Computer Equipment for Faculty/Staff/PhDs

The Office of Smith IT is the sole supporter and service provider for one 'standard' computer for each faculty and staff member.  We schedule the upgrades of these systems and re-deploy the used systems to part-time workers.  In addition we maintain network printers around the building and consult on additional equipment purchases when requested.  Student Hardware information.

Office Computers

Newly hired full time Faculty may choose between a desktop or laptop.  Staff hires use the equipment assigned to that position.   You must fund the difference in cost for any desired upgrades or any additional equipment. Standard computer specs

Smith IT upgrades full-time faculty and staff computers every 3-4 years as resources allow.   As these computers are upgraded part-time staff, PhD students and student workers will be given preference for the recovered systems.

Non-standard Computer support

For a custom system our Helpdesk will provide service on a best effort basis.  Macintosh computers are in the Non-standard category.

With any custom, or non-standard systems, we are limited in our support to adding licensed software to the operating system that comes with the system. We do not have the resources to re-build systems from the OS up.  Additionally hardware repairs are the responsibility of the owner since we have not enterprise agreements with vendors other than Dell.

Printers and other peripherals

There are networked printers in each suite and in many locations near offices.  For more information go to Printing.

Desktop Support

To protect yourself and the warranty of your equipment, report all problems to the contact the Smith IT Help Desk.

Our Helpdesk will help install new or replaced components on a supported system. Since adding hardware to your original equipment may alter its classification from supported to custom hardware, our staff  will help you determine the implications of any alterations to your system

Secure your PC

Keeping your computer secure takes vigilance.    For our suggestions visit  Smith IT security pages.  If you have any other questions, or think your system has been compromised, contact the Smith IT Help Desk.


Loaner Equipment

Going out of town on a special meeting and wished that you had a laptop?   No worries.  We offer laptop loaners along with other equipment for you to use for periods of 10 business days or less.


If you are using University funds to purchase equipment, the Office of Smith IT can help you make your decision and can sometimes even get a better price on an item if we can tack your order onto a bulk purchase, so feel free to contact us for advice.   It is not required that we be involved, but please be aware that our ability to provide support for non-standard systems is limited, so contacting us first may be an important factor in making your decision.   Recommended computer specs.

Special deals on Dell and Apple computers - campus link to ACT, Academic Computing for Terps.

Purchasing software

Advantages to standard hardware:

As you make your decision to purchase, please be aware that the level of support we can provide to any non-standard system is much more limited.  We base our staffing around the full support of standard hardware and software packages, anything above that is supported as resources allow.

One major advantage to the standard hardware recommended by Smith IT is the time saved when one needs a repair. We can repair the standard hardware quickly - often instantly - with spare parts in stock. We are Dell certified, and so can manage the repair process of non-standard Dell hardware, but the difference is the time it takes to get the repair parts. Yes, vendors promise 24-hour turn around time - but that has RARELY been our experience with any company - including Dell. Having spare parts in stock is the only truly quick way to provide service. Support of other (non-Dell) hardware is very limited. If it breaks, the owner must deal with the vendor or warranty provider themselves, but since yours will be a Dell, we will be able to deal with the vendor for you.

Software compatibility is the other advantage to standard systems. The Helpdesk maintains and updates the software image on our standard systems. That means that we test for compatibility in this environment, and we test and maintain upgrades to standard software, including operating systems. We cannot guarantee that all of our software will work on anything outside of the standard configurations. We can install software on top of the operating system non-standard equipment ships with if you have proof of a valid license, but we do not have the resources to re-build operating systems or re-configure systems to address problematic incompatibilities with non-standard hardware and software. We would only be able to restore the system with the restore CD the vendor provides.

The choice is yours. If you need the fastest turnaround, buy a standard system. If time is not an issue and you do not mind dealing with vendors for warranty repairs, choose anything you prefer. If you've seen another system you like and would like me to look at the specs, I will certainly be glad to do that.