Computer Purchase Recommendations

Student Purchases

  1. Planning to buy a new computer to bring to campus?
  2. Desktop or Laptop?
  3. Windows or Macintosh?
  4. Windows Professional or Home Premium?
  5. What about Windows 7?
  6. What about 'NetBooks'?
  7. Hard Drive Size
  8. Recommended Accessories
  9. Accessories to avoid

1. Planning to buy a new computer to bring to campus?

There is no way to predict the requirements of technology in the coming years, although it is fairly safe to say that any advances will require more computing power, more storage, and more memory. If you are going to purchase a new computer, you should get the fastest processor (CPU, speed measured in GHz) and the most memory (RAM, capacity measured in MB or GB) and the largest hard drive (capacity measured in GB) that your budget allows.

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2. Desktop or Laptop?

Willamette recommends that you consider a portable model. Laptop computers take up less space in your room, allow you to take them to class or the library, and are easier to transport to and from school. The current generation of laptop computers has more than enough power to handle all of the applications most people will use at Willamette.

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3. Windows or Macintosh?

Willamette is glad to support Windows and Macintosh Operating Systems. All of the essential services Willamette provides are available for both platforms. Keep in mind, that some programs are only available for one platform or the other. Be sure to make your Operating System match the kinds of software you'll use most.

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4. Windows Professional or Home Premium?

Either of these versions of Windows is fully compatible with Willamette University's network. We do not require any of the special features of Professional (we do not use a Windows Domain, for student computers).

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5. What about Windows 7?

Most new laptops will come with Windows 7, which is fully compatible with Willamette University’s network. Older operating systems (XP/Vista) are also compatible.

Here are some general recommendations for a new computer:

 

Operating System

Memory and Hard Drive

Network Card

Other Recommendations

PC Desktop

Windows  7Home Premium or Pro

3GB (RAM)
250GB (drive)

10/100 Base-T is built in

20in LCD  monitor; CD/DVD-RW

PC Laptop

Windows  7Home Premium or Pro

2GB (RAM)
120GB (drive)

Wireless G network adapter;
10/100 Base-T built-in

CD/DVD-RW

Mac Desktop

 or later

3GB (RAM)
250GB (drive)

10/100 Base-T is built-in

20in LCD monitor; SuperDrive

Mac Laptop

OS 10.6  or later

2GB (RAM)
120GB (drive)

Wireless G airport adapter;  
10/100 Base-T is built-in

VGA adapter compatible with your laptop

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6. What about 'NetBooks'?

Small inexpensive netbook computers are very popular, however they are often underpowered and lacking useful features. Also, most netbooks do not contain a CD/DVD drive, which is absolutely necessary. If you are considering purchasing a netbook be sure to purchase an external CD/DVD drive.

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7. Hard Drive Size

Almost all hard drives that come with new computers are more than adequate for most applications at Willamette. If you think you will be storing a large number of images, audio files (MP3s), or video clips you should consider a hard drive of 500 GB or larger.

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8. Recommended Accessories

If you are considering purchasing a new computer, you should also think about adding the following accessories. Typical configurations these days may already include some of these options:

  • External Hard Drive: We strongly recommend that all students come to campus with an external hard drive for backing up all your files. It's always a good idea to keep your important data backed-up in several places.
  • Additional Power adapter: Laptop power adapters are used heavily and can easily end up lost or broken. We recommend buying a 2nd power adapter (often cheaper at the time of purchase with a laptop).
  • Personal Printer: Inkjet printers are inexpensive and produce good quality output on anything from paper to transparencies. The printers available to students on campus are heavily used, especially during midterms and finals, so you may want to purchase your own printer.

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9. Accessories to avoid

  • Wireless access point/wireless router. This includes the Apple AirPort Base Station and the Apple AirPort Express. Personally owned wireless access points are prohibited in residence halls as they can create security problems for the entire network and can interfere with one another resulting in unreliable performance.

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