Laptop System Requirements for Undergraduate Programs

Students entering Electrical and Computer Engineering are expected to have a laptop at their disposal. Laptops do not need to be brought to campus on a daily basis, but individual courses may require that a laptop be brought to class or lab sessions.

Operating System Requirement

Undergraduate students will be required to install specific software packages on their laptops. Some of the software packages used in our program are only available on the Microsoft Windows Platform. Due to this need, all students are required to have a laptop with a Windows operating system.  Required software for courses are not fully compatible with macOS devices.

PC Minimum Requirements

Some ECE courses utilize software that places significant demands upon the processor, memory and/or graphics systems of the computer. Consequently, students are advised that a new laptop may be required if their current system is more than three-years old, or fails to meet certain minimum specifications. The following table summarizes ECE recommended minimum specifications for students purchasing a new computer for the upcoming semester. If your current computer does not meet these minimum requirements, you may find that your system will need to be upgraded or replaced within three years and/or may not provide acceptable performance for some or all ECE courses. ECE does not recommend purchasing a new laptop with specifications less than those shown below.

 

Microsoft Windows 10 Operating System, 64-bit is the expected standard

Laptop Spec Minimum Recommended
CPU Intel Core i5 Intel Core i7
Memory (RAM) 8GB 16GB or more
Hard Drive 300GB (100GB free for courseware) 500GB SSD (Solid State Drive) or larger
GPU (video) Integrated Discrete graphics card*
-  Nvidia GeForce GTX 960M
-  AMD Radeon HD 7970M
-  Nvidia Quadro K500M
Wireless 802.11ac or better 802.11ac or better
Ports 1 free USB More than 1 free USB
Video Conferencing  Front-facing SD camera with microphone and speakers Front-facing HD camera with privacy shutter, microphone, and speakers
Optional:  Headset with microphone
Optional:  IR camera for facial login
Backup USB external hard drive, Google Docs, UT Box, or OneDrive
Warranty An extended warranty with accidental damage coverage is highly recommended

*A discrete graphics card is recommended if you plan to run Computer-Aided Design (CAD) software.  Discrete graphics models feature a dedicated graphics process and memory to provide superior 3D performance for graphics-intensive applications.

Please anticipate classes via Zoom and online proctored exams which may require a front-facing camera.

Home bandwidth:  Sufficient for classes and online testing.  At least 2 Mbps upstream/downstream is recommended.

Apple macOS Notes

  • Some required software for courses will not run under macOS
  • A macOS device will require additional memory, drive capacity, and an investment in time/labor on the end-user to install a Windows virtual environment or setup Apple's Boot Camp.

Recommended Software

All computers must have an active antivirus software installed before being connected to the campus network. Systems running Windows 8 or 10 have the built-in Microsoft Windows Defender installed.  In addition, many other software packages are available at steep discounts through the Campus Computer store.

Package Availability
Microsoft Office Free to students.  Instructions for access.
Anti-Virus Download from Information Security Office page
MATLAB Student licensing and download page
ITS Printing Drivers Students can download from ITS

 

Financial Aid

Students receiving aid and that are loan eligible may contact The Office of Student Financial Services to have their aid adjusted to include the cost of their laptop. Students not eligible for aid can apply for alternative or short-term loans through The Office of Student Financial Services.