2013-2014 Computer Specifications
For the Class of 2018
Specifications for required laptops for freshmen students entering the Bagley College of Engineering in the Fall of 2013 have been established. Based on our many years of experience with our laptop requirements, we do not recommend students purchase laptops until mid-June or early-July. This provides adequate time to order and receive the laptop.
Students who are transferring from another institution are only required to meet the computer requirements in effect at the time they were freshmen.
Requirements for 2014-2015 academic year will be posted in May 2014.
Minimum Configuration for Bagley College of Engineering Student Computers
2013-2014 Academic Year (Class of 2018)
These specifications are only for freshmen entering school during the fall 2013 semester. Transfer students should follow the specifications in place at the time they were freshmen.
Notes on Purchase of a Laptop
The information provided below is sufficient for you to purchase a laptop. We are not able to review individual systems, provide any more guidance on suggested vendors, or tell whether or not a specific model will work. If it meets or exceeds the specifications below, then it should work as far as we can tell. Also, please note the recommendation against purchasing Macs for engineering work. This is not bias but is based on experience. If you chose to ignore our recommendations then you do so at your own risk.
Minimum Hardware Specifications:
Platform: Laptop or Notebook. Tablet PCs are discouraged for school work. Our faculty has found them to not be rugged enough for the rigors of backpacks and school activities.
Intel Core i5 processor or equivalent (6 Gb RAM)
250 GB Hard drive
Video screen with resolution of 1600 x 900 is encouraged (higher resolution strongly encouraged)
DirectX Compatible Video Card with 512 Mb RAM (1 Gb RAM encouraged for longer usability in graphics intensive fields such as computer science)
IEEE 802.11g wireless capability (802.11n is encouraged)
Ethernet (network) card
1 Gb minimum USB Flash Drive (thumb drive, memory stick, etc.) to allow easy transfer of files between computers.
Required Operating System (OS):
Either Microsoft Windows 7 Professional or Windows 8 Professional, 32-bit or 64-bit as to your preference. A 64-bit OS allows you to have a PC with more than 4 GB of system memory, which may be preferable for faster system response if you have several applications open simultaneously.
All students will need access to Microsoft Office to include Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. Students in Industrial and Systems Engineering students will also need to have Microsoft Access. There are several ways for students to obtain these programs. They can:
Office 2013 Home and Student
$140 – perpetual license
Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote
(Note: Not acceptable for Industrial and Systems Engineering students)
Or subscribe to—
$80 – 4 year subscription
Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook, Publisher, Access. Licensed to install on two PCs
(Note: this is the only option for Industrial and Systems Engineering Students)
Students will also need to have access to email. They can do this through a web interface or they can obtain an email client of their choosing such as Outlook.
Sophos Antivirus is available to students free of charge on the university intranet once they arrive on campus and should be installed as soon as possible. You may use another antivirus program but antivirus software is required.
Recommended Optional Equipment:
Students are strongly encouraged to purchase an external, portable hard drive which can be used for computer back-ups and storage of large files. These are reasonably priced and available in various capacities. We cannot over-emphasize the importance of performing regular backups of important documents and keeping your backup in a separate location from your laptop. Should your laptop be lost or damaged, you will still have your important documents on your portable hard drive which could then be used on another computer until yours is replaced or repaired. Lost or damaged laptops are not acceptable excuses for missing assignments.
We do not have specifications for printers. There are facilities on campus that will allow students to print or students can purchase any printer of their choice from the multitude of vendors available. When/if purchasing a printer, remember to factor the cost of toner or ink into the total cost of ownership.
Use Of Macs:
Some of the software used in engineering is incompatible with the Apple Macintosh Operating System and Mac versions of the software are not available. Should a student choose to use a Mac they will need to ensure it has the appropriate microprocessor, will need to purchase the Windows 7 Professional Operating System, and additional versions of any software they wish to operate in both Mac and Windows 7 operating systems. Due to the additional costs involved, the lack of Mac support in the college, and the potential for software incompatibilities, we DO NOT recommend the use of Macs. Students who choose to purchase one should have no expectation of support and will assume full responsibility for ensuring they are compatible with Windows 7 counterparts. We are also unable to provide any recommendations on the purchase of Macs.
Through a special partnership agreement, the Bagley College of Engineering has worked with Dell to provide discounted pricing on Dell laptops that meet or exceed the College requirements. By clicking on the link below, you will be taken to a Dell site that will allow you to select and customize a Dell laptop. This is provided as a service to our students and prospective students. It is not required that you purchase a Dell. Click here to access your Premier Dell.com site. Be sure to review the minimum laptop specifications. If you have questions or experience any problems with Dell’s pages, please call Dell at 1.866.257.4711.
Another option for computer purchases would also be HP. Click here to visit HP’s MSState page. Again, it is not required that you purchase a Dell or an HP computer, this is just an option that we share here as a service to our students.