Student Computer Purchasing

Last Updated: May 2, 2014


Table of Contents:

Introduction
Recommended Hardware Specifications
Where To Purchase

Requirements By Department

   Department of Architecture
   Landscape Architecture
   Product Design
   Digital Arts 

Frequently Asked Questions (including Financial Aid)
Contact Information and Links


Introduction

Students in the departments of Architecture, Landscape Architecture, Product Design, and the Digital Arts programs are required to own personal laptops.   To participate effectively in A&AA's computer-integrated studios and majors, every student needs to have unlimited access to computer based design applications and tools while working in their studio workspaces.  Assignments across the curriculum will assume this capability.  

Students in other A&AA departments and programs are not required to purchase computers, however open lab-computing resources are limited within the School.  Thus it is suggested that every student have access to a personal computer.  

It is highly recommended that you base your hardware purchase by the requirements for your Major.  The majority of the CAD and rendering software required below can be run on a Windows based machine, however Adobe Creative Suite/Creative Cloud can be run in either Windows or OS X.   For departments that require OS X and Windows based applications, you can purchase an Apple computer and run Windows via Boot Camp. Please review the requirements here if you choose to take this route.  

A&AA Technology Services staff can help you if you need assistance.   Please use our Submit a Request form or email us at aaahelp@uoregon.edu to ask your questions.   


Recommended Hardware Specifications

The following are suggested laptop specifications for all departments:

  • 13"-15" screen
  • 2.2 GHz or higher Intel Quad Core i7 CPU
  • 8-16 GB RAM
  • 250+ GB Hard Drive (SSD preferably as they are faster than standard hard drives)
  • 1 GB Video Card

It is also highly recommended that students purchase the following accessories:

  • 22" - 24" external monitor for greater screen real estate for design work.  
  • 1-2 Terabyte external hard drive for data backups
  • VGA or DVI adapter to connect to projectors and large monitors
  • USB mouse for easier manipulation of design software applications
  • Surge protector
  • Security locks for laptop and monitor

Please Note:  The average lifecycle for a laptop computer is 3-4 years.  Also, computing applications and requirements per major may change over the course of a student's college career in the School of Architecture and Allied Arts.   Undergraduate students should be financially prepared for the possibility of needing to replace or upgrade their initial computer purchase prior to graduation.   


Where to Purchase

The UO Duck Store and the University of Oregon Dell site both offer very competitive pricing for computers to accepted students.  Other wise any computer store (Best Buy, OfficeMax) or web vendor (Amazon, Newegg) will offer a wide selection with decent pricing.  

Software can be purchased online at techhead, a division of the Oregon Educational Technology Consortium, or in person at the Digital Duck in the UO Duck Store


Departmental Computing Requirements

 

Department of Architecture:

Hardware:

The Department of Architecture (Architecture and Interior Architecture) currently requires either an Apple MacBook Pro or PC equivalent.   If an Apple computer is purchased, the student will also be required to purchase a Windows license and install it via Bootcamp to use software such as AutoCAD and Rhino.   To effectively install Windows via Bootcamp, a 500 GB or higher hard drive is recommended.  

The student should also consider purchasing an external monitor and mouse as each will provide extended screen real estate or computing power.   Students farther along in their degree programs may also benefit from purchasing a secondary desktop workstation.  Please consult with your professors before doing so.   

Please review the Introduction and General Hardware Specification sections above for more information.   

Software: 

1. Adobe Creative Suite - Design Standard CS6 or Creative Cloud subscription.

Architecture students may be asked to use the following applications:

Adobe Photoshop
Adobe Illustrator
Adobe InDesign
Adobe Acrobat® X Pro
Adobe Bridge
Adobe Media Encoder

*This software is avialable for both Windows or the Mac.

2. AutoDesk Applications (AutoCAD, Revit)

AutoCAD and Revit are popular Windows based CAD and modeling software from AutoDesk..  It is freely available to students at http://students.autodesk.com.    

