What kind of computer should I buy?

We recommend purchasing a computer that you feel comfortable using.  While most engineering applications are Windows-based, an Apple computer is an acceptable alternative but will require additional effort for the student.  Apple users must access Windows-only applications using the University’s BingView virtual desktop environment.

For Windows-based systems, we recommend, at the minimum, an Intel i5 processor; an i7 would be preferred if your budget will support the upgrade.  System memory is essential; we recommend 16 GB of RAM. 

For those looking to purchase an Apple computer, the  M1 processor is acceptable, and we recommend 16 GB of RAM. 

Concerning the system’s hard drive, a solid-state drive (SSD) will perform better than a conventional rotational hard drive.  A system equipped with a solid-state drive is preferred; we recommend a minimum 250 GB SSD drive, larger if your budget supports it. 

If you are considering purchasing a laptop, consider extending the warranty for 3-4 years.  You may wish to consider accidental damage insurance, as a laptop will experience more abuse and environmental changes.

Suppose you are purchasing a Mac. Window applications will not run on a Mac computer, and you will need to use the campus BingView virtual desktop environment to complete many assignments.  Connecting to BingView will require logging into the campus VPN server first and then connecting to the BingView server. 

Binghamton University provides Microsoft Office 365 to students, faculty, and staff at no additional charge. For information on how to obtain Microsoft office

The Watson School has an academic alliance with Microsoft that allows our students access to Microsoft applications and operating systems free of charge using Microsoft’s Azure tools for teaching.


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Where can I purchase a computer at BU?

BU does not sell or lease equipment to students. However, several vendors have special computer purchase programs available to Binghamton University students. Binghamton University does not endorse these vendors or their offers. Refer to the Information Technology Services website