Student Computer Recommendations and Requirements
Learn about the recommended personal computer specifications for your studies at College of the Rockies.
September 13, 2021 – Please note: Computer retailers are currently experiencing shortages and delays in shipments. Students entering College of the Rockies for the winter 2022 semester may want to shop early to avoid disappointment.
Do I really need a computer?
Yes! Access to a personal computer is critical to your success as a student. Whether your course is offered online or in-class, a computer and internet access help you to access course materials, complete assignments and interact with your instructor, classmates and college services. The College has negotiated special pricing on recommended laptops for its students from Dell.
Important note: A cell phone is not an adequate substitute for a personal computer for students.
Do I really need my own computer?
Well, yes, if you want to be as successful a college student as possible. Many, if not most, of the courses at College of the Rockies have an online component, and will require you, as a student, to be able to access course content via COTROnline (our online course/learning management system), electronic library resources, communicate with your instructors, use video conferencing for distance courses or group work, to connect with your peers, access a full range of College services and supports as well as the explore the world as a global citizen.
You will be expected to complete course work, assignments, projects and papers using Microsoft Office tools (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc.), and other resources, and will very often need to submit those assignments, projects and papers through the online learning management system, called COTROnline, via email or using other technology options. Campus computing facilities are not open 24/7 and there may be times you require a computer when the College is not open.
Recommended Minimum Personal Computer Specifications 2021
The computing needs of students can be vastly different depending on the courses that you are taking. Students who are participating in GIS or Pre-Engineering courses should look at procuring computers that will have higher specifications. Students interested in procuring a laptop can check for special pricing through Dell.
If you require support for your personal computing equipment we highly recommend Windows based operating systems (Windows 10) for your personal computer at this time. Software used in our classes is based on the Windows operating system.
Apple products can connect to the College internet, and will run most, but not all, Microsoft Office 365 applications and other software (Microsoft Access is not available for use on Mac), but the technology is not supported by College IT Services at this time.
The following are the recommended minimum requirements you will need to consider as you select a computer for your educational needs.
Personal Computer (PC)
|Processor||Intel Core i3 (minimum) Core i5 (recommended) or better|
AMD Ryzen 3 (minimum) AMD Ryzen 5 (recommended) or better
GIS and Pre-Engineering minimum processor is Core i5 and Ryzen 5
|Memory||8Gb (minimum) Especially if using online collaboration tools|
16 GB (recommended) especially for GIS or Pre-Engineering Students
|Storage||128 Gb SSD minimum|
256 Gb SSD Recommended
|Screen Size||12 inch (diagonal) or better|
|Screen Resolution||1366×768 minimum|
|Operating System||Windows 10 Home 1908 (minimum)|
Windows 10 Professional 20H2 (released October 2020)
|Office 365||The College provides a free copy of Office 365 for all students while they are enrolled at the college. The current package includes: Access, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Teams, One Note, Publisher, and 1 TB of OneDrive cloud storage.|
|Internet Connection||20 MB/s download speed 2.5 Mb/s upload speed per device connected (minimum). Internet speeds vary depending on provider and conditions. Additionally the number of devices connected to the internet connection will affect your experience.|
|Web Browser||Your experience will be enhanced if your device supports the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox or Edge. Internet Explorer is not supported.|
The College recommends Microsoft Windows for Students as all courses and programs are tested in the Windows environment. Many programs will also be available for Apple. Students should check with the instructor to ensure compatibility with software used in the particular course.
|Model||MacBook Pro (2015) or newer|
MacBook Air (2015) or newer
|Operating System||OS X 10.10 or newer|
|Screen Size||12 inch (diagonal) minimum. 15 inch (diagonal) recommended|
|Office 365||The College provides a free copy of office 365 for all students while they are enrolled at the college. Office 365 is available for OS X 10.10 and later. The current Office 365 for OS X (Sierra) 10.13.6 and newer includes: Teams, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, One Note and 1TB of One Drive cloud storage. Please note that MS Access is NOT available for Mac OS X.|
|Internet Connection||20 Mb/s download speed 2.5 MB/s upload speed per device connected(minimum). Internet speeds vary depending on provider and conditions. Additionally the number of devices connected to the internet connection will affect your experience.|
|Can I run Windows on my Mac?||Quite possibly. Please refer to this link for directions on how to setup your Mac to run Windows 10. Install Windows 10 on your Mac with Boot Camp Assistant – Apple Support.|
Please note: This link will take you to an external site. College of the Rockies is not responsible for the content or information on this site.
