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New Computer Recommendations

Below are the recommended new PC configurations for 2013. It is also advised to contact your school or department for any specific needs that they may have. Discounts are available for Tufts students - please check here for software and here for hardware.

The staff at the Library IT Service Desk would be happy to assist you in answering any questions. Stop by the Library IT Service Desk on the 5th floor or call 617-636-2947.

See Frequently Asked Questions regarding purchasing a new computer!

New Computer Hardware and Software Recomendations

PC Laptop
PC Desktop
Apple Laptop
Apple Desktop

General Recommendations

CPU: The least expensive laptops on the market have AMD E Series or Intel Pentium CPUs, which will struggle to handle serious productivity or media tasks but can handle Web surfing. Don’t settle for less than an Intel Core i3 CPU or AMD A Series. If you’re spending more than $500, demand at least an Intel Core i5 CPU, which is capable of increasing its clock speed dynamically when you need more performance. Power users and gamers should settle for no less than Core i7 system, preferably a quad-core chip.

RAM: If you can get a system with 6 or 8GB, you’ll be better prepared for high-end applications and lots of multitasking.

Hard drive: For most users, a fast drive is more important than a large one. If you have a choice, go for a 7,200-rpm hard drive over a 5,400-rpm unit. Even if you have several movies and games on your hard drive, a 320GB should provide more than enough space, but 500GB or 750GB drives usually don’t cost much more.

Solid state drive: These drives cost quite a bit more than traditional hard drives and come with less capacity (usually 128 to 256GB), but they dramatically improve performance. You’ll enjoy faster boot times, faster resume times, and faster application open times. Plus, because SSDs don’t have moving parts such as mechanical drives, failure is much less of an issue.

Video Card: For the most part, an integrated graphics chip (one that shares system memory) will be fine for basic tasks, including surfing the Web, watching video and even playing some mainstream games. But a discrete graphics processor from AMD or Nvidia (which has dedicated video memory) will provide better performance when it comes to the most-demanding games. Plus, a good GPU can accelerate video playback on sites such as Hulu, as well as speed up video editing.
As with CPUs there are both high- and low-end graphics chips. Nvidia maintains a list of its graphics chips from low to high end as does AMD. In general, workstations and gaming notebooks will have the best GPUs, including dual graphics on the most expensive systems.