Home Hardware Recommendations

Be prepared to teach and learn with the right technology

Having the right hardware is integral for success at USD.  For new and returning students, and for employees that want to work from home, ITS has provided a list of personal hardware recommendations and specifications to ensure that your technology works for you, not against you. 

Devices and specifications listed on this page are subject to change at anytime. This guide is to be used only as a starting point when selecting a computer that meets your needs.

For student questions about program-specific requirements and software, please contact your department. 

For questions about network connectivity and bandwidth requirements, please click here.  

For all other questions, please contact the ITS Help Desk.

 

Before Purchasing a New Computer

  • I already have a computer. Do I need a new one?
  • Choosing Mac or Windows
  • Choosing the right computer

Technical Information and Considerations

 

Recommended Windows Specs

ITS does not provide specific model recommendations.  However, we do provide hardware specifications that can be met by many computer models.

Recommended Windows devices
Model Storage Memory (RAM) Processor (CPU) Other Notes

Windows Laptop - Entry Level

 

256 GB SSD

 

 8 GB 

 

 Intel Core i3 8th Gen or above

 Highly recommended to include an integrated webcam and microphone

Note: Zoom virtual backgrounds require an i7 

Windows Laptop - Mid Level

256-512 GB SSD

8-16 GB

Intel Core i5 8th Gen or above

 
Windows Laptop - Pro Level

 

512 GB - 1 Terabyte SSD

 16-32 GB

Intel Core i7 8th Generation or above

 Highly recommended to include an integrated webcam and microphone

 

Other Things to Consider

  • For students, most students bring their computers with them while traveling to and from class.  Consider the weight of the laptop when selecting a model

  • Are you a fan of touchscreens?  If so, consider touchscreen laptops or convertable laptop-tablet hybrids

  • Will you be using a resource-intensive software?  Make sure to check with the software vendor for your specific computer requirements before purchasing

Recommended Mac Specs

For Mac computers, ITS provides specific model recommendations.  However, please note that the specs of these models may change over time.  Always ensure your software is compatible with the selected operating system. 

Recommended Mac devices
Model Storage Memory (RAM) Processor (CPU) Other Notes

Macbook Air - Entry Level to Mid Level

256-512 GB SSD

 8 GB 

1.6 GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 8th Generaltion or newer

 The Macbook Air is much lighter than other models at the cost of some processing power

Macbook Pro - Mid Level to Pro Level

512 - 1Terabyte SSD

 8-32 GB 2.0 GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 8th Generaltion or newer 

The Macbook Pro is heavier, but has more processing power

 

Other Things to Consider

  • For students, most students bring their computers with them while traveling to and from class.  Consider the weight of the laptop when selecting a model

  • Many business and engineering softwares require a Windows interface.  Make sure the Mac operating system will work well for you before purchasing

  • Will you be using a resource-intensive software?  Make sure to check with the software vendor for your specific computer requirements before purchasing

 

Recommended Mobile Device Specs

For mobile devices, ITS provides specific model recommendations.  However, please note that the specs of these models may change over time, and are only recommendations, not requirements. Some software may not be available or compatible on mobile devices.

Recommended mobile devices
Make Model Operating System Storage

Apple

11" iPad Pro

iOS

128 GB

Apple

10.2" iPad 

iOS 128 GB
Dell

Latitude 5310 2-in-1

Windows 10 128 GB 

 

Peripherals to Consider

Peripherals aren't required, but often times, can be very useful for improving technology performance.  Consider the following peripherals:

Recommended peripherals
Item Purpose
USB Wireless Mouse Having a wireless mouse can make long periods of time on a laptop much more bearable and easier on your wrists.  There are very low-cost options, as well as higher-end, bluetooth based options
Laptop Stand + keyboard Long periods of working on a laptop at a desk can cause neck pain from looking down.  A laptop stand can raise the screen to eye level, and ease eye and neck strain.  A wired or wireless keyboard allows the user to continue working with the laptop on a stand
External Webcam Most laptops come equipped with a reliable webcam and microphone, but if you are dissatisfied with the quality of yours, consider an external webcam with 1920x1080p resolution and an omni-directional microphone.  ITS recommends this webcam, or one with similar technical specifications.
Powerline Adapter

If you aren't able to run an ethernet cable from your router to your computer because of distance, consider a Powerline Adapter like this one on Amazon.  Powerline adapters use the power lines in your walls to transfer your internet connection over long distances in your home. 

Please note that Powerline Adapters are contingent on a number of factors, and may not work for everyone.  

Wifi Adapter

If you are working on a desktop computer without wifi, you can consider a wifi dongle to allow your computer to connect to the wifi.  Note that wifi connections are not as fast or stable as ethernet connections.