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Frequently Asked Questions


Q: Prices? Why are the MacBook Pro's so expensive and why is the Dell E6320 more expensive than the E6520?

A: The MacBook Pro's are actually a bit less than you would normally pay. However, the overall price is high because of the following, These MacBooks come with a 4-year warranty. Only a 3-year warranty is publically available. Students using Macs have to take exams using Microsoft Windows, as a result, we have to buy Windows for the Macs. This year we are implementing hard drive encryption for all incoming student laptops. We have to buy 2 copies of the encrytion software for Mac laptops (1 for Mac side and 1 for Windows side).

The Dell E6320 (13") is slightly more expensive than the E6520 (15"). The reason for this is that Dell's agreement with the University is to offer only a few desktop and laptop models for which the university gets a great discount. Main campus preferred the 14" and 15" models for their discount. As a result, we get less of a discount on the 13" model. Due to requests from previous years, we wanted to offer the same screen size to both Dell and Mac students.

Q: I have, or just bought a MacBook or MacBook Pro notebook that is configured the same as what Case requires. Do I still have to buy one from Case?

A: All students will be required to purchase and use one of the four models offered through Case. The primary reasons are the high level of technical support provided to students and ensuring that the warranty covers as long of a period as possible. Some of the newer MacBook and MacBook Pro models are acceptable. However, incoming students should upgrade their memory and warranty to our specifications and purchase Windows 7 (or we'll order it for you). Students bringing or buying Macs on their own will be subject to the following conditions when the warranty expires; 1) they will have to go to the Apples store for repairs, 2) our office will not provide a loaner computer, except for exams.

We request that you ship your Mac to us at least two weeks before the start of school, so that we can set it up for use here at Case. Make sure that you backup your computer before shipping it. We will completely wipe it out during the imaging process. If you do not ship it to us, it will not be ready in time for classes.

Q: I have, or just bought a Windows notebook that is configured the same as or better than what Case requires. I'm willing to assume full responsibility for it. Do I still have to buy one from Case?

A: Because of the requirement that all hard drives are encrypted, no non-standard laptops will be allowed. All students will be required to purchase and use one of the four models offered through Case. The primary reasons are the high level of technical support provided to students and ensuring that the warranty covers as long of a period as possible. Only very recent Dell Latitude laptops will be allowed, and those will need to be upgraded to meet the necessary specifications. No other model of Windows laptop will be acceptable. Students bringing or buying Dells on their own will be subject to the following conditions when the warranty expires; 1) they will have to contact Dell directly for repairs, 2) our office will not provide a loaner computer, except for exams.

We request that you ship your laptop to us at least two weeks before the start of school, so that we can set it up for use here at Case. Make sure that you backup your computer before shipping it. We will completely wipe it out during the imaging process. If you do not ship it to us, it will not be ready in time for classes.

Q: Can I just bring my own (faster, better, more powerful) laptop? Why do I have to order one through the School?

A: Because of the requirement that all hard drives are encrypted, no non-standard laptops will be allowed. The School has two computer technicians to take care of over 600 medical students. The best way to provide the highest level of hardware and software support for that many students, is to standardize on a few systems. We support 4 models of laptops and multiple operating systems for each of the 4 classes. As a result, we can only support the systems offered by the school.

Q: I want a faster processor, more memory, better graphics processor. Can I buy one of the recommended models on my own and ship it to you?

A: Please contact us first. Because of the requirement that all hard drives are encrypted, no non-standard laptops will be allowed. The School has two computer technicians to take care of over 600 medical students. The best way to provide the highest level of hardware and software support for that many students, is to standardize on a few systems. We support 4 models of laptops and multiple operating systems for each of the 4 classes. As a result, we can only support the systems offered by the school.

