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Computer Equipment and Software Purchases

Computer Equipment and Software Purchases

NOTE: Computer-related orders requiring the involvement of IT staff are now handled by the ETS (Engineering Technology Services) Client Services team. References below to contact ETS Client Services should be understood to mean initiating a ticket on the ETS help portal (preferred) or sending an e-mail message to them at

All computer-related electronics purchases (not just computers) and software orders will be processed by ETS Client Services. Ideally, a Group Administrator (or an administrative staff member if your group happens to have one) will initiate the request. For groups with a Group Administrator and/or administrative staff member, such requests shouldn't come from other members of the group. (Requests from faculty are, of course, always considered.) When you send the request, esp. for a computer system, be sure to CC your faculty advisor(s) (REQUIRED), so that we are assured everyone who needs to be is aware of the proposed purchase.

The following types of items may be ordered directly, without involving IT staff:

  • Consumables, such as ink, toner, paper, laptop batteries

  • Non-electronic accessories, such as mouse pads, laptop carrying bags, CPU holders/stands, etc.

  • Common software, as documented below

  • Maintenance (support) on software which is installed and in use

  • Simple cables with no "active electronics," including USB cables, network cables, power cables

  • Display adapters that convert one connector type to another, such as DVI to DisplayPort (e.g. for desktop Windows PCs), DVI or VGA to mini-DisplayPort (e.g. for Apple computers), etc.

When you submit a computer-related purchase, we will need several pieces of information. The first three (3) items, below, apply to computer system purchases, and the rest apply to all proposed computer-related purchases:


  • Specifics of computer configuration - We recommend "Standard Configuration" systems from Dell, whenever possible, to facilitate the fastest deployment upon delivery. To determine actual costs, you will need to login to OSU's eRequest system, and begin the process of creating a new order to access eStores, where the computer hardware vendors' Web sites can be located. If your proposed computer system is not a Standard Configuration, we will need to know why none of the Standard Configurations is suitable, and how the proposed purchase will meet your needs. For Apple computing devices, please see TechHub.

  • Role of computer - How will the computer be used (e.g. standard office computer seat, data acquisition, instrument control, etc.)? Note that instrument control systems should not also be used as general office computer seats; actions that the user might take (e.g. casual Web browsing, E-mail reading, etc.) could lead to the compromise of the system, and if an instrument is attached, could also lead to an inability to communicate and/or control the test equipment. For systems intended to be assigned to a person, rather than used in instrument control and/or data acquisition, please name the person who will be the initial and/or primary user.

  • Placement - Will the computer replace an older unit, or is it an addition to departmental inventory? Will the system require network access? If the new system is to replace an older computer on the network, what is the computer name and/or IP address of the system to be replaced? What will be the physical location (building and room number) of the computer? (For laptop computers, please specify the designated office location of the person who will be assigned to the system as the primary user.)

  • Business purpose - Specify briefly (e.g. in 254 characters or less) how the purchase will fulfill the academic, research and/or outreach goals of the university. For more information on specifying an appropriate business purpose, please see this short PowerPoint presentation developed by the College of Engineering.

  • Faculty approval - Orders that are not requested by a faculty member must have the advising faculty member's approval. This must be provided electronically via e-mail, and it is ideally the CC'ed copy of the request from the Group Administrator which is sent to ETS Client Services by the faculty advisor, along with the faculty advisor's statement of approval. If this approval is not provided when the purchase is ready to be initiated, the processing of the order will remain pending until the approval is provided. (Orders that follow this progression will typically have the approval requested directly of the faculty advisor by the department's Business Manager, but this workflow is not optimal, and will almost certainly delay order processing.)

  • Purchases requested by faculty must be approved by the Department Chair or his/her proxy. The Chair's approval will usually be sought by the department's official request approver (typically the department's Business Manager).

  • Funding source - The chartfield values (preferably) or an unambiguous description (e.g. "Prof. Smith's startup account") must be provided either with the original request or with the faculty advisor's approval.

  • Additional information may be required, but this is the minimum that needs to be supplied for the approval of any computer system purchase.

IT Purchasing Workflow in Summary

The Group Administrator (or group's staff administrative associate in cases where such a position exists) sends a purchase request to ETS Client Services. A faculty member may also start an order in this way. The request must provide details as to the business purpose and other aspects that will identify how the purchase will be used. Requests from non-faculty must CC the faculty advisor; this should be sent to ETS Client Services by the faculty advisor with his/her statement of approval. Either the initial request or the faculty approval needs to specify the funding source. ETS Client Services will then place the order.

Computer System Requirements

New computer purchases must include at least a four-year warranty, and -- if the vendor provides it -- an option to retain the hard drive(s), should a replacement hard drive be required during the warranty coverage period. (All three of the current contract computer hardware vendors, Dell, HP, and IBM/Lenovo, provide such an option.)

Relocating and/or Retiring Computer Systems

If you need to move a network-connected computer from one room to another, or you are permanently removing a computer from the network, please notify ETS Client Services before the change takes place, so that we can update our records. Similarly, if you need to move a computer from one backbone network jack to another within a room, we need to know the old port number and the new one. (A backbone network jack typically terminates in a wall outlet box with a network jack and a label identifying the jack number with four digits.)

System Domain Migration


As new computers are purchased and installed, these will typically be configured as domain members. For a computer system already present in your research group, if it has not yet been migrated to work in a domain, the best time to schedule the system's migration is when the primary user of the system is about to change, such as when a new group member arrives.