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Engineering Undergraduate Prospective Students


Recommendations for Purchasing a Computer for Engineering Classes

You may choose either a laptop or desktop computer.

  1. There's not a single specification set regarding a personal computer for use in your UNL studies. Most incoming students now use a laptop for portability. Generally, most computers will be adequate since the majority of the work will likely be word processing, spreadsheets, email and web surfing. The more memory you can get, the better (4GB or more). If you get more than 3GB, you'll need to get a 64-bit Windows Operating System to take full advantage of it (most vendors will select this for you, and you can use a 64-bit OS with less than 4GB also).
  2. If you think you'll be doing any CAD work on your computer, it may be beneficial to make sure that you have a good video card installed, especially for a laptop; laptop video usually can't be easily upgraded later. Note, however, that CAD software can be expensive, and the college computer labs already have it.
  3. If you get a smaller screen size on the laptop for portability, it can be beneficial to get an external monitor for home use. But, be sure to check that the laptop supports it (almost all do).
  4. Smaller laptops sometimes don't have DVD drives. This can be an issue if you need to load software and have no other computer available.
  5. The computer you use should come with at least 802.11g wireless networking (WiFi), but 802.11n is newer, faster, and the campus is moving to that standard.
  6. A good warranty is a major advantage. You may want to consider next day service to lessen the amount of time you may have to be without your computer. It usually costs more, but can pay for itself with peace of mind versus lost productivity.
  7. In case something does happen, you should have an external hard drive for backup. Or, at least have some plan for backing up your data.

The University has a purchase agreement with Dell, however you should also check prices on the 'public' side.' With sales, specials, and/or coupons, sometimes the public side is cheaper.  Go to the Web site link below and select Dell on the right side (personal purchases).    http://sales.unl.edu/catalog/Prime_Vendors.asp