The Technology Store provides assistance to students in the purchasing of personal computers, devices, and accessories, and also offers technical support throughout their time at Ball State.

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Computer Recommendations

Not sure which device is right for you? See our general recommendations and recommendations from each academic college below to find the perfect fit for you.

Please note: Google Chromebooks and Chrome OS are not supported and will not work with many enterprise software applications and services required at Ball State. 

General Recommendations

If your college or program did not specify computer requirements, our general recommendations below can be used as a guide in purchasing one.

Our hardware considerations break down the critical components of a computer and provide minimum and preferred recommendations for them. And our recommendations based on usage can help you identify a suitable device based on how you plan to use it — both for coursework and personal use.

Already own a computer? Make sure it meets at least the minimum specifications to maximize its use in and out of the classroom.

Hardware Considerations

Minimum

Preferred

Processor

A faster processor means faster operating speed for your computer.

Intel i5 11th Gen or equivalent

Apple M2

Intel i7 13th Gen, equivalent, or higher

Apple M3 or higher

Storage

A solid-state drive (SSD) provides fast performance and allows for the installation of programs and storage of documents or files on your computer.

256 GB SSD

General use, light storage of documents and files. May need to rely on cloud storage.

512 GB SSD or higher

General use and storage of large files or installation of large software packages.

Memory (RAM)

Additional random-access memory (RAM) will improve performance and may be necessary for some applications or if operating multiple applications at once.

8 GB

Adequate for basic office applications, web browsing, and video conferencing.

16 GB or higher

Offers the ability to run multiple applications at the same time or to utilize resource intensive applications.

Graphics

Integrated graphics are built into the computer's existing processor. A dedicated graphics card is separate from the computer's processor and has its own dedicated memory.


An integrated graphics card is adequate for most general computer use.

A dedicated graphics card provides better graphics quality and is necessary for tasks like video editing, graphic design, and other graphics-heavy applications.

Operating System


Windows 11 OR macOS Ventura

Windows 11 OR MacOS Sonoma
Recommendations Based on Usage

How You'll Use It

Minimum Specifications

Device Recommendations


OK

  • web browsing and research
  • Microsoft Office products
  • video conferencing
  • social media
  • video and music streaming
  • Intel i5 processor
  • 8GB memory
  • 256GB SSD
  • integrated graphics
  • camera
  • current Windows or macOS
  • 1-year warranty

Good

All OK uses plus:

  • multiple applications running at once
  • use a wider-range of applications
  • faster computing capabilities
  • Intel i5 dual-core processor
  • 8GB memory
  • 256GB or 512GB SSD
  • integrated graphics
  • camera
  • current Windows or macOS
  • 3- to 4-year warranty

Better

All Good uses plus:

  • one Adobe Creative Cloud application
  • light video, music, and sound editing
  • light gaming
  • Intel i7 quad-core processor
  • 16GB or 18GB memory
  • 512GB SSD
  • integrated graphics
  • camera
  • current Windows or macOS
  • 3- to 4-year warranty

Best

All Better uses plus:

  • multiple Adobe Creative Cloud applications
  • advanced video, music, and sound editing
  • gaming
  • computer-aided design
  • extra storage
  • Intel i9 six-core processor or newer
  • 18GB memory or higher
  • 512GB to 1TB SSD
  • 4GB Radeon or NVIDIA Graphics
  • 15-inch display or larger
  • camera
  • current Windows or macOS
  • 3- to 4-year warranty

Computer recommendations for programs are made in partnership with each academic college. Some departments have specific computer recommendations based on your major. Select your college below to review those recommendations.

Don't see your program? Check out our general recommendations to see what will work best for you.

Department of Architecture

It's recommended that students not purchase a computer until Fall of their sophomore year. A Windows-based computer is encouraged.

