Recommended Personal Computer Specifications for Students

2017-18 Academic Year


These recommendations should serve as guidelines for new PC purchases, but are not absolute. Purchase a desktop or laptop computer based on your needs and circumstances. Feel free to send any questions you have to the Director of Engineering Information Systems at erik.kispert@valpo.


PC vs. Mac
Some of our students prefer Mac over PC, and that is completely fine. In the College of Engineering, our environment consists almost entirely of PCs, because the vast majority of engineering software is written for Windows. There are some software vendors that offer free student versions, but many of them can only be used in the computer labs because they require the full institutional license. If you want to run student versions on your own computer, a PC is recommended. For information about software available to students, please see the section of this webpage entitled Engineering Software.

Intel i5 or i7 processors or their AMD equivalents are recommended.

4GB are a minimum requirement; 8GB or more are recommended.

Hard Drive
We have seen strong performance improvements when upgrading to solid state drives (SSDs) in our lab environments. These are recommended, though there is a size trade-off, so purchase the type of drive that makes the most sense for what you want to get out of your storage.

Graphics Card
This will be dependent on your PC’s intended use, but generally speaking a 1GB card or larger is suggested.

An office productivity suite is suggested. All Valpo students have access to the Microsoft Office suite free of charge.  See the Engineering Software page for details.


These specifications are specific to College of Engineering students. For non-program specific recommendations please visit the IT department’s Computer Specifications page.

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