Why am I required to purchase a laptop?
You will use your laptops extensively throughout your medical school career. Beyond viewing course materials (almost exclusively electronic materials) and participating in various activities that require laptops, the reason we require you to purchase these specific laptops via UNC Student Stores is three-fold:
- Robust and High Availability: Whether you are taking an exam or viewing a lecture recording, you'll need a machine that is highly robust. As you've probably already guessed, you'll need to be able to maximize all of your time in medical school; you need a computer that is robust enough to withstand extensive daily use. While no computer is perfect (i.e., we aren't promising that you'll never have a problem), these machines have been highly rated by independent consultants and include the necessary hardware and software to help you maximize your time (vs. the alternative: struggling with slow processors and/or unreliable machines). We also have a pool of loaner laptops – so if at any time your computer needs to be repaired, we can provide you with a laptop when a loaner is available.
- Exams: All high-stake exams must be taken on your specially configured laptop. Our custom exam application has been configured to work exclusively on these machines.
- Maintenance and Support: Having the same pre-configured laptop helps us provide more comprehensive and effective maintenance and support.
Which computer should I choose?
Personal preference dictates your choice, of course, but before you make your decision, learn something about Microsoft OneNote:
Many of our students use OneNote creatively and extensively to create study guides or personalized textbooks, and if you think you will want to do this, you should choose the tablet option.
In 2010 students were polled and a majority said that they would recommend the tablet. A potential drawback is the price: the tablet is generally the more expensive option. Take a look at the 2010 survey results for more information.
I just bought a laptop – why can't I just use it?
Again, just any laptop won't do for the reasons stated above. Even if you bought a laptop with the same hardware/software as these laptops, you aren't just purchasing a laptop – you are purchasing a comprehensive package that includes everything you need for safe and reliable computing at the School of Medicine.
Please Note: The laptop requirement was specified in your admissions materials. If the materials were not clear to you, please let us know so that we can clarify for next year’s incoming class.
Can't I get a Mac… please??
Sorry… we know that if you are a Mac person, you probably cringe at buying a PC! This year, UNC has added Macs to its CCI offerings for 2011 (CCI, or the Carolina Computing Initiative, is main campus' laptop program – the School of Medicine laptops are CCI machines with additional configurations specific to the medical school). However, our proprietary testing system runs on a secure version of Internet Explorer, which does not run on a Mac.
What does the 4-year comprehensive protection plan cover?
Your laptop comes with a 4-year insurance policy (coverage in the US and Canada only). This policy covers theft, vandalism, power surge, flood, fire, lightning, earthquake, and other natural disasters. In addition, your laptop has a 4-year ThinkPad Protection policy which covers accidental damage. Together, this truly comprehensive protection plan exceeds the coverage available under standard homeowner insurance and your Lenovo warranty. Your policies include a low $100 deductible per incident.
Why are these computers more expensive than something you can buy at a retail store?
You aren't just purchasing a laptop… you are purchasing a comprehensive computing package that includes a laptop which has been independently verified to be the best deal for you. You may see ads for cheaper machines, but if you look at the hardware and software specifications, you'll find that the prices for these laptops are actually quite competitive.
- The CCI laptop packages are a combination of the best-built laptops on the market with an all-inclusive package of warranty, accidental damage and insurance coverage. In addition, the CCI laptop packages are backed by an award-winning technology support staff providing the highest level of support available at UNC-Chapel Hill.
- These laptops are business grade models, not consumer grade models. They are built to last with:
- Durable titanium case and hinges
- Internal roll cage that provides greater durability and structural rigidity to the motherboard and internal components
- Motion sensing hard drive that disengages the hard drive heads if the unit senses a fall
- They are pre-loaded with licensed software package.
- The warranty lasts for 4 years, not the usual 3-12 months.
- Insurance coverage for damage and loss is included ($100 deductible).
- Loaner laptops are available while the unit is being repaired.
Are the CCI laptop prices competitive with other business grade products?
Yes! Lenovo is required by contract to hire an outside consultant each quarter to do an apples-to-apples market survey of the top hardware vendors to obtain an average price for equivalent model laptops. Lenovo must then reduce their CCI prices by a minimum of 30%. Lenovo has repeatedly met or exceeded this requirement.
Why are my choices limited to four laptop options?
- Testing administration: OIS services students' laptops, and it is essential that problems be fixed quickly. The staff can do expeditious repairs on only a limited number of models.
- Software loading: OIS pre-loads students' laptops with the latest versions of Windows 7 (64-bit), Microsoft Office 2010, Adobe Reader, Adobe Photoshop Elements, Adobe Premier Elements, Symantec Endpoint Protection Antivirus, and specific software and links for the medical school curriculum.
- Imaging: The laptops are loaded with a tested software image that can be quickly restored to its original state if needed.