3. Rhino

Rhino is a popular Windows based rendering application that is currently provided to entering first year undergraduates and Track I Master of Architecture students

4. Microsoft Office -  2010/2013 (for Windows) OR  2011 (for Mac OS X Lion)

Provides word processing, spreadsheet, and presentation features.

 

Landscape Architecture:

Hardware:

Landscape Architecture currently requires either a Windows based or Apple laptop as part of their program.   If an Apple computer is purchased, the student will also be required to purchase a Windows license and install it via Bootcamp to run AutoCAD.   To effectively install Bootcamp, a 500 GB or higher hard drive is recommended. 

The student may also want to consider purchasing an external monitor for extended screen real estate.   

Software: 

1. Adobe Creative Suite - Design Standard CS6 or Creative Cloud

Landscape Architecture students may be asked to use the following applications:

Adobe Photoshop
Adobe Illustrator
Adobe InDesign
Adobe Acrobat® X Pro
Adobe Bridge
Adobe Media Encoder

*This software is avialable for both Windows or the Mac.

2. AutoCAD

AutoCAD is a popular Windows based CAD software application.  It is freely available to students from Autodesk at http://students.autodesk.com.  

3. Microsoft Office -  2010/2013 (for Windows) OR  2011 (for Mac OS X Lion)

Provides word processing, spreadsheet, and presentation features. 

4. Rhino

Landscape Architecture students have access to Rhino software.   Please check with the Landscape Architecture department for details.   

 

Product Design:

Hardware:

The Product Design program recommends a PC Windows based laptop.  If an incoming student owns an Apple computer, Windows can be installed via Bootcamp assuming the appropriate specifications are met.   To effectively install Bootcamp, a 500 GB or higher hard drive is recommended.    

Please review the Introduction and General Hardware Specification sections above for more information. 

Software:

1. Adobe Creative Suite - Design Standard CS6 or Creative Cloud subscription.   

Product Design students may be asked to use the following applications:

Adobe Photoshop
Adobe Illustrator
Adobe InDesign
Adobe Acrobat® X Pro
Adobe Bridge
Adobe Media Encoder

*This software can be purchased for either Windows or Mac.

2. Microsoft Office -  2010/2013 (for Windows) OR  2011 (for Mac OS X Lion)

Provides word processing, spreadsheet, and presentation features.

3. Microsoft Windows - 7 Professional 64-bit, 7 Ultimate 64-bit, or 8.1 Pro

Used to support CAD based software used frequently in Product Design program.

 

Digital Arts :

Hardware:

The Digital Arts program recommends students purchase Apple MacBook Pro laptops with the recommended specifications listed above in the General Hardware Specifications section.   If Windows is required, it can be installed via Bootcamp.  To effectively install Bootcamp, a 500 GB or higher hard drive is recommended. 

For greater screen real estate, it is helpful if students also purchase an external monitor.      

Software:

1. Adobe Creative Suite - Design Premium CS6 or Creative Cloud subscription.   

Digital Arts students may be required to use the following applications:

Adobe Photoshop
Adobe Illustrator
Adobe InDesign
Adobe Acrobat® X Pro
Adobe Bridge
Adobe Media Encoder
Adobe Dreamweaver
Adobe Flash Professional

*This software can be purchased for either Windows or Mac.

**Students interested in video or animation should also consider Adobe After Effects and/or Adobe Premiere.    

2. SketchUp Pro

SketchUp Pro can be purchased at an educational discount from Google once you have obtained a University email address at http://www.sketchup.com/buy/education-licenses.

3. Microsoft Office -  2010/2013 (for Windows) OR  2011 (for Mac OS X Lion)

Provides word processing, spreadsheet, and presentation features.

 

Specific technical questions can be directed to A&AA Computing Services at aaahelp@uoregon.edu or (541) 346-6194.

Please read the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) (below) before e-mailing or calling.


 

Frequently Asked Questions


What are my options for financial assistance?

