Purchasing a computer

Purchasing a computer

Do I need to bring a computer to campus?

Gustavus does not require students to bring their own computers to campus, however, many choose to bring one. If you are unsure about purchasing a computer, we suggest that you spend some time on campus before making a decision.

Should I get a laptop or a desktop computer?

There are many advantages to bringing a laptop to campus:

  • They are easier to transport, allowing you to take notes in class, or do homework from virtually anywhere. When problems arise, it's much easier to bring a laptop to the Technology Helpline for quick help or virus removal than a bulky desktop machine.
  • With the convenience of the Gustavus Wireless Network, you'll be able to access the Internet anywhere on campus.

On the other hand, laptops have a few disadvantages to desktops:

  • Laptops are often more expensive than a comparable desktop.
  • Their smaller size and portability often make them more prone to theft and damage.
  • Laptops are more difficult to upgrade, therefore making it necessary to replace it sooner.

We suggest that your choice reflect your own lifestyle, habits, and personal preferences.

What kind of computer should I get? Macintosh, Chromebook, or Windows?

Your platform choice should be determined by your relative comfort level and previous experience with each operating system. Gustavus owns and supports all platforms, so the decision is completely yours to make. If you are interested in a Google Chromebook, please see our Chromebook web page. Some textbooks come with software that is not web-based, where Chromebooks are not supported by the publisher. Please be aware that lower-end Chromebooks may not be satisfactory when using processor heavy apps such as Zoom.

Are there any computer purchasing programs at Gustavus?

Gustavus does not sell computers to students, faculty or staff but does maintain a relationship with Apple, Inc., Lenovo, HP and Dell allowing community members to purchase computers and supplies at an educational discount direct from the vendor. Please use the following links to ensure you receive educational pricing.

Note: Almost all vendors have educational discounts for students, faculty and staff. All you have to do is ask.

FREE SOFTWARE Microsoft Office 365 is currently available for FREE to download for current Gustavus students and employees.

Also, community members are able to buy certain software and some hardware at educational discounts from stores and directly from their website such as Adobe Creative Suite (Photoshop, Dreamweaver, InDesign, etc). Remember to always ask for an academic discount. You might be asked to supply an ID or email address.

Do I need to bring a wireless router to campus?

No. Too many wireless access points in a small area can generate a substantial amount of interference, degrading everybody's wireless experience. For best performance, we recommend that students use the college's wireless. It is available in all residence halls.

Can I bring a streaming device to campus?

Yes, definitely! Please see our recommended streaming devices list - https://gustavus.edu/gts/Streaming_Device. Devices such as a Smart TV, Smart Blu-ray players, Apple TVs, and the Nexus Player work well on our network to stream Netflix, Hulu, etc. However, Screen-casting from a cell phone/tablet to the device currently isn't supported. We recommend that when using these devices, you use an ethernet (RJ45) cable (provided free by Technology Services). If you haven't purchased a Blu-ray player or TV yet, look for a wired ethernet (RJ45) port on the back when purchasing.

What are the minimum requirements for the computer I bring to Gustavus?

Before connecting to the campus network, all computers must have current virus protection and up-to-date security updates, along with the following list of minimum requirements:

Requirement Windows Macintosh
Operating System Windows 10 Macintosh OS 10.14
Networking 5GHz Dual Band Wireless AC (aka A/B/G/N/AC or A/G/N/AC), Built-in 10/100/1000BASE-T Gigabit Ethernet (RJ-45 connector) Wireless access available in most campus spaces.
Anti-Virus Software Microsoft Security Essentials or Windows Defender (free, built into Windows 8/10)
Current Security Patches Microsoft Update Server Run Software Update

What are the recommended specifications for my computer at Gustavus?

Recommendation Windows Macintosh
Operating System Windows 10 (any variety) Macintosh OS 11.6 or newer
RAM 16 GB or higher 16 GB or higher
Connectivity 5GHz Dual Band Wireless AC (aka A/B/G/N/AC or A/G/N/AC), Built-in 10/100/1000BASE-T Gigabit Ethernet (RJ-45 connector)
Processor Current Gen Intel i5 Current Gen Intel i5 or M1 processor
Hard Drive 256GB SSD or larger 256GB SSD or larger
Warranty 3 year warranty AppleCare Protection Plan

Generally the "business class" models are more durable and come with longer warranties.

Connecting to the Gustavus Wireless Network

There is no longer a registration process required to access the Gustavus wireless networks.

How do I have the best wireless network experience at Gustavus?

When buying a computer, double check that it comes with a 5GHz wireless card built-in. While Macintosh laptops come with them standard, most PC laptops do not come with 5GHz wireless cards in the preconfigured models in stores. Find out if you can order the laptop with a 5GHz wireless card, or purchase your computer straight from the manufacturer. Purchasing a 5GHz laptop