Recommended Hardware for Maptitude for Redistricting
Maptitude for Redistricting (MTR) is a high performance technical software product that is often used to perform demanding computational tasks. Consequently, we recommend using the fastest, modestly priced systems that are available at any particular point in time. Recommended hardware as of August 2020 is described below. Please feel free to check with us before purchasing a new system as new options become available nearly every week.
MTR benefits from the fastest processors, since there are procedures whose performance scales with the clock speed of the CPU, so higher clock speeds are always desirable. The boost speed is an important aspect of the latest processors, and boost speeds for a single core or multiple cores above 5GHz are very attractive.
For desktops, we recommend Intel’s recent families of processors (7th-10th generations of Core i7/i9, Xeon E-2100/2200) or AMD Zen 2 based Ryzen processors (Ryzen 7, 9 and Threadripper). Core i5 desktop processors are satisfactory, but somewhat slower.
For routine MTR use, we are mostly purchasing either Dell Precision 3630 workstations or Dell XPS 8930 desktops with a 3.6GHz Core i9-9900K 8-core processor, 64GB of memory, a 1 or 2TB NVMe SSD and 64-bit Windows 10 Professional.
For notebooks, we recommend the fastest Intel (8th-10th generation) 4 to 8-core Core i7/i9 processors, since they have significantly longer battery life and can be nearly as fast as a desktop.
As MTR is a fully 64-bit application, we recommend a minimum of 16-32GB of RAM and 64-bit Windows 10, although 8 GB will be sufficient for some users.
We recommend Windows 10. Windows 8 (including 8.1) and 7 will still work with current versions of our software, but please note that Microsoft has stopped supporting 7 and is only providing limited Windows 8 support. Older versions of Windows, including Windows 98, ME and NT are no longer supported. A 64-bit OS is required given MTR’s memory requirements. At Caliper, we use the 64-bit professional or workstation version of Windows 10.
Solid-State Disks (SSDs)
500GB or more of storage space is recommended. If you will be working with many large data sets, you will want more storage. It is always wise to backup your important data frequently.
The biggest performance improvement of the past few years has been the widespread availability of SSDs, especially the latest M.2 NVMe SSDs, that can be ten or more times faster than the older 7200rpm mechanical drives. We recommend at least a SATA-based SSD and strongly suggest a NVMe SSD in any new machine.
For replacement SATA SSDs, we like the Samsung 860s.
Most modern graphics cards will be sufficient for MTR, except possibly on some servers or at a 4K resolution. There may be some benefit to a discrete nVidia or ATI Radeon card.
This is very dependent on user preferences. A 20” or larger monitor that can display at least 1280x1024 is recommended. We like the 23 or 24” wide-screen panels that can display 1920x1080 or 1920x1200. We mostly purchase Dell UltraSharp LCD monitors. Dual monitors can be very useful for heavy interactive use. For the higher 4K resolution, we liked the Dell 27” U2718Q. Windows 10 is required for 4K.
This is site-dependent. Gigabit Ethernet is a good choice for new installations.
MTR should work with any printers that work well with Microsoft Windows. Caliper produces large format maps and exhibit graphics using a Hewlett Packard DesignJet 800ps. We also use HP Color Laserjets for smaller maps.
Universal Power Supply
We use a UPS with all of our desktops. This helps protect against power spikes as well as providing backup power for 15-30 minutes. We mostly use APC units with a 1500VA rating, such as the BX1500M ($165).
Many of our above suggestions also apply to notebook computers. We recommend Intel’s eighth generation or later, 4 to 8-core Mobile Core i7/i9 processors with a fast NVMe SSD.
We are currently purchasing Dell Precision Mobile 5540 notebooks with 2.4GHz Core i9-9980HK 8-core processors, 64GB of memory, a 1TB NVMe SSD, and 64-bit Windows 10 Professional. These are very similar to the Dell XPS 15” models.