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Data Acquisition, Deep Learning and Machine Learning PCs

If you are looking at highly specialized PCs, we have recommendations on the best possible way to safeguard your environment and data.

As much as possible, we suggest that you still stick to our standard machines, which are the corporate lines of Dell and HP (as described in our KB article at: ), as well as some non-corporate lines such as Alienware Aurora, Exxact, etc. This would ensure that we can assist you with issues that require the manufacturer's warranty repair process.

Irrespective of the hardware that you choose, plan on purchasing an extra hard drive.

In cases where the machines will be running a non-Windows OS, Apple machines can be set to use TimeMachine, and Linux boxes can use rsync or CloneZilla or similar to safeguard your data.

For PCs running Windows, plan on purchasing the software Macrium Reflect, from We will show you how to use the software to make regular backups, and, with its help, can assist with recovery in case of failure. In our experience, this software is extremely easy to use, and does a great job of compressing the backup into a compact file. There's a ton of documentation on their website, but for your convenience we've put together an abbreviated illustrated guide on using this software for backups and restores at this link (Yes, it's 40 pages, but mostly of zoomed in screen captures so one can read them easily)


If you are looking to build a PC, please read on, and contact us before you start on research so we can assist:

This portion of this page attempts to clarify the rules on purchasing IT products, to especially help you if you need to purchase IT products outside of the normal lines. Purchasing pre-approval requires a justification from the IT group and knowledge of the Business Office, making a tricky three-way communication required.


ECN has come up with a process to reduce your total amount of time (and associated stress) for buying things that are not in the “standard” purchasing catalogs in the Ariba system


1.       If you wish to purchase any IT component, please look on Ariba vendors such as GovConnection first. If the part exists in there, the purchasing process is quite smooth.

2.       If the component does not appear in any catalog, and you are starting to look at places like Amazon / Newegg / PartsPicker – PAUSE.

a.   Send a note to ECN via and provide two pieces of information: Budget for the PC or part; and critical component needed. Feel free to provide the Newegg/Amazon/PartsPicker link and price. A sample request could be “We’d like to purchase a machine for $3000 with 32GB RAM and a Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti. We have found parts on Newegg that fit the requirements, here’s the list”

b.   ECN will try to match the product price. If we are unable to come up with a reasonable match (within a few hundred dollars), we will write up a justification paragraph for you to forward to Purchasing via the Business Office.

c.    Purchasing looks at the ECN justification, as well as the Business Office communication, and then decides whether the purchase is allowable or not. If it is allowable, they instruct the Business Office to use the Departmental Credit Card for the purchase.

Things to keep in mind:

Entities like Purdue are not eligible for any of the normal coupon codes or discounts run by most vendors.

Windows OS Licenses are required to be purchased if a machine will run Windows OS. ECN can help you purchase this through our MS License vendor.

If the purchase happens on a personal credit card and is submitted for reimbursement, Sales Tax is not refundable.


ECN is working on adding vendors to the approved list that provide a good price on high-end special purpose machines. We’ve had good success with lines like Alienware Aurora and Exxact PCs for Deep Learning.






Last Modified: Oct 30, 2023 2:32 pm GMT-4
Created: Mar 24, 2015 9:10 am GMT-4 by admin