2016-2017 Computer Specifications
For the Class of 2020
Required laptop specifications for freshmen students entering the Bagley College of Engineering in the fall of 2016 have been established. Based on our 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 2017-2018 academic year will be posted in the summer of 2017.
Minimum Configuration for Bagley College of Engineering Student Computers 2016-2017 Academic Year (Class of 2020)
These specifications are only for freshmen entering school during the fall 2016 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 additional guidance on suggested vendors, or tell whether or not a specific model will work. If the laptop meets or exceeds the specifications below, there should be no issues. 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, you do so at your own risk.
Microsoft Windows Laptops
Minimum Hardware Specifications:
Intel Core i5 processor or equivalent
8 Gb RAM
250 Gb Hard drive (500 Gb or larger is encouraged)
Video screen with resolution of 1600 x 900 is encouraged (higher resolution, 1920 x 1080, strongly encouraged, especially for those who think they may make extensive use of CAD software)
IEEE 802.11g wireless capability (802.11n or 802.11 ac is encouraged). Note that 802.11 b is no longer supported on the MSU wireless network.
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):
Microsoft Windows 7 or higher.
All students will need access to Microsoft Office including Word, Excel and PowerPoint. Industrial and systems engineering students will also need to have Microsoft Access. MSU students are able to download Microsoft Office 365 from our ITS website and use it free of charge as long as they are enrolled students.
Sophos Antivirus is available to students free of charge on the university intranet (http://www.its.msstate.edu/software/downloads/?party_id=49) 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 backups and storage of large files. These are reasonably priced and available in various capacities. Additionally, students may want to subscribe to an on-line service such as DropBox, Carbonite, or others to use for backing up files. 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.
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 directed to a website 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.
Apple Macintosh Computers
The Bagley College of Engineering does not recommend engineering students use Apple Macintosh computers due to the incompatibility of some required engineering software that is not available in Mac OS versions. However, some students already have Apple Macintosh computers or wish to purchase one. If you choose to use a Mac, it must meet the minimum specifications below and note that it will be more expensive than a Windows-only machine.
Support for Macs is limited on campus. The Bagley College of Engineering will not be able to provide assistance to any student who is running a pirated, borrowed, or bootlegged copy of Windows. It is fairly easy to purchase a software bundle which includes both Parallels 11 and Windows 10. The technicians must be able to verify that the version being used is legally purchased. You should preserve your purchase receipt as well as you’re your installation key to prove the legality of the software should any question arise. These receipts can be can scanned and maintained on your computer.
Apple Mac Minimum Hardware Requirements:
Intel Core 2 Duo, Core i3, Core i5, Core i7, Intel Core M or Xeon processor
Minimum screen size of 13 in. (15 inches is probably better or access to an additional monitor)
Required Operating System (OS):
Mac OS X Mavericks (10.9.5) or later. For security reasons, we encourage students always run the latest version of the Operating System
Additional Required Software in Addition to Mac OS X
Parallels Desktop 11 for Mac www.parallels.com
Microsoft Windows 7 or higher
Some vendors such as Amazon do sell bundles of Parallels Desktop with a copy of Windows. Borrowed or pirated copies of Windows (or any software) is not permitted.
Although there are other dual-boot systems available (BootCamp and VMWare Fusion for example), our faculty have found that Parallels Desktop works best for the software we use and it is the only system that will be supported by the college.
Other software that you will use in class will be provided to you at he appropriate time. Microsoft Office is available through the university. It can be obtained through MSU by following the instructions found at http://www.its.msstate.edu/files/STA.pdf
Apple computers may be purchased either in Apple Stores or on-line at http://www.apple.com/us-hed/shop. If purchasing in an Apple Store, let the sales person know that you are purchasing the computer for college and you may receive a discount.
Warranty, Loss, Theft, and Accidental Damage Insurance:
Students should consider the cost of purchasing an extended warranty as well as additional insurance for their investment in their computer. Warranty’s do not generally cover accidental damage (such as spills of drops). Many Homeowners insurance policies will cover loss and theft of a computer in many cases but you should ensure that your specific policy does cover loss of theft if the computer is at school. It may be possible to add riders to a homeowners policy to include accidental damage at slight additional cost.
Transfer students are expected to only meet the requirements in place at the time they would have started at MSU. So, a student transferring to MSU as a junior would be expected to only meet the requirements in place two years prior. For those and historical purposes, previous specifications are listed below.