We encourage all students required to buy a computer to return a "Plan to Purchase" form to the Office of Financial Aid. [Note: To view and download this information you must have Adobe Reader.] Forms are also available in your department office. The computer requirement may increase your financial aid eligibility. If you are not eligible for financial aid but need to borrow money in order to purchase your computer, you are encouraged to discuss loan possibilities with a UO financial aid counselor.

  1. Contact the Office of Financial Aid at 1-800-760-6953 or 541-346-3221. Students who are normally not eligible for financial aid may qualify with the additional cost of the required computer equipment.
  2. Consumer loans are available through banks and credit unions.
  3. Leasing options are available through some computer retailers.
  4. Apple offers income/credit based loans to qualified purchasers. There is no charge for pre-approval. Call the Apple Loan Program: 1-800-277-5356.

Where do I buy my hardware and/or software?

You may obtain the recommended hardware and software from wherever you wish, but we have made an effort to ensure that you get the best deal available by purchasing your computer from the UO Duck Store or directly from Apple or Dell.

For Apple computers, we recommend a visit to the UO Duck Store or the Apple Store for Education (select the Education section at the bottom of the Apple Store main page).  Pricing is equivalent, however there is no tax if purchased from the Duck Store. The Duck Store may also have specials and sales that the on-line Apple Store may not have.

Order your Windows computer from Dell via our University of Oregon Premiere Dell site.  

If you would like to shop in person, the Duck Store stocks all of the recommended Apple hardware and all of the required software. You can reach the friendly, knowledgeable staff at the UO Duck Store at (541) 346-4331; ask for Computing. 

 


Should I get a Windows computer or a Mac?

This is the hardest question to answer and also the most common. For the most part, Mac OS computers and Windows computers run the same software, including all Adobe and Microsoft software that students need to complete assignments. Most students will do fine with either one.

If you prefer one over the other, buy the kind you prefer. If you are unsure, verify with your department if there is a preference or review the program requirements above.  Note:  You can run Windows on a Mac via a separate partition or in a virtual machine via a program like Parallels.   

Here are a few differences between Windows and Mac OS X computers that may help you decide:

  Windows Mac OS
Runs AutoCAD and ArcGIS (both are free for students): Yes Yes, requires purchase of Windows license.
Viruses: Yes A few. 
Spyware/Adware: Yes Some
Need to keep up with security patches: Critical Critical
Initial price: A good machine can be had for $1000 and up.   Slightly more expensive for similar specifications; price includes useful software (iPhoto, iMovie, iDVD) and the ability to run both Mac OS and Windows software.

How do I run Windows on my Mac?

There are multiple ways to get Windows on your Mac.  The easiest and lowest-cost method is called Boot Camp.  All new Macs come with Boot Camp built in.  Boot Camp is what allows the computers in A&AA's computing labs to run both Windows and the Mac OS.  Run the Boot Camp Assistant, follow the instructions, and insert a Windows installation CD when prompted.

Other software that allows you to run Windows on your Mac includes Parallels and VMWare Fusion. These programs allow you to run the Mac OS and Windows at the same time. They cost money and since they require both operating systems sharing resources, may slow down your computer if doing heavy design or rendering work.  


Should I buy a laptop computer or a desktop computer?

Laptop computers are strongly recommended or required depending on the programe. They will allow you to participate more effectively in computer-based classes. Laptop computers have the major advantage of being portable and convenient, which makes them more useful and easier to support. The primary drawback is higher cost and theft.

If you would like the convenience of a desktop in your residence or if you have the ability to use one in your studio, A&AA Technology Services recommends purchasing an external monitor and keyboard/mouse to attach to your laptop.  

Students who are well into their academic careers may also find that having a desktop workstation would be beneficial.   Desktop computers should be considered as a second computer to be used with your laptop.  Please consult with your department or professors prior to purchasing.   


The recommended computers are powerful and expensive. Do I have to spend so much money for such a powerful computer when I'm just a novice?

