New Computer Purchases: Recommendations
Note: This list has been updated for the 2014 – 2015 academic year.
Note 2: These are only the miminum recommended specifications for new computer purchases.
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Last Updated 7/9/2014
Laptops Desktops Netbooks/Macbook Airs*
Operating System Windows 8.1
Windows 8.1 Professional
Mac OSX Mavericks
Windows 8.1
Windows 8.1 Professional
Mac OSX Mavericks
Windows 8.1
Windows RT 8.1**
Mac OSX Mavericks
Hard Drive 500 GB HDD or 128 GB SSD 500 GB HDD or 128 GB SSD 250 GB HDD or 64 GB SSD
Processor Dual Core CPU Dual Core CPU 1.5GHz CPU or Dual Core CPU
Ethernet Card 10/100/1000 (Gigabit) [may require USB Ethernet NIC] 10/100/1000 (Gigabit) 10/100/1000 (Gigabit) [may require USB Ethernet NIC]
Wireless Card Wireless 802.11 b/g/n card Wireless 802.11 b/g/n card [optional] Wireless 802.11 b/g/n card
Optical Media Drive DVD-RW/CD-RW Drive [optional] DVD-RW/CD-RW Drive None
External Hard Drive 1TB HDD 1TB HDD 1TB HDD
All Windows and OSX computers should have anti-virus software installed. Symantec Endpoint Protection for Windows and OSX is provided free for all NEU students, and is available for download from the Software Downloads link on the Self-Service tab of myNEU.


*Cautionary Note About Netbooks: In some instances, netbooks can be a viable option for budget-minded students looking for a functional, portable computer. They are useful tools for taking notes, writing papers, and browsing the Internet. However, their relatively weaker hardware profiles may prevent them from running more advanced programs like computer-aided design (AutoCAD), graphic design (Adobe CS4), and engineering or statistical software. If you are in a major that may require running software such as this, we strongly recommend you purchase a regular laptop that meets our mimimum recommended specifications. As always, requirements differ by college, and if you have any questions, please contact your individual college for more information.
Students that purchase netbooks should also remember that recommendations like Anti-virus software and external hard drives apply to netbooks as well as laptops and desktops.
**Note on Windows RT: Windows RT is a specialized operating system which can only run Windows 8 Apps, not full desktop applications. ResNet does not recommend using a Windows RT netbook as your main computer while in classes.


Already have a computer? Most computers manufactured in the past 10 years will be able to connect to ResNet, provided they have at least a 10Mb Ethernet card installed. You do not need to buy a brand-new, top of the line computer in order to connect to the network, write papers, or browse the Internet. However, depending on your computer, your on-campus support options may be limited. The ResNet Resource Center offers limited support on a case-by-case basis for older operating systems, such as Windows 2K/XP and Mac OSX Leopard/Snow Leopard, as well as Linux, Chrome OS, and mobile OSes like Android and iOS. Full support is offered for Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8/8.1, and Mac OSX Lion, Mountain Lion, and Mavericks.

Further, each NEU college may have its own minumum system requirements, recommendations, and required software packages. Bringing an older machine that can only handle word processing and Internet usage may suffice for some students, but probably won’t be sufficient for many others. Do NOT assume that your computer meets the needs for your college simply because it can connect to ResNet. It is your responsibility to determine what, if any, technological requirements your college, department, and individual classes may have.


As always, if you have any residential computing questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to call the ITS Service Desk at 617-373-HELP (4357) or e-mail
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