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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.

Type Models Configuration Details
Laptop, Minimum Performance Latitude 5420 (14 inch)
Latitude 7320 (13 inch)
Latitude 7420 (14 inch)
Precision 3560 (15 inch)
Memory: 16 GB
Processor: Intel Core i5 (with at least 4 cores)
Storage: 256 GB SSD
Graphics: Integrated graphics
Wireless*
Operating System: Windows 10 Pro or Enterprise, 64-bit
Laptop, High Performance Latitude 5560 (15 inch)
Latitude 7320 (13 inch)
Latitude 7420 (14 inch)
Latitude 7420 2-in-1 (14 inch)
Precision 5560 (15 inch)
Precision 7560 (15 inch)
 
Memory: 32-64 GB
Processor: Intel Core i7 or i9
Storage: 512 GB SSD
Graphics: Integrated graphics (or dedicated, if available)
Wireless*
Operating System: Windows 10 Pro or Enterprise, 64-bit
Desktop, Minimum Performance OptiPlex 7090 Memory: 16-32 GB
Processor: Intel Core i7
Storage: 512 GB SSD
Graphics: Dedicated graphics (AMD Radeon or NVIDIA)
Ethernet**
Operating System: Windows 10 Pro or Enterprise, 64-bit
Desktop, High Performance OptiPlex 7090 Memory: 32-64 GB
Processor: Intel Core i7
Storage: 512 GB SSD
Graphics: Dedicated graphics (AMD Radeon or NVIDIA)
Ethernet**
Operating System: Windows 10 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”.

Type Models Configuration Details
Laptop, Minimum Performance MacBook Pro 13-inch 
MacBook Pro 14-inch
MacBook Air 13-inch
Memory: 16 GB
Storage: 256 GB SSD
Included by default:
Processor: Apple M1 chip*
Wireless**
Operating System: macOS 12 Monterey
Laptop, High Performance MacBook Pro 14-inch
MacBook Pro 16-inch
Memory: 32-64 GB
Processor: Apple M1 Pro* or M1 Max*
Storage: 512 GB SSD
Included by default:
Wireless**
Operating System: macOS 12 Monterey
Desktop, Minimum Performance iMac 24-inch
Mac Mini
Memory: 16 GB
Storage: 256 GB SSD
Gigabit Ethernet***
Included by default:
Processor: Apple M1 chip*
Operating System: macOS 12 Monterey
Desktop, Minimum Performance iMac 27-inch Memory: 16 GB
Processor: Intel Core i5
Storage: 256 GB SSD
Included by default:
Graphics: Radeon Pro
Gigabit Ethernet***
Operating System: macOS 12 Monterey
Desktop, High Performance iMac 27-inch Memory: 32-64 GB
Processor: Intel Core i7 or i9
Storage: 256 GB SSD
Graphics: Radeon Pro
Included by default:
Gigabit Ethernet***
Operating System: macOS 12 Monterey

*Processor: Macs with M1 chip cannot run other operating systems like Windows, even with virtualization software like Bootcamp, Parallels, Fusion, or VirtualBox. If a Windows OS is needed, you will need a Dell 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

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.