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.

If you are looking for computer vendors, we do offer links to certain hardware providers who have special pricing for UWSP students and employees.

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.

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 or equivalent AMD processor
  • 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 / MacOS
Recommended Configuration
  • Intel i5, equivalent AMD or greater processor
  • 16 GB RAM
  • 1 TB solid state (SSD) hard drive or larger
  • Web camera
  • Network: 10/100/1000 BASE-T Ethernet
  • Wireless: 802.11 a/b/g/n dual band (2.4/5.0 GHz)
  • Laptop Security Cable Lock (highly recommended for Resident students)
  • Windows 10 Professional / MacOS

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, Adobe Creative Cloud and other software are available to students, faculty and staff at a reduced price compared to what you will pay from a computer vendor.  Click on Special Pricing for Personal Software located on the right of this page for additional information

Visit our Other Software for Home page, for other suggested software for personal use.

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).