Cabrini College Information Technology and Resources Home

About Personally Owned Computers

Hardware Support Policy

ITR offers limited support for computers personally owned by students, faculty or staff, including access to the Cabrini College network and Internet. For more details, please see our Hardware Support Policy.

Buying a Personal Computer

Below are general recommended specifications for computer purchases by students. The specifications are intended to aid you in your decision making.

We also strongly encourage the purchase of 3-year warranty with the laptop, and also encourage including accidental damage coverage.

Windows / PC Computer Specifications

Component Recommendation
Processor Intel Core i5 or i7
Operating System Windows 7 / 8 Home Premium or Professional (64-bit) / Windows 10
Memory (RAM) Minimum: 8 GB
Hard Drive Size 256 GB or greater
Network Connections Ethernet (Available as a USB accessory for Portables) & Dual-Band 2.4-5 GHz Wireless 802.11 a/b/g/n (for Portables)
Video Graphics cards and chip's specifications vary: in general an upgraded video card should be chosen for any graphic-intensive applications.
Optional Additions Optical Drive: DVD±RW (Built-in or Available as a USB accessory for Portables)

USB Connected Printer

Please note: We recommend purchasing a USB-to-Ethernet adapter for any portable computer without one built-in, as our wireless network may not extend to all Residence Hall rooms and network connectivity is only guaranteed via Ethernet cable connection.

Apple / Mac Computer Specifications

Component Recommendation
Model MacBook Air/Pro or iMac
Processor Intel Core i5 or i7
Operating System Mac OS X 10.10 Yosemite
Memory (RAM) Minimum: 8 GB
Hard Drive Size 256 GB SSD or greater
Network Connections Airport (Apple's built-in wireless standard) & Ethernet (Built-in or Available as a USB accessory) & Dual-Band 2.4-5 GHz Wireless 802.11 a/b/g/n (for Portables)
Video Intel HD Graphics 5000 Minimum / Intel Iris Graphics Recommended
Optional Additions Optical Drive: DVD±RW (Available as a USB accessory)

USB Connected Printer

Please note: We recommend purchasing a USB- or Thunderbolt-to-Ethernet adapter with any MacBook Air or MacBook Pro portable computer, as our wireless network may not extend to all Residence Hall rooms and network connectivity is only guaranteed via Ethernet cable connection.


Should I buy a Mac or a Windows PC?

Students are free to purchase either a Windows- or a Macintosh-based computer, laptop or desktop. In most cases the choice is yours, but in some academic disciplines the standard usage of an industry (e.g., graphic design) may indicate a particular choice, so you may want to check with your major department.

Can I use a tablet computer like an iPad or Microsoft Surface instead of a laptop or desktop?

While tablet computers have become powerful and versatile devices in the past few years, in many cases they are not yet suitable replacements for full computers. Some tablet computers have specifications comparable to a full PC and match our recommended specifications above. If that is the case with your device, we caution only that you ensure a full computer operating system (such as Windows 8.1 Pro or OS X 10.9) is running and not a mobile version (like Windows RT 8.1 or iOS 7.1) so that any software needed for your studies is compatible with your primary computer.

What software will I need; Does Cabrini provide any software to students?

ITR provides complimentary antivirus software to all students. Additionally, it is a good idea to purchase separately or as part of your new computer bundle a productivity suite. Microsoft Office is the standard on campus. Apple iWork software is also available for free with any new Mac computer purchase or on the Mac App store for already purchased computers, and is comparable. ITR is able to offer students discounted software through JourneyEd. For details, please see our Discounted Software section. It is also a good idea to check with your major area of study department for any additional specialized software you may need.

Must I have my own personal computer?

While Cabrini College provides a number of computers in Public Labs, their availability can be limited; they are intended to supplement your computer rather than replace it. The ability to access a computer to complete work at any time of day or night is essential to keeping pace with many of the individual courses and academic programs here at Cabrini College.

If I already own a computer, do I need to purchase a second or new one?

Maybe. Should you already own a computer that meets or exceeds the specifications listed above, you may choose to delay a new purchase at this time. It is likely, however, that you will need a more powerful new machine, comparable to those Cabrini recommends, at some time during your course of study.

Will I be required to bring my computer to class?

Cabrini College doesn't require students to bring a computer to class. If you need to use a computer during class time, your instructor will schedule your class in a room equipped with computers. However, if you own or decide to purchase a laptop computer you may want to bring it to class to take notes and work on assignments. All classrooms and lecture halls are currently wireless.

Would a laptop be a better purchase?

Laptop or notebook computers make it easy to work anywhere, and offer benefits not present with a desktop. They save space in your dorm room and are easy to put away. You will also be able to access Cabrini's wireless network while on campus if you have a laptop. Keep in mind that because laptops are portable, there are risks associated with owning a laptop that do not exist with desktops.

What computer brands does Cabrini recommend?

Dell, Lenovo and Apple are among the many vendors that sell computers meeting Cabrini College's requirements. Cabrini prefers that you purchase these brands because you can depend on the quality of the goods and after-sale service that they offer. The higher-education contacts below offer special discounts for back-to-school purchases.

Do I have to buy my computer from one of these vendors?

No, you do not. You may purchase your computer from any vendor. The brands listed above are only recommendations.

Should I get an extended repair warranty for my new computer?

Yes, most computers sold today have the option to extend the manufacturer's hardware warranty. It is best to purchase this extended warranty when you are buying the computer system. Some computer vendors will not allow you to purchase an extended repair warranty after you have purchased the equipment. Some extended warranties offered are "on-site" coverage and some are "carry-in" hardware repair warranties. Before you buy the extended repair service contract, check to make sure that there are computer repair companies near your residence that will honor the service contract once purchased.

Do I need a printer?

The college provides a number of printers that you may use on campus, but students may also wish to purchase their own devices. Please note that we do not support wireless printers for security reasons. Public printers are subject to a page limit per semester with the option to purchase additional pages. Please see Cabrini College's Printing Policy for more information.