WVWC has a vendor partnership with Dell that we have maintained since Under this partnership, WVWC serves as a warranty service provider, which means that necessary repairs, including covered warranty and accidental damage claims, can be performed on-campus in a timely manner, resulting in minimal inconvenience for our students. Please refer to later sections of this document for detailed hardware information. It is advisable to compare system specifications carefully when shopping for laptops.
Links to our partner site and special monthly promotions may be found here. Can I use a computer that I currently own? As long as the system meets the minimum requirements listed above, it should serve you well at WVWC. We recommend that you bring any system recovery media that you may have and keep it in a location where it will not become damaged.
Many systems include a utility to create recovery disks or flash drives. If you have not created a recovery media set for your laptop, we highly recommend that you do so. Our office also assists our students with advice regarding maintenance, upgrades, and out-of-warranty repairs.
Also, should the need for a new computer arise at a later time, the recommended models through our partner are available throughout the year.
We also provide Microsoft Office for Mac There is no need for you to purchase this software, whether you are using a new system or one you have owned. When your student account is created, a license will be assigned and you will receive an e-mail from our office with easy to follow instructions on how to install Microsoft Office. Your license covers up to 5 devices, including mobile devices. Your license will remain intact up to 30 days post-graduation or upon withdrawal from WVWC.
Some courses will require software that may be purchased or provided through fees of the individual departments. Your professors will provide you with software requirements information for individual courses.
In the past, WVWC also provided antivirus software to our student body, but due to the availability of quality retail products, the inclusion of anti-malware programs as part of the core operating system in Windows, and the availability of quality freeware antivirus software, such as Avast Free Antivirus or BitDefender Free available at Download.
If you need assistance installing antivirus software, our Helpdesk staff will gladly assist you. Can I use a MacBook? Yes, many of our students use MacBooks on campus, but there are some special considerations that you must address. Although Windows will run on a MacBook, the student will have to provide a licensed copy for installation.
If assistance is needed, the Helpdesk provides installation and configuration services for a nominal fee. Unless through a third party, accidental damage coverage is not available.
If buying new, when should I order my laptop? If ordering a new laptop, we recommend that you do so no later than mid-July. That should allow enough time for order processing and shipping while providing enough extra time to correct any potential problems with an order.
Important Considerations When Purchasing a Laptop Hardware Requirements — What hardware requirements are there for the software that I want to run or the tasks that I want to perform? Does my major have distinct requirements? Service Contract — What kind of service package comes with the system? How long is the coverage period? In the event that the computer fails, what will be the process to have it repaired? How long will the student be without a computer should such an event occur? Portability — How portable is the laptop?
Can it fit into standard carry cases and be carried comfortably? How much does it weigh? Durability — Will this model of laptop hold up to the rigors of daily use and college life? How many years of service should I expect from a laptop?
Cost vs. Value — Am I more concerned with the initial cost or total cost of ownership? Purchasing Strategies Strategy 1: Pros — The technology that the student is using is new, albeit at the lower end of the performance and features spectrum available at the time of purchase. The initial investment is relatively low. If the system is popular, parts for out-of-warranty repairs may be available through third parties, such as on E-Bay.
Cons — The systems tend to be less durable, do not allow for accidental damage protection, and typically carry only a 1 year warranty. Some warranties may also include additional restrictions. During the event of a system failure, delays for repair or replacement may be extended, which can negatively impact the student in regards to the need for laptop computing in the classroom.
Strategy 2: Buy Business Class Systems with Extended Warranties The business-class Dell Latitude systems through our partner are warranted for 3 years and are configured with 3-year accidental damage protection.
In addition they have the option of extending the warranty period to the fourth or fifth years. This may appeal to some that want the peace of mind of having coverage throughout their undergraduate experience, but it also is an expense in maintaining a four year old laptop, which historically would be nearing the end of its service live and becoming obsolete.