Minimum Specifications

  • Intel Core i7 processor (multi-core)
  • 16GB random-access memory (RAM)
  • 1TB solid-state drive (SSD)
  • 4GB NVIDIA discrete graphics (must support latest OpenGL)
  • WiFi connectivity that supports 2.4GHz and 5GHz
  • integrated webcam
  • 15- to 17-inch display size
  • 3- to 4-year warranty

Recommended Accessories and Software

  • external hard drive for backup
  • adapters to convert to HDMI or VGA for connection to monitors
  • Microsoft Office
  • Adobe Creative Cloud
  • Rhino 7.0 Educational Version
  • VLC media player
  • antivirus software

Department of Construction Management

Windows-based computers are best recommended. Apple Macs will work but will require more effort in the long run such as patches so that the computer works. Under Recommendations Based on Usage refer to the Better or Best  with additional memory

Minimum Specifications

  • 16GB RAM
  • 512GB SSD

Preferred Specifications

  • 32GB RAM
  • 1TB SSD

Recommended Accessories and Software

  • AutoCAD
  • Autodesk's Revit
  • Navisworks

Interior Design

Windows laptop - not a Mac or Chromebook. 

Option 1

Laptop at freshman level-use high school laptop. Use university computer labs or the AT262 workstations. Buy a high-end laptop at beginning of the sophomore year. It is possible you will need a new high-end laptop in your senior year to run Lumion or other rendering programs. See Revit/Lumion Specifications for high-end requirements: https://lumion.com/requirements.html

Lumion Requirements
  • Internet connection
  • NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3090, NVIDIA RTX A6000, AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT with 16GB GPU or better
  • Windows 10 64bit or newer
  • Intel Core i7-11700T or better
  • 1920 x 1080 pixels or better
  • 64GB RAM or more
  • 1TB SATA3 SSD or NVME m.2 Hard Drive

Option 2

Purchase 2 laptops during your four years in the program

Revit Recommendations for freshman year
  • Windows 10 or 11 64-bit
  • Intel i-Series, Any Ryzen 5 1600X or higher
  • 16GB RAM
  • 1680 x 1050 with true color or better
  • DirectX 11 capable graphics card 4GB GPU or better
  • 256GB SSD 
Sophomore and Junior Year Requirements
  • Internet connection
  • NVIDIA GeForce RTX 1060 or higher, NVIDIA Quandro 2000 ADA or higher, AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT with 16GB GPU or better
  • Windows 10 or 11 64bit or newer
  • Intel Core i5 or i7 or any Ryzen 5 3600 or higher
  • 1920 x 1080 pixels or better
  • 32GB RAM or more
  • 512GB SSD or NVME m.2 Hard Drive

Option 3

Purchase a high-end laptop in freshman year and use it for 4 years. You will need to take very good care of the laptop. It is likely you will need a new on so this might not be the best option. 

  • Internet connection
  • NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3090, NVIDIA RTX A6000, AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT with 16GB GPU or better
  • Windows 10 64bit or newer
  • Intel Core i7-11700T or better
  • 1920 x 1080 pixels or better
  • 64GB RAM or more
  • 1TB SATA3 SSD or NVME m.2 Hard Drive
 

Department of Landscape Architecture

Windows Specifications

  • 15.6" Full HD or better
  • Intel Core i7 (CPU Mark of 2600) or better
  • 16GB RAM or better
  • 8GB Graphics Memory or better
  • 1TB SSD or better
  • Windows 11 Pro (or most current)
  • 10/100/1000 ethernet 
  • Integrated 802.11ax + Bluetooth 5.0 or better
  • 3- to 4-year warranty

Apple Specifications

  • MacBook Pro 16" M2 Pro or better
  • 12Core CPU or better
  • 16GB RAM or better
  • 19-Core GPU or best available
  • 1TB SSD or better
  • Most current OS
  • 10/100/1000 ethernet
  • Integrated 802.11ax + Bluetooth 5.0 or better
  • 3-Year AppleCare+

