Technology Recommendations for New Students

This document covers the recommended specifications for incoming freshman or any student looking to purchase a new computer.

Related KBs


Windows recommended specifications
MAC recommended specifications
Supported devices in Residence Halls


***NOTE: Chromebooks and iPads are not acceptable substitutes for a laptop. We do not allow wireless routers, most Roku streaming devices, or Epson printers in the residence halls.***

For more informtion about discounts on technology offered by the university, visit our Discounts Page.


Choosing between a Mac or PC?

Both the Mac and PC have merits to their functionality and feature set. Each can have Microsoft Office installed and can use all of our online materials via Canvas, SIS, and Outlook Web Access. However, the Mac version of Microsoft Office does NOT include Access or Publisher. Consult your advisor about what software you will need for your major or program of study to ensure you're well equipped for the semester.

Additional notes on tablets and Chromebooks:

We do not recommend tablets or Chromebooks as your only computer. Online class content does not always function correctly with either of these options.

The following are the minimum recommended specifications for both Windows and Macs for general use:

Windows Logo
 

Windows recommended specifications:

- An Intel Core i5, i7, or i9 (8th gen or newer) or AMD Ryzen 3000, 4000, 5000 or 6000 series are strongly recommended.  
- 8 GB of RAM is the bare minimum.  For design/graphics/engineering students, we recommend 16 GB of RAM.
- 256 GB or more Solid State Drive (SSD) storage.  Avoid computers that only have a HDD.  
- Windows 10 or Windows 11.  It should be on at least version 20H2 if Windows 10.  
- Wireless must support 5 GHz band!  If it has dual-band wireless or WiFi 5 or later, then it will work on the 5 GHz band.  

Mac

Mac recommended specifications:

- Apple M1 processor is strongly recommended.  Intel models may lose software support from Apple as early as 2024, so we do not recommend buying any Intel Macs.  
- 8 GB of RAM is the bare minimum.  For design/graphics students, we recommend 16 GB of RAM.
- 256 GB or more Solid State Drive (SSD) storage is recommended.
- It needs to be on one the three most recent major OS versions.  Currently that's Monterey, Big Sur, or Catalina.  
 

Supported Devices in Residence Halls:

Many students also bring consoles, streaming devices or smart TVs for their residence hall.  These can be registered and added to the NetReg wireless network on campus (for NetReg directions see: UWGB-IoT (Internet of Things) ). Almost all Roku devices use WiFi Direct to connect with remotes, which interferes with campus wireless, so they are not allowed in the residence halls.  The only exceptions are the low-end Roku devices that use an IR remote (Roku 2 or Roku Express).  For online gaming, we highly recommend using the available ethernet ports for internet instead of wireless.  Here is a list of the recommended streaming devices to use on campus:
- Apple TV
- Amazon Alexa
- Amazon Echo
- Amazon Fire TV
- Chromecast
- PS3 - not officially supported but might still work
- PS4
- PS5
- Roku 2
- Roku Express
- Smart TVs (except Roku)
- Nintendo Switch
- Wii - requires ethernet adapter and must be used on wired network
- Wii U
- Xbox 360
- Xbox One
- Xbox Series S/X
We do not support Epson printers in the residence halls.  Epson printers interfere with the wireless network and we ask that you do not bring them.  If you want to use another brand of wireless printer, we ask that you register them to the NetReg network.  Otherwise we offer free USB cables at the Help Desk and ask that you turn off the wireless on the printer.  We do not have any USB-C printer cables for Macs.  
We do not allow wireless routers or hotspots in the residence halls.  When students set up their own wireless network on campus, since there are a limited number of usable wireless channels, it interferes with the campus wireless network causing slowness and disconnects for other people around them.  If you are having issues with wireless connectivity in your room, please contact the Help Desk to investigate (920-465-2309).  Most of the time the issue is other students' devices causing interference, which we can locate and have them turn off.