Warranty hardware issues are dealt with through warranty channels. It is preferable to buy machines with extended warranties because replacing certain components (screens, motherboards, etc.) on machines can be extremely pricey. Many brands do not guarantee a next business day resolution of hardware problem and this can result in unwelcome delays. In the case of Dell machines, they do carry a next business day resolution warranty and a Dell technician (and our onsite technician) will come to / be at the school to solve the problem onsite. Other brands have different warranty procedures, warranty periods and stock holding policies. Furthermore, many brands require ‘carry-in’ warranties which place the responsibility on the boy (parent) to take the machine into the particular repair centre. Onsite support or a collection service is crucial for boarders. Off- site support takes additional time and presents difficulties when spares or replacement parts are not available. It may be possible to explore supporting a multi-vendor environment within the college at some future time but this would be costly and complex.

Machines bought overseas may not be covered by local warranties. We strongly caution against buying any machine that does not come with a minimum of five years factory warranty and a next business day support resolution.

Non-warranty issues, hardware problems that result from accidental damage, are more problematic. Experience has shown that while most brands respond favourably to warranty problems there are often problems with spares availability and turnaround time with non-warranty issues. The majority of hardware problems logged at our help desk are as a result of accidental damage and this is where a next business day resolution of problem is essential. Loan machines are intended to be used for a period not exceeding three days, sufficient time to obtain and replace parts. Clearly this is only feasible if the parts are readily available. Otherwise the school would have to gear up to sustain a situation where loan units are needed for longer periods. We have found Dell to be satisfactory as spares for the recommended machine are guaranteed and the onsite technician can do repairs to Dell machines at no additional charge on site. It is thus only possible to offer hardware support for the brand of machine that the outsourced technicians are allowed to work on and this is another advantage of purchasing a recommended machine.

If a machine experiences a hardware fault, the support in terms of software re-installation is not covered by any brand but is built into the once-off support charge. We have been able to minimise the support cost because Dell have been able to provide next business day resolution of hardware problems, and we therefore need fewer technicians and loan units.