Hardware Requirements


Capable 21C is currently operating in offices with more than 12 workstations running concurrently.  It is operating in environments where more than 30 practitioners record paperless notes daily.  It is operating in offices that see more than 1000 patients per week.  With appropriate hardware, Capable 21C's performance is more than adequate to handle these high-volume environments.

This knowledgebase article discusses the minimum hardware specifications to operate Capable 21C successfully in a variety of environments.

Underlying challenge

Capable 21C was originally architected under Windows 95(tm) using a Pentium II processor running at 133 MHz.  On this calibre of hardware, appointment book refreshes were measured at taking less than one third of a second on a standalone PC.  Since then, office configurations have changed markedly.  The most common configuration now (August, 2009) is that Capable 21C operates under Windows XP Professional in a small office network of 2-3 PCs - though it is also used in networks as large as 30 PCs running against a dedicated SQL Server.

The variations in these environments are massive.  Apart from the variations in minimum hardware specification just to meet the needs of the different versions of Windows, there is also significant overhead in operating a networked environment.

The challenge is further compounded by the volume of data stored in the database.  New implementations of Capable 21C that do not exploit paperless functionality typically grow the database by about 10Mb of data per year.  This means that the most simple implementations can expect their database to be aroun 30-70Mbs after the first five years - a comparatively small database.  Larger sites that exploit the paperless functions of Capable 21C can expect database growth in excess of 50Mb per year.  At these sites, a 5 year old database may exceed 300Mb.

These factors weigh heavily on the performance of the PCs that are used, and different minimum hardware specifications should be considered to meet the office's performance needs.


In choosing office hardware, the office should consider three key factors:

  1. Will Capable 21C be used to achieve a paperless office.
  2. Will Capable 21C be networked, or will it operate on a single standalone PC.
  3. How comprehensive does the office's backup regime need to be to protect the data.

Further to this, the office should consider the minimum hardware requirement to operate Capable 21C.  Whilst Capable 21C may function on a lower specification machine, it may perform so poorly as to be unusable.  The minimum specification PC that has been recently used to test Capable 21C's features is a Pentium III 450MHz with Windows 98 SE.  Performance was poor, but Capable 21C operated.  Refer to the Detailed Information Section below for Capable Software Pty Ltd's recommendations to achieve acceptable (and superior) performance.

Detailed Information

Windows XP vs Windows Vista vs Windows 7

As at April 2010, Windows 7 Ultimate is the preferred operating system.

Capable 21C is tested extensively against each Microsoft operating system.  All versions of Windows from Windows 2000 onwards are supported by Capable 21C, however, the following items should be noted:

  • Windows 95 and Windows 98SE were previously supported, but have been obsoleted now.
  • Windows ME has never been supported and support requests from Windows ME based systems will be declined.
  • Windows XP Professional is supported.
  • Windows Vista is not recommended.  If Windows Vista is the only available operating system, refer to KB-Windows Vista and Access 2007 Issues.asp
  • Windows 7 (32 bit and 64 bit) is fully supported and is the preferred operating system.

Paperless offices

For paperless offices, refer to KB-Hardware Recommendations for Paperless

Network Environments

In smaller networks (eg 3 PCs or less), the following specifications will perform well:

  • For PCs running Windows 7: Pentium 4 2.6GHz or better with 4Gb of RAM and 100MB NICs will perform acceptably.  To improve performance on these PCs, increase the network card performance to 1Gb first and then consider striped RAID disk arrays to improve performance further.
  • For PCs running Windows XP Professional: Pentium 4, 2.6GHz with 2Gb of RAM and 100Mb NICs or better will perform acceptably.  To improve performance on these PCs, increase the network card performance to 1Gb first, increase the RAM to 4Gb next and then consider striped RAID disk arrays to improve performance further.
  • For PCs running Windows Vista: Pentium 4 2.6GHz or better with 4Gb of RAM and 100MB NICs will perform acceptably.  To improve performance on these PCs, increase the network card performance to 1Gb first and then consider striped RAID disk arrays to improve performance further.
  • For PCs running older versions of Windows, refer to the specifications for a Windows XP Professional PC.
  • Note that Windows 95 and Windows ME are not supported for Capable 21C at all.
  • Note that Windows XP Home and Windows Vista Home are not supported for Capable 21C in a network environment.

In larger networks, a network server is recommended for optimum performance.  As previously stated, a server will improve performance, but is not mandatory for Capable 21C to function.

  • A network server should operate Windows 2003 Small Business Server or better.
  • The server should be configured as a domain controller, and each PC to log on to the server via the domain.
  • Network user accounts must be configured with administrative rights to the PCs that they use.
  • The server should be a Pentium 4, 2.6GHz with 2Gb of RAM and a 1Gb NIC.  To improve performance further, increase to 4Gb of RAM and consider striped RAID disk arrays.
  • Use of SQL Server is supported and encouraged for optimum performance. Refer to KB-SQL Server for more information.
  • For larger networks (eg 7 PCs or above), or where network connectivity is unreliable, the office should consider Windows Terminal Services.  Refer to KB-Windows Terminal Services for more details.

Stability considerations

Many factors can influence the stability of Capable 21C in an office network.  If the network fails (even momentarily), Capable 21C will be affected - which may ultimately result in loss of data or database damage.

The kinds of factors that can influence network stability are things such as:

  • Quality of cabling, and whether the cabling is exposed to physical dangers (eg people treading on cables).
  • Quality of networking components such as network cards and routers.
  • Windows configuration on each PC.  One mis-configured PC can bring down an entire network.  This kind of problem can be difficult to diagnose and only Microsoft Certified Professionals are fully qualified to diagnose and repair these kinds of faults.
  • Power fluctuations, whilst maybe not great enough to force PCs to reboot, may be sufficient to impair network performance and result in data loss.  An inadequate power supply can be adversely affected by the operation of office equipment (eg X-Ray machines or air compressors).

Capable Software Pty Ltd has noted that offices that are overzealous on saving money on their hardware typically encounter the greatest problems.  A saving in one area may be valid, but in others, it may result in substandard or unreliable equipment.  It is a false economy, so Capable Software Pty Ltd does not recommend the use of the cheapest available equipment.

Backups and redundancy plans are critical for success.  Many business consulting firms state that an office's intellectual property is its greatest asset.  Loss of data can cripple a business in seconds, and take months to recover - some businesses never recover.  Capable Software Pty Ltd takes no responsibility for loss of data under any circumstances whatsoever.

Companion Software Products

Capable 21C exploits the functionality of the Microsoft Office (tm) suite of products to expand its functionality.  It can use Microsoft Word (tm) to produce documents for patients/clients, and can export data into Microsoft Excel (tm) for further analysis.

Capable 21C supports all versions of Microsoft Office from Office 97 through to Office 2007.

Note that with Microsoft Office versions 97 through to Office 2003, it is not necessary to purchase the complete Office Professional package.  For these earlier versions, Office Standard will suffice.

If Office 2007 is purchased, it must be Office 2007 Professional Edition (that includes Microsoft Access 2007).

This knowledge resource is designed for use on a Windows (tm) XP system operating at a screen resolution of 1024x768 or better. Windows Media Player must be installed for this training resource to operate correctly.

Copyright 2008 Capable Software Pty Ltd

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