Recommended Computer Peripherals

Last Updated: 08/25/2020

Use this page for guidance on standard and recommended models of certain peripherals. This is not an exhaustive list, but are the commonly used peripherals that OIT recommends. These recommendations apply to institutionally owned and managed devices (used by faculty and staff), but some information may generally apply to personally owned devices (used by students, faculty, and staff). Categories include: 

Note that for purposes of comparing and recommending peripherals below, we only speak to Dell and Apple brands, as those are the two computer suppliers supported by university purchasing contracts and thus enterprise standards. The information below may apply to other brands and models, but OIT is not able to consistently test other models.

Fall 2020 Note: OIT is supplying certain peripherals to instructional staff as a “common good”. Learn more and request peripherals. (College of Engineering and Applied Science, please see the CEAS Tech Readiness Resources.)

Purchasing Guidance

There are serveral recommended and/or accepted methods of purchasing peripherals for institutional use with campus funds:

  • CU Marketplace: The preferred method to purchase peripherals because it is supported by the university's Procurement Services Center (PSC) and it contains university-negotiated pricing. For CU pricing, use the supplier's Punch-Out Catalog from within the CU Marketplace (do not use the supplier's public web site). In addition to the catalog items, many suppliers will provide custom quotes and discounts for large volume purchases - contact the supplier by viewing the supplier's contact info inside their Punch-Out Catalog. Common computer peripheral suppliers are Dell, Apple, B&H Photo Video, CDW-G, Connection, and Newegg.
  • Amazon: While not a preferred university vendor, most products can be found here and may ship quickly. You will have to purchase with a P-Card. Be careful not to pay sales tax. Best used for one-time small purchases, and not standing/recurring purchases or large volume orders. 
  • CU Book Store: The CU Book Store stocks many computer accessories, adapters, and cables. If you need something immediately and you are on campus, this is a great option. The Book Store can also ship items, or order for pickup later.
  • CU Property Sales: Property Services offers previously used computers and peripherals for sale, both to departments and to the public. The pricing is typically well below retail, and you may be able to source items here. Check their web site to determine how to purchase items.
  • Buff Surplus: (Website requires on-campus or VPN connection.) This site helps facilitate the exchange, sale, and re-use of surplus property, including computers and peripherals, between departments. It is only for departmental use and not personal use. Some items are posted for free, while some have a cost set by the seller. 

Monitors / Displays

Dell monitors are part of the university Dell contract and the campus receives contracted pricing on the models below. To purchase, use the Dell punch-out catalog on the CU Marketplace. The links for each model go to the manufacturer’s product page so that you can find out more information. Do not purchase from those links as they do not apply university pricing discounts.

  • Dell 22” P2219H ($135): Inputs are DisplayPort x1, HDMI x1, VGA x1. Ships with DisplayPort cable.
  • Dell 24” P2419H ($175): Inputs are DisplayPort x1, HDMI x1, VGA x1. Ships with DisplayPort cable.
  • Dell 24” P2419HC ($210): Similar to the P2419H, but the P2419HC uses USB-C as its main input cable and it supplies charging power to a Dell laptop. Inputs are DisplayPort (in) x1, DisplayPort (out) x1, HDMI x1, USB-C x1. Ships with DP and USB-C cables.
  • Dell 27” P2719H ($235): Inputs are DisplayPort x1, HDMI x1, VGA x1. Ships with DisplayPort cable.

This is not a comprehensive list. Other Dell models are available within the CU Marketplace.

Docks / Docking Stations

Computer docking stations (or more simply, docks) are used to connect a laptop computer to one or more monitors and other peripherals. These docks are "powered", meaning that they have their own power source that also charges the laptop. In general, OIT recommends using the laptop manufacturer's branded dock, although there are other options, and Apple does not have an Apple-branded dock for MacBooks. 

Dell Docks

These docks are compatible with all Dell Latitude and most Dell Mobile Precision models that feature USB-C connectivity. For a full model compatibility list, see the manufacturer's source information within the product listing. OIT does not recommend using Dell docks with Apple MacBooks, due to manufacturer inter-dependencies and operating system changes beyond OIT's control.

Dell docks are part of the university Dell contract and the campus receives contracted pricing on the models below. To purchase, use the Dell punch-out catalog on the CU Marketplace. The links for each model go to the manufacturer’s product page so that you can find out more information. Do not purchase from those links as they do not apply university pricing discounts.

Dell Business Dock - WD19 (recommended)

This is the non-Thunderbolt 3 version of the WD19 dock and is fully compatible with any USB-C model Dell Latitude. OIT has tested this model with various Dell Latitude and Mobile Precision models and confidently recommends this product for use at CU Boulder.

