skip to content

Recommended Operating Systems

You should check the list of recommended operating systems before purchasing a computer - and in particular, the policy regarding new versions of Mac OSX/macOS for Apple computers.

Purchasing Computer Equipment

Before buying a new computer you should consider what you are going to use it for, e.g. general word processing, web browsing. If this is the case you would not need a 'top end' machine. If you are doing calculations you might want a machine with a faster processor, more RAM, etc. If you have any doubts it is worth talking to the Computer Officers as they have a lot of experience with ordering computers. Below are some of the choices.



If you only want to get a rough idea of price please contact the Computer Officers with a rough specification i.e. processor, RAM, hard disc size, monitor size. If you are unsure of your requirements, we are happy to offer advice.


  • Avantek
  • World of Computers
  • Dell

Purchasing from Dell

Dell are on the UFS Marketplace. Login to UFS, click on U.F.S. MA iProcurement Requisitioner, then on iProcurement Home Page, then click on University of Cambridge Marketplace. There should be a window labelled 'Dell Punchout' click on that. This will take you to the Dell Premier Webpage.  You will then be presented with a long list of NDNA Destops and laptops. You can select from these but please bear in mind the configurations are fixed and do NOT include a monitor. We recommend that you proceed to the Optiplex 9020 section

Select the size and base processor you require i.e.Optiplex MCS 9020 SFF i3 Proc (Small Form Factor) and click on Customise and Buy.

You can then select a different Processor if required. Choose between Windows 7 Pro and Ubuntu. Scroll down and select the amount of RAM required. The default is 4Gb but a minium of 8Gb is recommended and if you have the budget we would install 16Gb.

Scroll further down and select the monitor option you require. Further down you can select a different Video card. The default is to use the onboard graphics card which is suitable for most purposes.

Scroll to bottom and select Continue.

On the next page you can either stay with the 3 year warrenty or extend to 5 Years.

Select Continue, then click Add to Basket. Then Click on Save as E-Quote. Fill in the Contact Information but not the Authorised Buyer section. Press Continue. You should receive an e-mail confirming the Quote.

You should now be able to save the E-Quote and process the order on UFS as a non-catalogue request.


As with buying a Desktop computer, you should consider carefully what you are going to use the laptop for. We strongly recommend trying out laptops by visiting a local store if possible. Some factors that you might like to consider are

  • weight
  • screen size (can you read it?)
  • keyboard size (can your fingers use it?)
  • connection ports  (how many USB ports do you need?)
  • battery life (maybe you need a 2nd battery?)
  • CPU speed (you might want the slowest for best battery life, or the fastest for more computing power)


Macintoshes can be bought via UFS Marketplace. If you wish to purchase a non-standard model i.e. RAM upgrade, Processor upgrade, etc please go to the HE webstore (link below) and configure the Mac you require and any extra's. Take a screenshot (use Grab in Utilities) E-mail with a request for a Quote and attach the screenshot. When you recieve the Quote, you can then order the Mac via UFS as a non-catalogue request. Altenatively you can visit M18 where we are quite happy to discuss any requirements.

For Personal purchases, there is now an Apple Store in the Grand Arcade. The prices displayed in the Apple Store are their retail prices, and do not give Educational or HE discounts. They will normally sell to Educational customers at the standard education price. On production of a University card they can choose to meet the pricing of the HE contract if asked, but this is not automatic. The recommendation is to print out a proposal from the HE webstore ( select Eastern and the University of Cambridge) and see if the shop will then match the HE price. They will, however, not be able to match the 3 year extended warranty that is available from the HE webstore (however, on request you can purchase the extended warranty at a considerable discount).


We strongly advise you purchase one of our recommended printers, as we have tested them with our supported operating systems, and toners for them are routinely held by the Department Stores. We currently recommend:

  • Hewlett Packard Laserjet Pro M402DN (black and white)
  • Hewlett Packard M454DN (colour)

Both are available via the Marketplace on UFS.

Computer clusters

Please contact the Computer Officers to discuss your requirements.


You should ensure that any computer you buy comes with a suitable warranty. Often a computer bought through the University will come with a 3 year return-to-base warranty.


The Computer Officers are the first source of help with defective computers which are out of warranty.


All electrical equipment, must be disposed of according to the WEEE (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment) regulations. For IT WEEE waste, small items can be brought to M18 for disposal. For larger items please e-mail

For small Non-IT WEEE waste, please take to SB10 Electrical Workshop in Technical Services. For large Non-IT WEEE waste please e-mail

Please do not leave anything outside of the WEEE room, M18 and SB10.

If you have any questions please e-mail

System status 

System monitoring page

Can't find what you're looking for?

Then you might find our A-Z site index useful. Or, you can search the site using the box at the top of the page, or by clicking here.