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Computer Requirement Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

General Guideline: As an engineering student, it is your responsibility to have, on hand, a computer capable of supporting your academic success with minimal downtime. You are responsible for being able to complete your coursework using the required engineering software on a machine that is capable of running it reliably, both in and out of the classroom.

Unfortunately, no. The College of Engineering is Vendor-neutral. There are dozens of computer manufacturers and thousands of computers that meet the requirements. See this page for options: Options for Purchase 

All Engineering students need a minimum level of hardware to be able to successfully use required software programs. Instructors count on students having a standard level of technology available in the classroom. Students who cannot meet these requirements will be at a disadvantage. Much like course prerequisites ensure a common level of knowledge among students, a computing requirement ensures a common level of technology.

Computers that meet the minimum requirements are available at many price points. Some sellers may offer more expensive business-class computers, designed to be more reliable, stable, and rugged than consumer-class devices. Warranties also add significant cost to computers. When comparing computers make sure to compare computers in the same class (business versus consumer) with similar warranties.

You do not. You may buy your computer anywhere you find a computer that meets the requirement.

No, but few students can afford to replace or repair a computer immediately if it breaks. Repairs are often expensive. One of the most common issues is a damaged screen. Repairs for damaged screens usually start at around $700. 

The bookstore service history shows that more computers are serviced for accidental damage repairs than for regular warranty repairs. Student life is very hard on computers.  If you cannot afford to repair or replace your computer immediately if it breaks, you should purchase an accidental damage policy. 

March 2024: If you intend to major in Computer Science, a MacBook may be appropriate for you. Otherwise we recommend against it. Students intending to major in Computer Science who do not get accepted to the program or change majors may have to buy a new computer to  succeed in another major.

More information about bringing an Apple MacBook for Computer Science.

Yes! AMD Processors are known to be reliable, fast, and compatible and are included as part of the acceptable requirement. 

The goal of the requirement is to assist with your academic success by insuring you arrive with a base level of technology needed to do your coursework on a system that can run required software at reasonable speeds. You are welcome to do your own research and look for other solutions, but it is your responsibility to be able to complete your work with the required software.

All incoming students are expected to meet the current hardware requirements, regardless of level.

Do you still have questions?

If you need more immediate assistance, please email our Instructional Technology Office or call 540-231-9076.