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Macintosh Desktop Hardware

General Recommendations

The following guidelines were developed for typical office use. In most cases, this includes word processing, spreadsheets, e-mail, and Web browsing. If your needs go beyond that, you may need a more powerful system.

Computing technology changes a lot, and ITS makes every effort to keep these recommendations up to date. Check back often for the latest information.

These recommendations are for new computers only — please call us for advice before upgrading an existing machine. ITS generally advises that an office computer be replaced after 3 to 5 years of service. With the cost of new equipment constantly declining, upgrades are generally not cost-effective after a machine becomes four or five years old.

Students: the information on these pages can be used to aid in purchasing decisions, however you should consult your academic department for any specific computer hardware or software you may need for your academic work.

Recommended Configurations


Level of System Low-cost system Mid-cost system Recommended system

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Purpose For general-purpose office tasks involving electronic mail, Web access, Microsoft Office, calendaring, Oracle Applications, and other basic tasks where expandability is not an issue For moderately taxing tasks involving office use, general purpose image/video editing, for the use of more ports and expandability, or for those looking for a more self-contained system. For those needing larger screens, multiple displays, higher performance, or more expandability

Operating System Macintosh OS X Leopard

Model 1.66GHz Intel Mac Mini 17" 2GHz Intel iMac Dual 2.66GHz Intel Mac Pro

Processor Single 1.66 GHz Intel Core Duo Single 2.0 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo Two 2.66 GHz Dual-Core Intel Xeon

(Faster and Quad-Core processors optional)


Memory (RAM) 2GB, no slots remain. 2GB, no slots remain. 2 GB of 667MHz DDR2 ECC fully buffered DIMM, four slots remain available

Disk drives 60 GB Serial ATA hard disk (larger available)

Slot-loading Combo drive DVD-ROM/CD-RW (reads DVD's, reads and writes CD's)

160 GB Serial ATA hard disk

8x double-layer Superdrive DVD-RW / CD-RW optical drive (reads and writes both CDs and DVDs)

250 GB 7200-rpm Serial ATA hard disk

(Three additional hard disk bays remain available)

16x Superdrive with double-layer support DVD-RW / CD-RW optical drive (reads and writes both CDs and DVDs)


Ports, slots, and expansion Four USB 2.0 (480 Mbps)

One FireWire (IEEE1394, 400 Mbps)

Three USB 2.0 (480 Mbps)

Two USB 1.1 (12 Mbps, on keyboard)

Two FireWire (IEEE1394, 400 Mbps)

Five USB 2.0 ports (480 Mbps)

Two USB 1.1 ports (12 Mbps, on keyboard)

Two FireWire (IEEE1394, 400 Mbps)

Two FireWire 800 (800 Mbps)

AirPort Extreme slot

Three PCI Express slots


Video and display Intel GMA 950 graphics processor with 64MB of DDR2 SDRAM shared with main memory

DVI (VGA with included adapter) with video mirroring out (using optional adapter,explained here)

ATI Radeon x1600 with 128 MB SDRAM

17-inch active matrix LCD, 1440x900

VGA with video mirroring out (using optional adapter,explained here); 20-inch widescreen LCD available

NVIDIA GeForce 7300 GT 256MB of GDDR2 SDRAM with single-link/dual-link DVI ports (supports monitor spanning,explained here)

Network Built-in 54-Mbps AirPort Extreme Card

Built-in Bluetooth 2.0+EDR (Enhanced Data Rate) module

Built-in 10/100/1000 Gigabit BASE-T Ethernet

Built-in 56K V.92 modem

Built-in 54-Mbps AirPort Extreme Card

Built-in Bluetooth 2.0+EDR (Enhanced Data Rate) module

Built-in 10/100/1000 Gigabit BASE-T Ethernet

Built-in 56K V.92 modem

Optional 54-Mbps AirPort Extreme Card

Optional Bluetooth 2.0+EDR (Enhanced Data Rate) module

Built-in 10/100/1000 Gigabit BASE-T Ethernet

Optional 56K V.92 modem


Peripherals USB keyboard with integrated unpowered USB hub (extra on mini)

USB optical mouse (extra on mini)

Built-in speaker(s)

External stereo speakers may be optional


Software

Ships with Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger, and may provide other bundled software from Apple. The bundled Apple software does not imply support from ITS.

Other software, including Microsoft Office, available as per the ITS Software Licensing and Volume Purchasing page, or at an academic discount through the RIT Campus Connections bookstore.

Faculty and staff systems can be imaged with RIT standard disk image when the computer arrives on campus for the fastest available setup and installation. This service may not be available initially when major new versions of Mac OS X are introduced. Faculty and staff systems must comply with the security standards available from the RIT Information Security Office. Please make arrangements for setup service through the ITS Service Desk.


Warranty Extended AppleCare warranty optional but recommended for critical desktop systems and all laptops (adds two years of coverage for three total); auto-enrollment available for institutional purchases (requires no additional paperwork)

Purchase Apple Store for Education

or RIT Campus Connections bookstore


Quick reference

The following key may help you with terms used in these charts.

  • Ethernet: makes it possible to connect directly to the campus network
  • AirPort and AirPort Extreme: Apple's brand name for wireless 802.11b and 802.11g networking, respectively, which is ready to use with RIT's 802.11b wireless campus network
  • GB: gigabyte or 1 billion bytes
  • Hard disk: a magnetic disk on which you can store computer data.
  • MB: megabyte or 1 million bytes
  • OS: operating system. The master set of programs responsible for overseeing the basic hardware resources of a computer such as disks, memory, keyboard, screen, and CPU time.
  • RAM: random access memory. The working memory of the computer into which application programs can be loaded and executed

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