Audience: Undergraduate student Choosing a laptop is an important investment for college. The Student Computing Consultants have identified the following guidelines to assist with purchase decisions.
|Specification||Minimum Recommended Value||Explanation|
|Processor speed||1.6 GHz or higher||A higher processor speed will allow your computer to do more at once and run faster.|
|RAM (also called Memory)||At least 8 GB recommended||More RAM will also allow you to run more applications concurrently without seeing a slowdown.|
|HDD (Hard Disk Drive)|
SSD (Solid State Drive)
|128 GB HDD or more||Hard disk drives are slower but are larger and less expensive than Solid state drive (SSD). This large amount is useful because file sizes can grow to be very large and some particularly large file types can quickly fill your hard drive space.|
Solid state drives are much faster than traditional hard drives. Unless you have large numbers of enormous files on your computer (i.e. movies, large pictures, high quality audio files, CAD files, etc.), then having an SSD will make your computer feel much faster than a traditional hard drive. You can also augment a relatively small SSD with an external hard drive, thereby, allowing you to store large files on the external drive if you do not use them frequently, or read/write them often.
|Operating system||Windows: Windows 10|
|New Windows computers have Windows 10 Operating system.|
New Macintosh computers have macOS Sierra Operating system
|Graphics card||Integrated graphics|
|Graphic cards come either integrated or distinctly attached to the motherboard. Integrated graphics are slower, but cost less, and are generally sufficient whereas dedicated graphics cards are ideal for gamers.|
Dedicated graphics cards are frequently included on workstation computers because they can improve the speed of rendering or modeling applications. A dedicated graphics card will improve the gaming experience for serious gamers to run all games on high settings.
| Networking||802.11 ac||802.11 is a wireless protocol that allows your computer to connect to WiFi networks, and comes in a few different varieties. These "varieties" are denoted by letters, in increasing order of speed (and price):|
worst b < g < n < ac best
|Connectors||USB 2.0 or 3.0|
|USB 2.0 connections are slower than 3.0.|
The other connectors are pretty standard.
VGA / HDMI / Displayport is for projecting to external monitors or projectors. Only one of these types of connections is necessary. Conversion between can be typically be done if necessary.