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.  Most engineering applications can be accessed in the computer lab or remotely via the campus network.  

For both Windows and Apple 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.

With regards to the systems hard drive, a solid-state drive (SSD) will provide better performance over a conventional rotational hard drive.  A system equipped with a solid-state drive is preferred; we recommend, at minimum, a 250 GB SSD drive. 

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

If you are purchasing a Mac, you should add VMware Fusion to the system. VMware Fusion is a hypervisor that allows other operating systems and applications to run on the Mac.  VMware Fusion is available to Watson College students as a free download from the college’s OnTheHub website. VMware Fusion will allow Microsoft Windows and its applications to run concurrently with the Mac operating system.   

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

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

·         Eligible students are emailed account information two weeks before the start of the semester

·         Students must be enrolled in a Watson College course for credit to be eligible

·         Web address  

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 any of these vendors or their offers other than to provide the options to our students.  Refer to the Information Technology Services website for more information, by clicking here.

(Special thanks to Don Kunkel, for providing our students with this computer information!)