We are frequently asked by our customers to help recommend a brand or model, or "spec out" the purchase of a computer to run ShoWorks. We appreciate the trust put into our recommendation however we will only provide the minimum and recommended specs needed to run ShoWorks at optimal performance.
Though we do not engage in specific product brand selection and approval, we do however provide the following advice when purchasing a computer to run ShoWorks:
- Quality of machines varies not only among brands, but among models even though they may have similar specs. This is why a computer from manufacturer A may cost a thousand dollars more than a similar spec'd computer from manufacturer B. This is because there are quality differences in the many components that make up each machine. For example, a quick glance at Amazon.com will reveal that 8GB of DDR 3 RAM can be purchased for as little as $27 to well over $1,000. Generally, the lower cost RAM has less quality control and is prone to more errors and failures. When all components that make up a machine are taken as a whole, one can easily find a night and day difference in performance across two similarly spec'd machines. With a wide variation of quality among both brands and models, as well as the fact that these rapidly change from day-to-day, it is out of our scope and unpractical to devote our resources to hardware reviews that are already widely available to the public (places such as computershopper.com, pcmag.com/reviews, pcworld.com/reviews, cnet.com/reviews, tomshardware.com, newegg.com and many others solely dedicated to reviewing the quality of current computers on the market). With this in mind, we do not expect you to be or even find an expert to make your selection, however a common sense approach using the time honored rule of thumb "you get what you pay for" should be employed when making a purchase. One should not expect a $10,000 business application such as ShoWorks, to run smoothly on a $400 machine (though there are less costly editions of ShoWorks, they all run on the same engine and the number of entries allowed in each edition is the only distinguishing factor). In reality, ShoWorks does not need a high-end machine to run trouble-free but also one should not expect business performance from machines that were intended for the home or light Internet usage.
- Demands placed on the system will vary among different fairs and individual users, requiring more or less power to achieve the same level of performance. Some factors that affect the demand of computing power needed to run ShoWorks or affect its performance are:
- The number of entries.
- The number of simultaneous users.
- The amount of resources that other open applications are using while running ShoWorks (i.e. having Microsoft Excel and Outlook open and running a large antivirus program while also running ShoWorks).
- The frequency of a creating and editing custom reports and their complexity.
- The style of using ShoWorks (i.e. if a user leaves many menus open in ShoWorks rather than close a menu before opening another menu, they will require more computing power. If one turns "off" all Reminders, they will require less computing power).
- The practices of maintaining a computer (i.e. properly installing and uninstalling programs, configuring Microsoft Windows, keeping a "clean" registry, making sure that other programs do not interfere or conflict with ShoWorks, etc.).
- An entire list of all factors (hardware and software) that affect the performance of ShoWorks can be found here: http://fairsoftware.com/articledetail.aspx?AID=115000
- We cannot be held responsible for another manufacturer's performance of their product. We can and will take responsibility for the performance of ShoWorks, but must first make the premise on the assumption that the software is running on adequate hardware. If we were to tell the customer what machine to buy with a budget that is not ours, then it becomes our headache if that machine is inadequate. We will recommend the specs (see here: http://fairsoftware.com/commonquestions.aspx ), a budget (take the cost of the cheapest computer and add this to the highest computer and divide by two), and a few places to read reviews at (see the prior paragraph for websites that review computers).