University of Delaware

Recommended specifications for new computer purchases

If you are planning on buying a computer to use for the next three or more years, we would recommend that the computer you select fall within the following specifications:

Component Specification
Processor: 5th or 6th Gen Intel Core M, Core i5 or Core i7, 1.4 GHz Processor or better
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 10 Home, Pro, Enterprise or Education version,
Macintosh OS X 10.11.X “El Capitan.”
Office Suite: Microsoft Office 365 for Windows or Macintosh. Microsoft Office 365 is available for no-cost download for all enrolled students. See for details.
Memory (RAM): 8-16 GB of RAM
Storage: 500 GB conventional hard disk or 240 GB solid state drive, or larger.
Video/Graphics: Integrated or Discrete graphics processor capable of 1366 X  768 (HD) resolution, or better.
Monitor: for notebook: 13′ – 17″ display
for desktop: 19″ – 24″ widescreen flat-panel display
Mouse: USB or wireless, 2-button, optical mouse
Sound: Sound card or built-in audio, and speakers
Network: 10/100/1000Base-T ethernet networking capability (built-in, or an add-in adapter) and,
a 25′ CAT-5 network cable
[sometimes called “patch cable or station cable”]
Warranty: 3 year on-site (better) or depot warranty, accidental damage service highly recommended.
Backup device/scheme: External USB, Firewire or Thunderbolt drive with Time Machine or Windows Backup software (either included with respective OS) or a commercial program like CrashPlan or Carbonite for local or cloud backup.
Recommended Accessories: USB Printer, USB A to B Cable, USB Flash Memory Drive (“USB key” or “thumb drive”), surge suppressor, carrying case for notebooks. Mac users wishing to connect their notebook computers to classroom projectors for presentation purposes should purchase VGA adapters appropriate for their specific Macintosh computer model (MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, etc.). Optional: optical drive (recordable DVD or Blu-Ray drive).

See computer systems with pricing from the vendors the University of Delaware has agreements with on our Buy Personal page.

Last updated: May 18, 2016