Wayne State University

Aim Higher

Recommended Hardware

The following is a guide to assist students and parents in the process of selecting a computer for use while at Wayne State University.

  • The personal computer market has reached a point of maturity where it does not change drastically from year to year. In general, nearly any commercially available new computer today will run the applications WSU provides. Computers likely need to be replaced or upgraded every three to five years.
  • Some colleges and programs at WSU may have higher specifications so your computer can run required applications. Check the website for your specific college or contact your adviser for more information.
  • WSU fully supports computers running Mac OS X and Windows.
  • For computers WSU employees use to access Banner or Cognos, refer to the Administrative Desktop Computing Specifications.


 Ideal Minimum Specification for a New Computer

 CPU for Windows PCs

 "Haswell" 4th Generation Intel Core i architecture (i7/i5/i3)

 CPU for Macintosh

 "Haswell" 4th Generation Intel Core i architecture (i5 or i7) on  models where offered


 8 GB or more memory as required by application.

 *Use Windows 7 64-bit or Mac OS X 10.8 or higher if your computer  is equipped with 4 GB of RAM or more.

 Hard Drive Capacity

 *Replace your hard disk drive after approx. 45  months of service to statistically reduce the  chance of failure.

 Serial ATA, 500+ GB, 7200 rpm; Solid State Drive, 120+ GB

  • Solid State Drives offer significant improvements to overall performance and laptop battery life.
  • Use Windows 7 64-bit or Mac OS X 10.8 or higher if your computer is equipped with a Solid State drive.

 Video Card

 Intel 4th Generation "Haswell" HD5000 series graphics or HD4000 series for ultra-portables;

 If required by application, NVIDIA or ATI PCIe discrete graphics with  512 MB memory or higher, DVI and/or DisplayPort connector, other  connectors as needed

 *Use Windows 7 64-bit or Mac OS X 10.8 or higher for all operations  involving modern graphics chipsets (GPU)

 I/O Ports

 Six or more USB 3.0 ports. Some on the front of the computer for  desktops; 2-4 USB ports for laptops (dependent on form factor)

 Bluetooth 4.0 if required

 eSATA or Thunderbolt as required


 10/100/1000 Base-T (Gigabit) wired Ethernet

 Laptops: 802.11ac wireless; 802.11n for some ultra-portables.

 Operating System

 Windows 8 or 8.1

 Windows 7 Professional or Windows 7 Enterprise (recommended)

 Windows 7 Home or Windows 7 Ultimate (for home use only)

  • Use Windows 7 64-bit to utilize RAM configurations exceeding 4GB.
  • Use Windows 7 or later if you need a 64-bit Operating System
  • For systems with Windows 8, ask your School/College/Division for compatibility with their software packages. 

 Mac OS X 10.8 or later