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Computer Requirements

Media, Arts, Design, and Technology Computer Requirements

Media Arts, Design and Technology undergraduate and graduate students must have their own computer by the Fall Semester of their first year. Windows computers are REQUIRED.


NOTE: All students should have a full computer, at least an older computer, available for coursework in the Fall Semester of their first year. Using a smart phone only will not work for courses.

ALL departments require students to have a computer with minimum specifications. Computers that do not meet minimum specifications may prevent students from completing course assignments.

Please read this page AND the general information before spending money on computer hardware and software.


Media Arts, Design and Technology undergraduate and graduate students must have their own computer by the Fall Semester of their first year.

Windows computers are required.

The Department of Media Arts, Design and Technology requires purchase of computers by all its students by the first semester of their first year to start their exploration of technology as a creative medium for art and design.

Undergraduate and graduate students in the Department of Media Arts, Design and Technology have the opportunity to learn and be creative with a wide-range of computer-based software applications and technologies, including graphic design, drawing and illustration, motion graphics and visual effects, animation, web design, game design, interactive media, programming for artists and designers, writing, print media design, 3D modeling, digital and material fabrication, and more.

Higher-end Windows computers that can handle intense processing and rendering are strongly preferred by the department to cover a breadth of creative computational practices. Students should avoid purchasing computers with integrated graphics processors and are encouraged to select NVidia graphics cards for increased software compatibility.

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. Higher-end computers 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.

ComponentsWindows DesktopWindows Laptop
CPU (Processor) or ModelAny model using Intel Core i7 or newer processors.
Should meet current Lumion system requirements.
Same as Desktop.
System RAM16 GB minimum, more preferred.Same as Desktop.
Hard Drive (Storage)512 GB SSD minimum, more preferred (multiple drives are fine)Same as Desktop.
Monitor/Display21″ or larger—4K minimum screen resolution15″ or larger (second 21″  or larger external, 4K minimum screen resolution monitor recommended)
Graphics Processor Unit (GPU) Should have a discrete GPU.Minimum 4 GB VRAM or more professional graphics card. NVidia graphics cards preferred for increased compatibility. Avoid integrated graphics processors.Same as Desktop.
Operating SystemWindows 10 or later.Same as Desktop.
AudioStandard on PCsSame as Desktop.
Network AdaptersWi-Fi card or adapterSame as Desktop.
BackupExternal Drive – Windows Backup (external drive needs to be at least twice the computer’s storage capacity)
Cloud Backup Services – Google One (Only Non-NCSU Google Accounts), iCloud, or another backup service
Same as Desktop.
Warranty ServiceMinimum 3-year onsite parts and labor or third-party loss/damage coverageSame as Desktop.
Additional HardwareThree-button mouse with mouse driver softwareSame as Desktop.
Optional Equipment• Wacom tablet recommended.
• Digital Camera, minimum 8 mega-pixels, manual over-rides on automatic exposure and possibly focus controls, memory cards for image storage.
• External Portable Speakers
• Security cables and locks.
• Surge protector to protect against power problems
Same as Desktop.
Be sure to check for educational discounts through the College of Design or Wolfpack Outfitters.

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

Additional software may be required for certain courses.
Microsoft Office 365 (free to NCSU students)

Adobe Creative Cloud

Additional software may be required for certain courses in Animation and Interactive Media, some are free for students and others require a paid student license including:
Autodesk Maya (Animation) & Autodesk Mudbox (3D Modeling)
ZBrush (3D Modeling)
Unity3D (Game Design)
Same as Desktop.


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 or use this form to contact the College Information Technology staff with specific information about your problem.