CS Department Hardware Recommendations

It is possible to complete a degree in Computer Science without having a computer of your own. All necessary software and hardware is available on campus.

But… It is a lot easier if you have a computer you can use from home, dorm, park, etc.

There is no one specific setup that is best for everyone but some guidelines are:

  • Windows 10/11 based computers are the easiest to adapt to coursework for all classes. Other options in, order of usability, are as follows but maybe be problematic for courses that use Microsoft products, such as CSci 114 & 366:
    • Linux
    • Mac
    • Android/Chromebook can work but not recommend for software support reasons.
  • You will need something with a bit of computing power as you will most likely need to run multiple applications at the same time.
  • Hardware Recommendations are:
    • Processor: An i5 (At least 7th generation) or better processor or its equivalent with at least 4 cores.
    • Memory: At least 8GB of memory. With Windows 10, 16GB will make a noticeable difference on performance.
    • Storage: You can get by with 250GB of storage but if you use your computer for other things than school work, 480GB is better.
    • Screen: What ever size suits you, but programming/research often results in having numerous windows open.
  • For Hyflex/virtual courses, a webcam & microphone is required.
    • Headphones for dorm residents.
  • Microsoft's Office 356 is available, at no charge, to all enrolled students. More information about Office 365 is available on the ITS website.
    • Note: Office 365 does not come with Microsoft Access which is needed for CSci 114.
  • Printers are available for students to use in various labs, lounges, and study areas.

Where/What to Buy

  • Most importantly, get something you like.
  • You typically can get better quality machines by ordering directly from the manufacture's websites although you can get things cheaper from bulk retailers.
    • We usually get our workstations, locally, from DakTech.
  • The NDSU bookstore can order many brands like Lenovo, Dell, Apple, DakTech, and HP. Call 701-231-8013 and ask for technology department or send e-mail to brad.sonmor@ndsu.edu.
Top of page