Buying A Computer

As with any "large ticket" item, there are a lot of things to consider. Each vendor offers different options, complete with inscrutable "nuances" that make comparison difficult. However, there are a few basic characteristics on which you can focus to help you narrow the field. The table below provides recommended specifications for most users. Certain, higher-end applications may require an adjustment to these specs.


The speed with which innovation takes place and the amount of competition in this market make choosing a computer difficult at best. The following table details our thoughts on machine selection.

Components and factors Recommended
Operating System Windows 7 or 8 ; for Mac users we recommend 10.8 (Mountain Lion)
Processor Intel Core i5 or better

4 Gigabyte (GB) minimum, 8 Gigabyte (GB) recommended

  • Windows 7, 8 running a 64 bit operating system, 8 GB is ideal
  • Windows 7 running 32-bit operating system, 4GB is ideal
  • Mac OS , 8GB is ideal
Hard Drive (Gigabytes - GB) 250 or more.
CD-ROM DVDRW - Record and play DVD's and CD's.  Double-layer (DL) is still a matter of choice
Connectivity for off-campus users Broadband via DSL or cable. 3G or 4G mobile broadband is also an acceptable alternative.

Ethernet Card - 10/100/1000 mpbs recommended for on-campus, residence hall broadband wired access (each room has two wired ports)

Wireless Card - 802.11b/g/n/a recommended for use in all academic and residence hall buildings - all residence halls have full wireless support.

LCD Screen Size 14" or higher LCD or LED if purchasing a traditional laptop, 10" for Tablet

Save space, leave your printer at home, get 500 pages of free printing per semester in the computer lab

Special Note about Wireless printers - a secure registration process is required for all equipment on our wireless network, we use 802.1x to authenticate such devices.  Most personal wireless printers do not have 802.1x capabilities, therefore will not connect properly to our network. If you intend to bring a printer to campus, be sure to bring a USB cable to physically connect it to your computer. We will not support wireless printers.

Basic Office Suite (Word Processing, spreadsheet and presentation) such as Microsoft Office Suite or compariable free software like Open Office, Star Office and others.

Antivirus Software - Campus provides Sophos Antivirus free of charge to all students.

Extras USB Memory Key/Flash Drive and a good Carrying Case

A Word About Macintoshes and Linux

While our campus is mainly a "Windows" environment, you will find Macintoshes and Linux/Unix boxes throughout the campus. As such, it might be easier to find more "advanced" support for Windows-based machines. However, our staff has experience with all three platforms and are certified to repair Macs. Regardless of machine manufacturer or operating system, they will do their best to help users.

Buying Through The Campus

Be sure to check out what our College Store has to offer.

Contact Information

For more information about technology at SUNY Plattsburgh, please contact:

Phone: (518) 564-4433 / toll-free 1-800-787-8773