Recommended Accessories and Software

  • Microsoft Office (available through BSU)
  • ESRI ArcGIS Pro most current version/update
  • Adobe Creative Cloud - InDesign, Photoshop, Illustrator, Acrobat Pro, etc. Latest versions(available through BSU)
  • CAD software - Autodesk AutoCAD, latest versions
  • 3D-modeling software - Autodesk Revit, Civil 3D, SketchUp, Rhino, 3dsMax, etc Latest versions
  • Internet Search Engines Google Chrome, Big, Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft Edge, etc.
  • Virus Protection Norton 360 Deluxe or similar (consult Tech Center for advice)
  • 256GB flash drive USB 3.0
  • 20' CAT6 RJ45 or better Ethernet/network cable (for faster wired internet connections)
  • Cable lock (Targus Defcon or similar, to secure your hardware when stationary)

Department of Urban Planning

It's recommended that students not purchase a computer until Fall of their sophomore year. A Windows-based computer is encouraged, but Apple is acceptable as long as Windows is installed via Boot Camp.

Minimum Specifications

  • Intel Core 64-bit processor 2.2GHz minimum; Hyper-threading (HHT) or Multi-core 
  • 16GB random-access memory (RAM)
  • 512GB solid-state drive (SSD)
  • 1920 X 1080 display resolution
  • 4GB NVIDIA discrete graphics
  • 3- to 4-year warranty

Recommended Accessories and Software

  • Adobe Creative Cloud
  • Antivirus software
  • ESRI ArcGIS Pro
  • 1TB external hard drive (preferred) or 1TB flash drive

Department of Accounting

Dell is recommended as opposed to Apple. Windows based machines are the predominant machines used in nearly all of accounting and finance. If a student chooses an Apple computer there may be tasks they are unable to complete on their computer and will need to utilize the library computers.

Minimum Specifications

  • Intel i5-12400 or higher, or AMD Ryzen 5 5600 or higher
  • 16GB RAM or higher
  • Integrated Intel or AMD graphics
  • 512GB SSD or higher

Recommended Accessories and Software

  • Numerical keypad either integrated into laptop or external 

Department of Applied Business Studies

No specific recommendation for Hospitality and Property Management programs. Please refer to the Technology Store's general computer recommendations for a device that suits your needs. 

For Fashion Programs they use multiple Adobe programs and photo/video editing applications frequently in several courses. Fashion major students should purchase from the Better (Minimum) or Best  (Preferred) sections. 

Minimum Specifications

  • 8GB RAM
  • 512GB SSD

Preferred Specifications

  • 16GB RAM
  • 1TB SSD

Department of Economics

No specific recommendation. Please refer to the Technology Store's general computer recommendations for a device that suits your needs.

Department of Finance and Insurance

Dell is recommended (with built-in or external webcam/microphone). No other specific recommendations. Please refer to the Technology Store's general computer recommendations for a device that suits your needs.

Department of Information Systems and Operations Management

Dell is recommended.

Minimum Specifications

  • Intel i7 processor
  • 16GB random-access memory (RAM)
  • 512GB solid-state drive (SSD)
  • Integrated graphics
  • Windows 10 or newer
  • 3- to 4-year warranty

  Recommended Accessories and Software

  • headset with microphone (for some courses)

Department of Marketing

No specific recommendation. Please refer to the Technology Store's general computer recommendations for a device that suits your needs.

Department of Management

No specific recommendation. Please refer to the Technology Store's general computer recommendations for a device that suits your needs.

Center for Information and Communications Sciences

Minimum Specifications

General recommendations include:

  • Intel i5 processor
  • 8GB random-access memory (RAM)
  • 256GB solid-state drive (SSD)
  • integrated graphics
  • 3- to 4-year warranty

Advanced recommendations for media production projects include:

  • Intel i7 processor
  • 16GB random-access memory (RAM)
  • 512GB solid-state drive (SSD)
  • 3- to 4-year warranty

Recommended Accessories and Software

  • Adobe Creative Cloud

Department of Communication Studies

Minimum Specifications

  • Intel i5 processor
  • 8GB random-access memory (RAM)
  • 256GB solid-state drive (SSD)
  • integrated graphics
  • 3- to 4-year warranty

School of Journalism and Strategic Communication

Apple is recommended, but Windows-based computers are acceptable.

