Navigating your Office and Microsoft 365 options

At PKCG we see a lot of businesses using Office 365 Business Premium. Office 365 Business Premium is a best-in-class productivity solution that gives you the apps and services that will help your employees get more done and work better together. Is it the best solution for your business though?

We like to think of Office 365 Business Premium as a starting point that puts you on a path to Microsoft 365 Business which will help you address more advanced security and compliance requirements.

Microsoft 365 Business includes everything that Office 365 Business Premium offers while adding Advanced Security and Device Management features to protect your company data across personal and company-owned devices.

Some of the Advanced Security Features offered as part of Microsoft 365 Business include:

  • Protection from unsafe attachments, suspicious links, attachment checking and scanning to protect your business from malware
  • Information Protection Policies to help control and manage how data is accessed
  • Controls to protect company data on personal mobile devices
  • Preservation, compliance and archiving capabilities

Device Management is another feature that is not available on Office 365 Business Premium. Microsoft 365 Business includes an upgrade to Windows 10 Business from Windows 7, Windows 8 or Windows 8.1. There are also simplified controls to easily manage Windows 10 Pro PCs, self-service PC deployment with Windows AutoPilot and secure management for iOS, Android, Windows and macOS devices.

Your business should be taking advantage of the latest offerings to increase security, productivity and efficiency. At PKCG, we can help your business navigate through the many options of Office 365, and Microsoft 365. Please contact us on 1300 735 926 or email if you would like to know more about the best solution for your company.

Are you ready for Windows 7 end of life? Upgrade to Windows 10 today

After 10 years, support for Windows 7 is coming to an end on January 14, 2020. After this date Microsoft will no longer be releasing new updates or security patches for either Windows 7 (or Windows Server 2008). That doesn’t mean Windows 7 systems will stop working, but it does mean they will quickly become highly vulnerable to cyber attacks that could put your business at risk.

Moving to Windows 10 offers several benefits, including:

  • Significantly faster start-up/boot times
  • Increased IT security and management capabilities
  • Access to state-of-the-art technology
  • Increased efficiency
  • Improved and extended hardware support

Since the free transition from Windows 7 to Windows 10 has long since expired, there are a two upgrade paths we recommend:

Our strong recommendation is buying a new computer. This ensures that you have the latest features, and will also provide enhanced security and performance. Computers that are running Windows 7 are probably several years old, outside of warranty, and are due for replacement. With the new hardware you will also get the new version of the Windows operating system Windows 10.

Migrating Windows 7 computers to Windows 10 is a cost-effective option, however it may not be available for all computers. Companies can do an “in-place upgrade” for their desktops and laptops as most computers running Windows 7 can run Windows 10. An outline of all possible upgrade paths from Windows 7 is published at Microsoft Docs.

Pricing for a Windows 10 Pro license starts at around $300 upfront, or if you are using Office 365 upgrading to the Microsoft 365 Business subscription will provide upgrade rights to Windows 10 Business along with a plethora of other features.

For the sake of completeness, Microsoft is offering Extended Security Updates (ESUs) – but it will cost you! The main reason to look in to Extended Security Updates would be for legacy application that won’t run on Windows 10. This is available on a per-device basis until January 2023 and is only available if you are running Windows 7 Enterprise. In the first year, January 2020 to January 2021, Windows 7 Enterprise updates will cost approximately $40 per device, in the second year, $75 per device, and in the third year $150 per device.

Your business should be taking advantage of the latest software solutions in order to increase productivity and efficiency. At PKCG, we can help ease your business’ transition to a new operating system. Please contact us on 1300 735 926 or email if you would like to move to Windows 10.

CAD PC Road Test

At PKCG we are constantly researching and testing the performance of different CAD PCs to ensure our clients are always getting the best performing CAD PC to fit their requirements, budget and office aesthetic.

Over the coming weeks we are going to be road-testing and benchmarking a variety of CAD PCs that we supply across the AEC industry and will be presenting the results for everybody to see.

