Computer Services Center/Academic Computing
Recommendations for Microcomputer Purchase
Revised September 2013
Academic Computing is often asked for recommended microcomputer
specifications. These suggestions will change over time as the software
and hardware environment changes, and of course some individuals have
requirements that will not be met by an "average" computer.
Because these changes in technology occur so frequently, we no longer publish suggested hardware specifications on the web. We will gladly provide suggested configurations upon telephone or email request,
and we can also get quotations for you from the vendors on University contract.
If ordering a computer running the Windows operating system, it is important that you order a version compatible with the University networks. Be sure to order Windows Professional or Enterprise (Do NOT Order Home Edition).
This can be 32 or 64 bit; we recommend 64 bit if your computer hardware will support it.
The items below are not technical specifications, but pointers
that may help make your computer acquisition go more smoothly.
- Be sure you understand the vendor's warranty. "On-site" means
different things to different vendors. In most cases, it means the vendor
will dispatch a technician to swap out components after you have gone
through a lengthy telephone session with vendor support personnel over the
phone. It may be several working days before the technician
appears. It is rare for a vendor to dispatch a technician to troubleshoot
your computer on-site.
- Think about upgrading your application software to current versions.
That old word processor may be familiar, and it
may not be as bloated as newer software,
but it probably won't take advantage of new operating system
features and you may find neither the vendor nor the Computer
Center is prepared to support it on your new computer.
- Be sure to get any commercial programs legally. Just because
someone in the office already has a copy, or you have a copy
at home, does not make it legal. If you plan to use a license
from your old computer, make sure the software is erased
from the old machine before you give that to someone else.
- Acquire anti-virus software and a method to get periodic updates. Academic
Computing provides AV software for all University PCs within the university network. Please go to http://www.southalabama.edu/csc/sav for more information.
- Plan now for data protection and disaster recovery. Remember,
data is not backed up unless it exists in at least two places.
Academic Computing can provide you assistance in planning
If you have any questions about
these recommendations or need further information, please contact
the Computer Services Center at 460-6161 and ask for Academic