Supported Hardware for Desktop Computing

The table below lists what SAS Computing currently recommends and supports for desktop computer hardware. The information for the Macintosh platform is less detailed simply because Apple is of the course the sole provider for these machines and the hardware is fairly consistent as long as the same family of machines is involved. Information regarding machine configurations which have previously been recommended and which still receive Full Support are shown below the following table. Please also see the information regarding Operating System Support and Desktop Computer Purchasing Guidelines.

There are a variety of reasons why matching our supported hardware increases the efficiency of support, including the following: our expertise with the components, our familiarity with the vendor and their support methods, and the availability of spare parts and machine images for the specific make and model of the machine and peripherals. Some of these reasons are explained in greater detail below.

Last Updated: March 2014

Currently Recommended/Supported Models

Platform
Vendor
Model/Configuration Support Level
Windows Dell Desktop - Optiplex 9020 Full
Laptop - Dell Latitude E5440/E7440/E7240
Macintosh
Apple
Desktop - iMac, Late 2013
Full
Desktop - MacPro, Late 2013
Partial
Laptop - MacBook Pro with Retina Display - 15-inch and 13-inch, Late 2013
Full
Laptop - 13-inch MacBook Pro, Mid 2012
Laptop - MacBook Air - 13-inch and 11-inch, Mid 2013
Printer   HP & Ricoh
  
HP or Ricoh must be used for any printer which will be attached directly to the network.
Full
HP LaserJet P2035, P3015, and CP4525
Ricoh multi-function printer leased from Ikon.  (Check with local support provider (LSP) for details.)
Partial support may be available for other computers. For more information, please contact the Computer Allocations Manager at (215) 898-0589 or allocationsATsas.upenn.edu.  

Previously Recommended/Supported Models within the Past Four Years

Platform
Vendor
Model/Configuration Support Level
Windows
Dell
Desktop - Optiplex 9010/990/980/960/755 Full
Laptop - Latitude E6430/E6330/E6230/E6420/E6320/E6220/E6410/E4310/E6400/E4300/E4200
MacintoshAppleDesktop - iMac
21.5-inch, Late 2009 through Late 2012
27-inch, Late 2009 through Mid 2011
Full
Desktop - MacPro - Mid 2010, Mid 2012, Late 2013
Partial
Laptop - MacBook Pro
15-inch with Retina Display, Mid 2012 & Early 2013
13-inch with Retina Display, Late 2012 & Early 2013
15-inch, Mid 2009 through Mid 2012
13-inch, Mid 2009 through Early 2011
Full
Laptop - MacBook Air
13-inch, Mid 2009 through Mid 2012
11-inch, Late 2010 through Mid 2012
Laptop - 13-inch MacBook, Mid 2010


Why is it more efficient to support our recommended hardware?

Vendor Familiarity

SAS Computing has standardized on Dell Computer for both desktop and laptop Windows computers (as well as the servers we run), as is the case across most of Penn. We have a very close relationship with Dell account representatives and can easily process orders with them, and get prompt attention if any problems arise. Our technical staff are very familiar both with the Dell models that we support and the avenues of support from Dell. While it may sometimes seem that another vendor has more attractive pricing, this will usually turn out not to be significant if a fair comparison is made. In addition, even if a few dollars can be saved on the initial purchase, any such savings are easily outweighed by the additional costs to the School of expending extra staff time to support machines from other vendors.

For Macintosh machines, Apple is of course the sole vendor.

Spare Parts

In addition to the familiarity our technical staff have with Dell, we also maintain a stock of some, and have better access to other, spare parts for the machines we support. This greatly reduces repair time when a hardware failure occurs. For other PC vendors, machines may have to be sent out for repair and this can add days or even weeks to repair times. Please note that while we do support specific Apple machines, Apple warranty service often requires that we send the entire unit (not just the suspect part) out for warranty service and this can result in long repair times. It is also cost-prohibitive to maintain spare parts for Apple products.

Imaging

As is the case for most large computing support providers, SAS Computing uses a disk imaging (or "cloning") process to allow for the hundreds of machine installations conducted per year to be completed efficiently and reliably. This method is used for both Windows and Macintosh machines and greatly reduces the amount of staff time needed to set up machines originally and at any point during their lifetime (e.g. in the case of system failure requiring a complete system reinstallation). The complexity of setting up machines with reliable, secure configurations with current operating systems makes this labor-saving approach essential.

In order to use this method, the hardware on which the original image is made must closely match that of any machine which is to be cloned from it. This presents no particular problems for the Macintosh platform, as long as the same product family is being used, because the hardware varies little and the OS is closely matched to it.

For Windows machines, an image can only be used if the hardware matches quite closely, down to the chipset on the motherboard. If a system is bought which does not match our recommended model configuration, it may have to be set up manually and this can add weeks to the lead time, as it requires the attention of a senior technician and there is often a backlog of such work. In addition, for the models we fully support, we generally maintain up-to-date images that can be used to set the machine up again if it ever fails. We do not do so for models we do not fully support, so machine recoveries in the event of a failure will also take considerably longer for such machines.

 

Support Level Key

Full Support - This level is reserved for model configuration which are currently, or have previously been recommended by SAS Computing. Full Support indicates that SAS Computing works to maintains images that can be used for initial and later machine setup, if the Operating System also matches the recommendation. SAS Computing also works to keep spare parts for such machines in stock or readily available

Partial Support - This level indicates that SAS Computing has determined that the model configuration is supportable and may be an appropriate choice for some users. However, since we typically work with these machines much less frequently than those for which we provide Full Support, we will not typically have machine images or spare parts readily available. We may also not be able to configure them with as secure a configuration as we do for fully supported models. Additional lead time will be required when working with these models.

Note: Level of Support is not the same as financial responsibility. In general, the responsibility for paying for repairs is determined based on what funds were used to purchase the machine.