Pros — WVWC is in a rural area, and knowing that you can get dependable and timely warranty service on campus provides the student with the minimal inconvenience in the event of a problem. Business class systems tend to be more durable and offer better performance than low-end models. Cons — Extended warranty coverage adds to the initial cost of the system, and it could be argued that the money would be better spent buying newer technology.
Also, as the system ages, it may not perform as well as new, lower-end systems on the market. This is especially true when the system is three years old or older.
Strategy 3: Buy Mid-Range and Split the Extremes Mid-range laptops can split the pros and cons of either extreme by offering performance and warranty coverage while the system is new, yet maintaining a reasonable initial cost price point. Warranties are typically one year. Dell units can have warranty extensions and ADP accidental damage protection, for coverage of incidents such as drops and liquid spills added during the configuration.
Our Dell Inspiron recommended models have the initial year of ADP built in to the base configuration. Mid-range laptops tend to have better features, durability, and performance than the retail bargain units.
Typically, additional monies are not spent on warranties beyond two years and can be applied toward the possible replacement of the system in later years. Cons — During the latter years of undergraduate study, the student may experience delays in the event of system failure due to the need for out-of-warranty service or system replacement. Strategy 4: These systems are generally well constructed, lightweight, thin, and are well configured for moderate to high computing performance levels.
They incorporate cutting edge technology such as SSDs solid state drives that start up fast, transfer data fast, and have no moving parts. Most models feature touch screens for added functionality. When shopping for these models, the consumer must be careful to ensure that the product is not confused with a tablet such as an iPad, Android tablet, or Microsoft Windows RT Surface tablet , as those products are not compatible with the software that is utilized at WVWC. Pros — Portability, performance, and style.
Solid state drives, and the lack of moving parts, should reduce service failures. By far, the majority of service issues that we work with are hard disk drive related failures. Cons — Many models are static configurations from the factory, so items like memory and batteries cannot be upgraded or replaced by the end user. Like most markets, the newest and sleekest technology is relatively expensive. Laptop Component Information Service Contract — There are several different types of service contracts warranties.
For all laptops, warranty repairs must be performed by an authorized service provider. The WVWC Helpdesk is an authorized warranty provider for Dell; therefore, repairs can be done on campus with minimal student inconvenience.
Warranty Type On Site — The system is repaired on site, generally by sending a technician to your location. Next Business Day NBD — After a troubleshooting session via telephone, required parts and a technician will repair the system on the next business day.
Depot — After a troubleshooting session via telephone, technical support will arrange to have the computer shipped to a central location for repair. Most retail-system warranties are of this type. Third Party or Retailer — Third party or retail warranties vary widely. Most require that the system is taken to the retailer or shipped to a central location for repair.
Additional Warranties Accidental Damage Repair ADP — This service covers damages due to accidents such as impact from dropping the system or spilling liquid into the system. Services, if offered, vary by manufacturer and model. Extended Battery Warranties — Some models offer extended 3 year battery warranties.
Without such coverage, batteries are only warranted for the initial year since they are considered consumable items. Although some of these providers may offer quality services, you may also receive inferior service or repairs through the provider.
In addition, these claims must be shipped out and result in extended down time. Please note that we never recommend that you buy a new system that is at the minimum processor requirement, since it would likely become obsolete very quickly. Processors are not easily upgradable in laptop computers, as the system boards are designed to accept limited processor models, and many are not removable at all.
All of the processors in the range mentioned above will function well for basic to moderate computing workloads. In general, the clock speed measured in GHz and the number of cores determine the performance of the processor.
Also, as the model numbers increase, so do the features and performance levels. System Memory — All running applications on a system must be stored in system memory where the processor can access the data.
System memory is relatively easy and affordable to upgrade later in the lifespan of the laptop, so decisions made on initial memory usually are not permanent, as they are with the processors.
The exception to this rule is with some Ultrabook or Tablet models, where memory is typically not upgradable.
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