the various modules or add-ons of the integrated system.
Sharing data between the standalone programs is more complicated
Target
They are designed targeting casual users and beginners
They are designed targeting professional users and enterprises
Examples
Microsoft works
CorelDraw suite, MS office, Open Office
(Adapted from: Technology Group International, 2010)

It is suggested that Mr Wolfgang “Moe” Zart acquire Microsoft Office Home and Business 2010 to replace the current older Microsoft Works package. Microsoft Office Home and Business2010includes Word 2010, Excel 2010, PowerPoint 2010, Publisher 2010 and Outlook 2010.

The business will benefit by purchasing this software suite as it will be less expensive than purchasing all the individual applications and the applications included in this edition are well suited for Nutt Cracker Music’s needs.

Word Processing Software
A Word processing program is a productivity software application that allows users to create and edit text to produce professional standard business documents. The word processing software currently in use by the business is Microsoft Word 2003. It is suggested that the business upgrade to Microsoft Word 2010 to better the business’s word processing efficiency. Word2010 will allow Mr Wolfgang “Moe” Zart’s Nutt Cracker Music to perform simple word processing documents through to desktop publishing activities.

Spreadsheet Software
A Spreadsheet program is a productivity software application that allows users to create and manipulate mathematical, statistical and financial data. The spreadsheet software current in use is Microsoft Excel 2003. It is suggested that the business upgrade to Microsoft Excel 2010. Excel 2010 will allow Mr Wolfgang “Moe” Zart’s Nutt Cracker Music to perform simple calculations on sales information using simple functions and formulas within the worksheets. Other financial calculations such as employee salaries can be computed within Excel, eliminating the need to purchase accounting software. What-if analysis can also be used to determine the business’s lowest selling price for a certain profit by simply changing the price and reviewing the results.

Personal Information Manager Software
Mr Wolfgang “Moe” Zart has expressed his desire to provide the business’s customers with the opportunity to submit purchase orders via email. While an email program such as Pegasus Mail or even an online email service such as Gmail, Hot Mail or Yahoo Mail could be used for this purpose, it is suggested that the business obtain a Personal Information Manager Software application instead. Lansdale (1988) refers to personal information management as “the methods and procedures by which we handle, categorize and retrieve information on a day to day basis”.

It is suggested that the business acquire Microsoft Office Outlook 2010as its Personal Information Manager program. This program will meet the client’s needs for the sending and receiving of emails related to the business activities of selling mail order musical instruments.

·         Manage your schedule using the new Schedule View. View multiple Outlook calendars, Windows Live, or other shared calendars, in a streamlined horizontal display.
·         View the availability of a person and reach out to them using a variety of communication methods ― all on a new easy-to-access contact card. 2
·         Get additional information about people, such as mutual friends and other social information, and stay better connected to your social and business circles through the new Outlook Social Connector.
·         With Outlook 2010, you can easily sort through high volumes of data. The enhanced Search Tools provide you with ways to quickly find and manage large quantities of e-mail, calendar, and contact items.
·         Keep in touch with your contacts. By using Office Communicator, or your instant messaging application, Outlook 2010 provides presence and status information for those on your buddy or contact list.4 Hover over a name sees their availability and then easily initiates a conversation directly through instant messaging. With Office Communicator, you can start a voice call without leaving Outlook.
(Microsoft 2010e)

Hardware Specifications

System Unit
The system unit is the technical term to describe the box that houses the internal components of a computer system. The system unit refers to the computer itself but does not include the monitor, the keyboard, the mouse, or any other peripherals.

As the current system unit has been checked thoroughly and has been noted to be in good condition, including the power supply, it is suggested that there is no need for it to be upgraded.

Motherboard
The motherboard is the device that connects and controls the linkage between most of the internal and external devices and components used with the computer. The devices linked into the motherboard internally include, the central processing unit, the main memory, secondary storage devices, expansion slots, and the various ports used to connect input and output devices to the computer.

The currently installed motherboard has been analysed and it has been decided that it will be sufficient for the needs of business. It includes a built in soundcard, network card and video card, which means that these are three components that the client does not need to consider. Therefore, it is suggested that the current motherboard be retained as it will sufficiently handle the requirements of the business, even with the few additional suggested components that have been included as part of this report.

Central Processing Unit
A central processing unit (CPU) is:

Wikipedia (2010) describes the central processing unit as “the portion of a computer system that carries out the instructions of a computer program, and is the primary element carrying out the computer’s functions. It is the unit that reads and executes program instructions.”

The processor current installed in the system has been analysed and it has been decided that it has sufficient capacity to run all the business’s software requirements.

Main Memory
Main Memory also known as Random Access Memory. Sybex Dictionary of Networking (2000, p. 318) defines RAM as “the main system memory in a computer, used for the operating system, applications and data.”
The current system has1024MB of memory installed. From analysis of the software requirements, it been identified that the minimum memory required to run all the necessary software is 1792 MB.
Table 3 outlines the suggested software’s memory requirements.