Tips for buying a new computer
A few things to consider:
- Purchase your laptop form a reputable Canadian retail store, website or through the manufacturer such as Dell, Acer, HP or Apple using the above specifications to narrow your choice.
- Look for educational discounts through Dell, Apple, HP or others.
- Dell Educational Discounts: Visit the Dell website.
- Apple Higher Education Individuals Store (students and faculty) Visit the Apple website https://www.apple.com/ca_edu_93120/shop/back-to-school
- Be an informed consumer, read reviews or articles before you buy. CNET is a great source of reviews and information on what’s available or check out for information on current technology for your educational needs. See, “The Best Laptops for Students in 2020“.
- Consider what you will be using your laptop for. If you will be bringing it to campus you may want to opt for a lighter model. Additionally, as a student at College of the Rockies, you will have access to the Microsoft Office 365 suite of products, including Teams, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook.
- Consider what else you will need a computer for beyond school and consider who else in your family may need to use the computer.
- You may also want to purchase accessories such as a mouse, keyboard or printer depending on your individual needs and preferences.
Program Specific Student Computer Requirements
Engineering Certificate Program:
The Engineering Certificate program requires students to use AutoCAD for course APSC 151: Engineering Graphics. Check with your instructor about what version of AutoCAD you are expected to use.
To run AutoCAD** on your personal computer you will need the following AutoCAD recommended minimum system configuration:
- AutoCAD for Windows System Requirements (by version) is available at https://knowledge.autodesk.com/support/autocad/troubleshooting/caas/sfdcarticles/sfdcarticles/System-requirements-for-AutoCAD.html (Accessed July 6, 2020)
- AutoCAD for Mac is also available. Visit https://knowledge.autodesk.com/support/autocad-for-mac/troubleshooting/caas/sfdcarticles/sfdcarticles/System-requirements-for-AutoCAD-for-Mac.htmlfor full information. (Accessed July 6, 2020.)
Below you will find a sample showing the system requirements for AutoCAD 2018. Please check the AutoCAD site for the requirements for the specific version of AutoCAD you intend to use.
|From the AutoCAD website – System requirements for AutoCAD 2018 (Windows)|
|Operating System||Microsoft® Windows® 7 SP1 (32-bit & 64-bit)Microsoft Windows 8.1 with Update KB2919355 (32-bit & 64-bit)Microsoft Windows 10 (64-bit only) (version 1607 and up recommended)|
|CPU Type|| 32-bit: 1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster 32-bit (x86) processor|
64-bit: 1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster 64-bit (x64) processor
|Memory|| 32-bit: 2 GB (4 GB recommended)|
64-bit: 4 GB (8 GB recommended)
|Display Resolution||Conventional Displays: 1360 x 768 (1920 x 1080 recommended) with True Color|
High Resolution & 4K Displays: Resolutions up to 3840 x 2160 supported on Windows 10, 64 bit systems (with capable display card)
|Display Card||Windows display adapter capable of 1360 x 768 with True Color capabilities and DirectX® 9 ¹. DirectX 11 compliant card recommended.|
¹ DirectX 9 recommended by supported OS
|Disk Space||Installation 4.0 GB|
|Browser||Windows Internet Explorer® 11 or later|
|Network||Deployment via Deployment Wizard.|
The license server and all workstations that will run applications dependent on network licensing must run TCP/IP protocol.
Either Microsoft® or Novell TCP/IP protocol stacks are acceptable. Primary login on workstations may be Netware or Windows.
In addition to operating systems supported for the application, the license server will run on the Windows Server® 2012, Windows Server 2012 R2, and Windows 2008 R2 Server editions.
Citrix® XenApp™ 7.6, Citrix® XenDesktop™ 7.6.
|Pointing Device||MS-Mouse compliant|
|Media (DVD)||Download or installation from DVD|
|ToolClips MediaPlayer||Adobe Flash Player v10 or up|
|.NET Framework||.NET Framework Version 4.6|
Hospitality Management Program (HOSP)
This program uses e-textbooks; all students are supplied with a computer as part of mandatory program fees.
View Hospitality Management program information.