Taubman College recommends students bring their own laptop, running either Windows or macOS*; Chromebooks, iPads, and tablets can be useful secondary devices but are not able to run certain applications. While some Taubman College courses only need basic computing, the curriculum will normally include courses, such as studio, ArcGIS, XR, and others, requiring computing performance beyond a standard business-level laptop. There is no mandate for a specific brand or model, but there are minimum and recommended configurations listed below.

* While the current Mac models are quite powerful, many applications used in the Architecture, Urban Design, and Urban Planning programs are Windows-only (Revit, ArcGIS, V-Ray for Rhino, Enscape for Rhino, Unreal Engine…) and either not supported under Mac emulator programs (e.g., Parallels) or perform poorly. Students needing Windows-only software should choose a Windows machine. Students in the Urban Technology program will use Macs and will receive recommendations directly from the program.

Feature Windows Minimum Windows Recommended Mac Minimum Mac Recommended
OS Windows 10 64-bit Windows 11 MacOS current version MacOS current version


Ryzen 7 3700X or better;

i7-12XXXX, i7-13XXXX; i9

Ryzen 9

M1 or M2 M1 or M2 Pro
Screen size 14″ or better 14” or better 14” or better 14” or better
Screen resolution 1080P (FHD) 1440P (QHD) N/A N/A
Memory 16GB 32GB 16GB 32GB
Graphics Discrete graphics card, 4GB

Discrete graphics card 6GB-12GB

e.g. GeForce RTX 3060 or later

M1 or M2 M1 or M2 Pro
Ethernet Optional; College-wide WiFi 6E network is the primary network option Optional; College-wide WiFi 6E network is the primary network option N/A N/A
Wireless 802.11 ac Wi-Fi 6E 802.11ac WiFi 6E

Other features/ accessories: Security lock kit; insurance; 3 yr/extended warranty/multi-year service agreement; wheel mouse, flash drive (32-128Gb) for casual file transport; external hard drive for back-up and additional storage; case/bag

Architecture is increasingly a compute and graphics-intensive program. Students expecting to work with modeling, rendering, and XR applications will want to look at higher-performance processors and graphics cards Urban Planning students will not need the high-end configurations, but ArcGIS Pro is now recommending (but not requiring) a 4Gb graphics card. Pre-architecture and first-year students will also not need the higher-end configurations. Urban Technology students will receive configuration recommendations from their program.

Selecting a Computer

In selecting a computer, you are primarily balancing processor power, memory, graphics performance, and drive capacity against price. As a rule, processor performance and memory make the most day-to-day difference, graphics performance should be at least a discrete graphics card with 4Gb of VRAM, and drive capacity above 512Gb is a personal choice. nVidia cards are normally automatically recognized by most College applications. Many students have chosen “gaming computers” as providing the overall best performance for the price. Costs can vary from as low as $1,400 to substantially higher, but there is generally a good range of features around $2,000. When comparing performance between models, sites like Passmark provide ways to translate the vendor listings of CPUs and graphics cards into performance.

Purchasing a Computer

When purchasing, be sure to check whether educational discounts are available and look for a 3-year warranty. Major vendors (Dell, HP, Lenovo, Apple) will have educational discounts offered through their websites and good support and service offerings, but the best pricing for some feature combinations may come from vendors like Razer, Asus, MSI, and Acer. These are available from a variety of online sellers. The University’s Tech Shop offers a good range of campus-supported hardware, although higher-end selections are limited. Don’t add Office, Creative Cloud, anti-malware software, or expensive Windows 11 versions; these are available through the University via Standard Computing Services.


If you have a specific question regarding your selection, please contact