Prescribed Machine Choice

Each year the committee reviews the models available and selects a range of machines which best offer the combination of support, warranties and value for money, with versatility and robustness. The aim is to prescribe a range of machines from which to choose and to recommend which of these the parent committee feels would be the 'ideal' educational machine in terms of features, value for money and support. Thereafter every boy and teacher is required to bring one of the prescribed laptops to school every day. Please note that purchasing an alternative make/model of laptop from an alternate supplier is not an option and we ask parents to respect this decision. Uniformity avoids any “status” issues around computers. Staff can help boys more easily when screen and keyboard layouts are identical and software runs in exactly the same way. It makes sense to recommend a similar machine from a support and economy of scale perspective. Please engage with the committee on if you would like to discuss anything.

The machines needs to be:

  • affordable from a parent and school perspective
  • well supported
  • and a popular choice with boys (Experience informs that if we do not choose something that boys will enjoy, parents are pressurised to purchase other brands that may not meet our high levels of support and standardisation. Therefore the parent committee selects a range of machines from which to choose.)

There is a choice of both Dell and Apple machines from which to choose. The table below lays out the specifications of the Dell/Apple machines that the committee has chosen as the 'recommended' machine(s).

ITEM Dell recommended Apple recommended
CPU 12th Gen Intel Core i5 Apple M2
SSD 256GB 256GB
GPU Integrated Integrated
SCREEN 1920 x 1080 2560 x 1600
SUPPORT 5 Year Pro Support Plus, 5 year accident cover, 3-year battery warranty Bishops Digicape Protection Plan: 1 Year International Hardware Warranty, plus 4 Year Local Hardware Warranty = Total 5 Years

The school prefers that the machines are warrantied for the full duration of each student's time at Bishops, as that is the only way that the school can ensure that every student has a working laptop in every class.

Generally Bishops chooses specifications that are above those of entry-level machines. This ensures that in the future, our machines are able to run new software, which almost always requires higher specifications. Note also, please, that the specs above refer specifically to laptops, and not tablet/desktop technology.


Why do we prescribe machines and suppliers?

We are able to negotiate preferential pricing and support agreements. It is essential that every boy brings a fully functional device from one of the prescribed suppliers to class every day.

Bishops, as a school, is not positioned to deal with sales, and does not wish to enter into business-type arrangements with parents and boys. Bishops' role is an educational one but we do what we can to exert pressure on suppliers to get the best possible machine at the best possible price and thereafter, uphold the support and service guarantees.

For the past few years our brand comparisons have found Dell to have the most checkboxes ticked in terms of pricing, warranty period and support at the campus. At this stage only Dell is able to offer next business day turnaround and requisite warranties for new machines.

Digicape, in term of Mac machines, have a excellent track record of successful Mac support. Please click here for the Bishops specific support package details.

Why shouldn't I purchase a machine that is cheaper than a prescribed machine?

Policy is that all parents buy one of the prescribed machines, from one of the prescribed suppliers. This is explained in the admissions process prior to acceptance to the school.

Parent committees of prior year’s recommended that the school make this policy for the following reasons:

  • Cheaper machines may be at the end of their product cycle. Guaranteeing service levels for five years is problematic
  • The school environment is tough on machines. Boys open and close them every lesson, when moving between classes. The environment demands a robust machine
  • Cheaper machines may be less robust and/or not upgradeable
  • The Dell consumer range does not come with the prerequisite warranties and accident care

The parent committee would not be able to guarantee that a cheaper model would suffice for the full five years.

Why might I find a cheaper price for the prescribed machine on the Internet?

Check the full details of the machines on offer and ensure they are the same as those offered through the prescribed supplier. Bishops requires prescribed machines to carry a five year international warranty so that parts are covered for the boy’s time at school. Warranty for factory defects differs from accidental or malicious damage and the Accident Care Dell package offers peace of mind. Consumer offers most often only offer a single year of warranty and no Dell consumer machine offers 5 years accidental damage. The committee ensures that the negotiated price is the best one possible. Dell machines include five year warranties, next business day support, accidental cover and extended battery warranty. The Apple package offers a one year international and an additional 4 year local warranty but no accident care. It is prudent to take out insurance on the laptop.

There is only one brand able to offer next business day support in South Africa for 5 years and that is Dell. All Dell's Latitudes are sold via preferred partners. The selected supplier(s) for new Dell machines is a Dell Gold Partner that registers a special deal for Bishops procurement. They are completely transparent with regard to pricing and charge a reasonable admin fee to cover administration costs.

Within the Dell brand there are 4 ranges currently (Inspiron, Vostro, Latitude and XPS). The Latitude range is a robust business quality machine and is the only in the range with a 5 year warranty. These ranges have the same model numbers, so make sure you are comparing the price with a Latitude model machine and not a Vostro or Inspiron.

The 5 year NBD support extended warranty as well as the accidental damage for new Dell machines is the main differentiator that probably will not be included in other pricing as well as the extended battery warranty.

Please ensure that you have all these specifics covered when comparing prices.

We are confident, after extensive discussions with suppliers and understanding the detailed workings of the supply chain, that this solution is the most cost effective.

For Dell machines, please contact the awarded supplier, iSquared, should you have any questions regarding price:

May I purchase the same brand but a different model to one of the prescribed machines?

No. Policy is that all parents buy one of the prescribed machines. This is explained in the admissions process prior to acceptance to the school.

Only certain ranges of the prescribed machines can be adequately supported in the school environment. Although we are able to support other prescribed machines in terms of having qualified people on site to manage the initial diagnostic and report process (in the same manner as the recommended machine), there is an administrative overhead that negatively impacts on service levels and that can disrupt the academic programme. The benefits of uniformity and optimal turnaround times led to the decision of prescribing machines.

May I purchase the same brand and model from an alternate supplier?

No. Policy is that all parents buy the prescribed machine from the awarded supplier(s). This is explained in the admissions process prior to acceptance to the school.

May I buy a different make of machine?

No. Only prescribed machines will be accepted.