Computer recommendations

Computer Technical Specification Recommendations 

Updated for 2020-2021

Minimum Configuration

  • 13"-15" monitor 
  • Windows 10 or macOS 10.14 Mojave operating system (or later respectively)
  • i5 processor 
  • 8 GB Ram
  • 256 GB Solid State Drive
  • Battery 8 hours
  • 3 year warranty

Preferred Configuration  

  • 13"-15" monitor
  • Windows 10 or macOS 10.14 Mojave operating system (or later respectively)
  • i7 processor
  • 16 GB Ram
  • 500 GB Solid State Drive  (1TB if majoring in computer science, art or cinema or other large file size area)
  • >1 USB 3.0 port
  • Battery 10-14 hours
  • 3 year warranty

Additional Recommended Technology

Computer Mouse


  • Is one computer enough?  Frankly, it isn't a bad idea to have a second computer available.  Computers crash, but classes keep moving.  Having a backup computer can help you get by until your regular computer is available.  The second computer might be an older computer that has been retired from another member of the family.  Or the second computer might be a high-end gaming computer or a MAC system.

  • Do I need a CD/DVD drive?   Probably not.  Most software is available from other sources, so CD/DVDs are rarely required.  They add bulk and weight to a laptop.  If it turns out that you do sometimes need a DVD, you can obtain a CD/DVD/BlueRay external drive that plugs into an ordinary USB port.  We have some for check out at the helpdesk.

  • Is a Netbook okay? A netbook should be fine if it meets the above specks.  They are an excellent choice for a daily carry system.  Netbooks typically lack a CD/DVD drive, but as noted above those are not really needed for most courses.

  • Is a Mac okay?  It will probably get you through most classes.  However, there are some classes where a Windows machine is preferred.  Also, faculty may not be able to demonstrate how certain operations are done on a Mac system.  Options for Mac users are to use software like Bootcamp to allow them to use Windows in a virtual or dual-boot environment.  Another Option is for a Mac user to remote into a Windows computer lab on campus to use the software needed for the course work.  

  • Is a tablet okay?   A tablet can be a useful tool, but it is not adequate for many university classes.

  • Is a Chromebook okay?   A Chromebook will be adequate for some classes, but it is not adequate for many university classes.  This may change in the future, but Chromebooks are not adequate as your primary computer for college.

  • Is a high-end gaming Windows laptop OK?   A gaming laptop certainly meets and exceeds the minimum requirements.  However, in our experience gaming laptops do not stand up well to the rigors of student life as a daily carry computer.  They are excellent as a backup computer, but they probably should not be used as a daily carry computer.

  • Is a screen larger than 15 inches OK?   Technically, yes.  But larger screens mean more weight.  Even if you are in excellent physical condition a large-screen laptop gets heavy when you carry it around all day.  Large screens also tend to be more fragile when pressure is applied to the middle of the case as often happens when a laptop is in and out of a bookbag several times a day.  You will also find it harder to find backpacks that will hold a very large laptop.