Minimum Specifications

For advertising, journalism education, magazine, mass communication, news, and public relations programs:

  • Apple M1 8-core CPU or Intel i5 quad Core (windows)
  • 8GB random-access memory (RAM)
  • 256GB solid-state drive (SSD)
  • 7-core GPU (Apple) or integrated graphics (windows)
  • 3- to 4-year warranty

For graphics and photo journalism programs:

  • Apple M2 Pro 10-Core CPU or Intel i7 Quad core processor (windows)
  • 16GB random-access memory (RAM)
  • 512GB solid-state drive (SSD)
  • 16-core GPU (Apple) or dedicated/discrete graphics 4GB (windows)
  • 4GB discrete graphics
  • 3- to 4-year warranty

Recommended Accessories and Software

  • Adobe Creative Cloud

Department of Telecommunications/Media

Recommendations for Production majors are as follows.

Minimum Specifications (Apple)

  • Apple M3 Pro
  • 11-Core GPU
  • 18GB random-access memory (RAM)
  • 512GB solid-state drive (SSD)
  • integrated graphics
  • 4GB discrete graphics
  • 3- to 4-year warranty

Minimum Specification (PC)

  • Intel i7 processor 11800H (10th Gen) or AMD Ryzen 7 50800H or better
  • 16GB random-access memory (RAM)
  • 512GB solid-state drive (SSD)
  • Dedicated graphics card
  • NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 w/4GB VRAM
  • 3- to 4-year warranty
 

 

 

School of Art

Apple is recommended for photography, intermedia, and visual communications programs. Dell is recommended for animation programs. *32GB for animation, motion graphics, and video effects.

Minimum Specifications

  • Intel i5 processor or Apple M1 and up
  • 8GB random-access memory (RAM)
  • 256GB solid-state drive (SSD)
  • integrated graphics
  • 4GB discrete graphics*
  • 3- to 4-year warranty

*4GB for animation programs.

Preferred Specifications

For intermedia, photography, visual communications, and animation programs:

  • Intel i7 processor or Apple M2 and up
  • 16GB random-access memory (RAM)
  • 1TB solid-state drive (SSD)
  • integrated graphics
  • 8GB discrete graphics
  • 3- to 4-year warranty

Recommended Accessories and Software

  • Adobe Creative Cloud and Highspeed external hard drive 500GB to 2TB.

School of Music

No specific recommendation. Please refer to the Technology Store's general computer recommendations for a device that suits your needs.

Department of Theatre and Dance

Apple is recommended for sound design or technology-focused programs as certain applications are only compatible with macOS. Please refer to the Technology Store's general computer recommendations for a device that suits your needs.

Department of Counseling Psychology, Social Psychology, and Counseling

No specific recommendation. Please refer to the Technology Store's general computer recommendations for a device that suits your needs.

School of Kinesiology

No specific recommendation. Please refer to the Technology Store's general computer recommendations for a device that suits your needs.

Department of Military Science

No specific recommendation. Please refer to the Technology Store's general computer recommendations for a device that suits your needs.

School of Nursing

Other than a working webcam, no specific recommendation. Please refer to the Technology Store's general computer recommendations for a device that suits your needs.

Department of Nutrition and Health Science

No specific recommendation. Please refer to the Technology Store's general computer recommendations for a device that suits your needs.

Department of Social Work

No specific recommendation. Please refer to the Technology Store's general computer recommendations for a device that suits your needs.

Department of Speech Pathology and Audiology

No specific recommendation. Please refer to the Technology Store's general computer recommendations for a device that suits your needs.

Students studying a major or taking Core Curriculum courses under the College of Sciences and Humanities should review the following general minimum and preferred computer specifications.

