Recommended Computer Systems for Faculty/Staff

////Recommended Computer Systems for Faculty/Staff
Recommended Computer Systems for Faculty/Staff 2017-09-23T16:03:35+00:00

Faculty and Staff Computer Recommendations

A Note on MCECS Property

All equipment purchased using PSU funding are the property of PSU/MCECS – funding directly through PSU indexes or via research grants are included in this definition. Special programs within MCECS used to purchase equipment, like MCRP, always supersede ownership regardless of other funding included.

Recommended Computer Systems

Computer hardware changes very rapidly, so we can’t provide specific recommendations for amount of RAM, processor speed, hard drive capacity, etc. What we do provide are general recommendations for Windows desktop purchases and some basic advice for purchasing laptops.

When you purchase a new desktop computer system for use in Maseeh College, a primary consideration is how you plan to have it supported. Read about the CAT Support Tiers for more information on the kinds of support we provide.

If you have specific questions about computer system purchases or upgrades, please feel free to ask us directly.


For Desktops, We recommend either a Dell Optiplexes (a business class PC), or Dell Precisions (for high end research).  Both have had great success in MCECS, and we currently run them in some labs.   Regardless of what you buy, we recommend a 5-year on-site warranty, just in case something is faulty or goes wrong.

Important: If you would like any help picking out a system, please contact us at


With laptops, we advise you to purchase them with everything you think you need at the time (such as memory, CD burners, etc.). We also advise you to buy them with the OS you want to run (don’t plan on upgrading) and a 5-year on-site warranty (such as what Dell offers). These recommendations typically make laptops more expensive to purchase up front, but make them less expensive down the road when you are relying on it and something breaks.

MCECS has no support Tier for laptops, users either need to support their own machines, or get an OIT load.  The only thing that we can provide is basic troubleshooting.  Due to this, we recommend that you buy a 5 year warranty at least.  As with Desktops, if you have any questions about specific builds, feel free to contact us.

Self Supported Laptops

MCECS can provide some CD and USB Media for installing software such as Microsoft Office on self supported machines.  We can also provide licenses for faculty and staff, and limited support for installing it.

OIT Loaded Machines

Laptops can also be loaded by OIT, this gives the machine access to all of the PSU software that they own, and certain utilities they support.  This will also give you to access to network drives over the PSU Wifi (namely PSU Secure, and PSU).  OIT monitors these machines through their Active Directory.  This also means that OIT will be the ones to provide service to the machine as The CAT currently lacks Local administrator access on all OIT loaded machines.

OIT’s loads generally take between one and two weeks, depending on their workload.  If you would like to know when they could get to your machine, you can always call them for an estimate.

Note: Number for PSU OIT – (503)-725-4357

OIT Loaded Software

Platform Default Available Software
All OIT Loads
  • VLC Player
  • Microsoft Office and Outlook
  • Cisco Anyconnect
  • McAFFE
  • Acrobat 2015 Reader
  • SelfService (OIT’s software distribution platform)
  • Java
  • Adobe Flash
  • TextWrangler (BBeditor)
  • Stuffit Expander
  • FileZilla
  • Microsoft RDP
Windows ONLY
  • 7zip

NOTE: For OIT to help you install software you have purchased externally, it’s smart to save all documentation.  This includes order information, product codes, and activation keys.  

OIT can also supplies software used to encrypt your hard drive for added security.  Both Bitlocker (Windows) and FileVault (Mac) can be installed and set up when you retrieve your machine, they will also give you a passcode that locks your drive.

Admin Accounts

OIT loaded boxes do not give admin rights, there are exceptions, but they are case by case.  That means that you will be unable to make local accounts, and install some software without contacting OIT prior.  

Connecting to MCECS Printers

Printing in MCECS is a little harder with an OIT load, some printers have drivers that are not included in the stock OIT build.  Make sure that when you fill out the OIT Load form, you label any printers you wish to print to, so the CAT can specify what drivers are needed.  

Connecting to MCECS Services

In order to reach MCECS utilities, you will need to install VPN software, either Tunnelblick (Mac) or OpenVPN (Windows).  

Note: When installing Tunnelblick on Mac, you will need to contact OIT about changing the permissions on the Tunnelblick folder.  You will not be able to add VPN connections without access.

Requesting an OIT Load

To request that your laptop be OIT Loaded, fill out the form below, and send a copy to the CAT.

Note: *Insert form or link to form for OIT Loads*

Tablets and Other Mobile Devices

The Computer Action Team only supports Computers and laptops, all tablets and mobile devices are considered T3. The CAT currently has no structure in place to support these types of devices.

Windows OS

What PSU offers to faculty, staff and PSU-owned equipment is a site UPGRADE license. This means that every computer must be purchased with an operating system (OS) and then any upgrade is free.

We recommend you choose a system that offers the OS you intend to run and if purchasing the OS, to purchase the OS you intend to run. It is not always a simple matter for example to purchase a system that is only offered with Windows 8 and then reinstall with Windows 10. Hardware Drivers and support may not be available if you downgrade the OS. Upgrading the OS later (eg. Windows 8 -> Windows 10)  is usually a simpler process.

Application Software & Support for Desktop Systems

Please review the CAT Support Tiers article for an overview of our support structure.

PSU Personal Purchase Portal for Dell

To reach the PSU purchasing portal for dell, visit the link below.