If you have any particular devices you would like to see tested or any specific benchmarks you would like to see run feel free to email

The benchmark tests we will be using to compare our chosen CAD PCs are as follows:

  • RFO Benchmark 2018 (Revit Test) - Is a newly updated and totally automated script which opens and manipulates Revit models to see how fast your computer is under somewhat realistic working conditions. A lower score is better.
  • Geekbench (General PC Test) - Is a cross-platform processor benchmark, with a scoring system that separates single-core and multi-core performance and workloads that simulate real-world scenarios. A higher score is better.
  • 3D Mark Time Spy (VR Test) - Is a DirectX 12 benchmark test for gaming PCs running Windows 10. With its pure DirectX 12 engine, built from the ground up to support new API features like asynchronous compute, explicit multi-adapter, and multi-threading, Time Spy is the ideal benchmark for testing the DirectX 12 performance of modern graphics cards. A higher score is better.
  • Cinebench (Rendering) - Is a real-world cross platform test suite that evaluates your computer's performance capabilities. CINEBENCH is the perfect tool to compare CPU and graphics performance across various systems and platforms (Windows and OS X). A higher score is better.

Dell Precision T5820 Workstation
- Intel Xeon W-2133 3.6GHz, 3.9GHz Turbo, 6C, 8.25M Cache
- 32GB (4x8GB) 2666MHz DDR4 ECC Memory
- 256GB SATA Class 20 Solid State Drive
- NVIDIA Quadro P4000, 8GB
- Windows 10 Pro

The Dell Precision T5820 has long been a workhorse PC for the AEC industry, neither slow nor blazingly fast.  At PKCG we have considered this build of PC to be a recommended baseline machine across a large portion of our client base.

RFO (Model Creation) 108.15
RFO (View Change) 28.01
Geekbench (Single Core) 4608
Geekbench (Multi Core) 23142
3DMark (Time Spy) 5134
Cinebench 1162

Dell Precision 5720 All in One Workstation
- Intel Xeon E3-1275 v6 3.8GHz, 4.2GHz Turbo, 4C, 8M Cache
- 32GB (2x16GB) 2400MHz DDR4 Non-ECC Memory
- 256GB SATA Class 20 Solid State Drive
- AMD Radeon Pro WX7100, 8GB
- 27" 4K UHD Non Touch Display
- Windows 10 Pro

While not a purpose built CAD PC we often find the Dell Precision 5720 AIO in use as a replacement for iMacs where the slim All in One shape is preferred over a bulky Workstation.

RFO (Model Creation) 110.71
RFO (View Change) 34.07
Geekbench (Single Core) 5210
Geekbench (Multi Core) 17319
3DMark (Time Spy) 3932
Cinebench 838

Dell Precision 3630
- Intel Core i7-8700 3.2GHz, 4.6GHz Turbo, 6C, 12M Cache
- 32GB (2x16GB) 2666MHz DDR4 Non-ECC Memory
- 512GB NVMe Class 40 Solid State Drive
- Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080, 8GB
- Windows 10 Pro

Our current favourite from Dell - the new Precision 3630 is smaller, faster and significantly cheaper than all of the Workstations we have tested so far.

RFO (Model Creation) 95.16
RFO (View Change) 24.55
Geekbench (Single Core) 5522
Geekbench (Multi Core) 26134
3DMark (Time Spy) 6775
Cinebench 1415

Apple iMac 27-inch (5K, Late 2015)
- Intel Core i7-6700K 4.0GHz, 4.2GHz Turbo, 4C, 8M Cache
- 32GB (4x8GB) 1867MHz DDR3 Non-ECC Memory
- 512GB Solid State Drive
- AMD Radeon R9 M395X, 4GB
- Windows 10 Pro

As much as everybody loves having a big, heavy and sometimes loud tower PC keeping things warm under our desk during the day, we still support quite a few AEC clients who use iMacs. Although this isn’t the very latest model, it is the most common we encounter.

RFO (Model Creation) 133.45
RFO (View Change) 38.56
Geekbench (Single Core) 4728
Geekbench (Multi Core) 15672
3DMark (Time Spy) incompatible
Cinebench 767

Alienware Aurora R6
- Intel Core i7-7700K 4.2GHz, 4.5GHz Turbo, 4C, 8M Cache
- 32GB (2x16GB) 2400MHz DDR4 Non-ECC Memory
- 256GB Solid State Drive
- Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080, 8GB
- Windows 10 Pro

Being 30% more expensive than the Dell Precision 3630 and 10/15% more than the T5820 our expectations were a little higher.

RFO (Model Creation) 100.06
RFO (View Change) 29.68
Geekbench (Single Core) 4608
Geekbench (Multi Core) 23142
3DMark (Time Spy) 6280
Cinebench 953

Dell XPS 8930
- Intel Core i7-8700 3.2GHz, 4.6GHz Turbo, 6C, 12M Cache
- 32GB (4x8GB) 2666MHz DDR4 Non-ECC Memory
- 256GB Solid State Drive
- 2TB 7200rpm Hard Drive
- Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070, 8GB
- Windows 10 Pro

For a low budget workstation, the XPS 8930 performs surprisingly well.