College Recommendations

Minimum Specifications

  • Intel i5 processor
  • 8GB random-access memory (RAM)
  • 256GB solid-state drive (SSD)
  • Windows 8.1 or macOS High Sierra (or newer)
  • 3- to 4-year warranty

Preferred Specifications

  • Intel i7 processor
  • 16GB random-access memory (RAM)
  • 512GB solid-state drive (SSD)
  • Windows 10 64-bit or macOS Mojave (or newer)
  • 3- to 4-year warranty

Recommended Accessories and Software

  • Microsoft Office
  • external hard drive

Department Recommendations

If your department has additional or alternative recommendations, find them below.

Department of Anthropology

No additional recommendations. See general minimum and preferred specifications for the College of Sciences and Humanities above.

Department of Biology

No additional recommendations. See general minimum and preferred specifications for the College of Sciences and Humanities above.

Department of Chemistry

No additional recommendations. See general minimum and preferred specifications for the College of Sciences and Humanities above.

Department of Computer Science

CS 120 and CS 121 are taught in the department's computer lab, but a computer is required for all other computer science courses. Mobile devices, tablets, and Chromebooks are not acceptable.

Minimum Specifications

  • Intel i7 processor
  • 32GB random-access memory (RAM)
  • 512GB solid-state drive (recommend 1TB drive for a Mac)
  • Windows 10 or 11 (not home edition) or newest Apple OS Version 

Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology

Dell is recommended.

No additional recommendations. See general minimum and preferred specifications for the College of Sciences and Humanities above.

Department of English

No additional recommendations. See general minimum and preferred specifications for the College of Sciences and Humanities above.

Department of Environment, Geology, and Natural Resources

No additional recommendations. See general minimum and preferred specifications for the College of Sciences and Humanities above.

Department of Geography

Dell is recommended. If you choose to purchase or already own an Apple computer, you will need to install Windows via Boot Camp.

Recommended Accessories and Software

  • built-in or external webcam/microphone

No additional recommendations. See general minimum and preferred specifications for the College of Sciences and Humanities above.

Department of History

No additional recommendations. See general minimum and preferred specifications for the College of Sciences and Humanities above.

Department of Mathematical Sciences

No additional recommendations. See general minimum and preferred specifications for the College of Sciences and Humanities above.

Department of Modern Languages and Classics

No additional recommendations. See general minimum and preferred specifications for the College of Sciences and Humanities above.

Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies

No additional recommendations. See general minimum and preferred specifications for the College of Sciences and Humanities above.

Department of Physics and Astronomy

No additional recommendations. See general minimum and preferred specifications for the College of Sciences and Humanities above.

Department of Political Science

No additional recommendations. See general minimum and preferred specifications for the College of Sciences and Humanities above.

Department of Psychological Science

No additional recommendations. See general minimum and preferred specifications for the College of Sciences and Humanities above.

Department of Sociology

No additional recommendations. See general minimum and preferred specifications for the College of Sciences and Humanities above.

Department of Women's and Gender Studies

No additional recommendations. See general minimum and preferred specifications for the College of Sciences and Humanities above.

Department of Early Childhood, Youth, and Family Studies

No specific recommendation. Please refer to the Technology Store's general computer recommendations for a device that suits your needs.

Educational Leadership

No specific recommendation. Please refer to the Technology Store's general computer recommendations for a device that suits your needs.

Educational Psychology

No specific recommendation. Please refer to the Technology Store's general computer recommendations for a device that suits your needs.

Educational Studies

No specific recommendation. Please refer to the Technology Store's general computer recommendations for a device that suits your needs.

Elementary Education

No specific recommendation. Please refer to the Technology Store's general computer recommendations for a device that suits your needs.

Special Education

Online program students should have a working webcam and mic. No specific recommendation. Please refer to the Technology Store's general computer recommendations for a device that suits your needs.

Software for Students

All Ball State students and employees have access to free or reduced-cost software and applications including Microsoft Office 365, Adobe Creative Cloud, and more.

We're Here to Help

In collaboration with other on-campus services, the Technology Store can assist students and employees with most technology questions and needs. Read our return policy, learn about servicing options, and find answers to frequently asked questions on our Services and Support page.