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PC Laptop Configuration
 
Type of Technology Minimum Recommendations
CPU
  • Intel Core i5 or greater
RAM
  • 4 GB or greater
Hard Drive
  • 320 GB (7200 RPM) or greater
  • Solid State - 128 GB or greater
Video Card
  • 128 MB or greater dedicated or integrated Graphics Chip
Network Card
  • 100/1000 Network card
Wireless Network Access
  • Wireless 802.11g
  • Wireless 802.11n (which is backward compatible)
Warranty
  • 3 years parts and labor
Ports
  • USB 2.0
  • Firewire (optional)
  • HDMI (optional: useful for direct connection to TV)
  • VGA (optional: useful for connecting external monitor)
Camera / Microphone
  • Integrated webcam w/ microphone
Battery
  • 6 cell primary battery
Audio
  • Internal sound card
  • Internal speakers
Backup Medium
  • 8 GB flash drive (minimum)
  • External hard drive (minimum size equivalent to your internal hard drive)
  • Student Backup software available at discounted rate
Operating System
Word Processing
  • Office 365 University (Discounted for students)  Contains Office 2013 for PC and Office 2011 for Mac plus 4 yr subscription
Spreadsheet
  • Office 365 University (Discounted for students)  Contains Office 2013 for PC and Office 2011 for Mac plus 4 yr subscription
Web Browser
Electronic Mail
Virus Protection
(Only one antivirus should be installed -- More is not better in this case)
AntiSpyware

A note about cost:

$400 to $600: For well under $600, you can get a notebook with an Intel Core i5 or AMD A8 CPU, 4 to 8GB of RAM, and a 500GB hard drive, all respectable specs. However, at this price point, most notebooks have cheap plastic chassis, low-res screens and weak battery life, but you can occasionally find a touch screen.

$600 to $800: As you get above $600, you’ll start to see more premium designs, such as metal finishes. Manufacturers also start to add in other features as you climb the price ladder, including better audio and backlit keyboards. You may also be able to get a screen with a resolution that’s 1600 x 900 or higher and a flash cache.

Above $800: At this price range, expect notebooks that are more portable, more powerful or both. Expect higher resolution screens, faster processors and possibly discrete graphics. The lightest, longest-lasting ultraportables like the MacBook Air and Lenovo ThinkPad X1 carbon tend to cost more than $1,000. High-end gaming systems and mobile workstations usually cost upward of $1,500 or even as much as $2,500 or $3,000.