Suggested Computer Configurations for Students

Suggested Specifications for Purchasing New Computers

  • Operating System: Windows 11 or macOS 14 (Sonoma)
  • Portability: laptops (as opposed to desktop computers) strongly recommended
  • Memory: minimum of 8GB RAM (16GB strongly recommended). 
  • Processor Speed: minimum of Intel Core i5 or equivalent
  • Hard Drive/SSD: 256 GB or larger (SSD is strongly recommended)
  • Wireless: any card that supports 802.11 n/ac protocols and WPA2 Enterprise
  • Webcam/Microphone: laptops with built-in webcams/microphones recommended (may use a USB headset or external webcam if supported)

Optional/Recommended Peripherals

  • External Webcam/Microphone - An external webcam or microphone can be used to improve your sound and picture quality during video communications.
  • Extra Power Adapter - Having an extra power adapter for your computer on hand can be helpful if you're on the move or if the original adapter fails.
  • Backup Service - We recommend regularly backing up your data so your important files will remain intact in case of hard drive failure in the computer. OneDrive or another cloud-based backup service can be used to back up some or all of your data to the cloud. An external USB hard drive can also be useful for data backups and transferring files between computers. The backup process is different for Apple and Windows systems.

Things to Consider When Purchasing a New Computer

  • Price range - Computer prices have dropped dramatically in the past several years, but prices still range from a few hundred to several thousand dollars, depending on the specifications and capabilities of the computer. Deciding how much you want to spend will impact the type of computer you can purchase.
  • Your major - Some programs/courses of study will give you the option of downloading software onto your computer for classwork, and these programs may be resource-intensive. Typically, the science programs (engineering, math, GIS, computer science, etc.) require more powerful computers. If you plan on pursuing one of these majors, it may be beneficial to have a computer with better specifications. We recommend contacting the department for special requirements or recommendations.
  • Apple or Windows - Either an Apple or Windows computer is fine for most programs at the college. However, there are a few departments or majors that may recommend one operating system over the other based on the software used in those areas of study. Contact the department for more information.
  • Chromebooks - While ITS does not recommend that they be used as a student's only device, Chromebook laptops work well as an additional tool for school-related use. 

Information Technology Services requires all computers using the college's network to have recent updates installed for your operating system. The best way to do this is to turn on automatic software updates.  We recommend all computers have Antivirus/Malware software.

Specifications By Major/Department

  • Art - Macs preferred.

  • Digital Media & Journalism - AMD Ryzen Class 5, 7 or 9 OR Intel i5, i7, or i9.  Apple M1 is pending approval for Media Composer and certain Adobe apps like After Effects. RAM 16 Gb minimum.  Discreet Graphics (dedicated card, not onboard) 4 Gb minimum. Onboard graphics, because they steal from RAM, would require more RAM to operate efficiently. Storage ought to be a large capacity 7200 rpm harddrive; so-called fusion drives (Hard Drive/Solid State Drive hybrid) often run slower than 7200 rpm for media files. Slower drive speeds may lead to media file corruption. Dedicated SSDs are also a good choice for the operating system, applications and media file storage.

  • Engineering - 

  • Computer Science -

  • Geography - 

  • Mathematics -

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Article ID: 115956
Thu 9/10/20 11:59 AM
Mon 11/6/23 1:49 PM