Buying a new computer can be difficult, especially when salespeople are quick to tell you what you "need." Several important computing hardware and software issues are outlined below and should help you if you decide to purchase a new computer for use at CMC. Please keep in mind that these recommendations are based on suggestions for your primary computer. You may want a tablet or something else that does not meet our recommendations as a companion to your primary computer, which can work quite well.
Type of computer
Apple or PC. . . Windows or Macintosh. . . Which will it be? Well, both will work, and we support both. We do not recommend switching from what you are accustomed to using! Neither is actually more secure than the other (it's all marketing!) and both can connect to our network resources.
However, PCs are generally less expensive and can have longer warranties - we do recommend as long a warranty as you can get. Macs are considered extremely well built computers, although Dells and Lenovos are considered a very close second.
You get more choice with PCs while Macs give you pretty much the mainstream option that you would likely choose anyway.
One thing to note: If you are going into Economics, much of what you will be doing will be more convenient on a PC than it will on a Mac. Keyboard shortcuts, certain software, etc. are either only available on Windows or are just easier on Windows. This isn't my opinion, it's that of other students.
That said, whichever your choice, we will assist and support you as best we can.
Intel and AMD both make excellent processors at any speed. Apple's M1 processor is awesome, but maximum compatibility we recommend an Intel Mac or a Windows machine for college work. Unless you are doing heavy duty video or photo editing or something, this isn't a reason to buy an M1 based computer.
We STRONGLY RECOMMEND AGAINST a netbook or a tablet as your primary computer! They're too small and underpowered. They make great note-taking and casual computers, but not for your main computer.
We recommend at least 8GB for your primary computer. DO NOT go with 4GB. If you can afford it, get 16GB, it is worth it.
Most new computers will come with plenty of disk space. Honestly, this is not too much of a concern. The biggest improvement you can do is to get a Solid State Drive (SSD) - we very highly recommend this upgrade!
We have no specific requirements or recommendations - the included video card is sufficient for most tasks.
Although we do not endorse or recommend any vendor, these are some of the most popular makes among our student body. Please note that there are other good computer vendors.
- Dell (www.dell.com/epp) - this links you to Dell's discount program
- Lenovo (www.lenovo.com)
- HP (www.hp.com)
- Sony (www.sony.com)
- Apple (www.apple.com) - there is an education store discount available on the left column
For Windows, we strongly recommend Windows 10. It is an extremely stable and well-designed operating system.
For Macintosh, either of the latest versions will work - although you won't really have much choice as Apple only offers the latest version. Again, it is extremely stable and well-designed.
Microsoft Office Suite is a must for academic purposes at CMC. CMC now offers free Office 365 for all students and you can install it when you get to campus. Your Resident Technology Assistant (RTA) can assist you when you get here!
Neither Open Office nor iWork are considered acceptable. While they can produce good products, they are not 100% compatible with Word, Excel and PowerPoint, which are standard for faculty and staff and are installed on all our labs.
- You will be required to have anti-virus programs on ALL computers - both Macs and PCs. See our anti-virus page for more information.
Do Not Bring:
Major Computer Deals
Often, companies like Microsoft and Apple will offer significant deals for students. While keeping track of all of these deals is nearly a full time job in and of itself, we will place some of the significant ones on this page.
General Manufacturer Deals
We can't track all the deals that manufacturers and stores offer, but here are some links to some manufacturers' student portals: