Purchasing Recommendations for Desktop Computers

SAS Computing seeks to provide efficient, timely, and cost-effective support for desktop computing. In order to do so, SAS Computing staff work with those requiring or ordering new machines to ensure that cost-effective support can be provided. In addition, some limits must be placed on what hardware products and operating systems will be fully supported. Please see the information made available regarding SASC Hardware Support and SASC Operating System Support. Purchasing a machine through an approved vendor, including the Computer Connection, does not guarantee that the machine conforms to SASC recommendations or will be fully supported by SASC.

Allocation Program Purchases

Machines provided via the SAS Computer Allocations program will, except in rare circumstances, be required to match the SAS Computing requirements for hardware and operating system support. When a new allocation eligible staff or faculty member is to be hired, SAS Computing staff should be notified as far in advance as possible, so that a machine can be obtained and installed by the employee's start date, if possible. Lead time for delivery of a standard allocation machine is generally 2-4 weeks, but varies with the time of year and other factors. Special orders can take considerably longer, depending in part on how closely they conform to SASC recommendations.

Non-allocation Program Purchases

Those purchasing machines with department, grant or other funds are encouraged to work with SAS Computing staff when selecting a new machine (and the operating system it will run, in accord with the SAS Computing Operating System Support information) to ensure that support can be provided, that all of the components will work together and with Penn's network, and that the equipment meets the user's needs. Not consulting with Computing staff in advance of a purchase may result in unavoidable delays and complications in how or whether assistance with initial machine configuration and ongoing support can be provided.

When prior consultation is not possible, Computing staff should be informed of any non-allocation machine orders no later than the time the orders are made, for the most timely delivery of service. Failure to do so will result in delays with initial configuration, if assistance is desired. Computing staff are generally busy supporting existing machines and are often scheduled well in advance. "Elective" procedures such as the installation of new non-allocation machines are prioritized below more critical support needs for existing machines. In general, the sooner SASC staff are informed that a machine is being purchased, the sooner it will be set up after it arrives.

Role of the Business Office

Since all orders must pass through the relevant Business Office for processing, SAS Computing requests that SAS Business Office staff confirm that those requesting the purchase of a new machine or other hardware have consulted the SASC information regarding hardware and operating system support, or with their local support provider, if they will require support from SAS Computing staff.

When new staff or faculty are to be hired, Business Office staff should work with departments to ensure notice is provided to SAS Computing staff as far in advance of the start date as possible, especially if the individual will require a new machine. If adequate notice is not given, a machine may not be available by the start date.