Template:Purchasing a computer

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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. 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, Windows, or Linux?

Your platform choice should be determined by your relative comfort level and previous experience with each operating system. Gustavus owns and supports all three platforms, so the decision is completely yours to make.

Are there any computer purchasing programs at Gustavus?

Gustavus does not sell computers to students, but does maintain a relationship with Apple, Inc., Lenovo, HP and Dellallowing students to purchase machines 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. All you have to do is ask.

FREE SOFTWARE Microsoft Office 365 is currently available for FREE to download for current Gustavus students on up to 5 computers.

Also, students 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 a student discount. You might be asked to supply a student 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.

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 Vista System 10.6 or higher
Networking 10/100 base - T Ethernet card with RJ-45 connector. Wireless access available in most campus spaces.
Anti-Virus Software Microsoft Security Essentials or Windows Defender (free, built into Windows 8)
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 7 (any variety) Macintosh OS 10.9
RAM 8 GB or higher 8 GB or higher
Connectivity 5GHz Dual Band Wireless N (aka A/B/G/N or A/G/N), Built-in 10/100/1000BASE-T Gigabit Ethernet (RJ-45 connector)
Processor Intel Haswell i5 Intel Haswell i5
Warranty 3 year warranty AppleCare Protection Plan


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

What did students bring to campus in September of 2013?

Roughly 50% of first year students brought a Macintosh computer to campus, and 50% brought a Windows-based computer. The number of Macintosh computers brought to campus has gone up steadily over the last few years.

Students in the fall of 2013 brought mostly laptops to campus, while a small percentage brought desktop computers.

What do I need to connect to the Gustavus network?

For your computer to access the network with a wired connection, you will need an Ethernet card (for all new computers this is standard), and an Ethernet cable. Ethernet cables will be provided to all first-year students—they will be available at the Technology Services office in Olin for free. If you purchase a Macbook Air or other ultrabooks, we have USB-ethernet adapters available for your use to utilize the wired network.

To access the wireless network, you will need a computer with a built-in or external wireless card, and be in range of a wireless signal. All laptops today will have a wireless card pre-installed. It is possible to add a wireless card to a desktop computer, however plugging in your computer to the wired Ethernet will provide you better results.