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You should also read the Computer Use and Laptop policies.
Computer Purchasing & Networking Requirements
- All computer purchases in the department, both desktop and laptop machines, must go
through the Physics Computing Support Center (PCSC).
- In almost all cases, PCSC will be able to order a machine on state contract (HP or Dell)
that meets your needs at a good price and that automatically meets the more detailed
requirements listed below.
- In the rare event that you demand a particular machine that is not on state contract, PCSC
still needs to make the purchase, but they can charge it to your grant (all
purchases not on grant money, such as those using startup money, are required by the
state to use the state contract). They will verify that no sales tax is charged and that all
other purchasing requirements are met. If they have to spend extra time insuring that
your non-contract machine works with the departmental software image and networking
requirements, you will be charged for their time.
- If state money is used for the purchase, a three year warranty is required on the
computer. On state contract, this is an on-site warranty, which makes it possible for PCSC
to support so many machines, since for the first three years HP handles all
support. If you insist on a non-state contract machine without the longer warranty, be
aware that you will be charged for any repairs that are needed within that extra two year
- The university requires an inventory of all computer equipment on campus. PCSC has
been charged with maintaining that inventory for Physics, so they have to see your
machine to record its serial number and specifications.
- In order to be a part of our domain, Microsoft networking has to be enabled, which
requires a certain minimum level of operating system. PCSC needs to verify this before
the machine is purchased. (There are some possible exceptions for research computers
that are not part of the network or that are running Linux).
- For security purposes, each machine must be up-to-date on its
security patches and antivirus software. Again, PCSC needs to check that, regardless of the operating
- PCSC supports mainly Windows machines with some Linux support. They
do not support Macintosh (OS X). This is because they use a standard
disk image to install software on new machines, allowing them to support
a large number (over 400 at last count) of PCs with a small staff. They
are simply not set up for Mac support. That doesnít mean you canít buy
one, just that they canít support it. Just like with Windows machines,
the purchase must still be made through PCSC.
- These purchasing rules also apply to used computers. PCSC frequently has used
machines available, so ask them first before pursuing used machines from elsewhere on
- No purchases made on a personal credit card will be reimbursed. This is a longstanding
policy within the department, and violates the requirement that PCSC make all computer
- Any machine that will be hooked up via wire to the Physics network needs to first be
brought to PCSC. New computers are automatically taken care of via the PCSC
purchasing requirement, but printers or used computers still need to be brought in. This
requirement is enforced by the fact that our DHCP internet protocol wonít give out an IP
address to any machine that doesnít have its ethernet hardware address registered with