  • Price: $160 (On Standard Configurations page of the Marketplace Dell punch-out) 
  • Compatibility: PCs with USB-C port that support DisplayPort over USB-C protocol 
  • Supports PC's USB-C port with 1-4 external displays 
  • Connectivity in: Built-in DisplayPort over USB-C cable 
  • Connectivity out: Thunderbolt 3/USB-C x1, DisplayPort 1.4 x2, HDMI 2.0 x1, USB 3.1 x3, USB-C 3.1 x2, audio x1, Ethernet x1 
  • Cables included: None 
  • How to use and troubleshoot the WD19 dock 

Dell Business Dock - WD19TB

This is the Thunderbolt 3 version of the WD19 dock and is only compatible with Dell computers which feature "Thunderbolt 3". OIT has tested this model with various Dell Latitude and Mobile Precision models and confidently recommends this product for use at CU Boulder.

  • Price: $220 (On Standard Configurations page of the Marketplace Dell punch-out) 
  • Compatibility: PCs with USB-C port that support Thunderbolt 3 protocol
  • Supports PC's USB-C port with 1-6 external displays
  • Connectivity in: Built-in Thunderbolt 3/USB-C cable
  • Connectivity out: Thunderbolt 3/USB-C x1, DisplayPort 1.4 x2, HDMI 2.0 x1, USB 3.1 x3, USB-C 3.1 x2, audio x1, Ethernet x1
  • Cables included: None
  • How to use and troubleshoot the WD19TB dock 

Dell Business Dock - WD19DC

This is the Thunderbolt 3 version of the WD19 dock and is only compatible with select Dell Precision mobile workstations. Consult the compatibility list before purchasing.

  • Price: $263 (Search within the Marketplace Dell punch-out) 
  • Compatibility: Select Dell Precision mobile workstations only. Consult the compatibility list before purchasing.

Apple Docks

These docks are compatible with MacBook Pro (Late 2016 and later), MacBook Air (2018 and later), and MacBook Retina (2015-2017) series, which all feature USB-C connectivity. (OIT cannot guarantee these devices will work consistently or at all with Apple devices, due to manufacturer inter-dependencies and operating system changes beyond OIT's control.)

The links for each model go to the manufacturer’s product page so that you can find out more information. Do not purchase from those links as they do not apply university pricing discounts.

Belkin Thunderbolt 3 Express Dock HD (recommended)

This is the only dock that Apple currently recommends. Note that while it is available via the Apple punch-out catalog in the CU Marketplace, the same product is available at a better price from other CU Marketplace suppliers. OIT has tested this model with various MacBook and MacBook Pro models and confidently recommends this product for use at CU Boulder.

  • Price: $294-335 (search B&H Marketplace punch-out for item # F4U095TT or Connection Marketplace punch-out for E9M062TT) 
  • Supports 1-2 external displays: One display at up to 5K, or two 4K displays (one additional USB-C adapter needed for second display) 
  • Connectivity in: Thunderbolt 3 x1 
  • Connectivity out: DisplayPort x1, USB 3.0 x3, Thunderbolt 3/USB-C x2, Ethernet x1, audio x2 
  • Cables included: Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) x1

OWC USB-C Dock

This is an economical, reliable option for a single external display. Add a second external display by using an adapter with a second USB-C port (MacBook Pro only). OIT has tested this model with various MacBook and MacBook Pro models and recommends this product for use at CU Boulder.

  • Price: $114 (non-Marketplace purchase; search Google Shopping for owc 11-port usb type-c ) 
  • Supports one external display only (HDMI @ up to 4K resolution)
  • Color options: Silver, Space Gray, Gold, Rose Gold
  • Connectivity in: Thunderbolt 3/USB-C
  • Connectivity out: HDMI x1, USB-C x1, USB 3.1 x4, Ethernet x1, SD card reader x1, audio x1
  • Cables included: None

Multi-Adapters

While not true docking stations, these are useful devices that provide multiple outputs from one cable. Because these adapters do not supply power and do not charge a laptop, they are called "passive" adapters. 
The links for each model go to the manufacturer’s product page so that you can find out more information. Do not purchase from those links as they do not apply university pricing discounts.

Dell USB-C Mobile Adapter DA300 (recommended)

Popularly called the “Dell Puck”, this device provides multiple connectivity outputs to various computer peripherals and audiovisual connections, such as classrooms and conference rooms. This device may also serve as an inexpensive and portable alternative to a full dock, Note that this device does not provide power pass-through charging, so if you need to charge your laptop at the same time as using this device, you will need to use another charging port on your laptop along with a charging cable and power adapter.

For Dell computers, this device is fully supported by Dell. OIT has tested this model with various Dell Latitude and Precision mobile laptops and confidently recommends it for the uses described above.

