Industrial Design Computer Requirements

(Updated March 2019)

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

Windows-capable computers are strongly recommended for Industrial Design students.

The Department of Graphic Design and Industrial Design requires purchase of computers by Industrial Design students. While the industrial design industry uses different platforms, our department has chosen to use the Windows platform for most software applications.

Students in Industrial Design should pay particular attention to the AutoDesk qualified hardware list to find computers and hardware compatible with Autodesk products. In addition, Industrial Design students should avoid purchasing computers with integrated graphics processors and are encouraged to select NVidia graphics processors for increased software compatibility. NOTE: Apple computers do not use NVidia graphics processors. Industrial Design students need to have higher-end computers for the intense processing and rendering required.

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 who choose to use Apple hardware because dual-boot provides better performance. Some of our students are choosing to use dual-boot on their own computers. Several of the professional software applications (SolidWorks, KeyShot, 3DS Max) used in the Industrial Design curriculum are Windows only. Most of these applications are free to students, but others such as Adobe Creative Cloud, are sold at reduced prices for students, but are not free. Therefore it is strongly recommended that ID students consider Windows versions when purchasing software and operating systems. 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. Because of the intense software needs of Industrial Design students, higher-end computers are specified. 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 Intel Core i7 or newer processor Intel Core i7 or newer processor
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
18″ or larger—1920 x 1080 minimum screen resolution 15″ or larger (second external 1920 x 1080 minimum screen resolution monitor optional, but recommended)
Video Adapter (Graphics Card)
2 GB hardware-accelerated OpenGL 2.0 or higher professional graphics cards with recommended driver from Autodesk hardware certification pages. NVidia graphics cards preferred for increased compatibility.
Operating System Windows 10 Pro Edition (Not “Home” version)
Audio 100% Windows compliant sound card
Network Adapters
Wi-Fi adapter may be included. Built-in RJ-45 and CAT 6 cable recommended for faster connections in studio. Wi-Fi adapter may be included. Built-in RJ-45 and CAT 6 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
Additional Hardware Three-button mouse with mouse driver software (Optional certified Wacom tablet recommended.)
Software

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

Many Autodesk products are available free through Autodesk’s Education Community.

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

• 1st Year BID and Track III MID students will need a licensed version of Dassault Systèmes SolidWorks 2019-2020 or later (free student license available from: http://www.eos.ncsu.edu/software/downloads/ installed on their personal computers for use in ID 210 in the Spring semester.

• 2nd Year BID students will need Luxion KeyShot installed on their personal computers for use in ID 310 in the Fall semester. KeyShot for Education is available at a reduced rate for students here https://buy.keyshot.com/collections/keyshot-education.

Macintosh Computers

Components Macintosh Desktop Macintosh Laptop
CPU (Processor) 27″ iMac (not 21.5″ model), Mac Pro, or iMac Pro, any current model MacBook Pro, any current 15″ model with 2GB or more Graphics Card
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—1920 x 1080 minimum screen resolution (Monitors from other vendors will work with Apple computers.) 15″ laptop (second external monitor 21″ or larger—1920 x 1080 minimum screen resolution optional, but recommended) Monitors from other vendors will work with Apple computers.
Video Adapter (Graphics Card)
2 GB VRAM minimum NOTE: Apple computers do not use NVidia graphics processors. 
Operating System Mac OS X version 10.14 or later
Audio Standard on Macintosh
Network Adapters
Wi-Fi and Wired ethernet adapter included. CAT 6 ethernet cable recommended for faster connections in studio. Wi-Fi is included. Wired ethernet adapter and CAT 6 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
Additional Hardware Three-button mouse with mouse driver software (Optional certified Wacom tablet recommended.)
Software

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

Many Autodesk products are available free through Autodesk’s Education Community.

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

Additional software may be required for certain courses.

Several of the professional software applications (SolidWorks, KeyShot, 3DS Max) used in the Industrial Design curriculum are Windows only. Most of these applications are free to students, but others such as Adobe Creative Cloud are sold at reduced prices for students, but are not free. Therefore it is strongly recommended that ID students consider Windows versions when purchasing software and operating systems.

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.)

• 1st Year BID and Track III MID students will need a licensed version of Dassault Systèmes SolidWorks 2019-2020 or later (free student license available from: http://www.eos.ncsu.edu/software/downloads/ installed on their personal computers for use in ID 210 in the Spring semester.

• 2nd Year BID students will need Luxion KeyShot installed on their personal computers for use in ID 310 in the Fall semester. KeyShot for Education is available at a reduced rate for students here https://buy.keyshot.com/collections/keyshot-education.

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.