Recommendations for student computer systems brought to campus
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Recommendations for student computer systems brought to campus

Note: The recommended system specifications change from time to time. These recommendations cover academic year 2013-2014 only.


Miami strongly recommends that students have a personally-owned computer in order to take advantage of the many technology resources that the university provides. Following are recommendations provided by Information Technology Services for student computers.

If you are purchasing a new computer...

If you will be purchasing a new computer for your college career, Miami strongly recommends purchasing a Miami Notebook. The Miami Notebook student laptop program offers excellent laptops at a discounted price, coupled with services and software to make computing hassle-free. Please visit the Miami Notebook web site at for details.

If you have specialized needs and wish to purchase a desktop or other non-Miami Notebook computer, we recommend purchasing a computer that meets or exceeds the following specifications. We believe that, for most students, these reflect a computer configuration likely to last four years.

Information in this table is adapted from


Minimum Recommended

Preferred (if applicable)

Rationale for Recommendation


i5 (Windows/Mac)

i7 (Windows/Mac)

The latest operating systems and applications written for them require advanced processors for efficient operation.


4 GB

8 GB

Memory demands for systems such as Windows 7/8 require at least 2 gigabytes (GB) of memory.

Hard disk300 GB500 GBAn increasing number of Miami courses use multimedia content, which greatly increases storage needs on personal computers.
Optical driveDVD+/-RW (burns/reads CDs and DVDs)DVD+/-RW (burns/reads CDs and DVDs)Recordable DVDs are capable of backing up and transporting large computer files.
Networking+Built-in LAN 10/100 (Ethernet) for all systems; wireless for laptops (Windows: 802.11b/g/n; Mac: Airport Extreme)Built-in LAN Gigabit (Ethernet) for all systems; wireless for laptops (Windows: 802.11n; Mac: Airport Extreme)Wireless is available in all residence halls and academic buildings. Please do not bring any personal routers to campus as this will interfere with available wireless.
Video RAM256 MB512 MBOperating systems and associated software often require a minimum of 256 MB video RAM for multitasking functionality.
Operating system

Windows 7 Ultimate or Windows 8 Pro, OS 10.8 (Mountain Lion)

Windows 7 Ultimate or Windows 8 Pro, OS 10.8 (Mountain Lion)

These operating systems offer advanced operational and networking features.
Support & protectionExtended warranty plan, including accidental damage coverage, for expected life of machine and a laptop bag to protect your computer.  

* If you plan on running a virtualized version of Windows on a Mac computer, it is recommended you have at least 4GB of RAM. Note that students are entitled to one free copy of the Windows Operating system, as described below.
+ IT Services recommends a 20 foot Category5 Compliant Ethernet patch cable to allow for an Ethernet connection. 

If you are bringing a computer that you already own...

If you will be bringing a computer that you already own, please make sure it meets or exceeds the following minimum requirements for connecting to Miami's network. The specifications outlined below will likely only support basic email, web browsing, and word processing/spreadsheets. If possible, we recommend bringing a computer that substantially exceeds these minimum specifications.


Operating System




Windows Computer

Windows 7


500+ MB of free space

10/100 or 100 Mbps Ethernet+

Mac Computer

Mac OS 10.4 or greater


500+ MB of free space

10/100 or 100 Mbps Ethernet+

+ IT Services recommends a 20 foot Category5 Compliant Ethernet patch cable to allow for an Ethernet connection.

Important: If you have a Microsoft Windows computer, you must have anti-virus and anti-spyware software installed and running in order to connect to Miami's network in the residence halls. Miami recommends the free Microsoft anti-virus software. You can obtain free anti-virus and anti-spyware software from Miami's Software Store


The purchase of a printer is optional. Personal printers provide for the instant availability of print resources but can be costly due to supplies and maintenance. If you choose to bring a printer, we advise an inkjet printer due to their small size and low power draw. For more information, please see Deciding whether to bring a printer to campus.

IMPORTANT: Miami policy states that personal wireless network devices are not to be used in residence halls.These devices include wireless routers, wireless printers (with the wireless feature turned on), and cellphone wireless hotspot or other similar devices.

Using personal wireless network devices creates radio frequency interference with the University wireless service, which prevents fellow students from having reliable network connectivity.

Please note that the wireless network is often enabled by default on wireless printers and will need to be manually disabled.

Gaming devices and streaming players

The following devices can connect to the MU-GAMING network:

  • game systems such as Sony PlayStation, Microsoft XBox, Nintendo Wii
  • Apple TV
  • Roku players
  • PVR/DVRs (TiVo, ReplayTV)
  • VoIP phones

For more information, please see Registering a network device without a web browser to use the network.

Microsoft Office

Miami strongly recommends you have Microsoft Office. Once you are registered for classes, you can obtain Microsoft Office and/or the Microsoft Windows operating system through Miami at no cost! Faculty and staff may purchase discounted versions of these products.

Questions? Please contact IT Help at 513-529-7900 or

Related Items:

Symptoms: Bringing my own computer to campus

Keywords: 52803 specs recommendations student computer systems campus 2012-2013

Applies To: Student Resources | Student Computing | Off-Campus Internet Access

Solution ID: 040972654052803@kpol17 Last Modified Date: 05/01/2014 03:42:37 PM

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