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Concord Academy

Computer Purchasing Recommendations at CA

Hardware

 

CA supports both Apple and Windows-based PCs. We currently use computers from Dell and Apple, and find that they offer a good selection of reliable computer products with a wide range of options; any major PC manufacturer should provide comparable offerings.

 

It is reasonable to expect a computer to last through a student’s four years at CA. To assure the longest useful lifetime for your computer, our suggestion is that you focus your spending on the highest level of memory, processor speed, and disk space (in that order of priority) that fits your budget.

 

Lightweight “netbook,” “mini,” or “ultraportable” PC laptops (which generally will not meet the recommendations below) may suffice for basic tasks like web browsing and word processing, but we do not make specific recommendations. The flexibility provided by having laptops available in class and elsewhere makes them preferable to desktop models.

 

Our general recommendations follow; if you have specific questions, your hardware vendor should be able to help.

 

 

Processor

Memory

Hard Disk

Windows PC

Intel Core i7 or Core i5

(2.5–3.2GHz)

4GB or more

250GB or more

Mac

Intel Core i7 or Core i5

(1.7–2.6GHz)

4GB or more

250GB or more

 

Operating System

 

Windows 8, Windows 7, and Mac OS X (10.7 or newer) should work properly on the school network. For existing computers, older versions will be supported as long as security updates are available and they work properly with our network.  

 

Certain features in Windows 7 “Professional” and “Ultimate” editions may provide greater ease-of-use on the campus network, but “Home Premium” should not present major challenges. Limitations in most of the “Home” and “Starter” versions of Windows 7 and Windows Vista make them cumbersome to use in a networked environment, so we recommend against them for on-campus use.

 

Operating systems other than Windows and Mac OS X are not permitted without prior explicit permission from IT Services.

 

Also, please note that we may be unable to support certain versions of some operating systems, and we generally cannot support new operating systems immediately after their release, as we need to assure that we have suitable versions of our network security tools available.  After a new operating system has been released, we will make an announcement when we are able to support it for use on the school network.

 

 

Network

 

CA offers wireless network service across the campus. Your laptop must include a wireless network card compliant with the “802.11n” or “802.11g” standards. In addition, the card must comply with the “802.11i” standard, which may be called “WPA2 certified” instead.

 

Many locations on campus — including computer labs and student rooms — also provide plug-in connections for computers with a standard Ethernet card capable of supporting 100Mbps connections.

 

Virus & Spyware Protection

 

A self-updating virus/spyware protection program from a reliable major company is a critical component of any computer. To assure protection of school computers and those of other students, all computers connected to the campus network must run an approved security software package (from Kaspersky, McAfee, Symantec, or Trend Micro); an approved package (from Sophos) is available for free from the school, and can be installed as part of the network registration process.

 

This software provides features to protect against viruses, spyware, adware, and other threats, but the school cannot guarantee that this software will protect from all possible threats.

 

Due to the risks posed by email, file exchanges, and other contact with computers on the school network, the school expects that a personally-owned computer used for any school-related purpose will run a current, licensed, properly-configured virus/spyware protection product at all times, even if the computer will not be connected to the school’s network.

 

Software

 

We encourage you to purchase Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, and PowerPoint), since that suite of programs is used campus-wide. Microsoft offers a “Home and Student” edition which should meet students’ school-related needs.

 

Any other software will be course-specific and will be identified as the student begins the particular course.

 

Support

 

Due to the size of our staff, we are able to provide only basic technical support and troubleshooting for students’ personally-owned computers. This support would be around connecting to the school's wifi, or connecting to printers. For more complex problems, we will make referrals to outside support resources that can offer more in-depth help at a cost borne by the student’s family.

 

When purchasing a computer system, we strongly recommend that you consider the on-site maintenance options offered by the manufacturers, as this can simplify and speed the repair process.

 

Also, please note that our ability to help is greatly reduced if your computer’s menus and messages are in a language other than English; if you are buying a computer outside the US, be certain that it can be configured to display menus and system messages in US English.

 

Insurance

 

For laptop computers in particular, you should consider the insurance options available. While most manufacturers offer extended-warranty coverage, some (e.g., Dell CompleteCare) also cover nearly all other damage except intentional abuse or theft. Standalone insurance coverage is also available for accidental damage, theft, fire, and other risks; school-owned computers are covered through Safeware (http://www.safeware.com), and other companies offer similar coverage. Before assuming that your current homeowner’s insurance coverage is sufficient, we recommend that you carefully check your policy for details about coverage for portable computing equipment located off-premises and in transit, and that you particularly think about the risk of accidental damage which likely will not be covered by such insurance. Repairs to laptop computers routinely cost $500 to $1,000.

 

 

 

 

DISCOUNT PROGRAMS AVAILABLE

 

Vendor

For Discounted Pricing

Dell

Visit the special Dell website at http://www.dell.com/epp and when prompted for your member ID, type in KS29263452.

 

You may also work with a Dell sales rep by phone.  Call 800-695-8133.  When the automated system asks, say that you want to “make a purchase” then say that it is for “personal use.”  When you are asked if you plan to make your purchase through an employee purchase program, say “Yes.”

Apple

Apple does not offer discount programs for high school students, and in recent years we have been unable to arrange any special discount program with them. However, you may be able to negotiate with the manager of your local Apple Store retail location to apply their educational discount (which generally is available only to educators and college students). It is not possible to get this discounted pricing from the Apple Store website.

 

Apple Store locations can be found at http://www.apple.com/retail