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Recommended System Configurations for New UW-Madison Students

These recommendations are for computers that you may already own. For recommendations for purchasing a new computer please see our section on buying a new computer.

In order to provide a dependable, responsive computing environment for the typical student computing services provided at UW-Madison, the following system recommendations should be followed. These recommendations are constantly changing and should be used as a guideline in determining the current usefulness of existing computers. This document will be updated regularly since new services will continue to increase the recommended system requirements.

If you're looking to buy upgrade components (hardware or software) or upgrade services, take a look at the DoIT Tech Store online catalog for available Hardware, Software and Installation Services. The best software deals for students are available online through the Wisconsin Integrated Software Catalog (WISC) which includes free delivery to your home or campus address.

For student PC users, Microsoft Office 365 University (containing Microsoft Office 2013) can be purchased in person at the DoIT Tech Store or online through WISC for $79. As an alternative to Microsoft Office, you may also consider other free office solutions.

For student Macintosh users, Microsoft Office 365 University (containing Microsoft Office 2011 for Mac) can be purchased for $79 in store or through WISC. As an alternative to Microsoft Office, you may also consider other office solutions such as Apple iWork or other free office solutions.

Every student in the dorms is required to have antivirus protection on their computer system (and it is STRONGLY recommended for everyone else!) Symantec AntiVirus can be downloaded for free via high-speed Internet connection at home, office, or computer lab.

If you have more questions regarding system recommendations, contact the DoIT Tech Store at (608) 264-3648, chat or info@doit.wisc.edu.

Windows (PC) Computers

    Minimum Recommended
  • Processor (CPU) - Intel (Core 2 Duo or later) or an AMD processor 2.0 GHz or better
  • Memory - 2 GB RAM 
  • Operating System - Windows 7. Please see Choosing a version of Windows for more information
  • Hard Drive - 120 GB
  • Network connectivity - wireless
  • Peripheral connectivity - USB 2.0 or better
    'Ideal' Recommendation (To last 4-5 years with minimum need for future upgrades)
  • Processor (CPU)  - Intel Core i3, i5 or i7
  • Memory - 4 GB RAM 
  • Operating System - Windows 8
  • Hard Drive - 250-500 GB
  • Network connectivity - Ethernet and wireless
  • Peripheral connectivity - USB 2.0 or better, Bluetooth 4.0
    Windows Software Recommendations
  • Productivity Suites - MS Office 2010 or later, LibreOffice, OpenOffice.org, or comparable software for word processing, spreadsheets and presentations.
  • Web Browsers - Latest versions of Microsoft Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox
  • Optional Email Applications - Latest versions of Outlook or Mozilla Thunderbird
  • Security software including Symantec AntiVirus, MalwareBytes, Windows Firewall (built-in)

Apple Macintosh Computers

    Minimum Recommended Hardware
  • Processor - Intel Core 2 Duo
  • Memory - 2 GB
  • Operating System - Mac OS X 10.5
  • Hard Drive - 120 GB
  • Network connectivity - wireless
  • Peripheral connectivity - USB 2.0 or better
    'Ideal' Recommended Hardware (To last 4-5 years with minimum need for future upgrades)
  • Processor - Intel Core i5 or i7
  • Memory - 4 GB
  • Operating System - Mac OS X 10.6.8 or newer
  • Hard Drive - 250-500 GB
  • Network connectivity - Ethernet and wireless
  • Peripheral connectivity - USB 2.0 or better, Bluetooh 4.0
    OS X Software Recommendations
  • Productivity Suites - MS Office 2008 or newer, Apple iWork, LibreOffice or comparable software for word processing, spreadsheets and presentations.
  • Web Browsers - Latest versions of Apple Safari, Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox
  • Optional Email Programs - Latest versions of Mac OS X Mail, Outlook, or Mozilla Thunderbird
  • Security software including Symantec AntiVirus and Mac OS X's built-in Firewall.




Keywords: personal departmental minimum requirements computer systems UW Campus recommended system incoming freshmen freshman student new computer   Doc ID: 3061
Owner: Patrick J.Group: DoIT Tech Store Consulting
Created: 2004-07-26 19:00 CDTUpdated: 2013-08-06 12:09 CDT
Sites: DoIT Help Desk, DoIT Tech Store Consulting