​Computer Trickle-Downs

A computer trickle-down is the process of moving a computer in a primary role to a secondary role upon its replacement. Typically the process is used in combination with the Computer Upgrade Program and is administered by the College Support Team (CST) in consultation with individuals and the departments.


Computer Roles and Lifecycle

UWSP loosely divides computers into primary and secondary roles:

  • Primary roles are high or critical use positions where funding is provided and computer performance and reliability are important. Examples of primary roles are faculty and full-time staff offices, computer labs, and classrooms. A computer will typically spend 5 years in a primary role before being replaced. Once a computer in a primary role is replaced, it may be trickled-down to a secondary role, see "Acceptable use and Restrictions" section for more information.
  • Secondary roles are unfunded, low usage or non-critical positions where a computer is needed, but performance is not critical and higher odds of down-time is acceptable. Examples of secondary roles are student worker computers, adjunct computers, and some research computers. Computers may stay in a secondary role as long as they remain reliable, are capable of running a supported operating system, and meet the needs of the position. Typically a computer will spend up to 4 years in a secondary role.

When a computer in a secondary role is replaced, no longer needed, or is no longer supportable, it must be removed from service and returned to the CST.


Minimum Hardware Requirements

As of Feb. 2019, the minimum hardware models currently eligible for trickle-down are the HP EliteDesk 800 G1 (desktop) and the HP EliteBook 850 G1 (notebook). Older models ineligible for trickle-down include the HP dc7800, dc7900, 8000, 8200, and 8300 (desktops) and the HP EliteBook 8510p, 8520p, 8530p, 8540p, 5860p, and 5870p (notebooks).

In addition to the minimum hardware models, a trickle-down must be at least two generations newer hardware than the computer it is planned to replace. For example, an HP EliteDesk 800 G1 may be used to replace a HP 8200, but not an 8300. Whereas an HP EliteDesk 800 G2 may be used to replace an 8300.

Solid state hard drive upgrades are strongly recommended for systems with standard hard drives.


Acceptable Use and Restrictions

Trickle-down computers which meet the minimum hardware requirements (see "Minimum Hardware Requirements" section) may be used to replace any existing computer in a secondary role with the following exceptions:

  • The use of trickle-down laptops and Apple computers is limited to positions where there is a specific need for that type of computer.
  • Trickle-down computers cannot be used as secondary personal computers (e.g. a second office or home computer).

Typical uses of trickle-down computers include replacing older research, adjunct, or student office computers.

Trickle-down computers may be used to create a new computer position with the approval of the CST. In general, one computer should be decommissioned and returned to the CST for each new computer purchased.


Decision Escalation

The user or primary contact for a computer generally has the first decision on the trickle-down of the computer being replaced in consultation with the CST. If the individual does not have a suitable trickle-down location for the computer, the decision then falls to the department in consultation with the CST. If no suitable location within the department is available, the computer will be returned to the CST for reuse within the College and then University.

For example, when a faculty member receives a new computer they may choose to trickle-down the old computer to replace and older computer in their research lab. If the faculty member does not have a suitable trickle-down location for their old computer, then the CST will work with the faculty member's department to find a trickle-down location. If there is not suitable location for the trickle-down within the department, then the CST will work to find a trickle-down location within the College.

Computers without an immediate trickle-down plan must be returned to the CST. They cannot be stored with the individual or department, or kept on-line until a future use is identified.