I am in charge of buying computers for my office and want some help

Star Destroyer

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jun 15, 2006
Hey guys,
This is not about macs at all, even though i wish it was. BUT i just got hired into a newly created job and for this job i need i to set up an office. This office needs to contain 3 PC's and 1 laptop.
I can spend UP TO 2550$ on each of the desktop PC's which have to run Windows, and i can spend UP TO 2100$ on a Laptop that will accompany me and my 'crew' into the factory for data collection.

The PC's will be used for report preparation, and some software, but nothing heavy, as will the laptop.

I want to really max out these machines and really get all i can whether i need it or not. Just because i have never had that much money to spend on a computer before!
So please help me! (I have been looking for something with the new core 2 duos and like 2-3 GB of RAM....) ;)

Also note: Budget is in CANADIAN $$$

Thank you all, i will let you know what Comps. i settle on, and if i used anyones suggestions!


Moderator emeritus
Jan 9, 2004
Grand Rapids, MI, USA
Just a suggestion, but you might want to consider funneling some of the money into a nice backup system that can automate backups on all the desktops. Perhaps pick one (i.e. yours! :D ) to be the boss hog and put a terabyte RAID on it. :)

Also just in terms of the laptop, as much as the urge to get geektoy exists, if you're taking it into factories, go for durable. Get a Thinkpad. You can put a fingerprint scanner on it to make yourself feel better. :)


macrumors 68000
Apr 2, 2006
mkrishnan said:
if you're taking it into factories, go for durable. Get a Thinkpad.
ooh true, you should really make sure they are durable and not too good-looking, that way you wont feel bad when everyone else uses it and dirties it up a bit.

Star Destroyer

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jun 15, 2006
Well the cool/bad thing is, its a student position at my University. We are contracted out by some companies to do energy audits. The entire project will only last 5 months max. Then it will be shut down, or they will hire other students when i go back to class work ( I am in fourth year Engineering). So.. yarrrrrrr.
No backing up other then storing all the data on a big external HDD is needed, which we have a budget for as well.

It also may end up where instead of even getting an office, we all just get Laptops instead of the PC's....

So i need some idea where to start..


macrumors 68030
Apr 17, 2004
A Stoned Throw From Ground Zero
Let me run something by you and then you can run it by your powers that be.

Three 20" Core Duo 2 iMacs each equipped with
2.33GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
2GB 667 DDR2 SDRAM - 2x1GB
250GB Serial ATA Drive
ATI Radeon X1600/256MB VRAM
SuperDrive 8X (DVD+R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW)
Apple USB Modem
Apple Keyboard & Mighty Mouse + Mac OS X (US English)
20-inch widescreen LCD
AirPort Extreme
Bluetooth 2.0 + EDR
Subtotal $1894.00 USD

One 2.0 GHz Core Duo 2 MacBook Pro
ADD RAM 3rd Party

2.0GHz Intel Core Duo
512MB 667 DDR2 - 1 SO-DIMM
100GB Serial ATA drive @ 7200 rpm
MacBook Pro 15-inch Widescreen Display
SuperDrive (DVD±RW/CD-RW)
AirPort Extreme Card & Bluetooth
Backlit Keyboard/Mac OS - U.S. English
15.4-inch TFT Display
Add $250.00 for 2 X 1GB DIMMS from datamem.com

You know that all Intel Macs can run Windows natively.

What are the primary applications that your office will be using?
Are you connecting to a P/C server or database?

Also if you buy a Windows based system now, will your office want to update to Vista Pro
@$399.00 per machine? Plus Pro A/V and firewall suite.?


macrumors 65816
Sep 7, 2004
I agree with FFTT.

I'd do what he says. That really seems like the best deal.

Why not at least give it a shot at convincing the higher ups to get macs. Its way better for them in the longrun and the expense is not as great off the bat or to upgrade them later in terms of software.

Technologies are changing so fast anymore as well that any pc's they buy will not necessarily be hardware upgradeable a couple years down the line.

Nor will the macs, but you know what, i've been running my powerbook day in day out for precisely 2 years (to the day actually) and it still does everything I need it to do without any hiccup (I am a graphic designer). My pc which is only 2.5 years old doesnt even play the latest games or certainly edit movies without stuttering.

PLUS MACS RUN WINDOWS (if you really really need it)

Good luck.


macrumors 68030
Apr 17, 2004
A Stoned Throw From Ground Zero
Being in charge of purchasing may give you a feeling of power, but having your boss all grins because you came in well within budget, will do more to secure your future employment and trust.