Table 3 : Minimum memory requirements
Product
Minimum Memory requirement (MB)
Windows 7 professional
1024
Microsoft Office Home and Business 2010
256
McAfee Total Protection 2010
512
Total
1792 MB
(Source: McAfee 2010, Microsoft 2010 f, Microsoft 2010 g)

As the memory needs is a decision based on the aggregate of the memory needs for each piece of software, it is suggested that the client acquire at least two Kingmax 2048MB PC2-6400 800MHz DDR2 RAM valued at $59.00 each.  This is a reputable brand of computer memory and the amount will adequately meet all the memory storage needs of the client.

Hard Drive
The hard drive is the main secondary storage device for most computer systems. The current system contains an80 GB Quantum Fireball hard drive. From analysis of the application software system requirements, it been identified that the minimum amount of hard drive storage space required to run all the necessary applications simultaneously is 19.2 GB. Table 4 outlines the suggested software’s hard drive requirements:

Table 4: Minimum hard disk space requirements
Product
Minimum Hard disk space requirement (MB)
Windows 7 Professional
16384 (16 GB)
MS Office Home and Business 2010
3072 (3 GB)
McAfee Total Protection 2010
200
Total
19656 (~19.2 GB)
(Source: McAfee 2010, Microsoft 2010 f, Microsoft 2010 g)

As the hard drive needs is a decision based on the aggregate of the hard drive needs for each piece of software, it has been noted that the current hard drive would be suitable to run the suggested software. While the hard drive would be suitable to run the currently suggested software, it would not be sufficient for the business as the client has also indicated that the business wishes to store a lot of information in the form or business records and digital photos for the website, it is suggested that the client acquire at least one Western Digital 500GB Scorpio Blue hard drive valued at $155.00.

Laser Printer
Mr Wolfgang “Moe” Zart has expressed his desire to produce his own hardcopy promotional materials for local clients as well as producing electronic online promotional materials. With the use of the desktop publishing features of Microsoft Word 2010, the business will be able to produce such hardcopy leaflets to postage easily. Currently the business has a 5 year old Canon Inkjet printer. It is suggested that a new colour laser printer would allow for a more professional output to send to the business’s clients.

·         Hardware cost. A 3 in 1 system can save you money as it comes with printing, photocopying and scanning functions and is ideal for home (or small) businesses that don’t need to print in bulk. For heavy duty printing, it makes more sense to go for laser printers. These printers print faster, are more durable, and their print quality is much better compared to ink jet printers but are more costly.
·         Ink cartridges and toners. This is a very important factor. The ink used is a cost. The more you print, the more you pay. How much does an ink cartridge or toner cost? How many sheets can it print? Toners can cost a lot more, but when you sit down and work out the printing yield, you find that you may save more money in the long term. Also, you find that you don’t have to constantly replace the ink (ink cartridges tend to run out faster). Even if you run a small office, a small laser printer may be more economically viable.
·         Software and networking features. Today’s businesses demand a lot from the printers. Printers can be shared on a network so that many people can use the same machine at the same time. If need to take into consideration the number of people sharing the printer. If too many print jobs are sent at the same time, you may experience a jam. A long wait is inevitable. Intelligent computer chips inside the printer communicate with the computers. Advanced software will be able to show you important information such as ink levels and printing yields.
·         Printing quality and reliability. Nothing is more frustrating than buying a printer and then discovers it to be malfunctioning in just a few short months. Replacing a printer is always a hassle. In addition, if the ink cartridges continue to give you problems, you have little choice but to replace the entire printer. Check out consumer reviews before making a purchase.
(Wright, 2009)

A HP CP2025X Colour Laser Printer valued at $1150 has been suggested to provide fast printing at 20 pages per minute in colour to meet the business’s printing needs.

Broadband Modem
As the business wishes to use the Internet to promote its products through an online catalogue, as well as use email facilities to communication with customers and receive orders, it is necessary for Mr Wolfgang “Moe” Zart to acquire a modem. While the business could successfully conduct its communications via a lesser type of modem / internet connection such as dial-up, it is suggested that a broadband connection be considered to allow for faster uploading of the business’s website and future expansion.

The Sybex (2000, p. 52) describes broadband as a technique of transmitting large amounts of information (voice, data and video) over long distances using the same communication channel.

A Belkin N1 Vision Wireless Modem/Router valued at $295.00 has been suggested to provide suitable Internet access for Mr Wolfgang “Moe” Zart’s Nutt Cracker Music and provide easy expansion for the business to connect more computers wirelessly using the IEEE 802.11n wireless networking standard.

