Choosing a Computer

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This page provides some helpful information for those students wishing to purchase a computer to bring to ESU. There are also 10 computer labs on campus for student access.

Desktop versus Laptop

  • Desktop computers are larger and weigh more than a portable, but are generally less expensive and have a larger monitor. They have more computing power for a given price. Desktops remain ON the desktop because of their size. Consider space limitations in the residence hall rooms when buying a desktop.
  • Portables are small and light enough to carry to classes, the library or home to work on assignments. Unlike the desktop, portables are usually self-contained and require less space to use. Consider where you will want to use your computer when deciding between a desktop and a portable.
  • Be certain you are comfortable with the video display, keyboard and mouse. Type at least one page of text as a test drive. It is a good idea to keep a copy of the warranty information and the computer manufacturer's tech support number with the computer.

Mac vs. Windows

A Windows-compatible system is strongly recommended for you to run software that may be required in your classes. If you're a fan of Apples, you're not necessarily out of luck, you may be able to use Virtual PC or Apple's Boot Camp software to allow you to dual-boot your Intel-based Mac into Windows. PC's are a de facto standard at ESU and it will be up to you to ensure that you can run the software required for your coursework. You're best bet is to ask your department what they suggest/require.

Guidelines to consider, when purchasing a PC:

REMEMBER: It is a good idea to buy a computer with as much memory (RAM) and hard drive space as you can afford. A USB Thumb Drive (lexar, iomega, sandisk are three quality brands) is another good investment. A Thumb Drive, like a floppy disc, allows you to transport your files to other computers. They fail less then a floppy and hold alot more files.

Desktops

Average model : for basic applications (word processing, spreadsheets, desktop publishing, internet access, educational software). This model is sufficient for most student's needs.

High end model : for multi-media applications (3D modeling, video production, etc...). For the more advanced computer user.

 AverageHigh End
Processor Dual Core 1.8 - 2.4/
Core 2 Duo 2.2/
i3 2.26 - 2.4GHz
QuadCore 2.8GHz/
i7 2.8 - 3.7GHz
Memory 2GB - 4GB 6GB - 8GB
Hard Drive 250 - 320GB 500GB - 1TB
Drives DVD/CD-RW Blu-Ray
I/O Ports USB 2.0,Parallel,Serial, PS/2 port USB 2.0,Parallel,Serial,Firewire port
Network 10/100 Ethernet LAN RJ45 100/1000 Ethernet LAN RJ45
Audio Digital Sound Card & Speakers Digital Sound Card 7.1/DVD Audio & Speakers
Video AGP w/128MB PCIew/1GB, dual VGA, tv-out,HDMI,HDCP,S-video,DVI
Video Display 17" flat panel 19" or 21" flat panel

Software

Word processing or spreadsheet software:
Many PCs are sold bundled with word processing and spreadsheet software. The campus standard for these applications is Microsoft Office Word (word processor), Excel (spreadsheet), PowerPoint (presentation software) and Access (database). The entire Office2010 Suite is standard on campus. Student versions of this software is available from our bookstore or can be purchased from other online sites with valid student identifcation (usually an ESU email address).

Virus protection software

It is essential to protect your computer against computer viruses. McAfee and Norton sell good products that when configured correctly, stay up-to-date with the latest data files. Microsoft Security Essentials is free and is recommended over other free antivirus software.

Wireless

If you wish to include wireless capability in a laptop purchase, consider the 802.11g or n(WiFi) technology to remain compatible with campus standards.

Miscellaneous

  • Surge protector to protect your computer equipment from electrical surges. Diskettes or Thumb Drives (you will eventually present materials in class so thumb drives can be useful for such purposes.)
  • Students are responsible for insuring their computers. Check with your insurance carrier for the specifics on your homeowner policy.
  • If you are buying a new computer, you must open and test it before bringing it to campus. Plug in all connections and power on the computer, making sure everything works correctly. That's one less thing to worry about on move-in day!

Useful links

*ESU has no affiliation with any of the companies below. Links are provided as a starting point for you to research prices and products.

www.lenovo.com
www.gradware.com
www.academicsuperstore.com