Hardware and Software Recommendations for Students
At this time Colorado State University does not require students to purchase computers.
While Colorado State does offer access to computers through college
computing labs, a student may find it more convenient to bring his/her own
computer to campus. Colorado State offers the following guidelines for those who
choose to bring a computer to campus. These recommendations are reviewed semi-annually
by the University standards committee.
For the freshman and sophomore years, basic computing functions can be provided by
most of the currently available standard microcomputers. A student computer configuration
should include an office software suite and printer. Appropriate networking and
Web browsing software is available from the University to students at no additional
As a student progresses through school computing needs may change. The functional
needs of the first two years may be less than those of junior and senior years or
for graduate or professional programs. Students in their junior or senior years
should check with their college for any special requirements. See the list of colleges
Computer vendors offer special educational promotions to Colorado State University
students. The University does not endorse any of the commercial providers or their
products, but is pleased to pass on information regarding educational discounts.
Visit the RamTech web site and click
on the word "Computers" in the side bar. It's wise to compare these prices to those
in your area.
Sample Desktop/Laptop Hardware Configurations
Please check the hardware notes listed at the end of this section.
||Windows 7 SP 1 (not Home Edition) or Windows 8.1 Enterprise
||Mac OS X 10.7/10.8
||Core 'i-Series' - multi-core
||Intel Core 2
||200 GB, SSD
||512 MB dedicated memory
|20 inch or larger LED or LCD flat screen
14 inch or larger
|19 inch or larger LED or LCD flat screen
13 inch or larger
||Any type with audio input
|Mouse and Keyboard
||10/100/1000 Mbps Ethernet card
(see note 2)
|Ships with Gigabit Ethernet port
||See note 3
||See note 3
||Inkjet or Laser (300 DPI or greater)
||Inkjet or Laser (300 DPI or greater)
- Hardware changes at a rapid pace and any machine purchased may
not meet the needs of a student through the entire four years.
- Students living in the Residence Halls are encouraged to purchase
a network card and network connection. This enables students to connect to the campus
network using Ethernet connections, which are many times faster than dialup modems.
All rooms in the campus residence halls are wired and offer Ethernet connections.
Refer to the Housing and Dining
Services web pages for more information. In addition, connections in campus
labs, classrooms, libraries and other public places accommodate students with notebook
- Student computers that connect in residence halls and to other campus network ports
need a 100BaseTX or a combination 10/100/1000BaseTX Ethernet card installed in your
computer, plus a Cat5 RJ45 cord to connect your Ethernet card to the wall jack.
All residence halls now support 100Base-TX Ethernet connections. Standard brands
of cards used on campus include 3COM, Intel, and SMC. If a network card is installed
by a dealer, ask them to test it in a live Ethernet network to ensure that it is
- Any Any computer owner needs to perform backups. Saving data should
be done frequently. For small amounts of data consider using a USB Jump/Thumb drive.
CDs and DVDs are also a very popular way to back up larger amounts of data. Some
larger backup systems, such as an external hard drive, can save a copy of the entire
Windows-based computers are the dominant choice in most Colorado State University
academic programs. Students considering purchasing a Macintosh should carefully
examine the requirements and recommendations of their academic programs. See the
list of college recommendations below. >
General Advice on Acquiring a Computer
Computer technology continues to change rapidly, and prices for computers continue
to drop. Depending on the student's individual situation and curricular choices,
it may make sense to lease or acquire a used computer initially, followed by a new
computer when entering the upper division or graduate programs. It is reasonable
to expect that any computer will need upgrading over the course of four or more
Campus Software Standards
Specific software packages are used in many colleges and departments across campus.
While other packages can provide the same functions, there are significant convenience
advantages to using one of the standard packages. In many courses in which assignments
are submitted in digital format, it is expected that the files submitted will conform
to these standards. Colorado State has a published
list of standards for software and hardware that is purchased with University
funds. Recommendations for software used by students is the same as that recommended
for the University-owned computers. These include:
- Virus Software - Symantec AntiVirus
is free to students.
- Office Software Suite - Microsoft Office
- Word Processing - Microsoft Word
- Spreadsheets - Microsoft Excel
- Presentation Software - Microsoft PowerPoint
- Web Browser - Microsoft Internet Explorer (preferred) or Firefox.
- E-mail - Google Apps for
CSU is is the campus standard for student e-mail. Google Apps for CSU is a full
featured mail program that allows you to send, read, file, and delete mail all from
your web browser. No special software is required and mail accounts are available
for free from the University. If you prefer, you can use special email client software
including Microsoft Outlook or other IMAP compliant e-mail software.
- Networking Utilities - The utilities for ftp, chat, news and other
Internet services, are available at no cost. These can be downloaded from the ACNS Download Center.
Registered students can purchase software at educational discount through our campus
software store, RamTech. Check their
web site for products and pricing.
Individual College and Degree Program Requirements and Recommendations
The college hardware requirements are met by the configurations listed above, except
where noted below. Some colleges have additional software requirements or recommendations.
See their web pages for that information. Check the following individual college
and degree program requirements carefully. You are responsible to meet the requirements
of your chosen college.
- College of Agricultural Sciences - use the recommendations above
- College of Health & Human Sciences - use the recommendations above
- College of Business - use the recommendations above
College of Engineering
- College of Liberal Arts and Sciences - use the recommendations above
- College of Natural Resources - use the recommendations above
- College of Natural Sciences - use the recommendations above (Some departments prefer
Macinstosh computers; check with your department).
- College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences - use the recommendations
- Professional Veterinary