Hardware Requirements

The following are minimum hardware requirements for students entering Georgia Tech in Summer & Fall 2016, and Spring 2017. For full details on these requirements, and additional recommendations, please see the complete Student Computer Ownership Guide.

Whether you choose to purchase a new computer or you already own a laptop, make sure it satisfies as many of the components listed in the "Hardware Requirements" as possible. To access detailed information on purchasing a laptop computer, see http://techstuff.gatech.edu.

Ideally, the system age should be 2 years old or less when you begin at Georgia Tech. Then, expect to purchase a new computer system every 2 – 3 years. The software you will need at Georgia Tech will evolve during your time as a student, so it is likely to be more cost effective to purchase a more powerful machine now than to upgrade later. We do not recommend that you purchase a low-end system from any manufacturer. The Technology Store @ Georgia Tech has prepared several packages that meet or exceed the Georgia Tech hard-ware requirements. Please feel free to check with the Technology Store @ Georgia Tech, the Technology Support Center of the Office of Information Technology (OIT), or with a ResNet staff member if you have specific purchasing questions.


Georgia Tech students may take advantage of special pricing on Apple, Dell, and Lenovo products by visiting Technology Store @ Georgia Tech online.

Students need to meet the minimum standards below. Students should also check with their school or department to determine if there are additional requirements for their course of study.

The computer should be fast enough and have enough memory and disk space to provide satisfactory performance over a usable life of at least two to three years.
All student computers should have the following components:


Form Factor:                    Notebook. (A netbook or tablet should not be used as the primary computing device.*) A minimum of 4 hours of battery life is required.

Processor:                         64 bit Multi-core processor or better.**

Memory:                             8 GB or more.  For best performance, we recommend that you install as much memory as affordable at the time of purchase.

Primary Hard Drive:   128GB solid state drive or 250GB hard disk drive or larger.
(Note: check with your school/department to determine if greater storage capacity is needed.)

Backup Device or Service:    For local backup, an external hard drive with double the size of the internal hard drive or a subscription to a cloud based backup solution like Crashplan is needed.
Having a quality backup of your important files is vital to your success as a student. While external drives are acceptable forms of backup, cloud based solutions are also an excellent alternative.  A quality backup service will run continuously as you work and will back up your documents to a cloud based storage location. Even if your laptop becomes unavailable due to loss, theft, or physical failure, the files will have been saved and are fully recoverable. The cloud based backup will be accessible from any computer with an internet connection.

Networking:                     Dual-Band (2.4 GHz/5 GHz) Wireless 802.11n capable.

Recovery options:        It is highly recommended that all computers include a recovery partition or recovery utility that allows quick restoration of the factory image should a re-installation be necessary. If the system does not have a recovery partition, then students should have their software media with them in the event a re-installation is necessary.  If you have questions, check at the point of purchase or at the Technology Support Center.

Accessories (optional):
- Dongles for connecting to an external display or projection device may be required
                -All classrooms on campus utilize VGA as the standard connectivity option for projection systems and 3.5 mm or 1/8” jack for audio; and newer classrooms may also have DVI and/or HDMI connections.  Video adapters for notebooks, tablets or other mobile devices are not provided by the Institute. (See classrooms.gatech.edu for information on classroom support resources.)
-An external DVD writer for ultrabooks or computers without DVD drives
-USB flash drive
-Ethernet cable (15’ recommended)
-Laptop anti-theft cable lock
-A laptop with a webcam and microphone is recommended , or an external webcam, as well as a USB microphone and headphones


*Note that most netbooks and tablets (e.g. Apple iPad, Galaxy Tab and others that run on an operating system designed specifically for the device) – even if they have a full keyboard - do NOT meet the minimum hardware requirements above. While they may initially provide sufficient performance for basic tasks such as web browsing or simple word processing, use of technical software in courses may not be possible.

**The use of VLab (a Virtual Lab that provides GT students a way to access ‘virtual machines’ on campus and use software such as MATLAB and AutoCAD from any computer with Internet access) does not diminish these requirements. (See mydesk.gatech.edu for the Citrix Access Gateway to VLab.) Your system will still need to independently support the required software.

Warranty:  Extended warranties (three years, in general) are highly recommended.  These warranties normally cover hardware problems as well as system troubleshooting via phone or email.  (Additional accidental damage coverage should be considered, if available.) The Bell Techlogix service at the Technology Store @ Georgia Tech (Barnes & Noble @ Georgia Tech) serves as a third party hardware repair center for all vendors.


Third Party Resources: The Technology Store @ Georgia Tech (Barnes & Noble @ Georgia Tech) offers in-store purchasing in addition to an online order site. Visit http://techstuff.gatech.edu for exclusive discount pricing for the Georgia Tech community on hardware, software and accessories. All students who have been accepted to Georgia Tech should already be assigned a GT account, which is required for access to this special pricing.  To access the techstuff.gatech.edu site fully before your FASET orientation session, go to https://www.passport.gatech.edu to activate your GT account and to change your password.