Hardware & Software Analysis

Students analyze, compare and evaluate hardware and software based on user requirements.
Prerequisite:  None


The Smiths operate a home based business. Most of their business is conducted by mail and by phone. The Smiths wish to begin taking advantage of the automation and security saving features associated with running a small server. To do this they will need to upgrade their computer systems and/or purchase new equipment. At present they own a PC, a laptop and a Canon inkjet printer. They wish to replace their current systems, but are unsure as to whether they want to go with another PC, or switch to a Macintosh system of comparable ability. The business requires several software features including database, spreadsheet, and word processing. They use the Quickbooks accounting program. They will also require a program of Utilities to maintain the system and handle viruses. They are also interested in finding out the features available in a Laser printer, related to cost and are willing to replace their old inkjet multifunction printer. Ability to send/receive faxes is very important.

First, you must analyze the Smith’s current system. Discuss features, memory, operating system and peripherals.

  • Current Printer:
  • Doesn’t matter because it is pretty much dead!

Secondly, evaluate two comparable PC and/or Apple Macintosh systems. A cost breakdown should also be included in the comparison. Be sure to let the Smith’s know about warranties and support services available with their new purchase. As well, your estimate should include the cost of peripherals such as a replacement printer, WiFi Router, Backup Storage, and broadband Internet service for one year. Office furniture to fit the new system should also be investigated. Again, provide two options.

Hardware Budget – $5500.00

The Smiths have a maximum budget of $5500. You can allocate this however you like, but they are suggesting the following based on previous purchases:

  • PC – $1500.00
  • Laptop – $1500.00
  • Server – $1500.00
  • Printer – $500.00
  • Router – $150.00
  • UPS – $150
  • Backup Storage – $200
  • Furniture – to be bought with any remaining funds from the $5500.00.


Next, you must address the software needs of the Smiths. Provide them with three different software packages and what they offer. How do they differ? What are the best features of each software item? Which one would best suit the Smith’s needs? Remember, the software must be compatible with the new operating systems of the computers you choose to recommend. As well, let the Smiths know about special features, user friendliness, training, support and intercompatibility with other software for each of the programs you select.

A conclusion of your analysis should give possible hardware/software combinations from the information gathered for the Smiths to choose from. Provide costs for the equipment chosen and be prepared to discuss your choices.

A reference list of five or more relevant information sources is to be included with your written report. You must also choose either an oral or visual presentation to accompany the written submission.


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