Knowledgebase: Research
Research Computing: Recommended Hardware
Updated: 12 April 2019 11:07 AM

IT Services provides support for hundreds of administrative and faculty computers as well as thousands of student laptops. In order to provide the highest level of support we rely on a standardized fleet of computers and repeatable processes. Below you will find information and pricing on the recommended options for research computing.

Please note that the listed pricing is an estimate: models and pricing changes throughout the year depending on availability and model refresh cycles. 

Desktops

Standard Computing

Dell OptiPlex 3060 - Micro: Standard issue, business class machine. While these computers represent a good value they are not underpowered. 8th generation Intel Core i5 processors are paired with 8GB of RAM and 256GB SSDs. Computer, mouse and keyboard (no display):

~$820

Apple iMac: Recommended for users who require highly colour accurate displays for photo and video editing, fast processing power, macOS and all in one form factor.

Minimum: 21" iMac, Retina 4K Display 3.6GHz Quad-Core Processor, 8GB RAM, 256 GB SSD, 8th Generation Intel i7 processor minimum, Radeon Pro 555X with 2GB of GDDR5 memory

Better: 27" iMac, 3.0GHz 6-core 8th-generation Intel Core i5 processor, Turbo Boost up to 4.1GHz, 256 GB SSD, Radeon Pro 570X with 4GB of GDDR5 memory

Best: 27" iMac, 3.6GHz 8-core 9th-generation Intel Core i9 processor, Turbo Boost up to 5.0GHz, 512 GB SSD, Radeon Pro Vega 48 with 8GB of HBM2 memory

~$2102 – $4226 (includes AppleCare+) 

Non-Recommended Configurations

  • Non-4K dual-core models
  • Fusion Drives and Spinning HDDs. 
  • The quad-core 8th Generation Intel i3 model: the core i7 has turbo-boost and 6-cores.
  • iMac Pro: given the price to performance ratio, purchase the 27" iMac with every upgrade instead.

Apple iMacs are NOT recommended for users who require:

  • Windows 10: Bootcamp supports Windows 10, albeit with a number of limitations and caveats that require explanation and workarounds
  • Usage of CAD applications which only run under Windows 10
  • Storage of confidential data requiring disk encryption under Windows 10 
  • Requiring access to Colleague UI (Windows 10)

Specialized Applications: CAD Focused

Dell Precision 3630: This model purchased in August 2018 specifically for CAD applications which require NVidia Quadro graphics for Solidworks, Autodesk Applications and other intensive CAD applications which only certify use of Quadro cards. Intel Xeon E-2186G, 6 Core HT, 8MB Cache, 3.8Ghz, 4.7GHz Turbo, 16 GB RAM, 256GB SSD, NVidia Quadro P4000 graphics. ProSupport: 7x24 Technical Support, 3 Years

~$2800

Specialized Applications: VR, Gaming and CAD

Dell Alienware Aurora R7: This model purchased in August 2018 has been replaced by the Aurora R8. Specifications include Intel 7th Gen i7-8700K six core processor, 16 GB RAM, 512 GB M.2 PCIe Solid State Drive, NVidia GTX 1080 Ti. This is a consumer machine, so we add Premium Support with Onsite Service After Remote Diagnosis, 3 Year Extended to the quote from Dell.

~$2860

Laptops

Standard

Dell Latitude 7490: 14” business-class laptop built with premium materials. We are fans of these laptops because they come equipped with all the ports that a typical user requires, including ethernet (network), USB-A (original style), USB-C, HDMI, audio jack and smart card reader. Adapters are unlikely to be required. 

~$1400

Microsoft Surface Laptop (1st Gen): 13.5" ultraportable for those users who value mobility above all else. Adapters, a dock or both will be required for use with displays and peripherals as this laptop only have one USB-A (original style) and one Mini-DisplayPort. Long battery life, touch screen, very light. The Surface Dock is recommended if an external display is required. 

~$1700

Apple MacBook Pro - Apple MacBook Pros are recommended for those users who are working with graphics or video applications and either prefer macOS or require software that only runs in macOS. Educational pricing can be found at Apple's Educational Store.

Minimum: 13" MacBook Pro, 2.3GHz Dual-Core Processor 256 GB Storage

Better: 13" MacBook Pro, Touch Bar and Touch ID, 2.3GHz Quad-Core Processor 256 GB Storage

Best:15" MacBook Pro, Touch Bar and Touch ID, 2.6GHz 6-Core Processor, 512 GB Storage

When possible we recommend users upgrade to 512 GB SSD and 16 GB of RAM.

Apple MacBook Pros are NOT recommended for users who require:

  • Windows 10: Bootcamp supports Windows 10, albeit with a number of limitations and caveats that require explanation and workarounds
  • Usage of CAD applications which only run under Windows 10
  • Storage of confidential data requiring disk encryption under Windows 10 
  • Requiring access to Colleague UI (Windows 10)

~$2143 – $3,808.00

Displays

Standard

Dell P2217H LED Monitor: 22" - 1920 x 1080. The Dell has screen rotation, height, tilt and pan adjustments, and comes with a built in USB hub; a handy feature for those users with a lot of peripherals. 

~$215

Dell P2147H LED Monitor: 24" - 1920 x 1080. The Dell has screen rotation, height, tilt and pan adjustments, and comes with a built in USB hub; a handy feature for those users with a lot of peripherals. 

~$275

Specialized

Dell UltraSharp 27 4K Monitor - U2718Q: 27", 4k IPS display supports HDR content playback and 4k at 60hz refresh rate via HDMI 2.0 with high colour accuracy 99.9% sRGB, 99.9% Rec 709, 80.7% DCI-P3.

~$800

Peripherals

Accessories like mice, adapters, cables, docking stations, external displays and other peripherals are not included with the loan of a laptop and will be the responsibility of the department to procure. Commonly requested peripherals include:

Please consult with us regarding your needs. 

Warranties

In general, all hardware should be purchased with an extended warranty from the Original Equipment Manufacturer (no third parties) that supports the hardware with an on-site warranty (not return to depot) for three years minimum.

  • Apple: All Apple Products should be purchased with an extended AppleCare warranty
  • Dell: All Dell products should be purchased with a ProSupport warranty that provides next business day on-site support
  • Microsoft: All Microsoft products should be purchased with an extended warranty

Supported Operating Systems

  • macOS (10.13 and newer)
  • Windows 10 Education or Enterprise

Purchasing

  • CDW.ca: Generally all end-user computing devices can be purchased from CDW under our OECM or OUPMA agreements.
  • Apple: All Apple Products should be purchased directly from Apple to receive the Education Discount.
  • Dell: Custom configurations or those requiring additional warranties should be purchased directly from Dell. Off the shelf business SKUs for Dell products may be purchased through CDW.

Requests

Please email us with any questions or requests: ithelp@ocadu.ca