Recommended Personal Computer Configurations

When students, faculty, and staff are looking for new personal computers, they often contact IT for advice. While IT does not sell computers to users for personal use, we can give you a few basic ideas on things to consider when making your purchase.

Click here for links to vendors who offer educational discounts on hardware.

Knowing what you plan to spend on your initial purchase, as well as over the lifespan of your computer, will dictate many of your other decisions.  You should try to buy a computer that will last you four years, but you may end up buying a new one after two.  The saying "you get what you pay for" applies very strongly to computers.  Purchasing a lower-end laptop will typically result in a shorter life span.

Note: These are recommendations for general use computers. Some curriculums may recommend different specifications because they may use data intensive calculations or require enhanced graphics capabilities. Check with your department for more information.

Windows PC Computer Configuration Recommendations

Following are the computer configurations we recommend for UWSP students. Check with the department within your major for additional curriculum-specific recommendations.

Minimum Standard Configuration

  • Intel i5 8th Gen / AMD Ryzen 5 2nd Gen
  • 8 GB RAM minimum
  • 500 GB solid state (SSD) hard drive minimum
  • Web camera.​
  • Network: 10/100/1000 BASE-T Ethernet
  • Wireless: 802.11 g/n dual band (2.4/5.0 GHz)
  • Laptop Security Cable Lock (highly recommended for resident students)
  • Windows 10 Professional/ Windows 11 / MacOS 12 or higher
Recommended Configuration
  • Intel i5 11th Gen / AMD Ryzen 5 4th Gen or greater
  • 16 GB RAM
  • 1 TB solid state (SSD) hard drive or larger
  • Web camera
  • Network: 10/100/1000 BASE-T Ethernet
  • Wireless: 802.1x n/ac/ax (2.4/5.0/6.0 GHz)
  • Laptop Security Cable Lock (highly recommended for Resident students)
  • Windows 10 Professional / Windows 11 / MacOS 13 or higher

Addi​tional Recommendations


When purchasing wireless accessories choose dual band technology (2.4 GHz and 5.0 GHz capable).

You may need to purchase accessories that are not included with a new computer purchase such as a DVI, HDMI or display port cable for your monitor, network cable, and surge protector.

Operating Systems
We support computers running Windows 10 and the latest three versions of MacOS * on campus. PCs should have all current patches and updates installed.

* A new OS version is typically provided by Apple each year.  UWSP Information Technology supports the latest three versions.

Students do not need to bring a personal printer to school.  Printing is included with student tuition and printers are available in the Residence Halls and academic buildings.  More information about printing on campus is availble on our Printing page.

Microsoft Office 365 and Adobe Creative Cloud are available for personal installation for faculty and staff. 

Most retail computers have a 1 year warranty; we suggest you upgrade the manufacturer's warranty to at least 3 years.

Note: Laptop warranties generally do not cover screen damage, such as cracking. Check with the manufacturer to see if they offer accidental damage coverage in lieu of the standard warranty.

Wireless Routers
Routers are prohibited on the campus network (this includes the Residence Halls).