These are frequently asked questions relating to desktop computer renewal at Imperial College London.

FAQs on desktop computer renewal

Am I entitled to a replacement desktop computer?

Any member of staff (academic, secretarial, administrative or technician) appropriately authorised by the department or faculty but excluding research assistants and PhD students are entitled to a replacement desktop computer. To be eligible the member of staff must be at least 20% HEFCE funded. A replacement system is provided every five years. Centrally funded public computers are replaced every four years due to higher wear and tear considerations and teaching requirements.

What is the replacement specification for replacement?

The replacement scheme is based on people, not machines. Eligible staff members (minimum 20% HEFCE funded) are given an internal code based on the first year of replacement. On the fifth anniversary of that year, those staff members will be entitled to a replacement machine. Replacement is not guaranteed as there is an annual entitlement for each administrative area and academic department. Replacement enquiries should be directed to the Departmental IT Representative or the ICT Service Desk.

Can I buy additional machines with my own budget at College prices?

Yes. All of the HP enterprise class models are available through ICIS iProcurement for direct configuration and purchase by ICIS users. If you are unable to access iProcurement and wish to buy using an online journal, contact the ICT Service Desk.

Can I have an Apple Mac instead of a PC?

Yes, you can. You will have to fund the difference in price between the standard allocation and the price of the Mac and you will need to obtain a written agreement from us. Email service.desk@imperial.ac.uk with the phrase 'Apple purchase request' in the subject line to seek approval.

Can I have a laptop instead of a desktop?

Yes, you can buy an HP laptop but you or your department will have to fund any extra costs over the price of the standard allocation. HP business grade laptops are also covered by College contract and are available at extremely competitive prices. Additional costs are payable by online journal and orders will not be placed until payment is received.

What is the standard allocation for renewal desktop computers?

It is the current price of the EliteDesk 800 G2 SFF desktop PC with the Imperial College London configuration.

The amount will be reviewed quarterly. This is the price of a desktop system without monitor.

When are monitors replaced?

If the monitor on a replacement scheme machine fails (except through deliberate means) it can be replaced at any time. The monitor may not always be new but will meet minimum College standards of at least a 19 inch flat panel screen.

Can I have a different hardware configuration?

As the desktop computer replacement programme is centrally funded and delivered via a sole supplier contract with HP, you must have an HP PC from the College approved range of machine, with the sole exception of Apple machines where approved.

You may, however, upgrade the base HP specification with, for example, extra memory, special graphics adapter, network adapter etc. subject to you funding any extra costs. Additional costs are payable by online journal and orders will not be placed until payment is received.

Our base specification is quite high as it is designed to give a useful service life of five years without need for further upgrades. For most purposes this is a very effective specification, however, if you utilise processor or memory intensive applications, an upgrade may be recommended.

Can I have a different brand of PC?

The replacement policy covers HP machines running Windows, Oracle Enterprise Linux or Ubuntu Linux, or Apple Mac machines. PCs from other suppliers or Unix workstations (e.g. Sun, Dell or Acer) are not covered.

Can I have a new screen?

In its first six years of operation, the replacement scheme has removed thousands of old fashioned, inefficient CRT screens from service. The TFT flat screens have proved to be very reliable, so, to ensure maximum value for money and to reduce the impact on the environment, we will only replace screens when they fail due to wear and tear. Should your screen fail, you will be provided with a replacement working unit of minimum 19 inches. Upgrades to larger sizes may need to be funded by your department.

Will it have an Ethernet interface?

Yes, a 10/100/1000 (gigabit) Ethernet interface is standard.

Can I have a wireless network interface?

All current standard laptops from HP under the College deal include 802.11b/g/n wireless as a minimum. Internal HSDPA Wireless WAN (WWAN) is optional in many current HP business grade laptops and can be retrofitted to some models.

Will my computer have a DVD rewriter?

Yes, a DVD+/- RW writer is included in most models. This can read and write both CDs and DVDs.

Will my replacement have a floppy disk drive?

The standard desktop machine does not include a floppy disk drive as these are rarely used. You may request one in some models at an additional cost to your department or grant, however, we recommend either transferring data permanently to other media or buying an external USB floppy disk for occasional use.

Do I have to have Microsoft Windows on my PC?

You can have Microsoft Windows 7 (or higher), Oracle Enterprise Linux or Ubuntu Linux on your staff computer.

Will my PC come with applications software?

Your PC will be installed by our desktop support team. When set up, it will include a range of software including Microsoft Office, Adobe reader and a virus software.

Can I load my own applications software?

Yes, provided you have a legal licence to use the software. Note that if you corrupt the installed system and it cannot be made to work, we will reinstall it with the standard download. We will attempt to protect vital files prior to reinstallation in such cases.