PLU Help Desk
Purchase Recommendations

Purchase Recommendations

If you are going to purchase a computer system, you will find suggestions for both Apple and Windows compatible systems below. Pacific Lutheran University does not require students to have computers; however, it is highly recommended that you have your own computer and a printer to work on coursework outside of class. Computer labs are available around campus for both departmental and general use; however, these labs can tend to get busy at times and computers may not be immediately available.

Individuals considering a computer purchase are encouraged to read hardware and software reviews in relevant trade magazines, talk with several vendors (including the PLU Bookstore), and develop clear ideas of what tasks are going to be accomplished on the computer. In shopping for a particular system, ask about the availability of support for both hardware and software: is there a charge? how long will the support last? what are the hours of availability? In addition, talk with faculty teaching the courses for which a student is enrolled. Suggestions may be given for software related to a particular course.

Computer technology changes continually, and specifications can quickly become outdated.  PLU makes no specific endorsement of either the Windows compatible or Macintosh platforms or any specific brands of hardware or software. The University assumes no responsibility for purchases made by persons who follow some or all of the recommendations contained herein. The suggested base-level configuration for new purchases of each type of system is described below. 

Windows Compatible (New Purchases)

  • CPU: Intel Core i3 processor or faster
  • Memory: 2GB RAM or more
  • Hard disk space: 250 GB or more (128 GB if SSD)
  • Video: 512 MB video card or better
  • Operating System: Windows 7 recommended

Macintosh (New Purchases)

  • CPU:  2.5GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 or faster
  • Memory: 4 GB RAM or more
  • Hard disk space: 500 GB or more (128 GB if Flash Storage)
  • Video: 512 MB video card or better
  • Operating System: Mac OS 10.7 or newer

Other Hardware

Every computer on ResNet must have an Ethernet card and cable (unless connecting wirelessly).   We also recommend that a surge protector is used and that a USB drive is considered for transferring files to different machines.  Remember to check the system requirements before purchasing any additional device to make sure it will work with your particular computer.

Printing is available from several locations on campus; however, each student will have a limited supply of free copies. When your free copies have been used, you may purchase additional copy points either online or at the PLU Concierge Desk.  As an alternative, we recommend that students provide their own printers to avoid additional charges.

Product Warranty / Service and Support

When purchasing a new computer, remember to consider any product warranties that are available.  Be sure that you understand what is included in the service and what costs you are still responsible for in the event that there is a problem.  Limited software support for personally owned computers is available through the Help Desk.  Please be sure to have the recovery disks and licensing information that came with your computer with you in case the machine needs to be reinstalled.

Anti-Virus Programs

NOTE:  Viruses and worms can be spread in a variety of ways including file sharing. Your assistance in protecting your computer is now required before you are able to access to the PLU network.  In order to protect your computer, please do the following prior to moving to campus:

  1. PLU requires that a reliable anti-virus program be installed on any computer connected to the PLU network. You can use paid or free anti-virus software. If you're not sure where to start, I&TS staff provide a list of recommended free anti-virus software. Once the anti-virus software is installed, it is critical that you perform regular updates. More information on anti-virus programs is available at http://www.plu.edu/antivirus.
  2. For Windows computers, go to http://update.microsoft.com on a regular basis to download critical operating system patches from Microsoft. 

Please see http://www.plu.edu/antivirus for more information.