To me this comes down to how much you have wed Microsoft with your
research. If you can use OpenOffice (we do and the world hasn't
imploded yet) then I would suggest a linux (Ubuntu?) set of desktop
machine with quad cores. Then via SGE you can make use of the spare
CPU cycles at night and during the day.
If you are wholly wed to MS Office and friends then you have two
choices. 1. Get Macs as they can do both.  2. Get linux desktop
machines and buy a few laptops for the MS pilgrims to write their
papers on and send those all important emails that make the world go
The only problem with going Mac + Linux fileserver will mean that you
will need two types of sysadmin expertise in your department.
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Canberra->Australia +61 (402) 700 883
 arguably linux can run MS Office via CrossOver Office but I can't
speak for or against this as I haven't used it.
On Wed, Aug 12, 2009 at 17:39, Steve Smith<[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> In FMRIB we use iMacs almost exclusively for desktops, even though they are
> probably a little more expensive, because it is so convenient to have Unix
> (FSL, matlab, etc.) and MS-Office tools all runnable directly on your