For my database to run efficiently, the luxury car dealership needs a computer with certain specifications in order to run the certain software. I have researched the necessary system requirements for the software I use to create and run databases. These programmes include the operating system (the OS) and the program I use to create the actual databases.
Microsoft Windows Vista Ultimate
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- 1Ghz 32-bit or 64-bit processor
- 1GB of system memory
- DirectX 10
- 128Mb Graphics Card
- 40GB HDD with 15GB of free space
- DVD-ROM Drive
- Audio Output Capability
- Internet Access Capability
- Keyboard and Microsoft mouse or compatible pointing device
Microsoft Office Professional Plus 2007
- 500-MHz or faster processor
- 256Mb of RAM or greater
- 2GB of Hard Drive Space
- DVD Disc Drive
- Windows Vista, Windows XP Home, Professional or Media Centre Edition with Service Pack 2
- Super VGA (800x600) Monitor or greater
- Broadband Connection
- Programmes included are the 2007 versions of: Microsoft Access, Communicator, Excel, InfoPath, Outlook, PowerPoint, Publisher and Word.
Microsoft Office includes all of the necessary programs for the car dealership's database including Microsoft Access to create it and Microsoft Word for the mail merge. It is quite expensive but it is compatible with all documents and is a quality product, used by many businesses every day. I myself use these Microsoft Office programs so it is easier for me to create the database.
As well as Microsoft Office, there is also another type of software currently found on the internet and as a free download. The program is called "Star Office". This is available for free from a website: www.sun.com, where you can download the program for free. The program can be linked with Microsoft Office, as there is a word processor (Microsoft Word), spreadsheets (Microsoft Excel), presentations (Microsoft PowerPoint), E-Mail Client (Microsoft Outlook) and Databases (Microsoft Access).
The system specifications of "Star Office" are:
- 320Mb of Hard Drive Space
- 128Mb of RAM
- Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition/Professional/Media Center Edition 2005 with Service Pack 2
- For Download from the Internet - Broadband Connection
- For Installation by Disc - DVD Disc Drive
The advantages of using Star Office are that it is free from their website, it includes most of the functions from Microsoft Office and it does not take up a lot of space on the Hard Drive or RAM. The fact that the software is free is that is it not as good as Microsoft Office because it cannot open all the documents, which could be difficult for the dealership if they create a document on Microsoft Office (say from their home) and when they try to upload it onto the computer at work, it might not be able to open.
I decided to choose the Microsoft Office Professional Plus 2007 for the company because it is a quality product and it is compatible with all documents. It is also the top of the range version with all of the necessary programs for the dealership, unlike Star Office. It is also much easier to use for both new and existing users of the dealership. However, it is quite expensive but the overall cost is less than using Star Office. The computer's operating system is also made by Microsoft, which is a genuine company and are also the company who make Microsoft Office, so they are compatible. The company users may also have used Microsoft Office before so it would be familiar to them.
The company have also asked me to purchase new computers that will benefit them. I have looked at several computer websites and tried to find a computer with at least the exact specifications shown above for Microsoft Windows Vista and Microsoft Office Professional Plus 2007. As I have been with the knowledge of computers for a long time, I know which computer manufacturers to trust. I looked at several online stores including PC World, Currys Digital and Sony Centre Online and I have found two PC's that meets my needs and the company itself.
I chose Sony as the computer manufacturer as they are very reliable, they build quality computers and they have a superb repair service if the computer crashes. I have found this laptop on Sony's website that suited the company and me:
Sony Vaio AR Series with Blu-Ray Disc Drive
- Intel(r) Core(tm) Duo Processor T2500, Supports Enhanced Intel SpeedStep(r) Technology
- Microsoft(r) Windows(r) Vista Ultimate
- 1920 x 1200 Display
- 1024Mb of RAM
- Blu-Ray Super Multi Double Layer DVD
- NVIDIA(r) GeForce(tm) Go 7600 GT with 256MB dedicated Video Memory
- 802.11a/b/g Wireless Receiver
- HDD (Hard Drive Disc) 160Gb
This might seem quite expensive yet it has all the necessary specifications and more. The RAM (Random Access Memory) is very large - 1024Mb. This means that they can load up a lot of programs at once without any lag time. This will benefit the company as they will be able to open many programs at once e.g. opening the database and Microsoft Word at the same time and they would not have to close a program down to open another. It also has Windows Vista Ultimate. This will benefit the company because most of the users would have used a Microsoft operating system before so all of their documents are compatible and they know how to use Microsoft Windows without any training.
