Student Computer Recommendations

In addition to public computer labs on campus, TTS recommends that all students bring a personal computer with them to Tufts. Whether you plan to bring a computer you already own, or purchase a new computer, the information below outlines what most students need for general academic purposes.

Recommendations

We recommend students’ computers should not be more than 2 years old and have the following minimum specifications:

  • At least 4 GB of RAM and i3/i5/i7 CPU
  • Windows 7 Home Premium or Apple OS X 10.9 or newer
  • 250 GB Hard Drive or 128 GB Solid State Drive or greater storage
  • WiFi capability
  • 3 years or greater of hardware support and accident protection

Microsoft Office

Microsoft Office 365 is available to all students for FREE. We strongly recommend that students not buy Microsoft Office from laptop manufacturers or retail stores.

Extended Warranties

We strongly encourage students to purchase extended warranties that cover three to four years. When possible, purchase additional protection that covers drops and liquid damage to the device.

Student Discount

Tufts maintains a list of discount agreements with many computer vendors.  

Contact TTS

If you are unsure about which computer to purchase, or if you have specific computing needs for your major or discipline, please contact TTS for assistance:

Call: 617-627-3376
Email: it@tufts.edu

The Technology Support Center recommendations for new laptops are as follows:

Solid State Drive (SSD)

SSDs are the new hard drives that do not rely on a spinning disk to store memory. SSDs improve the speed, security, and portability of any computer. This is the single best decision that can increase the speed of any computer dramatically. MacBook Airs, Macbook Retina Displays, and several Ultrabooks come with a SSD by default. 

8 GB + RAM

If you plan to have the computer for several years, we recommend shelling out the extra dollars for 8 GB RAM. Programs and operating systems are using more and more RAM. This way you are sure to have a computer that lasts.

TOUCH Screen

If buying a PC with Windows 8, we recommend you purchase a computer with a touch screen. Windows 8 is designed around having a touch screen and may feel awkward to use without it. 

External CD/DVD Drive

Easy Cloud storage options have decreased the need for a built-in CD/DVD drive. The option to purchase an external drive is available for those rare circumstances when you might need one. The added bulk to the computer is not worth the few times you might find yourself in need of a CD/DVD drive.

When purchasing a computer, pay attention to the following:

  1. If you are purchasing a computer with Windows 8, it is strongly recommend that it be a touch screen.
  2. Purchase a computer with a Solid State Drive (SSD) as speed, data security, and portability dramatically improve as compared to a standard hard drive. 

Antivirus Software

Check out AVG and MSE for free anti-viruses before purchasing a product. If you would like to purchase an anti-virus we recommend Kaspersky or Norton

Microsoft Office

It is strongly recommended that students NOT buy Microsoft Office from laptop manufacturers. The Tufts Microsoft Campus Agreement makes Microsoft Office 365 available to all students at a discounted price. See Office 365 University (PC or Mac) for more information.

Warranty

Accidents happen and the cost of a repair can often exceed the value of the computer. It is strongly recommended that you purchase an extended warranty.  

The most popular computer at Tufts is the 13" MacBook Pro. Each Mac has their advantages and disadvantages. 

Which Mac is right for you?

Visit an Apple store and test each product in person. Virtually every Mac computer is powerful enough to complete all necessary student tasks. The difference is how each product feels and the best way to experience that is in person. We also recommend purchasing a portable computer rather than a desktop. 

Minimum recommend specifications for a new Mac:

  • 8 GB RAM
  • 256 GB HD (flash storage) 
  • AppleCare

Microsoft Office:

It is strongly recommended that students NOT buy Microsoft Office from laptop manufacturers. The Tufts Microsoft Campus Agreement makes Microsoft Office 365 available to all students at a discounted price. See Office 365 University (PC or Mac) for more information.

AppleCare:

It is strongly recommend students buy Applecare (the extended warranty) for their apple laptops. Tufts Technology Support Center is an Apple Certified Service Center and can perform in warranty repairs on computers covered by the AppleCare Protection plan at no charge.

** Please note that the Information Stewardship and Supporting Information Policies prohibits connecting an Apple Airport or Time Capsule to the Tufts network. We recommend a USB hard drive for student backup.

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