↑ top

Computer Recommendations

Computer Recommendations

A personal computer is an essential tool for learning and professional work at Taubman College and the college strongly recommends that you have a computer to bring with you for your course and studio work.


Hardware Recommendations

The College does not mandate the purchase of a specific type or model of computer but recommends capabilities listed below. Taubman College uses both Windows and Macintosh computers. Laptops are recommended for portability and security. A high-speed wireless network, supporting the current 802.11ac standard and compatible with previous standards, is available throughout the building

Feature Windows Macintosh
OS: Windows 10 64-bit recommended OS X current version
Processor: i5 or i7 i5 or i7
Screen: 14" or better 14" or better
Memory: 8 Gb min; 16Gb recommended 8 Gb min; 16Gb recommended
Graphics*: Intel HD 5000 or better; Discrete graphics card recommended for some users Intel HD 5000 or better
Storage: portable HD portable HD
Flash Drive: 8+ Gb 8+ Gb
Ethernet: 10/100/1000 10/100/1000

802.11 a/b/g/n

802.11 ac recommended

Airport or Airport Extreme
Other features/ accessories: Security lock kit**; insurance; 3 yr/extended warranty/multi-year service agreement; wheel mouse; digital camera; external monitor, external hard drive for back-up and additional storage; case/bag

The expected useful life of a computer is three years. Architecture is a compute and graphics intensive program; recommended configurations are at the higher end with faster processors, more memory, and often a discreet graphics card. Urban Planning students will not need the higher end configurations as their software profile differs; a mid-range laptop will work well. Pre-architecture and freshmen will also not need the higher end configurations; pre-architecture work is not as graphically demanding and any machine purchased now will be two years old by the more intense third year. Again, a mid-range laptop is fine. Sites like Passmark provide ways to compare the performance of the CPUs and graphics cards listed in vendor configurations and it's useful to shop the vendor sites (Dell, HP, Apple, Lenovo) as well as the university's Computer Showcase and other third-party resellers. Avoid including Office bundles, high-end Windows versions, or anti-virus software -- those are all much less expensive at the Computer Showcase or free.  Mac and Windows machines are both used in the College but if you anticipate significant use of applications only available on Windows (Revit, Grasshopper, 3DS Max, ArcGIS...) consider selecting a Windows machine.  While there are solutions to allow running Windows applications under OSX (VMWare, Parallels) some applications, like Rhino, won't support them due to performance problems. Rhino for Mac does not initially support as many features as the Windows version, such as the variety of plug-ins that are available in the Windows version but it continues to develop.  Some students have chosen to combine a Windows desktop with a less expensive/lighter laptop.

*The majority of laptops include Intel's "HD" graphics chipset. Recent versions have provided good performance with College applications but some vendors have additional recommendations: Rhino

Software Recommendations

For general purpose productivity applications (word processing, spreadsheet...) the University offers both Google Apps for Education and Microsoft's Office 365 at no charge. For graphics work, subscriptions to the Adobe Creative Cloud suite are available at educational prices through the Computer Showcase; Adobe is no longer offering packaged versions of their main products. If you have an earlier version of the Adobe suite you may find it will meet your needs. Architecture students who wish to purchase Rhino for Windows or, now, Rhino for Mac, will find the College's Media Center has pricing substantially less than online educational vendors; the College is an educational reseller for these products. The College also provides additional software options at no charge, including access to V-Ray for Rhino and Maxwell Render through its Software page. The Computer Showcase, just across the street, offers Windows and Mac software at educational prices. The University provides links to downloadable anti-virus software for Macs and Windows; all machines, real or virtual (Fusion, Parallels), running Windows should have anti-virus software installed. A University Blue Disc selection of software also provides the VPN software for accessing College resources from off-campus.

AutoDesk products are not required but AutoDesk has released the majority of their catalog, including AutoCAD, Maya, Revit and 3DS Max on their education site, AutoDesk Education Community, available for free download with a three year license. Other online (Novedge.com, Studica, JourneyEd.com, Campustech.com) companies offer educational pricing on many products.