Skip to body

Computer Support Services

Contact Us

Bouillon Hall Room 128
400 E. University Way
Ellensburg, WA 98926
Phone: (509) 963-2001

Follow Us


Computer System Standards


One of the roles in Computer Support Services (hereafter CSS) is to evaluate the computer needs of campus users and assist with searching out the best computer hardware configuration that meets those needs.  We help CWU with WHAT to buy.

Our current basic minimum hardware standards for all computer types are an Intel Core i5 processor (or the Apple M1), 16Gb of RAM and a 256Gb SSD. 


Most also require a warranty:

  • PC Desktop – require 3-year manufacturer warranty (contracted - does not include accidental damage)
  • PC Laptop – require 3-year onsite manufacturer warranty (do not require accidental damage coverage but this option is available)
  • Apple Desktop – due to changes with Apple warranty offerings, we no longer require an extended warranty to be purchased.  Extended AppleCare+ for Education warranties are available if requested.
  • Apple Laptop – due to changes with Apple warranty offerings, we no longer require an extended warranty to be purchased.  Extended AppleCare+ for Education warranties are available if requested.
  • Surfaces and iPads – cannot be repaired onsite so we recommend but do not require 3-year warranties on these units although accidental damage coverage has been valuable (but again, not required).

We do not support the use of 3rd party warranty services.  Historically these warranties have not been of good value for CWU so we require manufacturer warranties whenever applicable.

HOW and WHERE to Buy

Please view some convenient options at: or contact the Purchasing Office at:  CSS and Purchasing collaborate on many of these processes.

Also note – all CWU computers are delivered through CSS so they can be recorded and tagged according to the procedures and requirements laid out by Property Management (

PC Desktops

We have contracted providers for PC Desktops:  Currently we use two, CTL and US Micro.  In the interests of a standard platform, we specify all the individual hardware components used in our PC desktop systems.  The prices from each vendor are updated monthly and can always be found here:  At the bottom of that page is a link to a more detailed breakdown of the hardware: These units are purchased via Online Requisition through CWU Purchasing.  The required 3-year warranty is included in the purchase price listed.

PC Laptops

We currently recommend Dell and Lenovo laptops.  These manufacturers have a proven track record with CWU of being able to provide quality laptops with a long useful life (6+ years in many cases) and these manufacturers also have been very good with after-purchase service processes (warranty work).

There are two methods commonly used for purchasing PC laptops at CWU:

  1. Direct Quote attached to Online Requisition – this has proven to provide the best value for CWU as the costs directly from the vendors tends to be lower than resellers offer.  CSS will obtain and forward a quote for you to use with your Online Requisition.  Warranty cost is included in purchase price on these quotes.
  2. CDWg on a PCard:  CDWg is the preferred CWU vendor if time is a more important component.  We use their “Ready to Ship” designation to get laptops faster, but this often carries a larger price tag for CWU.  In addition to the laptop, it is often required to find and include the required 3-year manufacturer warranty coverage.  This has a second product code that must be added to the order (so each CDWg laptop order has at least two line-items, the laptop, and the warranty).  Note:  CDWg’s warranty offering (so labeled) is a 3rd party warranty – as such it is not acceptable – units must have a manufacturer warranty.

Apple Desktops, Laptops, and iPads

We purchase Apple products for CWU through our very own Wildcat Shop, as they are an Apple Authorized Reseller.  You can contact  to start this process.  They know our minimum requirements and can assist you with the purchase of these units for your department.  Be sure to tell them the purchase is for CWU as they also sell Apple products for personal use!

Note:  Apple has been transitioning to a new, non-Intel processor, the M1 and M2.  This processor is supported by CSS and meets the minimum hardware requirements.

Microsoft Surfaces

Surfaces are best purchased via CDWg on a PCard.  The minimum hardware requirements are still required.  As these units cannot be repaired onsite, a warranty is recommended but not required.  If the units are to be used by multiple people, we strongly encourage the addition of accidental damage coverage.

Monitors and Printers

With changes to state requirements for tagging and recording most monitors and printers are shipped directly to the users on campus.  In addition, the increase in variety, options and personal preferences have made it difficult to provide specific product suggestions. 

Our recommendations for these units are brief:

Monitors – CSS recommends any monitor purchased to have:

  1. At least one DisplayPort interface connection (most monitors have two or three different connection options).
  2. No external power brick (usually on “ultra-thin” models).  If the two get separated, the monitor is useless.
  3. A Native Resolution of (guided by screen size):
    1. 1920x1080 @ 24” and lower
    2. 2560x1440 @ 25” to 33”
    3. 3440x1440 @ 34” or higher

CDWg (on PCard) is the most common source for purchasing monitors for CWU.

Printers – For users who need standalone printers due to confidential data access, we have long supported the HP family of laser printers.  CDWg (on PCard) is the most common source for purchasing CWU printers.  For all other users we recommend using department-leased Xerox and Canon multi-function printers.


If you have any questions about any of the information above, please submit a Service - New Hardware Purchase Inquiry ( and the question will be routed to the Computer Support Services Team.  

Computer System Standards (Updated 2/21/2023)

Take the Next Step to Becoming a Wildcat.