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EMS-supported Hardware

The College of EMS supports computer hardware from a number of manufacturers. We require users within EMS to make purchases through the college office to ensure that all purchases are fully-supported. Purchasing supported hardware ensures prompt turn-around times and decreases the probability of hardware issues.

List of Supported Hardware

Computers, Laptops, and Tablets

  • All business-class desktops from Dell in the “Optiplex” line (recommended for purchase: Optiplex 5040)
  • All workstation-class desktops from Dell in the “Precision” line
  • All business-class laptops from Dell in the “Latitude” line (recommended for purchase: Latitude 5000-series)
  • Most workstation-class laptops from Dell in the “Precision” line
  • A very limited number of Dell XPS desktops and laptops (No new purchases; legacy support only)
  • All business-class desktops from HP in the “Elite” series
  • All workstation-class desktops from HP (Models prefixed with “Z”)
  • All business-class laptops from HP in the “EliteBook” series (Models with “p” suffix)
  • All workstation-class laptops from HP (Models with “w” suffix)
  • A very limited number of HP netbooks (No new purchases; legacy support only)
  • Some Lenovo business-class desktops (check with us first)
  • Some Lenovo business-class laptops in the “ThinkPad” series (check with us first)
  • All Apple computers and iPads
  • Microsoft Surface Pro tablets (not non-Pro Surface tablets, which run Windows RT)
  • Google Nexus-branded tablets
  • “Google Play Edition” tablets
  • All Chromebooks
  • A very limited number of Asus Ultrabooks (check with us before purchasing)
  • A very limited number of Samsung Ultrabooks (check with us before purchasing)


In general, please check with us before purchasing printers, as we can recommend specific models which are known to work well. Additionally, we try to standardize on particular models of printer to allow departments to keep a supply spare toner/ink.

  • HP LaserJet printers supporting PCL or PostScript
  • HP OfficeJet Pro line of inkjet printers (recommended: OfficeJet Pro 8100)
  • A limited number of Brother printers (No new purchases; legacy support only)

List of Unsupported Hardware

Computers, Laptops, and Tablets

  • All consumer-class Dell desktops and laptops
  • All consumer-class HP desktops and laptops
  • All consumer-class Lenovo desktops and laptops
  • All computers not listed in the “supported” list (If in doubt, check with us before buying!)


  • HP host-based laser printers (no support for PCL or PostScript)
  • Most HP inkjet printers (except for those explicitly listed in the “Supported” list)
  • Lexmark printers
  • All printers not listed in the “supported” list (If in doubt, check with us before buying!)

Assistance with Unsupported Hardware

EMS users are strongly encouraged to avoid purchasing unsupported hardware. EMS techs will not purchase unsupported hardware and can provide only very limited assistance with unsupported hardware. Assistance with unsupported hardware is exempt from our response time promises and will generally take much much longer. For example, reimaging unsupported hardware may take four weeks or longer, while the promised turn-around time for supported hardware is two days. Users are responsible for contacting the manufacturer directly if parts are needed for unsupported hardware.

Why does this policy exist?

EMS has a policy in place to only support business-class hardware. There are a number of reasons for this:

  1. Standardized components: Business-class laptops and desktops use standardized components which a readily available from a variety of vendors. Consumer-class machines often use proprietary components which can be difficult to replace when they fail.
  2. Manufacturer hardware support: Business-class systems are supported by the manufacturer longer than consumer-class devices. Business-class laptops generally have at least a three-year warranty, which we generally extend to five-year whenever possible. Additionally, most manufacturer continue to stock replacement parts until 8-10 years from date the model was retired. In contrast, consumer-class machines generally only have a 90 day warranty and parts are usually only available for one or two years at best.
  3. Manufacturer driver support: Business-class computers receive driver updates for new operating systems well after their manufacture date. This driver availability allows us to install, for example, a fully-functional Windows 7 OS on computers manufactured many years ago during the Windows Me/2000 era. By contrast, consumer-class systems generally only have drivers available for the OS with which they were originally shipped.
  4. Hardware quality/durability: In general, consumer-class computers (especially laptops) are designed to last for a couple of years, then be replaced. Business-class machines are generally built with a sturdier (and, often, bulkier) design which lasts longer and is a bit more durable. This goes hand-in-hand with the difference in warranty length. Since the manufacturer is providing a longer warranty, it's in the manufacturer's best interest (financially) to make sure that the computers won't fall apart and cost them money for hardware replacement. Since the consumer laptops have a short warranty, the durability is a less-important issue to the manufacturer. In fact, for consumer-class machines, the manufacturer actually profits if the computer fails a few years later and the user buys a replacement. Of course, if the end-user treats the hardware well, any computer can last many years. The difference here is just that, given the same amount of use/abuse, a business-class computer will nearly always last longer.

As a result, supporting consumer-class hardware requires a substantially larger amount of time and resources than business-class hardware. This is why nearly all corporate and large educational IT support staffs purchase and support only business-class hardware. In our case, users in EMS can ensure that their computer hardware (computers, printers, accessories, software, etc.) is supported by EMS by purchasing it through the EMS-IT. If other staff (e.g. departmental staff) make the purchase, they must rely on their departmental staff for support as well.

supported_hardware.txt · Last modified: 2016/04/26 10:04 (external edit)

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