Information Technology Services: University of Hawaii
FAQ on UH Purchases of Desktop Systems
Jan. 17, 2003

There are many factors to consider when purchasing desktop systems. Responses to frequently asked questions (FAQ) are provided by Information Technology Services (ITS) in an effort to assist University of Hawai'i (UH) departments in making well-informed choices when purchasing personal computer systems.

  1. Does ITS have guidelines on what hardware to include in my system to be able to perform common UH functions?
  2. A document entitled "ITS Microcomputer Recommendations" is available online at

    This document lists considerations for network access along with minimum specifications for PC's, Macintosh systems and printers. If you have an application with specialized software, intense system demands, etc. it may be prudent to speak to an ITS staff person for specific considerations. Contact names and phone numbers are included in the ITS Microcomputer Recommendations document.

  3. Should I purchase a CDROM or CD-RW drive for my system?
  4. At minimum, a CDROM is needed. A CD-RW to write data on CDs might also be useful for backing up data.

  5. Should I purchase a zip drive for my system?
  6. A zip drive is used for those with higher capacity data storage needs. A high density diskette can hold approximately 1.4 Megabytes of data, whereas a zip disk has a minimum capacity of 100 Megabytes. (Zips also come in 250MB or 750MB sizes.) If your files are over 1.4 Megabytes in size, you may want to consider purchasing a zip drive and zip disks.

  7. Should I purchase a hardware maintenance agreement?
  8. Yes, it is highly recommended. When systems are first purchased, they typically come with a one-year warranty. At the time of purchase, there is also the option of purchasing a three-year hardware maintenance agreement. Although this is an added cost, it ensures that your systems will be serviced if anything goes wrong. Costs for repairs without a maintenance agreement may be prohibitive (typically, $60 and up per hour). Depending on your preference, specify on-site or carry-in service.

  9. Does ITS have guidelines on what software to select for my system?
  10. First of all, you will need to specify an operating system (OS). The specified OS software will be preinstalled on your systems when they are delivered. Application software may also be purchased, based on your needs.

    ITS maintains a list of supported operating system and application software online at

    If you choose to purchase software that is not on the supported software list, ITS may not be able to provide assistance to you.

    For information on obtaining supported connectivity software and Internet clients, see question 7 below.

  11. Does UH have site-licensed agreements for software?
  12. ITS has site-licensed software available for purchase and use by the University of Hawai'i community. Site-licensed software is typically less expensive. However, you will need to install the software on your own. The list of site-licensed software is online at

  13. What do I need to access the Internet?
  14. To access the Internet, you may need additional hardware and software. Purchase an Ethernet card for departmental systems on campus or for use at home with a cable modem, for example, Road Runner. If you will be accessing the Internet via modem at home, purchase a 56K v.90 modem.

    There is information on private Internet Service Providers (ISP) available at:

    Although ITS has a modem pool for use by the University community on a space-available basis, a private Internet Service Provider is recommended. CDROM's are available at the ITS Help Desk with connectivity software to the UH modem pool, supported Internet browsers and other Internet clients. Connectivity software is also available online and can be downloaded from

    Faculty, staff, and students in the University of Hawai'i system may download software from this site.

  15. Where do I look to find the UH price lists?
  16. Price lists for the UH-sponsored contracts are located at

  17. I found a comparable system from another vendor that costs less than the price on the UH contract. Is it OK for me to buy the system from the company that costs less?
  18. Be advised that although you may find lower prices for comparable systems, ITS staff may not be familiar with non-contract systems and may not be able to provide support. Non-contract systems will also have a lower priority in the area of service and support. ITS recommends using the UH contract for all desktop systems purchases.

Maintained by:
ITS Help Desk
Copyright © 2003 University of Hawaii
Last Reviewed: Jan. 17, 2003