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New Computer: Hardware Recommendations

The University of Nevada, Reno, has negotiated special volume discounts with Dell and Apple. Because of these savings, we recommend that you consider purchasing a Dell or Apple computer that meets specifications defined by University IT to optimize use within the campus network. For personalized recommendations related to special software or hardware requirements that remain compatible with the University's networking environment, please contact IT Support. They will open a work order and have your field support technician advise you.

Departmental Purchases

  • Computer purchases must be made via the University's preferred route of going through the Purchasing Department.
  • The University of Nevada, Reno IT department has inexpensive refurbished PCs for $60.
  • We currently recommend the Windows 7 Pro operating system. Home versions are not supported on the University Network. All systems should be kept up to date through the use of the Microsoft Update automated system.
  • We advise purchasing a computer slightly more powerful that you actually need so that your computer can keep up with technology changes.

Sizes of Computers

It can be difficult to decide on what size of computer to purchase, as they all come with different pros and cons.

Laptop/ Notebook

  • Pros: Portability
  • Cons: Higher cost compared to a desktop

An ultra-light portable laptop is often less expensive, but can lack certain features such as a DVD drive.

If you travel often, consider a lighter laptop with a smaller battery, and a complete accident care insurance plan.

Desktop

  • Pros: Powerful, flexible, expandable
  • Cons: Not portable

Desktops usually give more power for less expense than a laptop.

Tablet

  • Pros: Portability, battery life, some have cellular communication ability
  • Cons: Less powerful

Tablets are good for web access, e-mail, and basic word processing. They are not yet powerful enough to be seen as a replacement for a desktop or laptop.

Specifications for Departmental Purchases

Dell

University Dell Premier Website

Hardware
  • Laptop: Dell Latitude
  • Desktop: Dell Optiplex
Processor
  • A Dual-core processor is recommended for both laptops and desktops. More cores is even better.
Wireless Networking
  • Laptops and Netbooks: 802.11g/n wireless card

Please Note: Wireless networks are available, but are not a substitute for a wired network connection. Desktop computers must be hardwired to the University Network to receive updates. Wireless cards are not allowed in desktop computers.

Memory (RAM)

RAM is the working memory of a computer. The higher the RAM, the more multi-tasking the computer can do.

  • 32-bit OS: 2GB minimum, 4GB+ recommended
  • 64-bit OS: 4GB minimum, 8GB+ recommended
Hard Drive
  • 80GB minimum, 250GB recommended
Operating System
  • Windows 7 Professional 64-bit

Windows 8 in desktop computers is not supported as Windows 8 cannot currently connect to the UNR Network.
A 64-bit operating system, although recommended, may not be compatible with all software.
Windows Vista and XP are not recommended.

Antivirus Software

University-owned computers are eligible for IT-supplied antivirus software. If this computer is attached to the University domain (i.e. you log in with your NetID) then this software is automatically installed. Otherwise, contact IT Support for installation.

Productivity Software

A separate section has been created on the various software options available to you and your University-owned computer.

Warranty

You should choose a 3, 4, or 5-year warranty.

Apple

Hardware
  • Laptop: MacBook or MacBook Pro
  • Desktop: Mac mini, iMac, Mac Pro
Wireless Networking
  • Laptops: Airport Extreme wireless card

Please Note: Wireless networks are available, but are not a substitute for a wired network connection. Wireless cards are not allowed in desktop computers.

Memory (RAM)
  • 2GB minimum, 2GB+ recommended
Hard Drive
  • 80GB minimum, 250GB recommended
Operating System
  • Apple OS X
Anti-virus

It is a myth that Apple computers do not get infections. Although University IT does not have a specific recommended brand of Apple anti-virus, various options are presented on our page about personal anti-virus solutions.

Productivity Software

A separate section has been created on the various software options available to you and your University-owned computer.

Warranty

You must add the AppleCare warranty to your hardware purchase.

Further Advice

Please contact IT Support for further purchasing advice.

Repairs

University-owned equipment may be serviced and repaired by the IT department. Both warranty and non-warranty services are provided for Dell and Apple computers.

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