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.

Recommendations by Program

Updated July 2023


All SPDC programs STRONGLY recommend the use of Windows Operating System (preferable Windows 11) over Mac O.S. or other operating systems. All SPDC programs involve the frequent use of professional-standard softwares that are generally more compatible, and in some cases exclusively compatible, with Windows. SPDC cannot guarantee simple or convenient solutions to operating system incompatibility issues when students decide to utilize operating systems other than Windows. Below are the minimum recommended P.C. specifications by program.

Interior Design & Landscape Architecture:

  • Processor: Intel i7
  • Memory: 16 GB RAM
  • Storage: 256-512 GB Solid-State Drive (SSD)
  • Graphics: 4-8 GB Video Card

Construction Management & Urban and Regional Planning:

  • Processor: Intel i7
  • Memory: 16 GB RAM
  • Storage: 256-512 GB solid-state drive (SSD)
  • Graphics: 2 GB GDDR5 Graphics Card or higher
  • Display: 14” or 15” at least 1920 x 1080 (but consider portability)

NOTE: These are minimum recommendations. If you want your computer to last longer, purchase one on the higher end of these recommendations.

Better Video and Graphics Cards: 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. 

URP Students: Urban and Regional Planning students are especially encouraged to utilize P.C.s that run Windows as they will need to use Geographic Information System (GIS) software that wont work properly on a Mac. For students that have Macs, you will need to VPN to a remote computer in SPDC to access ArcGIS. But students should be warned that this type of remote access is not as robust. 



If a student already owns or strongly prefers a Mac, some students do use them. Students should be aware they will need to do some projects in University computer classrooms to use the correct software. Google Chrome or Apple iPads will not work for many softwares. If using a Mac, Ventura O.S. is preferable.

Mac Minimum Recommendations:

  • Processor: M2
  • Memory: 16 GB of RAM
  • Storage: 256-512 GB solid-state drive (SSD)
  • Graphics: 6 GB Video Card
  • Accessories: USB-C to HDMI Dongle