All hardware and software purchases should be done through CSBS Computing. Purchases can be made either by selecting a recommended configuration (see below), or by submitting a helpdesk request. When submitting your request, if possible include desired specifications, software requirements, price range, and/or purpose of the computer. This information will help us obtain quotes in the event that our recommended configuration does not meet your needs.
N.B. Price should not be the only consideration when purchasing new hardware. Other considerations are:
1 – Professional Support and Support Escalation.
Due to volume purchasing, we have support contracts with some vendors and are able to quickly and effectively get replacement parts and escalated support when needed.
2 - Driver & Software Compatibility.
We have experience with the recommended systems and are familiar with the needed drivers and support software to make these systems run properly. This results in less time spent supporting your computer.
3 – Warranty & Accidental Damage Protection.
The warranty we order as a default is much better than the standard warranty that most systems ship with; a 5 year warranty is standard. For laptops we include the equivalent of an “Accidental Damage Protection” (different vendors have different names for this). Laptops with this coverage can be repaired at no cost regardless of the cause of the damage (during the coverage period).
4 – Downtime/Turnaround.
For certain vendors, we are that vendor’s “on-site” support. In many repair cases we do not need to ship the computer to the manufacturer; we can replace/repair parts in house.
5 – Current and Projected System Requirements.
Will the computer be able to support future applications and operating systems? Hardware that is only able to support the current operating system, or previous in the case of Windows 7, will require upgrades prior to the end of its projected life.
6 – Total System Cost
The total system cost includes the purchase price, the amount of productivity lost due to the system being offline for repairs, support costs -- including shipping costs for replacement parts, out of warranty repairs, time spent by computing staff supporting non-standard hardware and the costs of later upgrades to support future software/operating systems.
Be wary of cheap computers; even though the initial purchase price looks good, it doesn’t mean that the computer will be inexpensive to the University when the total system cost is considered.
Minimum Laptop/Desktop System Configuration
Operating System: See Supported OS’s below
Processor: Processor architectures (Intel/AMD) introduced more than 5 years ago may not be supported.
RAM: 4 GB
Recommended Desktop System Configuration
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Enterprise
Proccesor: Intel i7 6700 Processor or newer
RAM: 8 GB
Warranty: 5yr (w/advance shipping)
Recommended Laptop System Configuration
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Enterprise
Proccesor: Intel i7 6600 Processor or newer
RAM: 8 GB
Harddrive: 250GB SSD
Warranty: 3yr (w/advance shipping) + Accidental damage coverage
Operating System Standard
- Windows 7 Enterprise
In order to streamline support and to take advantage of volume discounts on software licensing and system management tools, we have standardized on Microsoft Windows 7 Enterprise. When compared to other supported OS’s, Windows 7 will provide the end-user with the fastest resolutions to support cases and better access to application updates, upgrades, and installations.
Operating Systems Supported
- Windows 7 Enterprise (see current standard above)
- Windows 8.1 Enterprise
- Window 10 Enterprise
- Mac OS 10.10 and up
- Ubuntu 12.04.5 and up
These operating systems are currently supported with vendor-supplied security patches and updates. Due to reduced vendor support, earlier operating systems may pose a security risk to other users of the network and are generally not supported by the College.
Operating System Upgrades
We do not regularly upgrade operating systems on workstations that are currently functional with a supported operating system. Special circumstances will be considered, but our current strategy for upgrading is aligned with the replacement cycle of computers.
We have negotiated bulk-buy pricing for our recommended configurations. You can view and purchase these configurations at https://support.csbs.utah.edu/buy (unid login required). Machines selected were chosen because of the reputation of the vendor, the vendor's hardware choices in this product line, the terms of the warranty, and the excellent pricing available to the University.
Limiting the diversity of machines reduces the number drivers that must be kept current and allows the IT staff to solve a problem on one machine and then apply that knowledge to all of the similar machines. Users electing to purchase computers not on the recommended hardware list generally will get slower turnaround time on hardware and software repairs.
We can facilitate the purchase of all types of hardware upgrades. Submit your selection/quote to the helpdesk, or your requirements if you would like recommendations from our staff members.
Some hardware upgrades can make a computer so different from its original state that it may become difficult to support
Upgrades to motherboards, video adapters, network interfaces, optical drives, can slow the setup of the computer.
Upgrades to peripherals (monitors, keyboards, speakers, and mice) are generally benign. Your own purchase decision would likely not affect the support you receive.
Upgrades to RAM should be selected carefully to match your hardware.
Upgrades to hard disks generally do not affect your compatibility with our software images, but their replacement is more time consuming and involved.