ASSIST-TECH: INFORMATION FOR ASSESSORS.


DSA EXISTING COMPUTER SPEC CHECK.

UPDATE:  Microlink have created a 'system spec checker'.

Assessors will appreciate that it's  difficult to work out if an existing computer will be suitable for DSA purposes as computers can develop very subtle problems that can cause assistive tech software to fail, but that can be very difficult to identify using basic checks. However, for now we've been asked to carry out a basic 'spec check' on existing computers.

 GATHER THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION FROM THE STUDENT:-

1. AGE OF COMPUTER / PURCHASE DATE.

2. WINDOWS VERSION, PROCESSOR DETAILS AND RAM

STUDENTS CAN OBTAIN VERSION, PROCESSOR AND RAM INFORMATION BY PRESSING AND HOLDING THE WINDOWS KEY AND TAPPING THE PAUSE KEY (SOMETIMES LABELLED AS 'PAUSE/BREAK').

Checklist:-

If the age of the computer + the end date of the course is equal to or exceeds FIVE years then the computer is NOT SUITABLE for DSA purposes.

NOTE - If the student is struggling to work out the age of the computer, try checking the serial number on the manufacturer website, or try running 'dxdiag' (try WINDOWSKEY + R then enter dxdiag), which
can provide the BIOS date. While there is some debate about how useful this is, it does appear this date can often be  around the same age as the PC (may be a few months older).

If the computer is less than five years old but the Windows version is LOWER THAN Windows 7 then the computer is NOT SUITABLE for DSA purposes.

If the processor is an Intel i3 or higher then check the "Passmark CPU Mark" is at least 3000 using
https://www.cpubenchmark.net/cpu_list.php

Any lower than 3000 and the computer is NOT SUITABLE for DSA purposes.

If not an i3 or higher, check the processor spec on http://ark.intel.com/ and ensure it is at least 2.4GHz for a 'Classic/WKS' computer.

Any lower than 2.4GHz and the computer is NOT SUITABLE for DSA purposes (or higher spec if required to run specific assistive tech software).

Check the RAM is at least 4Gb.

Also, take note any comments from the student if there are pre-existing issues with the computer.


Useful resources:-

http://www.amanotech.com/blog/category/dsa-change/

BIS Guidance states "Needs Assessors should be performing a Spec Check / Suitability Check to determine if the computer is suitable. Where the computer is suitable the remainder of the hardware and software should be quoted for and provided by an ATSP. At this point there is no requirement for the supplier to carry out a Health Check and therefore quotes should not contain a Health Check. Should installation fail the supplier should discuss this with the Needs Assessor."

Important - this guidance is provided 'as is' and is not guaranteed to be accurate. It  may need to be  updated as the implications of this new requirement become more apparent. Check with SFE, BIS or QAG in case there have been any changes!