This page has been imported from our previous wiki and is still in the process of being reviewed. It may be out of date or inaccurate.

As a service, the support team can spec-up and purchase computing equipment for members of the School, making sure that the purchased machine is fit for purpose and abiding by the University's purchasing policies.

However, even if we don't buy a machine, we must perform an initial set up of the machine in order to ensure that it has been added to our asset register and it suitable to be connected to the University network.

This document lists the Support team procedures for purchasing laptops.

There are several benefits to acquiring equipment through the support team, such as:

  • We pre-install relevant software including Office.
  • We perform any necessary patching and updates.
  • We can access the laptop to aid in fault resolution later on.

Guidelines for purchasing Laptops

For all laptops

  • Purchase a spare power adapter (total: 2) at the same time as the laptop.
  • Where available, buy the ‘travel’ or ‘slim line’ power adapter.
  • A case: We normally go for a neoprene ‘sleeve style’ case as default.
  • For software, please check the software purchase policy.
  • We are obliged to buy computing equipment from a supplier on a framework agreement, with the exception of research equipment: http://www.ncl.ac.uk/internal/purchasing-services/agreements/suppliers/
  • Ideally set the delivery address to the CS support team and notify them that it is on its way. Failing that, on arrival, pass the laptop to the support team before the customer. See below for the support team's setup steps.

Additional information for Apple Macs

Apple Macs should be purchased through the Apple Education portal. This is to ensure we get the correct educational pricing but also to ensure that we get the 3-year AppleCare warranty included (which is free as part of the Apple framework agreement).

Information on accessing the Apple Education portal is available from Purchasing Services: http://www.ncl.ac.uk/internal/purchasing-services/agreements/apple.php

When ordering please do not add the "AppleCare Protection Plan Uplift (Additional Telephone Technical Support)'' product. The warranty we want is included as standard on all Apple Macs purchased through the Education portal. This product is for additional telephone support that we do not use.

This Apple KnowledgeBase article lists the correct adaptor to buy for each model of Mac laptop: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT2346?viewlocale=en_GB&locale=en_GB

The following additional adapters should be acquired:

  • Mini DisplayPort to HDMI adapter. Currently Apple recommend the ''Belkin Mini DisplayPort to HDMI Adapter'' (Part number HA824ZM).
  • If the user is expected to use their laptop to deliver presentations, either in Newcastle or elsewhere, purchase a ''Mini DisplayPort to VGA Adapter'' (part number MB572Z)
  • If the laptop doesn't have built-in Ethernet:
    • for Macbook Airs, purchase a ''Apple USB Ethernet Adapter'' (Part number MC704ZM)
    • for Retina Macbook Pros, purchase ''Thunderbolt to Gigabit Ethernet Adapter'' (Part number MD463ZM)
    • (the rationale here is: if the Mac has one thunderbolt port, such as the macbook air, buy a USB adapter, as the thunderbolt port will be needed for display. If it has two, buy a thunderbolt adapter, as it will be faster than USB.)

The support team keep a stock of these adaptors which are purchased in bulk at cheaper prices than on a per-laptop basis.

Additional information for Windows

  • We prefer the end user to be connected using the campus domain. This greatly eases the management of the machine and ensures that appropriate security policies are applied.
  • If they are going to join the domain, Windows 7 Pro version is currently the preferred pre-installed OS as it allows for a quick and easy connection to the domain.
  • Windows 8.1 is also ok to connect to the domain, it has just recently been taken out of the ISS ‘testing’ phase of support. It is still new though so users have to accept that there may be some bugs / less support than there is for windows 7 Pro.
  • If they are going to be ‘off domain’ or don’t plan on using Windows at all (i.e. custom Linux option) then naturally the OS doesn't matter.

Support team machine setup

The support team are the nominated asset keepers for computing equipment in the School. It is our responsibility to apply an 'asset tag' to all IT equipment and add the equipment to our asset register.

We check all new machines to ensure that they are working correctly: this includes ports, networking, displays and any specialist equipment in the laptop.

We perform initial setup: domain joining; patching; installing the common CS software including Microsoft Office.

We also ensure that we have an administrative account on the device so that we can quickly access, diagnose and fix issues that might occur later on.