Personal Computer Recommendations

ITS makes the following recommendations for student computer purchases. These are general guidelines and students should check for any program (i.e. Engineering) specific computer requirements. Most computers now have similar specs. The main difference is do you want PC or Mac; hard drive type and size; and the amount of memory (RAM) installed.

As for the amount of memory (RAM) installed, most computers will come with 8 GB installed. This will be fine for 90% of what you will be doing on the system. It is worth the extra money if you can find or order one with 16 GB of memory. Your computer should last for several years.

Now for the hard drive, there is the regular drive that spins and then there is Solid State (SSD). The regular drives are cheaper so you can get more disk space for less money. But the performance is slower since the read head has to move to were the data is that you want to retrieve. The SSDs are becoming more popular and the prices are dropping. They give great performance since this is basically like a big USB thumb drive. The more disk space you need the more the drive costs. If you will be doing a lot with pictures or videos you may want to look at a 1 TB (Terabyte) drive unless you are going to store everything in the Cloud and only have current projects on your hard drive.

You do not need to purchase a license for Microsoft Office because you can apply the license through your Widener Office 365 account. You can decide if you want to purchase Anti-virus/malware software when you purchase your computer. If you have Comcast at home, they provide you with the software at no additional cost. Norton, McAfee, Trend Micro, Kaspersky, Sophos are some of the major providers of this software.

Some retailers, like Best Buy, may provide coupons or discounts if you register your Widener account, depending on their current promotions. Widener also has discounts through Dell, Apple, JurneyED, and CDW-G. Links to these vendors can be found in the Discounts and Free Offers section.

Who can request service:
Although these are recommendations for Students, they are also a guide for Faculty and Staff when looking to purchase a new computer.

Windows Based Computers
Anything you buy today will have the Microsoft Windows 11 operating system and will be the Home version. This is fine as you can always upgrade to Pro later if needed. Some will come with version “Windows 10 Home S”. The “S” means it is secure and you can only install apps from the Microsoft Store. This is easily changed to the full Home operating system.

At a minimum, you should look at the following specs:

  • Microsoft Windows 11 Home (remember if the OS lists that it is an S version that can be changed)
  • 8 GB or RAM
  • 512 GB Hard Drive (It is your call if you want to send the extra money for a SSD)
  • Manufacturer: If you stay with any of the major manufacturers you will be fine: Dell, HP, Lenovo, Microsoft

Mac Based Computers
Anything you buy today will have Apple’s newest operating system (OS), currently macOS Catalina (10.15). For general use, this is usually fine. Unlike Windows computers, you cannot install an OS version earlier than the one that came on the computer from the factory. If you know you will need to be using specific software, we strongly recommend you check the software’s OS requirements.

At a minimum, you should look at the following specs:

  • Current macOS
  • 8 GB of RAM
  • 512 GB Hard Drive (It is your call if you want to spend the extra money for an SSD or a Fusion drive)

ITS does not recommend using Chromebooks as some department software is not compatible.

For further assistance please contact the CX Team for your campus: Chester, Delaware, or Harrisburg.