Recommendations - Student PC Desktop

Last Updated: 07/30/2014


Both minimum requirements and high performance recommendations are listed below. Print out this list and take it with you when you go to buy your computer.

Model Specifications

Type of Technology Minimum Recommendation High Performance
CPU Intel Core i5 Intel Core i7
RAM 8 GB 16 GB
Hard Drive 500 GB or Solid State Drive 1 TB or Solid State Drive
Video Card

Integrated Graphics Card

*Graphics Card w/ 1 GB

  • USB 3.0
Network Access
  • 10/100/1000 Network Card
  • 3 years parts and labor

Operating System, Software, and Additional Recommendations

Type of Technology Recommendation
Operating System
  • Windows 8 Home Premium (or better), 64-bit
Productivity Tools
  • Microsoft Office 2013 (Leeds School of Business requires a minimum of Office 2010 32-bit Professional edition)
Web Browser
  • Internet Explorer
  • Chrome
  • Firefox 
Email Programs
  • Google Mail
  • Outlook 2013
Virus/Anti-spyware Protection
External Storage Devices
  • Flash drive
  • External hard drive (minimum size double to your internal drive)
Laptop Physical Security
  • OIT recommends that laptops are registered with the CU-Boulder police department. Click here to learn more.
  • Laptop locks, which can be purchased at the CU Bookstore.
  • Learn more about OIT's campus printing locations
  • If you are bringing a printer to the residence halls and university apartments, OIT recommends USB wired printers. Wireless printers are not recommended.


Student PC Considerations

Besides the minimum recommendations above it is recommended that you consider the following:

Check with Your College or School

  • Check with your school or college to see if they have any special requirements or recommendations before purchasing.

Purchasing Computers and Software at Educational Prices

  • Computers and software meeting these recommendations can be purchased at the Buffalo Chip, inside the CU Bookstore for an educational discount.

Used Computers

64-bit Operating Systems

  • Please note that some older applications and drivers might be incompatible with 64-bit operating systems.

Solid State Drives

  • Solid State Drives offer superior performance but less capacity.

Tablets and High Portability Laptops

  • The list above is not intended for tablets or high portability laptops. This list was developed for computers that will last three to four years, so that students can maximize their purchase.


  • It is a good idea to get "accidental damage protection" when purchasing a laptop.
  • If you're purchasing a laptop, you may want to purchase a monitor as well for high performance use.
  • It is strongly encouraged that you backup your files to an external hard drive.