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Design Studies: Laptop Guide for Students
Students in any design studies program or class need to be sure they have a computer capable of running the software necessary for the courses they are taking. Any questions about software or hardware please contact the technology team via email BITS@sohe.wisc.edu
Last revised– 12/7/2021
Starting in Fall 2021, there will no longer be large computer lab on first floor. This means that for many DS classes, students will need a computer capable of running the software necessary for the courses you are taking.
All DS students will need a laptop that can run the software required by their classes.
Interior Architecture (IA) students cannot use any Mac product because Revit is not compatible with the MacOS operating system. IA students are required to purchase a Windows laptop with a video card.
- Textiles & Fashion Design (TFD) students may use a Mac or Windows laptop. A Windows laptop must have a video card, a newer Macbook with an M1 processor is recommended.
The School of Human Ecology may provide need-based financial assistance to purchase school supplies for students who can demonstrate need. Email Assistant Dean, Patrick Jackson, Patrick.Jackson@wisc.edu for additional information and requests.
These are three Windows laptop recommendations at different price points that will work in both IA and TFD, they are only examples of configurations that will be acceptable:
Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3 - $672
Nvidia GTX 1650
256GB of Storage
8GB of RAM
Asus Zephyrus G14 - $1150
Nvidia GTX 1650
512 GB of Storage
16GB of RAM
Asus Zephyrus G14 - $1550
9 8-core Processor
Nvidia RTX 3060
1TB of Storage
16GB of RAM
Choosing a computer that works with IA software:
- If you are enrolled in the IA program you must choose a Windows laptop, you will not be able to run Revit on any Mac computer which is required for your course. You will also need to make sure you choose a Windows laptop with a video card. A video card (also known as GPU or Graphics Processing Unit) is an optional addition to a computer that will give it more processing power at the expense of cost and battery life. There are many different video cards that will work at different price points, but if the product description includes either Nvidia or Radeon graphics then it will most likely work for the course.
Choosing a computer that works with TFD software:
- Either a Macbook or Windows computer will work if you are enrolled in the TFD program. If you prefer a Windows laptop then you must make sure it has a graphics card from Nvidia or Radeon. If choosing a Macbook, it is highly recommended that it’s a newer model with the M1 processor. If you want to use an older Macbook with an Intel processor you must make sure it has a graphics card from AMD, also often called Radeon.
Recommended: Macbook Pro 13 (TFD Only) - Starts at $1199 (Educational pricing)
Low-cost alternative: Macbook Air (TFD Only) - Starts at $899 (Educational pricing)
Other minimum specifications for Mac or Windows (Applies to IA and TFD):
- 8GB of RAM (memory)
- 256GB SSD or NVME SSD (solid state drive, storage)
- 1080p display, also known as Full HD
- Screen size is up to preference, larger screens may also come with a number pad keyboard
Ask us if you have any questions about computer hardware or vetting for specific laptops! Contact: BITS@sohe.wisc.edu