Student Computer Specifications

If you are a student at Mississippi State University considering a computer purchase, we encourage you to read this page carefully.


Department-Specific Specifications

Some departments and colleges require or recommend specific hardware and/or software that may vary from the university baseline specifications. If you are a student in one of these academic units, you should follow these computer guidelines:


Minimum Student Laptop Computer Specifications

For students not in one of the colleges or departments above, the following specifications should be considered as recommended minimums for any new computer purchase. Following these requirements should ensure that your computer will last throughout the length of a typical, 4-year university term.

    Windows   Apple
Operating System Windows 10 Home or Pro macOS 10.14 - Mojave
Processor Intel Core i5 or comparable Intel Core i5
Memory (RAM) 8GB 8GB
Storage 250GB Solid state drive(SSD) 250GB Solid state drive(SSD)
Network Connectivity

Wireless (Dual-band, 802.11a/g/n)

Wired (Dedicated port or via adapter)

Wireless (Dual-band, 802.11a/g/n)

Wired via adapter

Productivity Software

Microsoft Office 365

Available at no cost to students

Antivirus Software

Virus protection software is required by MSU policy when using the university networks

No-cost antivirus options for personal computers


Operating System Requirements

Please be aware that not all software used in MSU courses is compatible with both Windows and macOS. Please check the ITS Software page to verify which software provided is compatible with your OS. If you do not see the specific software you'll need to run listed, please either verify the OS requirements with your instructor or visit the software manufacturer's website to view the system requirements.

For new computer purchases, you may also want to take into account which degree/program you are entering, as some have OS recommendations based on the software you will need to run throughout the program. You'll need to contact your department if you're unsure of their requirements.

If you have purchased an Apple/macOS computer and need to run Windows-only software, you can either dual-boot Windows via BootCamp or you can run Windows in a virtual environment from within macOS using a product like Parallels or VirtualBox. Please note that either method will require you to purchase a license for Windows in order to activate the operating system. Also, while ITS does not provide support with installing a secondary operating system on personal systems, there are many resources available online with instructions and information on doing so.

NOTE: ITS does NOT recommend using a Chromebook (Chrome OS) or a tablet running a mobile OS (iOS, Android, etc.) as your main computing device. These devices may not be able to properly access all MSU systems (including Canvas and Banner) and are not capable of running the software packages that may be required for certain classes. This includes the full installation of Microsoft Office, Respondus Lockdown Browser, SAS, SPSS, Autodesk products, and most other desktop software programs.


Brand

As with most other major purchases, it is good advice to choose a reputable brand from a reputable source. The Gartner Group, an independent provider of research and analysis on information technology, lists quality manufacturers of Windows compatible computers. The Gartner list contains brands such as Dell, Lenovo and Hewlett-Packard (HP). Although not on the Gartner list, Howard Computers, based in Laurel, Mississippi, is also worthy of consideration. If you plan on purchasing an Apple computer, the Gartner list does not apply since there is only one manufacturer.

Tip: Look for special discounts available for students via the computer manufacturer's websites. While MSU does not offer any specific discount or computer purchase programs, many manufacturers have their own student/university discounts that can be activated with your netid@msstate.edu email address.

Known student discount programs:

Dell - University Store

Lenovo - Student and Teacher Discount

Hewlett-Packard (HP) - Discounts via UniDAYS

  • You may also be able to ask for a better discount using HP's live chat feature on their website.

Apple - Education Pricing


Extended Warranty

Many computer manufacturers provide extended warranties that cover problems beyond the normal warranty period. ITS strongly recommends that you purchase a three-year, onsite warranty along with your new computer. Details of these warranties will vary depending on the manufacturer.

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Article ID: 1195
Created
Fri 3/2/18 10:13 AM
Modified
Fri 7/19/19 9:02 AM

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