That being said, if you want to purchase one of the recommended systems on your own, please usnderstand the differences. A Mac that you buy on your own will not have the 4-year warranty. Students bringing or buying laptops on their own will be subject to the following conditions when the warranty expires; 1) they will have to contact the vendor directly for repairs, 2) our office will not provide a loaner computer, except for exams. If we can accomodate the changed hardware within our support services, then we will do our best to do so. If not, you will have to change your laptop's specifications. If you purchase a recommended system on your own, you must ship the laptop to us at least two weeks before the start of school, in order for us to get it ready for the start of classes. You will still be required to purchase encryption software and Windows (if needed).

Q: What should I do if I'm on a waitlist for another schoool?

A: We really hope that you will choose Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine! However, we do understand that plans can change, and our preference would be for you to wait until you're sure that you're coming to Case before ordering a laptop. There is a delay between order and delivery though, so in order to ensure that your laptop is here in time for the start of classes, we recommend that you do not wait longer than late May to order. We will accept students off our waitlist, so if we do have laptops left over, they generally go to our late accepts. The bottom line is that you will not be charged for the cost of the laptop if you decide not to come.

Q: If I receive permission to bring my own laptop, do I still have to attend one of the Computer Orientation sessions?

A: Yes. During the orientation sessions, we will teach you how to connect and login to the Case network, set you up for printing, show you some of the resources available and talk to you about the proper care and feeding of your laptop.

Q: Can I order one of these notebooks but with different hardware (e.g. bigger hard drive, better video, larger screen, etc.)? Can I get a white Mac instead of the aluminum one?

A: No, the models that we have pre-configured for you were selected to get the best quality notebook at the best possible price using Case's campus agreement with these vendors and an additional quantity discount. If you want to buy more memory or a bigger hard drive on your own, we can install it, as long as it doesn't violate your warranty (this may apply to Macs, but not Dells) at no cost.

Q: I can buy a Dell/Mac through my school or some other website for less than the price Case has listed on the website. Can I buy this one instead?

A: First off, make sure that you are comparing the same specifications. We compared a website that a prospective student sent to us in a previous year. On a Dell laptop, by the time we were done, the exact same laptop was just over $2,000 compared to the one we offered for $1,500. The biggest difference is the warranty which adds almost a couple hundred to our price and probably isn't included in your price. But, IF you can find a better price for the same computer, go for it. As long as it is the same hardware, we'll be able to provide full support for it. This applies to Dell and Apple only. Apple does not publicly offer the warranty that we have obtained for you. You will be able to bring your laptop to our repair center (in the Med School) or take to an Apple Store. The regular Apple warranty requires that you take it to an Apple Store or ship it to Apple for repairs. Students bringing or buying laptops on their own will be subject to the following conditions when the warranty expires; 1) they will have to contact the vendor directly for repairs, 2) our office will not provide a loaner computer, except for exams.

Q: How are the notebooks repaired?

A: Students can take their notebooks to our technical staff in room E-318 for all hardware and software repairs or any time they have a question about their notebooks. Our technicians are Dell and Apple certified and can perform all hardware repairs covered under the warranty at no cost to students. Replacement parts are usually recieved within a day or two. Students are provided a loaner notebook (Dell, Windows) while their notebooks are being repaired if the repair takes longer than a day or two. When out of town, students can also contact Dell directly or take their Macs to an Apple store for hardware repairs.

Q: How do I pay for my notebook computer?

A: You will see a separate line item on your tuition bill for the cost of the computer. Your financial aid will only cover the cost of a laptop up to $2,000. You will have to pay the rest as part of your tuition bill. Whatever Case pays, is what you will be charged. Case will not markup the cost of the notebooks.

Q: When can I pick up my notebook?

A: Students MUST attend one of the Computer Pickup & Registration sessions. Students will need their notebooks set up and ready to go by the start of classes. During these sessions, our staff will walk students through the process of customizing their notebooks, logging on to the Case network and numerous other prodecural steps and informational items. The session will last about 2-3 hours.

Q: What is included in the laptop package?

