IT Services' Computer Purchasing Recommendations

What is this article about?

The following are recommendations for purchasing new desktop, or laptop comptuers. For most applications these requirements will have a minimum effective lifecycle of four (4) years before considering replacement.

IT Recommendations are provided for both OS X and Windows operating systems and are classified according to use-case secenarios.

What do you recommend?

Desktop Computers

Desktop systems are classified as either Standard or Technical workstations. 

  • Standard Workstations configurations are designed to accommodate the needs of 95%+ of all desktop computing needs on campus. These range from general office use such as document editing, spreadsheets, email, and other tasks. To intermediate tasks such as infrequent video capturing/editing, moderate data analysis using statistical software, and local database applications such as MS Access/FileMaker Pro. In many cases a standard workstation equiped with additional RAM (16 GB+) may perform better than a technical workstation, and most individul's needs may be best met with this standard.
  • Technical Workstations configurations are designed to accommodate advanced tasks such as complex/lengthy mathematical computations, heavy use of AutoCAD, and extensive video capturing/editing of multi-hour long content. In many cases, the standard workstation with one of the upgrade options may be more appropriate then selecting the technical workstation.​

Laptop Computers

Laptop systems are classified as either Ultra Mobile, Mobile, or Desktop replacement.

  • Ultra-mobile laptops are perfect for individuals frequently on the move with their primarily use being for checking email, word processing, and connecting to a data/video projector for the occasional PowerPoint presentations. These systems typically have a smaller screen size (10”-12”) and a more compact keyboard than the larger laptops. They also typically weigh less and have a longer battery life due to their lower power use. Most models do not have an integrated CD/DVD drive; however, these are available via docking ports and/or USB external devices.
  • Mobile laptops are perfect for individuals frequently on the move needing larger screen real estate without excessive weight or size. These systems typically have average screen sizes (13”-15”), a full-size keyboard, and more powerful CPU’s then their Ultra-mobile cousins. Most models have an integrated CD/DVD drive. Battery life is typically 3+ hours depending upon the model and features selected.
  • Desktop replacements are for those individuals needing power more than portability. These systems typically have the largest screen sizes (17”+), larger memory capacity, one or more hard drives, and integrated optical drive. The tradeoff is these are the largest laptops in terms of size, weight, and shorter battery life.

Manufactor Recommendations

Is there any additional information I should know about?

For additional assistance contact the IT Services Technical Support Center via phone at (907) 786-4646, toll-free at (877) 633-3888, email us at, or visit the Services section to open a support ticket.


Article ID: 41
Wed 10/16/19 9:07 AM
Thu 1/13/22 7:25 AM