It also has a DVD Disc Drive, which means they are able to write and re-write DVD's. There is also a Blu-Ray Disc Drive. The Blu-Ray discs can hold up to 60 GB of data and it is re-writeable. This means that the company can save documents and files on several large discs and is able to re-write any disc placed in it (as long as the disc is re-writeable). This means that they can back-up all of their documents and files onto the disc so that if their laptop crashes, the documents will not be deleted.
The laptop is ideal for the company because it is portable, so the manager can load the specifications of the car and show the customers the specifications next to the car, rather than looking at the car then looking at the specifications.
The hard drive is also very large - 160 GB - which can easily store all the necessary programs and more programs if the company wish to install more programs.
The laptop also has a wireless card built-in which means that if the company has a wireless router, they can access the internet wirelessly. This means that they can carry the laptop anywhere and have a wireless connection. They can show the customers the car manufacturer's website when they are looking at that particular car so that they can see what the specifications are and what the price would be when bought new from the cars dealership.
Finally, the laptop has a large screen, which means that there will be no difficulty looking at the screen and not being able to see what is on there. The screen is also backlit so if the room is dark, you can see the screen more clearly and easily. The backlit screen is brighter when plugged into the mains but darker when portable in order to save battery life.
The other computer I was looking at was another Sony desktop computer:
Sony Vaio VGC Series (Black)
- Intel(r) Pentium(r) D Processor 820 (2.80 GHz and 800 MHz FSB)
- Genuine Microsoft(r) Windows(r) Vista Ultimate
- 250 GB SATA hard disk drive
- 1 GB (2 x 512 MB) DDR2-533 SDRAM, maximum 1 GB
- 20" WXGA (1366 x 768) widescreen X-black LCD screen with double lamp technology
- ATI Mobility(tm) Radeon(r) X700 graphics card with 256 MB HyperMemory(tm)
- Wireless LAN 802.11b/g
- Wireless QWERTY keyboard with pointing device (touch pad type), wireless optical mouse and remote control
Between the Sony laptop and the desktop, I have chosen the desktop as the company's new computer. The reasons why I chose the desktop are that the desktop is very slim, similar to the laptop. Also, the desktop's power is from the mains, not from a battery pack which the laptop has and needs recharging every two hours or so. The desktop has a wider screen than the laptop, making it easier to see. The screen is also backlit, similar to the laptop but it is always bright. However, with the laptop, when portable, the screen is dark and not backlit.
The desktop has all the necessary requirements and features the company need. The desktop specifications are much better than those of the laptop. Firstly, it has a 250GB hard drive disc, the laptop has 160GB. The desktop also has a 1024Mb which is equal to the laptop. The desktop is bundled with a wireless card so at the company can connect to the internet wirelessly without any Ethernet cables. The laptop has a wireless card yet it uses a lot of the laptops battery life and significantly reduces it to one hour's battery life when connected wirelessly. Finally, the desktop is bundled with a wireless keyboard (useful for typing on desks or when standing), a remote control (to control presentations such as slide shows and picture galleries) and a wireless optical mouse (useful when working on a desk).
The most important reason why I chose this desktop was that it was cheaper than the laptop . I thought that the selling price was quite good considering that when you buy the desktop; you have higher specifications than the laptop which costs an extra ½500, which has poorer specifications. I chose the computer manufacturer Sony because they make high quality computers with excellent specifications, reliability and at a reasonable price.
An alternative to using Microsoft Windows Vista Ultimate is using Apple's OS X Tiger 10.4. This is very similar to Windows yet it uses different programs, so the same applications are not cross compatible, so the company's employees would not be able to view documents made on a Macintosh on a Windows PC. I did not choose Mac OS X because the employees and I have no training in using this software. Also, the Mac is more graphically advanced than Windows, yet this is unnecessary because the computer is only needed for running a database and does not have to have a lot of graphical power. Finally, Mac OS X is much more expensive as it includes all the software made by Apple. Most of the software is unnecessary for the dealership so purchasing a Windows Vista PC is more beneficial as the user can choose what programs you wish to purchase.
