Laptop Initiative

Beginning Fall 2012, all undergraduate students in 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. Information for students with Mac OS X computers, computers running Linux or other operating systems is provided here.

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.

Computer Spec Minimum Recommended
OS Windows 7 64-Bit* Windows 10 64-Bit*
Processor Intel Core i5 (2.0GHz or faster) Intel Core i7
Memory (RAM) 8 GB 16 GB
Hard Drive 300 GB with 100 GB free for courseware 500GB Solid State Drive (SSD)
Display 11-inch screen or larger, at least 1366x768 resolution
Port Minimum of 1 USB Port
Wireless 802.11 a/g/n
Warranty An extended warranty with accidental damage coverage is highly recommended 4-year extended warranty with accidental coverage is highly recommended
Backup None USB external hard drive, Google Docs, UT Box

*Note:  several engineering applications such as MATLAB are eliminating support for 32-Bit versions of their software.  Therefore, 64-Bit devices and operating systems are now strongly recommended, or perhaps considered as a requirement. 

Laptop CO-OP

ECE-IT, in partnership with the University Campus Computer Store, is happy to provide students with an easy way to purchase business class laptops at a discounted rate. All the laptop models included in the co-op meet or exceed the ECE minimum requirements and come with a 1-year limited warranty. The option to purchase additonal warranty is also available during the initial time of purchase. The purchase of addiitional accidental warranty means all hardware is covered whether it is a manufacturer defect or broken by the user. Users requesting hardware support must drop their laptop off at the Campus Computer Store in FAC 109. They will coordinate with the vendor to fix any hardware issues the laptop may have.

View and Purchase Laptops at Campus Computer

Required Software

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

Package Availability
Microsoft Office Campus Computer Store (FAC 109) offers this at a steep student discount
AntiVirus - Immunet (Windows PC)  Students may download from Immunet
AntiVirus - Sophos & Avast (Mac OS X) Students may download Sophos or Avast
Microsoft Updates Available for auto-download through the Microsoft Update Center
MATLAB Student licensing and download page
ITS Printing Drivers Students can download from ITS



Although not required for general purpose use, it is highly recommended that your laptop be encrypted using your operating systems native encryption utility (e.g. BitLockerFileVault 2). The encryption method chosen may depend on the hardware and operating system supported by the encryption utility. For further inquiries, you may contact the ECE help desk at

Students that hold an appointment of academic staff (TA, RA, GRA, etc) and intend to use a non-university laptop to store and/or transmit sensitive university data (e.g. grades, exam materials, sensitive emails), must encrypt the laptop as per sections 11.3.3 of the Information Resources Use and Security Policy.

Note: All academic staff intending to use a non-university system for UT business needs must seek specific approval from the department head before pursing such use. Please adhere to section 11.3.3 of the Information Resources Use and Security Policy.

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.