New PC Purchases Running Windows 10, 8.1 or 7
Personal computers change almost daily making choosing an appropriate model, style and configuration somewhat overwhelming. The guideline we suggest, when choosing a vendor and PC, is to leverage the experience and volume purchasing of the institution. This will not only ascertain that your purchase is truly a "business class" machine but will go a long way to guarantee institutional compatibility, not to mention giving you on-campus experience with support and warranty. It is easy to be tempted by exceptional-looking deals but in our experience, those PCs not only do not stand up to constant every-day use, but may not run all the software required by your departments.
PCs, whether they are tablets, laptops or desktops, are marketed in one of two streams: The first group are the most prevalent and are targeted at home use. Most of these PCs are cheaper than "business class" PCs but also include the most expensive PCs on the market aimed at gamers. Business class PCs fall somewhere in-between and are designed to stay on 24/7, with continued all-day extensive use. The trick is to identify the line-up best suited to this environment and not fall into one of the many traps set to "save you some money". In order to find this best possible compromise, we suggest at least an evaluation period before committing to a model and a vendor. This practice is highly recommended to avoid surprises. As a general rule-of-thumb, you do get what you pay for.
If you're not sure what to look for when evaluating a unit, please feel free to contact IST by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or directly by contacting one of the IST service desks (https://uwaterloo.ca/information-systems-technology/services/category/405 ). Someone there will be more than happy to review an evaluation unit with you.
As for general advice regarding specifications to look for when buying a PC: Be sure to buy a PC that is capable of properly running Windows 10 (most are). Specifications can be found here: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/windows-10-specifications .
IST and several faculties currently purchase their PCs from Dell. This was decided after a formal evaluation and RFP process. Information about this can be viewed at: https://uwaterloo.ca/information-systems-technology/services/desktop-rollover-program