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Recommended & Minimum Computer Configurations for Students (Windows)

For students, our recommendations and minimum system requirements are meant to provide general guidelines on which computer configurations work best in the UMass Amherst computing environment. Different recommended and minimum configurations are available for faculty and staff. They focus on hardware specifications of the device. For free or discounted software please check our downloads page. If you have declared a major, we recommend checking with the department to see if it requires specific computer configurations. Note: This online document is where you will find the most accurate recommendations. Any print materials you have could be out-of-date.

Sustainability

We recommend models of computers that have at least an EPEAT Silver rating (preferably EPEAT Gold). These computers meet the latest ENERGY STAR specifications and are designed to be easily recycled. Learn more about the Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT).

Laptop Computers

Recommended Configurations

We recommend systems that meet or exceed the following specifications:

Processor (CPU):

Intel Core i5-6xxx or equivalent

Operating System:

Microsoft Windows 10 Professional x64 SP1

(free via Imagine. Restrictions may apply.)                  

Memory:

8 GB RAM

Storage:

500 GB internal hard drive

Monitor/Display:

14" LCD monitor, resolution of 1600 x 900 or better.

Network Adapter: 802.11ac 2.4/5 GHz wireless adaptor

Other:

Internal or external Webcam, lock, carrying case, external hard drive for backups

Minimum Requirements

We support the following minimum computer configurations which you can use to connect to the campus-wide network.

Note: The following lists minimum requirements that allow for network connectivity and other basic functions. If you are planning on purchasing a new computer, please use the recommended configurations above.

Processor (CPU):

Intel Core i3-3xxx or equivalent

Operating System:

Microsoft Windows 7 Professional x64 SP1. UMass Amherst IT recommends Windows 10 Professional. (Both operating systems can be obtained via Imagine. Restrictions may apply)

Memory:

4 GB RAM

Storage:

500 GB internal hard drive

CD-ROM:

DVD/CD-RW

Monitor/Display:

13" LCD monitor

Network Adapter: Dual-band 802.11a/g - compliant adapter

Other:

Lock, carrying case

Desktop Computers

Recommended Configurations

We recommend systems that meet or exceed the following specifications:

Processor (CPU):

Intel Core i5-6xxx or equivalent

Operating System:

Microsoft Windows 10 Professional x64 SP1 (free via Imagine. Restrictions may apply.)

Memory:

8 GB RAM

Storage:

512 GB internal Solid State Drive (SSD) or 1 TB internal HDD

Sustainability

EPEAT Silver rating (preferably EPEAT Gold)

Monitor/Display:

24" " LCD monitor

Network Adaptor: 802.11ac 2.4/5 GHz wireless adaptor

Other:

Webcam, lock, external drive for backups

Minimum Requirements

We support the following minimum computer configurations.

Note: The following lists minimum requirements that allow for network connectivity and other basic functions. If you are planning on purchasing a new computer, please use the recommended configurations above.

Processor (CPU):

Intel Core i3-3xxx

Operating System:

Microsoft Windows 7 Professional x64 SP1. UMass Amherst IT recommends Windows 10 Professional. (Both can be obtained for free via Imagine. Restrictions may apply.)

Memory:

4 GB RAM

Storage:

500 GB internal hard drive

Monitor/Display:

15" LCD monitor

Other:

Dual-band WiFi-certified 802.11 a/g - compliant adapter

Tablet Computers

Tablets are of growing interest in the classroom environment and are an innovative method for note-taking. When paired with a keyboard, tablets that meet the above requirements are sometimes even used as a replacement for a laptop. New tablet computers come with Windows 8/8.1, iOS or Android operating systems. Capabilities and the number of programs available depend on the operating system choice and the hardware of the device. Consult with your academic advisor if you are unsure about the need for a tablet in your field of study. Microsoft OneNote software for tablet computers is available for free through the Microsoft Imagine program for Windows based tablets.

If you have specific questions about tablet computer configurations please contact the Help Center.