RFO (Model Creation) 98.73
RFO (View Change) 25.29
Geekbench (Single Core) 5385
Geekbench (Multi Core) 25049
3DMark (Time Spy) 5943
Cinebench 1312

Dell Precision M7510
- Intel Xeon E3-1535Mv5 2.9GHz, 3.8GHz Turbo, 4C, 8M Cache
- 32GB (2x16GB) 2133MHz DDR4 Non-ECC Memory
- 256GB Solid State Drive
- Nvidia Quadro M2000M, 4GB
- Windows 7 Pro

With an RRP of circa $4,500 does Dells flagship mobile workstation meet expectations?

RFO (Model Creation) 115.47
RFO (View Change) 35.35
Geekbench (Single Core) 4260
Geekbench (Multi Core) 14912
3DMark (Time Spy) incompatible
Cinebench 750

VDI – BIMedge & HVE ConneXions

Virtual Desktop Infrastructure

PKCG have built a strong reputation supporting the AEC industry over the years and we are constantly asked the question “Can we move our infrastructure to the Cloud?”. In keeping with our core value to always be upfront and honest with our clients (even at the detriment of our own sales) the answer to that question has always been “Yes, but….”

“Yes, but currently the infrastructure required is not cost effective”
“Yes, but the supporting infrastructure has not yet advanced to the point where we are happy with the resulting performance”
“Yes, but too many companies have rushed to provide the AEC industry with a complete VDI solution and few if any of them have managed to get it right”

PKCG are glad to announce that this will no longer be our response.

After months of rigorous trialling and testing PKCG have partnered with BIMedge and HVE ConneXions to support and provide the AEC industry with the best performing VDI solution on the market, at a price point that won’t consume a decades worth of your IT budget.

For further information or an obligation free suitability audit, please contact Chris -

Architecture, Engineering & Construction

I’m Chris, and this is Pete.

Together with our team of experienced network and support engineers, we are PKCG, Brisbane’s leading IT services company.

We’re not for everyone though. We are specialists in supporting the  AEC industry (Architecture, Engineering & Construction), and other consultants in the built environment (Surveyors, Town Planners, Developers, Project Managers, Building and Interior Designers).

Why do we do it?

Every day, business owners and decision makers are bombarded with the latest and greatest bleeding edge technical offerings – Blockchain this, Hybrid Cloud that, Augmented Reality, AI, and the list goes on. Meanwhile, server updates haven’t been completed for 8 months, Jill the graduate Architect has been waiting 5 hours for IT Support to reset her O365 password, and your clients are STILL receiving hoax invoices from your address, two weeks after you first reported it.

To top it off, just 48 hours ago, you were presented with a 57 page proposal on moving your entire infrastructure to the cloud. Is that what they were working on while seemingly ignoring the day to day tasks of maintaining and supporting your current infrastructure? Probably.

It was from this frustration with poor end user support that PKCG was born.

The 4 pillars of success

With 15+ years of experience and a proven track record of working with Brisbane’s leading Architecture, Engineering and Construction firms, we’ve found four pillars that – despite changes in technology – will always be critically important:

Quality service

For us, the end users are our number one priority. We might be an outsourced IT help desk, but we like to operate like we’re your very own internal IT department. This means we invest a large part of our time in understanding your business and building a technical environment that is unique to your needs only. While we always keep up with the latest changes and technological trends, we never forget the end user.

Quick response time

Your time is important, so when we tell you that we will see you at 10am, we will see you at 9:55am. When you lodge an enquiry or fault report to us, our response time is currently 23 minutes across all clients – no matter the size and/or severity of an issue.

Our team is trained to fix on first contact wherever possible.

Value for money

We’re not about maximising billable hours or up-selling other services. We’re about achieving maximum end user up time and productivity, while keeping costs predictable within the realms of your individual business constraints. Our technicians are focused on getting the best results for you on time, the first time. At PKCG we do not believe in bandaid fixes.

Industry understanding

For the past 10 years, we have worked exclusively with Architecture, Engineering & Construction. Whether it’s Lumion, Revit, AutoCAD or Enscape, we keep abreast of the latest programs to identify the software you need and the hardware you require to keep you at the forefront of your industry. We understand how you work, what’s happening in your industry and we take the time to learn what’s important to you from an IT perspective.

PKCG – we are not your typical ‘outsourced IT company’. Think of us as an extension to your business. Contact us to see how we can help you.

1300 735 926