Hardware Requirements

Hardware needs to meet at least the minimum standards summarized in the table below. Students should also check with their school or department to determine if there are additional requirements for their course of study. Please also see the Recommendations specific to Online and Remote Learning.

Minimum Hardware Requirements

Processor 64-bit multi-core processor (quad-core or higher recommended)
Memory 16GB (higher recommended)
Primary Storage 256GB SSD (higher recommended)
Backup External hard drive or cloud service (GT provides no-cost cloud services)
Networking Dual-Band (2.4GHz/5GHz) Wireless 802.11ac
I/O devices Physical keyboard and mouse/trackpad


Additional Recommendations

Recovery option Highly recommended
Extended Warranty Highly recommended
Optional accessories USB-C dongles, VGA dongles, Ethernet cable, laptop anti-theft cable lock, HDMI dongle, headphones (or headset), microphone, webcam (built-in or external)


The computer should be fast enough and have enough memory and disk space to provide satisfactory performance over a usable life of at least three to four years. Individual schools, such as Architecture, and online courses may have additional requirements. The hardware requirements and recommendations are discussed in greater detail below:

Form Factor:   Laptop* with a minimum of 4 hours of battery life is required.
Processor:    64 bit Multi-core processor or better.**
Memory: 16GB or more. For best performance, we recommend that you configure/install as much memory as affordable at the time of purchase.
Operating Systems:  Windows or macOS or Linux
Primary Storage: 

Hard drive/solid state drive with a minimum of 256GB of storage capacity.

Note: It is advisable that you get as large a drive as affordable. Check with your school/department to determine if greater storage capacity is needed.

Backup:  For local backup, an external hard drive with at least double the size of the internal hard drive or a subscription to a cloud-based backup solution like OneDrive for Business is highly recommended. (See FAQ Q23 for additional information.) Georgia Tech provides several options for cloud-based backups using OneDrive, Dropbox, and Box (see here).
Networking:  Dual-Band (2.4 GHz/5 GHz) Wireless 802.11ac 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 Enterprise Service Desk.
Accessories:  Physical keyboard and mouse/trackpad.

NOTE: most tablets do not meet the minimum hardware requirements. However, if it meets all the hardware requirements and can run full desktop operating systems, a tablet is acceptable.

** The use of Virtual Lab (VLab) does not diminish these requirements. Your system will still need to independently support the required software. Virtual Lab (VLab) 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. See https://mycloud.gatech.edu/ for the Citrix Access Gateway to VLab.

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).

Third Party Resources: The Technology Store offers in-store purchasing in addition to an online order site. Visit 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 all features of the techstuff.gatech.edu site before your FASET orientation session, go to www.passport.gatech.edu to activate your GT account and set up your password.

Optional Accessories:

  • Dongles for connecting to an external display or projection device
  • All classrooms on campus utilize HDMI as the standard connectivity option for projection systems. The Institute does not provide video adapters for notebooks, tablets or other mobile devices. (information on classroom support resources)
  • USB flash drive
  • CAT-5e or CAT-6 Ethernet cable (25 ft or longer recommended) and USB-to-Ethernet adapter
  • Laptop anti-theft cable lock
  • A laptop with a webcam and microphone, or an external webcam, as well as a USB microphone and headphones (or headset), are strongly recommended for online courses

Network Connections

Georgia Tech currently provides wireless access in nearly every building on campus, including offices, labs, classrooms, student residence halls, and most outdoor spaces.  In addition, all rooms in campus residence halls offer Gigabit-speed wired internet access. Each room has as many wired connections as students. Housing fees cover access; there is no additional charge. To access the network using a wired connection, students living in campus residence halls will need a CAT-5e or CAT-6 Ethernet cable and an Ethernet port or USB-to-Ethernet adapter for their computer.  Further information and connection instructions can be found at lawn.gatech.edu.


Commons/Library/Housing/Student Center:

Although owning a printer is not required, many students purchase a printer for their own convenience. The printer should be connected using a USB or wired network connection (wireless printing is not supported). High speed laser printing for students is also available throughout the campus, including the Library, many schools, colleges, and campus housing areas. This service is managed by Printing and Copying Services and the Office of Information Technology via the Pharos printing system utilizing BuzzCard funds, and a print allocation provided to students on a semesterly basis. For more information about this service, please visit: http://b.gatech.edu/2qbe1QN.


The Central Printing Service (Central PS) is another printing option for students who need to print large volumes and/or who do not need the job immediately. This is a PCS service with print jobs delivered to bins in the Clough Undergraduate Learning Commons Room 215 (behind Kaldi’s Coffee) approximately three times a day Monday – Friday. Students are currently not charged for Central PS printing, but are limited to 1200 pages per semester. For more information about this service, please visit: https://print.gatech.edu.

Large Format Printing:

Large format printing (poster printing) is available at different locations on campus, including the Library’s Print Studio located on the 3rd floor of Price Gilbert, part of the Media Scholarship Commons. Print jobs are priced by the square foot and plotters are capable of printing in 24-inch, 36-inch and 42-inch widths of any length.  For more information about this service, please visit: https://library.gatech.edu/media-scholarship-commons

Financial Considerations

Through an appeals process, computer ownership costs and expenses may be added to the Institute’s Cost of Attendance (Student Budget; http://finaid.gatech.edu/cost-adjustments) for entering freshmen and undergraduate transfer students. Applicants who apply for student financial aid through  the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid (OSFA) may request to have a one-time adjustment up to a maximum of $1,100 added to their Cost of Attendance for purposes of determining his or her eligibility for student financial assistance. A receipt showing computer purchase costs will be required at the start of the first term. Procedures on how to initiate this request can be found at www.finaid.gatech.edu/costs. Contact a financial aid advisor, listed at www.finaid.gatech.edu/contacts, with any questions.

Unit-Specific Information

In addition to the requirements above, the following units (Colleges/Schools) have specific requirements of all undergraduates taking courses within their unit:

Scheller College of Business:

  • External Webcam (if not internal to the laptop)
  • External Microphone (if not internal to the laptop)

NOTE: Students taking courses in specific units (Colleges/Schools) should always pay careful attention to additional required hardware and software as set forth in course syllabi.