Recommendations - Student Macintosh Desktop | Office of Information Technology

Recommendations - Student Macintosh Desktop

Last Updated: 09/13/2016


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.

*Note: OIT recommends students purchase laptops in order to be portable around campus. If you need the improved performance of a desktop, follow the recommendations below.

Model Specifications

Type of Technology Minimum Recommendation High Performance
Model Recommendation
  • iMac with i5 processor
  • iMac with i7 processor
  • 8 GB
  • 16 GB
Video Card
  • Intel HD graphics
  • Dedicated Graphics Card w/ 1 GB
Hard Drive
  • 1 TB Hard Drive
  • 1 TB Fusion Drive or 512 GB+ Flash Storage
  • USB 3.0
  • USB-C
  • Thunderbolt
  • 3 years, AppleCare

Operating System, Software, and Additional Recommendations

Type of Technology Recommendation
Operating System
  • Mac OS X 10.11 (El Capitan)
Productivity Tools
  • Office 2016 for Mac
Web Browser
  • Firefox
  • Safari
  • Chrome
Email Programs
  • Google Mail
  • Apple Mail
  • Outlook 2016
Video Conferencing/IM
Virus/Anti-spyware Protection
External Storage
  • 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 Mac Considerations

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

  • Purchasing Computers and Software at Educational Prices
    • Computers and software meeting these recommendations can be purchased at the CU Bookstore for an educational discount.
  • Used Computers
  • AppleCare
    • When purchasing an Apple product, it is recommended that you purchase AppleCare. AppleCare not only provides extended warranty protection, but also provides help with software questions or problems.
  • Extras
    • It is encouraged that you backup your files to university provided cloud storage or an external hard drive.