BUMC has the following recommendations for computer purchasing, which conform to the PC Standards recommended by the University. You should visit BU’s Sourcing site for information on how to purchase the computer as well as full tech specs.
When purchasing, please have your new computer and all software delivered to our Service Desk, 801 Massachusetts Ave. Ste 485, Boston, MA 02118. Please submit a request online to have your computer set up.
When BUMC IT sets up a new computer, we use a standard image (view software included in standard image). As of August 10th, 2015, new Laptops are setup by BUMC IT will come pre-configured with disk encryption. Additional software cannot be purchased through BUMC IT, with the exception of SAS.
PC or Mac?
A lot of users can be unsure whether a PC or Mac is right for them. With most basic functions (sending and receiving email, using Microsoft Office applications, using the BUMC network file share/Y drive) there is no “right” or “wrong” choice and the user should simply go with the system they feel most comfortable with. However, there are some functions that make using Windows primarily a good choice:
- If you are a “power user” of Microsoft Outlook and deal with large volumes of email and calendar delegation/calendar permissions, you will probably find using Microsoft Outlook on Windows to be a better experience. Most users will find Outlook for Mac to be sufficient, but there are serious known issues with the way it handles advanced calendaring and syncing extremely large inboxes. Users who do not require a lot of Exchange functionality (such as calendar delegation, public folders, etc.) may wish to explore using Apple Mail and Calendar applications instead of Microsoft ones if they choose a Mac.
- If you require Microsoft Internet Explorer to run any browser applications frequently in your day-to-day work. If you are unsure, check the browser requirements of the web applications you use, or feel free to ask IT.
- If your day-to-day work involves extensive use of any application that is Windows-only (such as SAS or Microsoft Access). If you do not know if an application is Windows-only, be sure to check all system requirements the manufacturer/developer provides for the software and come to IT with questions.
Running Windows on a Mac
It is entirely possible to run Windows on a Mac. There are two methods that address this need.
- Parallels: Many users at BUMC already have Parallels. However, it is not ideal for everyone. Parallels allows Windows to run as a virtual machine, which means that it runs the Windows operating system in tandem with Mac OS. Users who expect to be able to occasionally use a Windows application while primarily using their Mac will likely find Parallels to be a good solution. Parallels can then be shut down for the majority of the time, when Windows is not being used. However, using Parallels constantly can create significant performance issues, particularly on systems like the MacBook Air. Running two operating systems at the same time on a regular basis taxes your computer’s resources, and can make it run slowly. Which is why we also recommend:
- BootCamp: BootCamp is Apple’s built-in solution to creating what is called a dual boot system. When you turn on your computer, your can choose whether you want to run Mac OS or Windows, and it will run that operating system until you restart it and choose again. BootCamp is a great solution for users who find that they have specific, large-scale work to do in Windows, but still prefer Mac OS for other functions. Examples would be working for several days on a large SAS data set, or working on a large project in NVivo. When you are done working on your project in Windows, you can save your work, restart, and resume using Mac OS.
As of early 2015, new Mac hardware (such as the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro) will not support BootCamp with Windows 7. BUMC IT will not be able to support BootCamp with these models until we develop a new image. Thank you for understanding.
If you would prefer to use Windows in general, it would probably be best to purchase one of our Lenovo standard models. If you are interested in switching from PC to Mac and don’t know whether it would be feasible for your work, please contact IT with your questions.