SPDC Student Laptop Recommendations

All undergraduate students at Michigan State are required to have a laptop computer that can connect to the Internet. Learn more at MSU Laptop Computer Requirement.

SPDC Recommendations

Updated June 2017

Windows

Windows operating system is highly recommended over Mac for software compatibility. Windows 10 Pro preferable. 

Recommendations:

  • An Intel I7 processor.
  • At least 8 GB (minimum) of Ram to 16 GB (preferable).
  • At least 256 or bigger hard drive or solid state drive (SDD is preferable).
  • If possible, a video card with 4 GB of Ram.

NOTE: If you want your computer to last 4 to 5 years, then go on the higher side of recommendations.

Better video and graphics card:

What typically comes standard on laptops should be upgraded, especially related to video and graphics cards. Students may benefit from installing (free) or purchasing (at student rates) several design programs throughout their academic careers. Many of these programs require higher video and graphics cards to run optimally, especially for rendering. 

Macs & Tablets

If a student already owns or prefers a Mac, some students do use them. Students should be aware they will need to do a few projects in University computer classrooms to use the correct software. Google Chrome or Apple iPads will not work for most software.

Construction Management Program Students

A PC is recommended!

Recommendations:

  • I7 Processor.
  • Memory: 16GB Minimum.
  • Storage: 512 SSD.
  • Graphic Card: 2GB GDDR5 or higher.
  • Display: 14” or 15” at least 1920 x 1080 (but consider portability).

Example: Dell Latitude 7400 Performance Laptop with asset tag included.

Interior Design Program Students

Recommendations:

  • PC.
  • Processor: Intel i7.
  • Memory: 16GB minimum.
  • Storage: 512 SSD.
  • Graphic Card: 4GB GDDR5 or higher.
  • Display: 14” or 15” at least 1920 x 1080 (but consider portability).

Example: Dell XPS 15 with Nvidia 4GB video card.

Landscape Architecture Program Students

This is a design discipline, so students should expect to use several graphic communication software, such as AutoCAD, SketchUp, Adobe Creative Suite (Illustrator, InDesign and Photoshop), GIS, and so on. So, the graphic card performance is important. Students may want to consider a laptop which meets or exceeds the following specifications.

Recommendations: 

Processor: Intel Core i7 (2.9 Ghz or greater).
Memory: 16GB.
Storage: 512 SSD.
Graphic Card: 2GB GDDR5 or higher.
Display: 15” at least 1920 x 1080 (but consider portability).

Urban & Regional Planning Program Students

Recommendations:

PC are preferable for GIS as the software won’t work on Macs. Students can get a student license from the computer store for $1. 

For students that have Macs, you will need to VPN to a remote computer in SPDC to access ArcGIS. But, that remote access in not that robust.