There are two types of printers available to purchase; inkjet and laser. I decided to choose one suitable inkjet printer and one laser printer for the dealership and then work out which would be the best to purchase. I decided to choose "Lexmark" as the printers manufacturer because they are very reliable, efficient, cheap and a well known brand. I myself have a Lexmark printer and I recommend their printers to all of my customers.
- Inkjet Printer
- USB Connection
- 100 paper tray
- 24 pages per minute in black
- 18 pages per minute in colour
- Windows and Mac compatible
This printer is very cheap. This is beneficial for the user and the dealership because it would save them quite a lot of money on a laser printer, like the one below. It also prints both colour and black ink so the user can print out documents such as reports as well as print out photos of the cars if he wishes to. The printer can also hold a lot of paper before it has to be refilled which is good because the user could ask the computer to print 100 pages and would be able to leave the printer printing for a long time.
However, this printer is inkjet so it takes a lot longer to print both colour and black ink pages than a laser printer which could be annoying and time consuming for the user as he may have to print out the documents as quickly as possible for a customer waiting. The ink also runs out very quickly, which means that the user would have to purchase more and more cartridges. These are also very expensive, which is not beneficial for the company.
- Laser Printer
- USB Connection
- 165 paper tray
- 20 pages per minute in black
- Windows only compatible
The alternative to the inkjet printer is this laser one. It holds 165 pages until it has to be refilled - 65 more than the inkjet printer. This means that the user is able to leave the printer for a long time to print out documents until he has to refill the paper. It also prints 20 pages per minute in black which is quite a lot. This means that the user can print off reports very quickly, saving the user time and effort. The toner is also very long lasting and is quick and cheap to change - unlike the inkjets cartridges. This will save the user time and money when the toner has run out.
However, this printer only prints in black so the user would not be able to print any colour documents or photos from the printer. It is also more expensive.
I decided to purchase the Lexmark E120N for the company. Firstly, it is laser so it is able to print a lot of black pages very quickly and efficiently, saving the user time and money replacing the cartridges of the printer as the toner is much cheaper. Also, the printer holds more paper than the other one so the user does not have to keep refilling the paper tray as often as using the laser printer.
Unfortunately, the printer only prints black pages. However, the company would not need to print out anything in colour as it only needs to print out reports, so buying an inkjet printer would be inadequate. Also, the printer is more expensive but by saving money from buying toner rather than inkjet cartridges, the money is effectively paid back from the saved money.
I also decided that the company should purchase a broadband connection for many reasons. Firstly, if the company were to expand in the future, they would be able to communicate with the other dealerships across the region, saving time and money spent on making phone calls to the other dealerships for information.
Looking at the software requirements of Windows Vista Ultimate, the company needs to have an internet connection so that they can register their computer and OS with Sony and Microsoft to prevent any illegal copies of it being made. The internet connection also benefits the company as they would be able to update vital downloads on their computers.
The internet may also benefit the company because they would be able to compare their prices with other companies who rent luxury cars, so that they know if they are over or under charging for their rentals, benefiting the company and the customers themselves.
Also, the company is able to download new information from the car manufacturer's website including new cars and new details. They could also purchase new or used cars from the manufacturers directly through the internet.
I recommend to the company that they purchase a fast internet connection of 8Mbps. This would benefit the company and the user because they would be able to download updates from Microsoft very quickly and efficiently, they would be able to access website quickly saving a lot of time for the user, they would be able to surf the web and download items at the same time and it would be future proof for the company so that they would not have to upgrade their internet speed for a long time.
However, if the company purchase an internet connection, they would have to purchase some software to protect it against viruses and spy ware. A program they should purchase is Norton Anti-Virus 2007. This can be purchased via the internet or as a software package. This would provide protection for the company's computer against viruses such as "Trojan Horse" and spy ware which allows other computers to access information and document from your PC, effectively ruining your privacy. If the computer was attacked by one of the 114,000 viruses on the internet, the computer's data could become corrupted and any valuable data could be lost. By purchasing this software, this will prevent any damage happening to the company's computer.
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