The following specifications and recommendations assume that a laptop should serve the student's computing needs for four years of engineering coursework. It may be possible to get by with a less capable machine initially, but performance will degrade more rapidly as the software demands change over time. We strongly suggest that a student have a laptop that meets the recommended specifications. If you are going to be studying Mechanical, Industrial & Manufacturing Engineering or Civil and Construction Engineering a macOS computer may not be the right choice and we strongly suggest you read the info in the Windows vs macOS FAQ entry below.

  Minimum Specifications Recommended Specifications

Intel i5 or AMD Ryzen 5 CPU

Intel i7 or AMD Ryzen 7 CPU






512GB SSD or larger

Graphics AMD or Intel integrated graphics Discrete NVIDIA or AMD graphics processor
Communications 802.11g/n, webcam, microphone 802.11ac, webcam, microphone
Operating System macOS or Windows macOS or Windows
If you have any questions, contact

Frequently Asked Questions

You may purchase a laptop from any vendor you choose, as long as it meets our recommended or minimum specifications, however the following options may provide a better value:

Many departments will require you to run software that is Microsoft Windows only! 

Students in Civil and Construction Engineering and Mechanical, Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering programs will need to run Windows-only software with heavier 3D graphics needs. We highly recommend that students purchase a native windows laptop if entering these programs.

If you choose to purchase an Apple laptop, you will  need to run Windows software via virtualization software, or else, rely entirely on the College of Engineering's Citrix Virtual App or Virtual Desktop (home internet speeds can affect Citrix performance).

The college computer labs are another option, but are limited in their capacity. A laptop with dedicated NVIDIA/Radeon RX/Vega graphics for these majors may aid in modeling software.

CBEE:  Windows or Mac
CCE:  Windows only, dedicated/discrete GPU
EECS:  Windows or Mac (CPU capable of hardware virtualization HIGHLY recommended)
MIME:  Windows only, dedicated/discrete GPU
NSE:  Windows or Mac 

All OSU students have FREE access to Microsoft Office 365 to install on their personally owned computers (Mac and/or PC).

Virtually all the software you will need for your classes will be available to you either free or at a substantial discounts through campus channels. 

  • Consider getting a 13-15" screen laptop for mobility and get a larger external monitor for home.
  • Consider extended/accidental warranties. Accidents happen.
  • The longer the warranty that comes with the device is the more robust it is likely to be. Laptops that come with 3 year warranties generally last longer than ones that come with 1 year warranties.
  • Look at consumer reviews before you buy to make sure that it's a well-built product.
  • Protect your laptop, get a good sleeve/case or a padded bag.