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Standard Computers

This page provides a list of standard models, configurations, and other considerations for purchasing a new computer to use at CU Boulder. While this guidance applies primarily to computers purchased with university funds, people purchasing computers for personal use may find this helpful. Students should also consult the Student Shopping List

In the lists below, Minimum Performance is the minimum specification for full compatibility with campus IT services and support; High Performance is a recommended minimum for high-performance computing.

Dell Computers 

If purchasing a non-Dell computer, the configuration details should be consulted and matched.

Visit How to Identify my Intel Processor to determine what generation of processor you may currently have or would like to purchase.

TypeModelsConfiguration Details
Laptop, Minimum PerformanceLatitude 5440 (14 inch)
Latitude 7340 (13 inch)
Latitude 7440 (14 inch)
Precision 3580 (15 inch)
Memory: 16 GB
Processor: Intel Core i5 11th generation or newer, or equivalent
Storage: 256 GB SSD
Graphics: Integrated graphics
Wireless*
Operating System: Windows 11 Pro or Enterprise, 64-bit
Laptop, High PerformanceLatitude 5540 (15 inch)
Latitude 7340 (13 inch)
Latitude 7440 (14 inch)
Latitude 7440 2-in-1 (14 inch)
Precision 5680 (16 inch)
Precision 7680 (16 inch)
 
Memory: 32-64 GB
Processor: Intel Core i7/i9 11th generation or newer, or equivalent
Storage: 512 GB SSD
Graphics: Integrated graphics (or dedicated, if available)
Wireless*
Operating System: Windows 11 Pro or Enterprise, 64-bit
Desktop, Minimum PerformanceOptiPlex 7010Memory: 16-32 GB
Processor: Intel Core i5 11th generation or newer, or equivalent
Storage: 512 GB SSD
Graphics: Dedicated graphics (AMD Radeon or NVIDIA)
Ethernet**
Operating System: Windows 11 Pro or Enterprise, 64-bit
Desktop, High PerformanceOptiPlex 7010Memory: 32-64 GB
Processor: Intel Core i7 11th generation or newer, or equivalent
Storage: 512 GB SSD
Graphics: Dedicated graphics (AMD Radeon or NVIDIA)
Ethernet**
Operating System: Windows 11 Pro or Enterprise, 64-bit

*WiFi: Use at least Dual Band spectrum (2.4 GHz and 5 GHz) with 802.11n or 802.11ac technology. All specific laptop models above include this standard. 802.11ax is available on personal computing devices, and while 802.11ax is not supported across campus at this time, 802.11ax devices are fully compatible with the existing campus wireless system.

**Desktop computers: A wired Ethernet connection is recommended over the use of wireless. If wireless is desired, see WiFi standards above.

Apple Computers

Note: Some Configuration Details are not individually configurable from Apple and are included by default. These are notated as “Included by default”.

TypeModelsConfiguration Details
Laptop, Minimum PerformanceMacBook Pro 14-inch 
MacBook Air 13-inch
MacBook Air 15-inch
Memory: 16 GB
Storage: 256 GB SSD
Included by default:
Processor: Apple M3 chip*
Wireless**
Operating System: macOS 14 Sonoma
Laptop, High PerformanceMacBook Pro 14-inch
MacBook Pro 16-inch
Memory: 32-64 GB
Processor: Apple M3 Pro* or M3 Max*
Storage: 512 GB SSD
Included by default:
Wireless**
Operating System: macOS 14 Sonoma
Desktop, Minimum PerformanceiMac 24-inch
Mac Mini
Memory: 16 GB
Storage: 256 GB SSD
Gigabit Ethernet***
Included by default:
Processor: Apple M2/M3 chip*
Operating System: macOS 14 Sonoma
Desktop, High PerformanceMac Studio Memory: 32-64 GB
Processor: M2 Max or M2 Ultra
Storage: 512 GB SSD
Graphics: Integrated 24 to 32 Core GPU
Operating System: macOS 14 Sonoma

*Processor: Macs with M1/M2 chip may not run other operating systems like Windows, even with virtualization software like Bootcamp, Fusion, or VirtualBox. If a Windows OS is needed, we recommend using Parallels or an Intel Mac.

**WiFi: These models come with 802.11ax WiFi. While 802.11ax is not supported across campus at this time, 802.11ax devices are fully compatible with the existing campus wireless system.

***Desktop computers: A wired Ethernet connection is recommended over the use of wireless. If wireless is desired, see WiFi standards above

Chromebooks, iPads, and Tablets

Chromebooks, iPads and Tablets are likely not suitable as replacement for a laptop for students during their college career at CU Boulder, or as a primary device for faculty and staff. These devices offer a limited application experience for software programs used on campus.

Additional resources for all computers

  • Antivirus and Malware Protection: Always use antivirus software! OIT provides resources for antivirus software for both university-owned and personally-owned computers.
  • Peripherals: Guidance on purchasing commonly used peripherals such as monitors, docks, webcams, and headsets.
  • Warranty: Purchase at least a 3-year parts and labor warranty with a new computer. For Dell, the campus standard is ProSupport Plus. For Apple, the campus standard is AppleCare+.
  • Software: Reference the Software Lifecycle page for standard and minimum supported software including productivity tools, email, and web browsers, and the Software Catalog for available software.
  • Non-standard Equipment: Guidance for non-standard equipment purchasing exceptions can be found on the Standard Hardware and Software page.