Purchasing Advice

We can offer advice on a range of IT-related purchasing matters - even offer some tips if you are wanting to buy a computer for home. However, if you are buying hardware or software for an Institute PC then you should bear in mind that strict UCL purchasing regulations exist and that buying 'bargain' PCs online or from dodgy dealers in Tottenham Court Road will get us all in trouble...

If in doubt, ask! - ion-itsupport@ucl.ac.uk

Computers

The situation regarding computer and printer types changes on a regular basis, so it would be folly to try and make recommendations on this page. If you are looking for a standard PC or printer, there are a number a deals regularly updated by the UCL Information Systems Division: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/isd/staff/purchasing/departmental/pricing

A few points to bear in mind when purchasing a PC to use at the Institute:

  • The UCL Microsoft agreement covers the upgrade of an existing operating system to Windows 7 Enterprise so when buying a PC it might be cheaper to get a lower version of the OS (e.g. Windows 7 Home Premium) which can then be upgraded legitimately - assuming your computer was purchased with UCL funds.
    What you cannot do is buy a 'naked' computer (i.e. one with with no operating system installed) and then install Windows under the UCL agreement.
  • The UCL Microsoft Campus agreement does allow UCL staff members to install one copy of the Windows operating system and Microsoft Office on a computer or laptop they purchased themselves, but for this you will need to buy a special set of disks or download the software from here: https://ucl.onthehub.com/.
  • We can provide network access for Macs - as well as install Windows on them under Boot Camp, or through third party vistualisation software (Parallels or VMware Fusion) if you have it.
  • Think ahead, and get as much memory as you can afford. Over the last year we've seen a big shift to Windows 7, which needs 2Gb of RAM to be able to work effectively - and that's without running any other software!

If unsure - ask! If you have administrative access to your computer and it's connected to the Institute network then you are personally responsible for the legality of the operating system and software on it.

Software

Most software in use at UCL is now licenced to be used across the campus on any PC purchased by UCL. A full list of software available can be found (and most can be downloaded) here: http://swdb.ucl.ac.uk/

Mobile Devices

If you are buying a mobile device to use with your UCL email, then you are strongly advised to use a device which is able to synchronise directly with the LIVE@UCL system without additional third-party software. This does NOT include the Blackberry, unfortunately, but does include the iPhone or any smartphone which uses ActiveSync. Further details here: http://www.ucl.ac.uk/isd/staff/mail/live/mobphon/mobilephones