Buying a computer for college recommendations


K-State students, faculty, and staff are responsible for protecting their computers and data against increasing threats and vulnerabilities. This also protects the university's network and resources, as well as other K-Staters. Security information is available on the Security Tips and Recommendations page.

Microsoft Office is available to everyone at K-State at no charge

Before purchasing a computer, check the college/department computer requirements for your field of study. 
Apple computers are recommended for students majoring in Art, Education, and Journalism. Windows computers are recommended for business students. For more information see College and department recommendations.


  • Students
  • Faculty
  • Staff


Operating system

  • Windows 10 (Professional, Education, Enterprise, or Home) 
  • Mac OS X 10.14 (Mojave) or newer

Processor (CPU)

  • Windows: Intel Core i5 (7th generation/7000 series) or AMD Ryzen or better.
  • Mac: Intel Core i5 (7th generation/7000 series) or Apple M1 or better.  

    Note: M1 Macs are currently unable to run Windows through Boot Camp.

Monitor and video card

  • Laptop: 13" screen or larger.
  • Desktop: 19" monitor or larger, dual-monitor capable video card.

Note: If doing a lot of 3D rendering or other graphic processing intensive tasks, dedicated video memory is recommended.


  • 256 gigabytes or larger solid state drives.

Memory (RAM)

  • 8 gigabytes or more for typical use.
  • 16 gigabytes or more for AutoCAD, Adobe Creative Suite applications and other graphic and video intensive applications.

Removable storage

  • External hard drive which meets or exceeds your storage capacity (for backups).
  • USB flash drive (requires USB port).


  • Required: Antivirus Software. Windows Defender is sufficient for Windows 10 computers.
  • Recommended:


An Internet connection speed of 4Mbps minimum with a recommendation of 10Mbps or greater.

At least one of the following is required - check with staff where you will be living to determine what type of connection is available:

  • Ethernet card: for on-campus, residence hall, and broadband access.
  • Wireless card: 802.11ac or Wifi 5 recommended for wireless access on campus. (A wireless network card that supports both 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz wireless bands is preferred)


  • Built-in or external speakers, microphone, and webcam recommended.

Other recommendations

  • Web applications occasionally do not work well with all browsers. Individuals are encouraged to install at least one alternative browser (either Chrome or FireFox) in addition to the default browsers provided with the operating system.
  • Netbooks and tablet computing devices do not have the computing power of a normal laptop or desktop computer, for this reason they are not recommended for use as a primary computer at K-State.
  • Purchase hardware with USB ports and audio jacks that are easily accessible
  • Use a backup program like Windows Backup or Mac OS Time Machine with an external hard drive to ensure file recovery in the event of a system malfunction.
  • Purchase a surge protector or uninterruptible power supply (UPS).
  • Add an extended warranty to cover the length of your academic use of the computer. Check with your homeowner's or renter's insurance to see if your computer is covered for damages or theft, and get additional coverage if needed.
  • Consider adding security hardware, such as a security cable, or software, such as LoJack for laptops.
  • Double-check price quotes as sometimes prices don't include a keyboard, mouse, monitor, or the recommended operating system.
  • Printers are usually sold separately. Inkjet and laser printers provide high-quality printing. Before you buy, compare prices, features, and cartridge-replacement costs.
  • Ensure you have everything needed to connect and use your systems, including power cables, USB cables, and Ethernet cables

Contact information


Estimated price range

  • $1,000 - $1,500
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Article ID: 169
Tue 5/31/22 2:15 PM
Mon 4/22/24 3:16 PM

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