I pretty much loaded those 20" iMacs way beyond the specs that your office would need, but there's nothing wrong with a bit of power to spare and " as configured "
they would be reasonably future resistant.

They will also run Mac OSX, Windows XP, Vista, or Linux.

They can also video conference with the built in iSight or create podcasts for
training distributon.

The TCO of these machines will beat any comperable Windows only P/C.
That is a no brainer.

Networking and file sharing with other P/C's is not a problem.

These machines are not only capable of running any office application you can think of, they are powerful enough to design them.

Since you are doing this as part of an educational institution project,
I strongly suggest that you consult with Apple's Pro Business/Education representatives.

They may be able to help you put together a proposal that makes everyone happy.


macrumors member
Sep 11, 2006
Star Destroyer said:
I can spend UP TO 2550$ on each of the desktop PC's which have to run Windows...
Do you think fiddling with bootcamp (beta stuff), and having to deal with potential incompatibility problems is going to do him any good? Best to keep macs out of this one.


macrumors 601
Mar 4, 2005
.. London ..
Is that budget hardware only or does it include software?

I did a similar job last year for my office, and after buying an Office pack, plus Dreamweaver, and Photoshop, and accountancy software and a database application, and office insurance and some training, and paying my own fees, there wasn't a whole lot left over. Brought 4x iBooks + the above items + carry cases for them + some mice.

Star Destroyer

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jun 15, 2006
That budget is for software as well, but we will only need office. The rest of the software used is included in the budget for that piece of equipment.

Sorry guys, trust me the first thing i want is macs. But it cant be done. The software for the machines were are using will not run on OSX and even though they can all dual boot now its not something anyone wants to play around with. (Plus the prof in charge has stated on several occasions that he hates apple with a passion) so i will continue to have my macs at home, but i wont try to convince 4-5 people that we should get them in the office.

So its got to all be PC's i was thinking getting a Core 2 duo HP, with 2Gb of Ram, and some nice Radeon video card.

Core 2 duos are 64 bit right? and the Radeon X1600 will be good enough for any modeling we need to do..

Mostly it will just be loads of calculations, and the some MS Office stuff...


macrumors 601
Mar 4, 2005
.. London ..
Seems you're in the wrong website then :)

Always wise to keep your prof happy.

Seems you already know what you want. Just buy some business dells and a good service contract (dell business contract, not home user) and job's done.

I wouldn't agonise too much, seems you're only gonna use them a few months - just make sure they have the grunt to do the job and a good support contract.

The time you have with your prof is valuable and you dont want dodgy hardware, poor support or arguements over OS getting in the way.


macrumors 601
Feb 10, 2004
I'm responsible for new system purchases as well... but we won't be making any for another 2-4 years. ;) Anyways, when we do, it'll be 25 min spec Mac minis, a site license for Parallels, we'll keep our old XP licenses, and 25 new copies of Office:mac. Also will snag 25 low cost USB keyb/mice sets and 25 17" Dell LCDs.

Throw in a few copies of some misc apps we use for a few things and bam, instant office wide switch. We'll save as much in electricity over the life of the machines as we spend on buying them (compared to the 25 P4 Dells and 17" CRTs we use now). ;)


macrumors newbie
Aug 30, 2006
This is what i would do in a corporate environment your educational needs may be a bit different as the project is temporary

You know you don’t need to spend all the money! I'm sure your boss will be happier if you don't. You don’t say exactly what software the PC's need to run? If it’s just office apps then forget Core2's and good graphics cards it’s just a waste of money.

Are you responsible for maintaining these PCs too? If so I think you want to buy 3 PCs (and possibly 1 extra as server) with the same hardware (say low/mid spec DELL anything P4 2-3Ghz upwards 1-2GB Ram tops, server can be more powerful/expensive, maybe core2 or even better xeon woodcrest)

Image your base config and any problems you can easily reimage the PC back to a working state. Keep all vital files (point My Documents to network server etc) on networked RAID or at least separate server with tape backup (using Win Server 2003). Get MSOffice or OpenOffice for all PCs. If your happy to use an external HD for a few months then fine but if this was a permanent setup definitely go with good backup system.

If the laptop is for your use only i would go for it and get a macbook (pro?) and boot camp it. If you're here you obviously prefer macs.