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Department of Computer ScienceLaptop Recommendations

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These are the recommended laptop specifications for Computer Science courses. The specifications are guidelines for courses that include programming, research, and word processing in the CS curriculum.

If you are purchasing a new computer, check out our Mobile Monarch student notebook program. We've selected several models that meet these technology specifications.

How Does Your System Stack Up?

Bandwidth Check

A bandwidth of ~20 Mbps is recommended for optimal performance, but is not required.

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System Specifications

Minimum Specs (Typical CS User) Recommended Specs (Power User)
Operating System
Windows 10 or OS X 10.15+ or Ubuntu 20.04 (or any LTS)*
Windows 11 or OS X 11+ or Ubuntu 20.04 (or any LTS)*
Processor 9th generation or higher Intel Core i7 ,or 3000 series or higher AMD Ryzen 7
9th generation or higher Intel Core i9 ,or 3000 series or higher AMD Ryzen 9
RAM ("Memory") 16GB DDR4 or higher 32GB DDR4 or higher
Hard Drive
512GB of storage. Solid-State-Drive (SSD) is preferred.
1TB of storage. Solid-State-Drive (SSD) is preferred
Wireless Internet Any WiFi Card capable of 802.11ac
Any WiFi Card capable of 802.11ac
Wired Internet Not Required
Not Required

*Ubuntu (or any Linux Distro) is reccomended for ADVANCED users only. Windows programs will not run natively on Linux Operating Systems, so alternatives must be used.

Software / Peripheral Requirements

Software / Hardware Where to Get it
Java (Latest) Browser Plugin
http://www.java.com/ Apple Users must run Java software updates manually
Adobe Reader or other PDF Software

http://get.adobe.com/reader (Adobe Reader)

https://www.foxitsoftware.com/products/pdf-reader/ (Foxit Reader)

Linux Users will need to use Foxit Reader, or another PDF Suite.
VLC Media Player
http://www.videolan.org/vlc Used to view almost any type of Video Media Format. Cross Platform (Windows, OS X, Linux)
Microsoft Office 2019 As a student at ODU, you can download and use the latest version of Microsoft Office for free. Visit odu.edu/office365 for more information. Linux Users may use an alternative Productivity Suite. (OpenOffice, LibreOffice, etc).
Web Cam (with microphone)
Retail stores, or online locations such as amazon.com or newegg.com
Only necessary if the laptop does not have a built in Web Cam (with microphone).

Benefits between Windows and Mac

When choosing an operating system to use for your degree in Computer Science, either macOs or Windows will be a great choice. In most undergraduate courses, professors will demonstrate their lectures on Windows.


  1. Easier development for programming languages using C#, .NET, and SQL server.

  2. Well document for setting up development envionments for numerous programming languages.


  1. Easier development for iOS and MacOS related applications. Ex: Xcode and Swift.

  2. macOs is a unix base envionment. This includes the benefit of allowing development for multiple languages and a UNIX style CLI.

Last Updated on May 2, 2022