According to the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers standards association (IEEE 2009), IEEE 802.11n is “IEEE Standard for Information technology — Telecommunications and information exchange between systems — Local and metropolitan area networks-Specific requirements Part 11: Wireless LAN Medium Access Control (MAC) and Physical Layer (PHY) Specifications Amendment 5: Enhancements for Higher Throughput.”

System Cost Breakdown

Table 5: Cost breakdown for system upgrade
Cost Breakdown Table

Hardware

Item
Description
Quantity
Price
Cost

RAM
Kingmax 2048MB DDR2
2
59
118

Hard Disk
Western Digital Scorpio Blue
1
155
155

Printer
HP CP2025X color laser printer
1
1150
1150

Broadband Modem
Belkin N1 Vision Wireless modem/router
1
295
295

Total
5

1718

Software

Item
Description
Quantity
Price
Cost

Operating system
Microsoft Windows 7 Professional (Upgrade)
1
199
199

Application software suite
Microsoft Office Home and Business 2010
1
279
279

Antivirus software
McAfee total protection 2010
1
116
116

Total
3

594

Grand Total

2312

(Source: McAfee 2010,Microsoft 2010 f, Microsoft 2010 g)

Conclusion

The report having met its objectives the following conclusions were made.

Software Components.
The operating system is to be upgraded from Windows XP to Windows 7 professional by buying an upgrade disk.
The integrated application software – Microsoft works, is to be replaced by a more recent software suite – Microsoft office home and business 2010.
An antivirus program is to be acquired. McAfee total protection 2010 has been suggested.

Hardware Components

The system unit, motherboard and CPU were reviewed and decision to retain them was reached. However it was suggested that the RAM be upgraded from 1 GB to 4GB and the Kingmax brand selected.
For the hard disk an upgrade from 80GB to 500GB was proposed by buying a new 500GB Western Digital hard disk.
New hardware necessary to enhance the business was also proposed. These are:
A colour laser printer () and a broadband modem/router ().

The cited sources of information were used and all areas of the report’s scope fully addressed.

Recommendations

A few recommendations have been made to fine tune the proposals in this report. These are recommendations regarding where to buy the products, why to buy them there and how they will be delivered to the business premise.
These recommendations are:
·         It is recommended that software be bought online directly from the producer’s web stores as cited as it will be more economical.
·         It also recommended that the download option be selected as opposed to traditional shipping. This will be both economically and environmentally more viable than shipping.
·         For hardware, local stores are recommended as they will provide more support or assistance with warranty issues or servicing in the future.

List of References

Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers Standards Association 2009, IEEE 802.11: LAN/MAN Wireless LANs, (IEEE 802.11n-2009), International Standards

McAfee 2010, Products: McAfee Total Protection 2010, viewed 20th August 2010, < http://home.mcafee.com/store/total-protection?ctst=1>.

Microsoft 2010a, Windows 7: Compare editions, viewed 9thJuly 2010, <http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windows-7/compare/professional.aspx>.

Microsoft 2010b, Windows 7: Compare Windows 7 to Windows XP and Windows Vista, viewed 9th July 2010, <http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windows-7/compare/versions.aspx>.

Microsoft 2010c, Microsoft 7: Top 10 Reasons to buy Windows 7, viewed 9thJuly 2010, <http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windows-7/compare/top-ten-reasons.aspx >.

Microsoft 2010d, Microsoft: Microsoft Online Safety, viewed 20th August 2010, < http://www.microsoft.com/protect/terms/antivirus.aspx>.

Microsoft 2010e, Office: Outlook 2010 features and benefits, viewed 20th August 2010, < http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/outlook/outlook-2010-features-and-benefits-HA101810016.aspx>.

Microsoft 2010f, Windows 7: Windows 7 System Requirements, viewed 20th August 2010, < http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windows-7/get/system-requirements.aspx>.

Microsoft 2010g, Office: Office Home and Business 2010, viewed 20th August 2010, < http://store.microsoft.com/microsoft/Office-Home-and-Business-2010/product/B4D93AC9>.

Stair, R. Moisiadis, F. Genrich, R. & Reynolds, G. 2008, Principles of Information Systems, Thomson Course Technology, Melbourne, Victoria.

Sybex 2000, Dictionary of Networking, Sybex Inc., Alameda

Technology Group International (2010), buying a fully-integrated ERP software suite vs. a best-of-breed solution approach, viewed 20th August 2010, < http://www.tgiltd.com/blog/software-evaluation/buying-a-fully-integrated-erp-software-suite-vs-a-best-of-breed-solution-approach/>.

Wikipedia 2010, Central processing unit, viewed 20th August 2010, < http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Central_processing_unit>.

Wright, G 2009, Factors to Consider before Buying a Printer, viewed 20th August 2010, < http://www.articlesbase.com/computer-forensics-articles/factors-to-consider-before-buying-a-printer-1366638.html>.

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