Yes.

Students who purchase a powerful computer will incur fewer upgrade costs later on in their academic career. A less powerful computer is much more likely to become outdated when you are two or three years into your program.

We expect that your computer will perform well for three to four years under normal use. You should plan to consider purchasing a second computer at some point during your academic career.


Can two (or more) students share the same computer?

No.

The requirement in Architecture and Landscape Architecture is for "each student to have the appropriate computing capability in his or her principal work space."


Can I use the computer labs instead of buying my own equipment?

No.

The UO and A&AA computing labs provide an alternative for students who do not have their computer on site. These university-supported labs are frequently congested at peak times, so access may be limited.


Will I be required to purchase more software later in my academic career?

Yes.

You must purchase the software faculty require for their classes. You will have access to a full suite of software in the A&AA computing labs. A&AA computing labs are a centralized resource, funded by student Educational Technology fees, for all A&AA students. The labs give access to software, scanners, and printers that would be prohibitively expensive for students to purchase individually and provide students a place to try out software prior to purchase.


Should I purchase the hardware and software separately?

Yes.

We encourage you to do so in order to get the best prices.


Do I need to buy anti-virus software?

No.

But if you purchase a Windows computer, you must install anti-virus software.

The UO has a site license for anti-virus software for Windows and the Mac OS. If you purchase an Apple computer, anti-virus software is optional.


Should I purchase an extended warranty insurance?

We urge students and parents to strongly consider purchasing an extended warranty with their computer for a minimum of 3 years.   Warranties like AppleCare normally cover only non-accidental technical break downs, however companies like Dell allow you to also purchase accident insurance.  It is best to always read the fine print!   

We also strongly recommend coverage under renter's or homeowner's insurance, either yours or your parents'. You will probably need to declare your computer to include it in your coverage or add a special rider to cover your computer. Computer coverage is often inexpensive.


When will I need my computer equipment?

Please consult with your department as to when you will need your equipment.   


Where do I set up my computer when I get it?

New graduate and undergraduate students should set up their computers in their design studios. A&AA Technology Services can help you with general set up and configuration questions or issues, however for major upgrades a visit to the UO IS Help Desk located in 151 McKenzie may be required.  Please contact us at aaahelp@uoregon.edu for assistance.


Will my computer be safe in my studio?

We take precautions to ensure the safety of your computer equipment in all studio spaces occupied by the introductory studios.

  1. Access control is provided in most studios. The doors to the studios have access control devices which require a code to enter. Note that if your fellow students prop doors open, the purpose of the access control devices will be defeated.
  2. In many studios there are high-security desks that allow you to lock your computer in a safe box.
  3. We highly recommend that each student purchase and install the recommended computer security kit. You can purchase it at the University of Oregon Duck Store; it is part of the recommendation above.

What if I want to buy a printer?

Having a personal printer is not required but can provide convenient and flexible feedback in the design process. Before you buy your own printer, you may want to do some research on the surprisingly high cost of operating an inkjet printer. Low-cost laser printing is available in the A&AA computing labs, and color printing is available in the A&AA Output Room.


How do I set up an e-mail account?

Typically new students setup their Duck ID's when they go through IntroDucktion or via instructions received in the mail once initial deposits have been made to the university.   Your Duck ID is the first half of your email address and can be managed at http://duckid.uoregon.edu.  Students can use any computer with a web browser and an internet connection to check email via Webmail.  Use your Duck ID and associated password to check your email.  

More information about email and your Duck ID can be found at the university's IT web site here.  


I have more questions, to whom should I address them?

For non-technical questions, see the Department Contacts below. For questions about computers, contact A&AA Computing Services.

Department of Architecture

Department of Landscape Architecture

Digital Arts program

Product Design program

  • Theresa Sterkel, Administrative Program Asst.  
    Phone: (541) 346-6945
    Email: pdinfo@uoregon.edu

A&AA Technology Services:

Additional Links and Resources