Your Computer at NC State


  • Current for 2023-2024
  • Updated each springlaptop-users1
  • Available by New Student Orientation in late June


NC State student computer requirement?

  • NC State does not require you to have a computer, but your college or department may have a requirement or specific recommendation.
  • Most professors expect you to have access to a computer, either a personal one or a lab computer.
  • We strongly encourage you to have one.

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College or department requirement

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BEFORE you buy…

Purchasing considerations

  • Compare machine types:
    • Business-class (recommended)
      More expensive but more durable, stable, standardized, & well-supported
    • Home use or consumer class
      Less expensive, may not hold up to rigorous academic use & transport
    • High performance or gamer class
      More expensive, with bleeding edge, sometimes poorly supported technology
    • Alternate devices
      Android, Chromebook, iPad, and iPad Pro devices cannot adequately substitute for a PC or Mac laptop or desktop.

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Recommendations for a new computer system


Item PC Mac
Type of machine Business-class
(See Compare machine types above.)
Any Apple Silicon based
Mobile device
(e.g., iPad Pro, tablet, Chromebook, Pixel Book)
Not recommended as a primary device;
Cannot adequately substitute
for PC laptop or desktop
Not recommended as a primary device;
Cannot adequately substitute
for Mac laptop or desktop
CPU Minimum: Intel i5 or i7, 12th generation

Recommended: Intel i5 or i7, 13th generation or later

Minimum: Apple Silicon M1

Recommended: M1Pro or later


RAM Minimum: 8 GB if upgradeable otherwise 16 GB

Recommended: 16 GB

Minimum: 8 GB

Recommended: 16 GB

Storage 256 GB or greater SSD 256 GB or greater SSD
Operating System Microsoft Windows 11 64-bit

Recommended: Pro or Educational

NC State Students can download the Educational
Upgrade for free.  You will need to use your Unity
ID and password access the upgrade

macOS 13 or later
Wireless Yes Yes
Camera & Microphone Yes Yes
Warranty Service
(very highly recommended)
3 or more years 3 or more years
Accidental Damage Coverage
(for drops and spills)
Yes Yes


Theft Coverage
(may be included in homeowner’s policy)
Yes Yes

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Recommendations for a laptop you already own

If your current laptop meets the following recommendations it MAY be sufficient for your first year or two.


Item Recommendation
Age Less than two years
Processor Intel i5 or i7 or Apple M1
Operating System Microsoft Windows 10 or later
macOS 11 (Recommended: macOS 13)
Battery Life 4 hours or longer
Wireless Yes
Free Storage Space 80 GB

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Bring with your computer

  • Warranty information
  • Software license codes
  • Personal printer, if desired (wireless printers are not recommended)
    NOTE: WolfPrint FollowMe Printing offers fee-based printing at many campus locations.
  • Other needed peripherals and adapters (e.g. USB-C to USB-A)
  • USB hub for laptop models with limited USB ports; for Mac users a USB-C multiport adapter
  • HDMI adapter and/or cable
  • Surge protector

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Maintenance and repair

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Theft deterrence

  • Stay safe
    See Safe Computing at NC State.
  • Mark it
    The Wolf Guard ID Program can engrave your computer equipment with your driver’s license number.
    CAUTION: Do NOT engrave ANYTHING with your Social Security number.
  • Keep a record
    Keep a copy of your laptop’s serial number and your Ethernet and wireless card addresses in a safe place.

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