Student-Owned Computing: Already Own a Laptop?

Many incoming students already own a laptop, or will be receiving a hand-me-down from a family member. Laptops purchased in the past two years or so should meet the standard requirements for engineering students for the next couple of years. It is not important that you have a brand new computer to begin your education in the college – what is important is that you have a computer that enables you to complete your classwork.

Recommended Specs for Currently Owned Laptops

We do not have specific minimums for processor speed and other technical specs for currently owned laptops. The specifications provided below are what an existing computer needs in order to run adequately for the next year or two.

Age Less than two years old
Processor i5 or i7 8th or 9th generation and newer
RAM 8GB or more
Operating System Windows 10
Mac OS Catalina v 10.15 or newer*
Battery life 2 hours or longer
Hard drive space 256 GB Hard Drive (Solid state is best) with at least 80 GB free

*Many applications used by COE students are only compatible with Windows.  Older models of Mac devices offer Boot Camp that will allow you to partition your hard drive and install Windows on a Mac.

Consider Simple Upgrades

  • RAM – Maximizing the amount of RAM in the computer is an easy way to get a performance boost. Visit your computer manufacturer’s website to order the correct RAM for your specific computer. Sites like also sell RAM and will help you select the right RAM for your system.
  • New Battery – Mobility is key on campus, so consider buying a new battery for your laptop if possible. More and more classrooms are being equipped with more electrical outlets, but there is no guarantee that you will be able to plug in your laptop during class, especially in older buildings. It is important to be able to get through a normal class period with the use of your laptop.
  • External Hard Drive – Purchasing an external hard drive can give you additional storage space for music, photos, and documents, and will free up room on your laptop’s internal hard drive to install applications. In addition, an external hard drive is useful for backing up important files.