Computer Purchase


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The Basics

The College of Engineering does not require its undergraduate students to own their own computers. We have computer lab space and computer classrooms to handle the demand. However, many students do own their own computer. If you choose to purchase a computer, here are the recommended minimum specifications:

   Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo or AMD Athlon X2
   RAM: 4 GB
   Hard Drive: 320 GB
   Network Card: 100/1000 Ethernet
   Backup: CD/DVD Burner or portable hard drive
   Portable Storage: USB memory stick

Desktop or Laptop?

This is largely an issue of personal preference - and may be better answered after starting at Northeastern. Some of our students like to bring their computer with them to the library and to class - some prefer a desktop in their residence hall room. Consider holding off your computer purchase decision until you begin classes and have a better feel for your studying preferences. All residence hall rooms, the library, and most classrooms and lounges are wired for Internet access via an Ethernet card. Wireless access is available throughout campus.

Operating System

Windows 7? Windows XP? Vista? Apple OS X? Linux? Again, it is a matter of personal preference. The vast majority of the computers in our engineering computer classrooms and open laboratories run Windows XP. However, Apple owners can seamlessly transfer files between systems.A few engineering applications run natively only on Windows, but an Apple user could opt to use our Windows labs for those specific applications or a Windows emulator such as VMware fusion or Apple's Parallels.


The major software packages utilized during the first year are Microsoft Office, AutoCAD, Microsoft Visual C++, MATLAB, an e-mail client, virus protection, and a web-browser - all of which are available via the university network from a lab or classroom workstation. It is not required for students to own any of this software.


Northeastern University has partnered with Apple, Dell and HP to bring members of the University Community special pricing for some of their most popular computers, network printers and peripherals. Some software is available free or with a discount through the myneu portal (see Software Downloads and Tech Marketplace under the Services & Links tab). The NU Bookstore also offers educational discounts on some software.


ResNet offers free on-campus Dell warranty service, as well as other free and fee-based services.


The Mathematics Department requires each engineering student to own a graphing calculator and recommends the TI-83 model or greater from Texas Instruments.

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