Art+Design Computer Requirements

(Updated April 2018)

Art+Design undergraduate and graduate students must have their own computer by the Fall Semester of their first year.

Animation and Interactive Media students: Windows-capable computers are strongly recommended. (Windows computers or Macintosh computers with Boot Camp and Windows 10 Pro are acceptable.)

Fibers + Fashion Studies students: Either Macintosh or Windows computers are acceptable.

The Department of Art+Design requires purchase of computers by all its students. First-year Art+Design students will take a digital imaging class via distance education and will need access to a computer and software.

Fibers + Fashion Studies students may use either Macintosh or Windows computers for their coursework.

Higher-end Windows computers are strongly recommended for Animation + Interactive Media students. Animation and Interactive Media students need to have higher-end computers for the intense processing and rendering required. Animation and Interactive Media students should avoid purchasing computers with integrated graphics processors and are encouraged to select NVidia graphics cards for increased software compatibility.

Apple Macintosh computers allow both Macintosh and Windows software to run on the same computer using a dual-boot system. Other options for running Windows applications on a Macintosh using virtualization software are available. We consider the dual-boot method the better option for our students because dual-boot provides better performance. Some of our students are choosing to use dual-boot on their own computers. Students interested in running Windows on a Macintosh computer are encouraged to speak with the College of Design Information Technology staff. Please note the cost of Windows operating system and Windows software will be in addition to Macintosh software. Information for obtaining a free student license of Windows 10 Pro is available here.

Each department in the College of Design has different computer requirements. Please read the College’s Student Computing Requirements Information page for general information before spending money on computer hardware or software.

We recommend that your computer meet or exceed the specifications below. Animation + Interactive Media students should consider higher-end Windows computers. A computer with greater capability (processor speed, RAM, disk capacity) and expandability will be more likely to continue to run required software in later years of college.

This chart provides minimum recommendations for students purchasing new computers. Software requirements are listed at the bottom of the chart. Additional specialized software may be required in other courses, as determined by the instructor. Students may consider the purchase of other software to support their particular goals and learning styles.

Windows Computers

Components Windows Desktop Windows Laptop
CPU (Processor) or Model Any model using Intel Core i7 or newer (or equivalent) processors.
System RAM 16 GB minimum, more preferred 16 GB minimum, more preferred
Hard Drive (Storage) 512 GB SSD or 750 GB/7200 RPM minimum, more preferred 512 GB SSD or 750 GB/7200 RPM minimum, more preferred
Monitor/Display 21″ or larger 15″ or larger (second 21″ or larger external monitor recommended)
Video Adapter (Graphics Card) 1 GB VRAM or more
(Animation students should consider 2 GB VRAM or more.)
Avoid integrated graphics processors.
 System Windows 10 Pro Edition (Not “Home” version)
Audio 100% Windows compliant sound card
Network Adapter Wi-Fi adapter may be included. Built-in RJ-45 and CAT 5 or 6 cable recommended for faster connections in studio. Wi-Fi is included. Wired ethernet adapter and ethernet cable recommended for faster connections in studio.
External Hard Drive for Back-ups An external drive at least as large as your computer’s internal drive for backing up your computer
Warranty Service minimum 3-year onsite parts and labor or third-party loss/damage coverage
Software

Be sure to check for educational discounts through the College of Design or NCSU Bookstores.

Information for obtaining a free student license of Windows 10 Pro is available here.

Additional software may be required for certain courses.

Microsoft Office 365 (free for NCSU students)

• Adobe Creative Cloud

Macintosh Computers

Components Macintosh Desktop Macintosh Laptop
CPU (Processor) or Model iMac, iMac Pro, or Mac Pro, any current model MacBook Pro, any current 15″ model
System RAM 16 GB minimum, more preferred 16 GB minimum, more preferred
Hard Drive (Storage) 512 GB SSD or 750 GB/7200 RPM minimum, more preferred 512 GB SSD or 750 GB/7200 RPM minimum, more preferred
Monitor/Display 21″ or larger (Monitors from other vendors will work with Apple computers.) 15″ (second 21″ or larger external monitor recommended) Monitors from other vendors will work with Apple computers.
Video Adapter
(Graphics Card)
1 GB VRAM or more
(Animation students should consider 2 GB VRAM or more.)
Avoid integrated graphics processors.
Operating System Mac OS X version 10.13 or later
Audio Standard on Macintosh
Network Adapter
Wi-Fi and Wired ethernet adapter included. Ethernet cable recommended for faster connections in studio. Wi-Fi is included. Wired ethernet adapter and ethernet cable recommended for faster connections in studio.
External Hard Drive for Back-ups An external drive at least as large as your computer’s internal drive for backing up your computer
Warranty Service 3-year AppleCare Protection Plan or third party loss/damage coverage
Software

Be sure to check for educational discounts through the College of Design or NCSU Bookstores.

Information for obtaining a free student license of Windows 10 Pro is available here.

Additional software may be required for certain courses.

Microsoft Office 365 (free for NCSU students)

• Adobe Creative Cloud

If you want to run both Mac OS X and Windows on a Mac, you will also need Microsoft Windows 10 Pro Edition (in addition to Mac OS X) and Windows-compatible software of your choosing. (You do not need to have the same software applications for both operating systems.)

Questions?

The College’s Information Technology staff will be glad to go over purchase choices or answer any related questions. You can send an email to design_help@ncsu.edu or use this form to contact the College Information Technology staff with specific information about your problem.