For Apple computers, this device is not officially supported by Dell or Apple for use with MacBooks. OIT has successfully tested this model with various MacBook and MacBook Pro models, and cautiously recommends* this product for use at CU Boulder. (*OIT cannot guarantee this device will work consistently or at all with Apple devices, due to manufacturer inter-dependencies and operating system changes beyond OIT's control.)

  • Price: $65 (On Standard Configurations page of the Marketplace Dell punch-out) 
  • Compatibility: Must have USB-C port (includes Dell Latitude and Precision current models; Apple MacBook Pro Late 2016 and later, Apple MacBook Air Late 2018 and later) 
  • Supports PC's USB-C port with one external display 
  • Connectivity in: Built-in DisplayPort over USB-C cable 
  • Connectivity out: HDMI x1, DisplayPort x1, VGA x1, USB 3.0 x1, USB-C x1, Ethernet x1 
  • Cables included: None 

Apple USB-C Multiport Adapter

This device provides multiple connectivity outputs to various computer peripherals and audiovisual connections, such as classrooms and conference rooms. This device may also serve as an inexpensive and portable alternative to a full dock. This device does provide power pass-through charging. There are two versions of this product, the USB-C VGA Multiport Adapter and the USB-C AV Multiport Adapter.  

For Apple computers, this device is certified by Apple. OIT has tested this model with various MacBooks.

For Dell computers, this device is not certified by Apple for use with non-Apple laptops. OIT does not recommend this device for use with Dell laptops.

  • Price: $69 (On the Marketplace Apple punch-out) 
  • Manufacturer source (do not buy from this link, for information purposes only): VGA version, AV/HDMI version
  • Compatibility: Refer to the compatibility listing with the manufacturer.
  • Supports one external display only 
  • Connectivity in: Built-in USB-C cable 
  • Connectivity out, VGA version: VGA x1, USB 3.0 x1, USB-C (for charging) x1
  • Connectivity out, HDMI version: HDMI x1, USB 3.0 x1, USB-C (for charging) x1
  • Cables included: None

USB Hubs

Because of the variety of models and difficulty by vendors to keep specific models in stock, OIT does not have a current recommendation on models of USB hubs. (Our tip: Google “best USB hubs” and review the results.)
General advice: 

  • Powered: Choose a powered USB hub (one that has its own AC adapter). Because each USB device plugged into your computer draws some power, your computer may not be able to supply enough power for all devices through the USB connection, and it may also drain a laptop’s battery faster.
  • Number of ports: Ensure you have enough power on the USB hub to plug in all your devices. It doesn’t hurt to built in a little extra capacity. 
  • USB Version: Ensure that if your laptop has only USB-C ports, that your USB hub plugs into the laptop with a USB-C connector, regardless of the additional USB ports on the hub. Also, USB 3.0 is better than USB 2.0, but USB 2.0 may be suitable for simple devices such as an external mouse and keyboard.

Webcams

The links for each model go to the manufacturer’s product page so that you can find out more information. Do not purchase from those links as they do not apply university pricing discounts. Instead, go to CU Marketplace and search for the webcam name. 

Fall 2020 Note: Due to market demand, all webcams are currently difficult to source and may be out of stock. You may not be able to obtain the recommended models, or any model, given market conditions. Prices are also higher on the open market than contracted prices. If the listed purchase method is not available, consider using Amazon or another online retailer.

Logitech C920

  • Price: $72 
  • 1080p @ 30fps / 720p @ 30fps, autofocus, built-in stereo mic 
  • Compatible with Windows, macOS, Chrome OS, and Android

Logitech C922

  • Price: $91-114
  • 1080p @ 30fps / 720p @ 60fps, autofocus, built-in stereo mic 
  • Compatible with Windows, macOS, Chrome OS, and Android

Logitech C310

  • Price: $39-44
  • 720p @ 30fps, fixed focus, built-in mono mic
  • Compatible with Windows, macOS, Chrome OS, and Android

Microsoft LifeCam HD-3000

  • Price: $33
  • 720p @ 30fps, fixed focus, built-in mic
  • Compatible with Windows only

Headset Mics

Jabra Evolve 20 UC

  • Price: $50
  • On-ear, wired USB

Pen-Enabled Tablets and Displays

One by Wacom pen tablet

  • Price: $56-80
  • Available in small size only, connects via USB
  • Compatible with Windows and macOS

Wacom Intuos pen tablet

  • Price: $66-182
  • Available in small and medium sizes. Connects via USB or Bluetooth, depending on model.
  • Compatible with Windows, macOS, and Android. 

Wacom Intuos Pro pen tablet

  • Price: $227-363
  • Available in small, medium, and large sizes. Connects via USB or Bluetooth
  • Compatible with Windows and macOS

Wacom One pen display

  • Price: $400
  • 13.3” display size, 1920x1080 resolution
  • Compatible with Windows, macOS, and Android