High school computer lab hardware and software specifications

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Computer lab
Hardware
Network administration
Software
Specifications
Could you provide me with some hardware and software specification that is most appropriate for a high school computer lab?

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NetworkingATE,

honestly, you have several different approaches to labs these days: Apple, PC (from an established Tier 1 vendor like Dell, HP, Lenovo, etc.), or do-it-yourself. If your school district already has an open agreement with one of those entities, they should be able to provide discounted hardware costs.

in terms of software, a good exposure to Linux (or OpenSystems) is vital. I’d hazard a guess and say that pretty much anyone knows XP/Vista and Mac OS X. To that end, it may be worth using something like VMWare Server or Workstation to allow someone to play with Linux in a more contained environment.

just my thoughts for you.

cheers,

Dave

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  • Britinga
    In terms of hardware specs, it entirely depends on what you want to do. Our lab consists of machines running Win XP Pro; when I installed them 2 years ago, I thought that a gig of RAM would be adequate. We're now finding that even 2 gigs is not enough for stations that are used for video editing (we use Adobe Premiere Pro, which is a bit of a memory hog). If all you do is use them for Internet and MS Office, 1-2 gigs should be adequate.
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  • Pressler2904
    Long ago, when PC's were in the USD4,000.00 - 5,000.00 range (when they were the second of third most expensive thing you were likely to purchase after a house and a car...), I used to suggest to potential clients that they should figure out the maximum amount of memory they were likely to use and double it; purchase the fastet processor and largest hard drive they could reasonably afford and expect that within 6 months that their brand new bleeding edge system would be middle of the road, performance wise... While largely true today, I would figure out the memory requirements for your most intensive application set and provision against that "worst case" scenario. Be advised that some OS'es (notably WinXP 32 bit) have memory limitations, as I'm sure you are already aware. Running a VM / Hypervisor setup with guest OS'es installed is most definitely a good idea from my vantage point (as suggested above by DaveGraham), as it allows quick recovery if a student (or teacher/instructor!) melts down a given installation and will also allow uniformity across all workstations (one virtual image applied to several physical systems equals reduced support time, costs and headaches). If cost is a consideration, you may wish to install a tiered setup with several systems for the more run of the mill requirements and a few select systems with a beefier hardware footprint for the more demanding tasks (such as Adobe CS or Avid or .....). Make sure that these beefier setups have some sort of backup or RAID system initialized, or that you disallow local storage by network policy, as they would be the ones, to my experience, to contain the more mission critical files (or at least the ones more likely to be used by the more vocal members of your user community).
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