A: The laptop package for the Class of 2015 includes:

  • The selected laptop
  • Case's Software Center provides site license for the latest operating systems (Windows 7 & MacOS 10.6.6) and Microsoft Office
    • Students selecting Apple laptops will be required to purchase a full copy of Windows 7 Ultimate. Case's Window operating system licenses only provides for upgrades, meaning you already have to have a copy of Windows in order to upgrade.
  • Backpack carrying case
  • 1TB External hard drive
  • Wireless optical mouse
  • Hard drive encryption software
  • Security cable

Q: Which notebook is recommended?

A: In order of preference, we recommend the following:

  1. Dell Latitude E6320 - Price, warranty and lightweight
  2. Dell Latitude E6520 - Same as above, with larger screen
  3. Apple MacBook Pro 13" - Excellent quality, but warranty concerns and price
  4. Apple MacBook Pro 15"- Same as above, with larger screen

Dell has the absolute best warranty. Pretty much no matter what breaks, Dell will replace it at no cost. Dell covers accidental damage. Apple's warranty only covers manufacturer's defects and those may be difficult to prove. Apple does not cover accidental damage. Dell batteries come with a 3 year warranty. We can repair Dell & Apple laptops in-house.

The differences between the E6320 and E6520 are the same as between the MacBook Pro 13" and MacBook Pro 15". Those differences are size, weight and screen size. The smaller laptops seem to be the most durable.

Q: What is covered under the Dell and Apple warranties?

A: Dell's Complete Coverage warranty provides full hardware repairs for 4 years. All accidental damage is covered. If you drop your laptop and break the screen, it will be repaired. If you spill your beverage of choice on the keyboard and it shorts out your system board, the system board will be replaced. Although, under both circumstances you're likely to receive a remanufactured (refurbished) replacement part. If you run your laptop over with your car, it will not be repaired (don't laugh, it has happened). The Dell Backpack is also covered under Dell's warranty. The external hard drive and security cable are covered under the manufacturer's warranty and we/you will have to deal with them directly, not Dell. If you are away from school, you can contact Dell Customer Service directly and they can send a technician to you to make hardware repairs. They generally, will not be able to help you with software issues other than the operating system, especially things related to school.

This past year 5 Dell laptops had some kind of liquid spilled on them. All were repaired at no cost to the student.

Apple's AppleCare Repair Agreement provides hardware repairs for 4 years. Only manufacturer's defects are covered. Accidental damage is NOT covered. Accidental damage can be repaired by our staff, but the student is responsible for paying for the replacement part out of pocket and the warranty may be voided. There is no labor fee if School of Medicine technicians repair your laptop. The Apple Mighty Mouse has a 1 year Apple warranty. The backpack has a "limited product lifetime warranty" (http://www.stmbags.com/about-us/warranty-information/) and we/you will have to deal with the manufacturer directly, not Apple. The external hard drive and security cable are covered under the manufacturer's warranty and we/you will have to deal with them directly, not Apple. If you are away from school, you can go to an Apple Store for hardware repairs. They generally, will not be able to help you with software issues other than the operating system, especially things related to school.

This past year 7 Mac laptops had some kind of liquid spilled on them. In one case our technical staff were able to repair the laptop, although the warranty was voided. In 3 cases the students had to pay for the repairs out of pocket from as little as under $100 up to over $800. In the other 3 cases, students with older laptops, elected to purchase new laptops.

Q: What are the differences between the Dell and Apple concerning my work at school and studies?

A: There are a number of differences, which are mostly inconveniences all of which have workarounds.

  • Many students using Dell laptops really love Microsoft OneNote for taking notes in class. OneNote is not available as part of Office for Mac. However, Mac students can boot into Windows via Bootcamp to access Windows on their Mac and access OneNote that way.

  • Some lectures in the large lecture hall are recorded and made available via the eCurriculum website. The video/audio/PowerPoint capture software is not completely compatible with Macs. The video and audio will play, but the PowerPoint slides will not be synchronized. However, Mac students can boot into Windows via Bootcamp to access Windows on their Mac and access the videos that way.

  • All electronic exams must be run in using Windows. Mac students will have to boot into Windows via Bootcamp to take exams.

  • We do not have any Macs available as loaner equipment, if your laptop is in for repairs. You will receive a Windows PC, if you want a loaner.