ITS Blog

Need A New Computer? No Problem! ITS Offers Some Help for Students, Faculty & Staff- UPDATE

As Summer is rapidly moving along, it’s time to think about the Fall Semester (I know, I know. No one wants to think about school starting back up again just yet.)! ITS cares about your success while at Binghamton University. If getting a new computer is on your to-do list, below are our suggestions for making the most out of your purchase.

For Students: UPDATE From the ITS HELP DESK, a simple rundown on purchasing a new student computer:

Nursing, Pharmacy and School of Management students are required to have a laptop. Other programs don’t require a computer, but we recommend that students have one for their convenience. Students tend to prefer laptops since they’re portable and they allow them to work anywhere. For students in other programs, be sure to check with your department first. It’s best to wait until the first week of classes, in case some of your professors have more specific requirements. Our minimum recommended specs for student computers are:

  • Intel i5 or i7 processor (or equivalent)

  • 8-16 GB RAM

  • 256 GB Solid State Hard-Drive (SSD)

  • 1-3 year manufacturer’s warranty

Our recommended specs for a new student computer to last 4 years are:

  • Windows 10 64bit or MacOS X

  • Intel i5 or i7 processor

  • 16 GB+ memory

  • 256 Solid State Hard-Drive (SSD) or larger

  • 3 year on-site warranty (this should be a manufacturer warranty, not a third party like Best Buy or Staples)

Apple and Dell both have student discounts available at Apple Store for Education and Dell University Program (Binghamton University does not endorse any of these vendors or their offers).

MAKE SURE YOU HAVE REVIEWED the ITS pages, especially the "Get Technically Oriented/Welcome Students" presentation and the Tech Checklist. Also, the Self Help page has awesome tips if you have tech issues or trouble.

For Faculty

Departments interested in buying equipment (Apple or PC) should go to this link first, then contact the ITS Help Desk at x7-6420 before ordering computer equipment. ITS supports and provides warranty repair services for Dell and Apple devices purchased for the University.

ITS has worked with Purchasing and Dell to streamline the process for purchasing Dell computers. Based on the University’s previous purchasing history, we were able to identify common models that were frequently purchased and to streamline the ordering process by bidding out the standard models and locking in pricing. To order a standard Dell desktop or laptop go to this link. These all meet the recommended requirements for new computers and include an extended warranty.

ITS recommends the following operating systems for University-owned devices: Windows 10 Pro or Education, the latest Mac Operating System and the latest version of Ubuntu for Linux. We also recommend having Bingview, the campus virtual desktop initiative.

All computers, student- or faculty-owned, should have anti-virus protection. Universities are breeding grounds for viruses, so “B” prepared!

UPDATE From the ITS HELP DESK, a simple rundown on purchasing a new compter:

ITS doesn't recommend a particular brand or operating system. We help students with all kinds of machines. The type of computer you get should depend on what you're most comfortable using already and what software your degree program may require you use.

If you're enrolled in an engineering program and need to use software that requires a lot of processing power, then you should look at laptops with higher end processors and more RAM. Whereas if you will likely only use the computer for writing papers, then a program like Microsoft Word doesn't require very much processing power.

If you will be generating a lot of data and want to store it locally on the hard drive, then you need a larger hard drive. However, you have cloud storage with your Binghamton Google Drive, so if you have an alternative of backing up files to Google Drive and keeping fewer files on the computer itself.

If you tend to use a laptop while moving around, then something to consider is the type of hard drive inside the machine. There are hard drives that physically spin (HDD) or hard drives that are solid (SSD). Solid state drives are more expensive, but since they aren't physically spinning they are less prone to being damaged from movement or being dropped. The flip-side is data recovery is more difficult on a solid state drive. But it's always a good idea to back your data up frequently or automatically so that you're never in the position of needing data recovered because there's always a copy in the cloud.

If you have always used a Windows operating systems in the past, then we would recommend getting a Windows machine. Same applies to Mac. The Help Desk can help troubleshoot problems with both Windows and Mac, so you don't have to consider whether or not you would have support for one operating system over the other.

(Thank you to Kim Smey for this section of the blog.)

Questions? Comments? Concerns? Visit for more information.