Hardware Survey (longish results)

Subject: Hardware Survey (longish results)
From: David Jones <dvjones -at- KSBE -dot- EDU>
Date: Tue, 11 Feb 1997 14:29:00 -1000

Back in Oct, I posted a question asking TWrlers what:
* Platform
* OS
* Processor and clock speed
* Memory
* Disk Storage
* Monitor Size
* Screen resolution
* Color Depth
they used in their work. I did this as part of preparing my
budget requests. Several pepople asked for the results, so here they
are, with comments. (Forgive my talent for verbosifiability.)

Responses: 78

The number of responses may vary in each category because many
respondents are using multiple systems.

Platform (may total to more than 100%):
PC: 77 (98%)
Mac: 7 (9%)
UNIX: 5 (6%)

Looks to me like PCs are the defacto standard TC system. The Mac
and UNIX look close, but my survey focussed on TC workstations, not
additional systems they might be using at their sites. For example,
one person reported that the "real work is done on the big HP3000
boxes we have scattered around here." Two people expressed
preferences (in the other comments part) that differed from what
they were using. Both would rather be using "my Mac" (to quote
them). Since I wasn't interested in investigating TC platform
preferences, I'm not going to deal with that here. (Nor will I
respond to arguments over why one is better than the other, offers
of additional "evidence," or flames on the entire PC vs Mac

OS (78 responses):
W31: 24 (31%)
W95: 41 (53%)
NT: 8 (11%)
UNIX: 5 (6%)
OS/2: 2 (3%)
MacOS: 7 (9%)
Respondents reporting more than one OS: 8 (11%)

Many respondents using W31 are also using W95 or NT. The
interesting thing was that five W31/W95 users indicated (in
comments) that they would be moving to NT. Four of those were W95
users. Apparently W95 is losing sales to its big brother! One bit
of information I think might be worth asking is how respondents
acquired their OS. Mac users have little choice, seemingly (no one
reported using Apple's version of UNIX). I wonder how many PC users
had a similar lack of choice, either because their employers
"forced" them to use it (one respondent reported that comment) or
because it came on their PC. From people's comments, the only thing
I can mention about "OS satsifaction" (another question worth
asking) is that Mac, UNIX, and OS/2 users seem to be happiest,
while W31 and W95 users expressed more interest in changing their
primary OS.

Processor and clock speed (95 responses):
386: 1 (1%)
Low 486 (DX2/66 or slower): 12 (13%)
Hi 486 (DX4/100 or 120): 5 (5%)
Pentium class (Pentium, Cyrix 6x86): 67 (71%)
PPC: 4 (4%)
Sparc: 3 (3%)
680x0: 3 (3%)

Intel and its clone competitors are the most popular, with 90%
total. Mac users seem split, although all of the 680x0 users
described their systems as slow. The Intel total might be higher.
Some of the UNIX users did not report what processor they were
using to run UNIX. (I used to have Intel hardware running UNIX.)

Memory (MB) (84 responses):
8: 4 (5%)
16: 31 (31%)
16+: 15 (18%)
32+: 28 (33%)
64+: 6 (7%)

The 16+ category included a few with 20MB, but most had 24MB.
The 32+ included a couple with 40-48MB. Everyone else had 32MB. The
64+ category included a number at 64MB, one at 72, and one at 80.
More than half the Mac users reported 64+ MB, including the two
highest amounts. Since I didn't ask for information about what
respondents actually did as part of their work, I can't verify
this, but I suspect the people with large amounts of memory did
more graphic-intensive page layout work. Another source for large
memory amounts may be related to what one respondent reported, "My
company does high-end CAD and 3D products, and all doc workers are
expected to be able to run any of our products." The need to run
your documentation tool of choice along with a powerful CAD or
animation package would push up memory requirements *real fast*.

Disk Storage (GB) (76 responses):
<1: 19 (25%)
1+: 44 (58%)
2+: 9 (12%)
3+: 3 (4%)
4+: 1 (1%)

Virtually everyone who reported 1GB or less of disk storage also
reported that they kept their documents on file servers. Since I
didn't split the question between local and network storage, I
don't know how many respondents included network storage in their
reported figure. Some respondents listed the sizes of all drives.
One reported a small HD, but also used a Jaz drive. In those cases,
I took the total storage as their response.

Monitor Size (inches) (86 responses):
<15: 17 (20%)
15: 13 (15%)
17: 35 (41%)
19: 1 (24% for 19-21" size)
20: 10
21: 10

The <15 category includes laptop users who did not report any
monitor size.

Screen resolution (72 responses):
640x480: 10 (14%)
800x600: 21 (29%)
1024x768: 25 (35%)
1280x1024: 10 (14%)
1600x1200: 2 (3%)
11xx-by-8xx: 4 (6%)

Many of the 640x480 and 800x600 respondents used those resolutions
for screen capture purposes, switching to higher resolutions for
other tasks. The 11xx-by8xx category includes one Mac user, two
Sparc users, and one PC user.

Color Depth (70 responses):
2: 1 (1%)
16: 10 (14%)
256: 41 (59%)
Hi Color (32000-65000): 7 (1%)
True color (24-bit or 16 million): 11 (16%)

Most of the high color and true color users reported using them for
Web work. One respondent said he/she normally ran in true color,
but switched to 256 when using Word "to improve performance."

Assorted other comments (78 responses):
Respondents with CD drives: 18 (23%)
Respondents with ZIP or JAZ drives: 5 (6%)
Respondents with scanners or access to a scanner: 6 (8%)
Most common uses reported for CDROM (in no particular order):
Program installation, reference material,
access clipart/fonts, company produces
documentation on CD, playing games.

What do I use? Here goes ...

Platform: PC (home and work)
OS: OS/2 Warp 4 (home) W3.1 (office)
Processor: Pentium-75 (home) 486slc2/40 (office)
Memory: 32MB (home) 12MB (office)
Disk Storage: 2.0GB (home) 610MB (office)
Monitor Size: 15" (home) 14" (office)
Screen Resolution: 1024x768 (home) 640x480 (office)
Color Depth: 64K (home) 16 (office)

David Jones, Technical Writer
dvjones -at- ksbe -dot- edu

Thought for the day:
Book (n): a utensil used to pass time while waiting
for the TV repairman.

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