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MCS Hardware

If you wish to buy new hardware or wish to take up the Managed Cluster Service to include your existing hardware, you should make sure the hardware is supported before you commit yourself to proceed.

We usually require an evaluation model of any new hardware before we will agree to include it in the service. When in doubt please contact us first.

Please see MCS Software for important information about how to ensure new PCs are correctly licensed for Windows.

  • The recommended hard drive size (particularly if dual booting Windows and Linux) is 500GB
  • The recommended memory in a workstation is 8GB (future proof as much as possible)

Recommended PC Hardware

The currently supported and recommended hardware is: Dell OptiPlex 7050 PCs.

Note: If anything other than the recommended hardware is required, please ask us in the first instance. We may require an evaluation machine for testing, as we cannot guarantee that other makes and models will be compatible on the MCS. Anything older than 4 years may be supported but there could be significant performance issues with this older hardware.

BIOS Settings

For PC BIOS settings, please see the Imaging page.

Recommended Apple Hardware

The following guidelines cover the specification of Apple computers for 2018/19 (macOS 10.13 High Sierra). If you are in any doubt about your Mac hardware and/or require further advice or information on what to buy please get in touch with Clare Bartlet or James Nairn 
NB Minimum specs may be insufficient to run specialist applications

Macintosh models (AY 2018/19, macOS 10.13 High Sierra)

  • Intel i5 or later
  • Minimum 8 GB RAM
  • 256GB storage

Any hardware over five years old should be replaced.

It will be a future requirement of MCS Mac that they are available in the University of Cambridge and Related Institutions Apple DEP Account. Please ensure that devices are ordered from one of the following resellers:

  • Apple
  • Academia
  • XMA
  • Insight
  • O2
  • Stone

It is recommended that a note is added to the order requesting that new devices are added to the DEP account. The details are as follows:

  • DEP Account Name: University of Cambridge and Related Institutions
  • Customer ID: 1134620

Please contact

Non-Apple Monitors/Keyboards/Mice/etc.

Whilst all Apple hardware, as shown above, is supported, we will do our best to support non-Apple monitors/keyboards/mice/etc where necessary.


  • External USB card readers
  • Apple USB SuperDrive optical drive


If you would like to add a scanner to one of your MCS Macs please talk to us about the latest recommendations. Scanner models change fairly frequently and it is not possible for us to have tested all suitable latest models so it is important not to buy a scanner without discussing it with us first.

As a guide the currently preferred scanners are the Epson V550 and the Epson V370.


MCS Macs support the same SmartBoards as  MCS Windows 7, currently  SMARTBoard (tm) by SMART Technologies

Recommended Printers

Recommended printers for the MCS are listed on the DS-Print web pages.

Purchasing Recommended Hardware

The current tender agreement under the NDNA has been awarded to Dell and has the option of being extended into subsequent years.

For further details including contact information, please refer to the Central Purchasing Office's Preferred/Contracted Supplier information for Dell.

UIS Service Status

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Getting help

UIS Service Desk
General support queries

  Phone padded  (01223 7) 62999

UAS Service Desk
Administrative staff queries

  Phone padded  (01223 3) 32999

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