Computer & Software Recommendations

Computer Recommendations

Laptop vs. Desktop

Each has its advantages and disadvantages. Think about what you are going to use it for, how much money you want to spend, and if you want to upgrade it in the future.

Laptops offer mobility, take up less space, and students can also access the OSU wireless network in all residence halls and most buildings on campus. For this reason, most students decide to use a laptop when coming to Oregon State. They are harder to upgrade however, and because they are constantly moved around, they tend to wear out faster than desktops.

Desktop computers take up more space and offer little mobility, but are generally faster, and cheaper to upgrade and maintain. They also generally last longer than laptops.

Hardware Recommendations

Computers are constantly changing, so when shopping around for a particular brand/style, it is a good idea to do your research beforehand. The following websites offer good computer reviews and comparisons:

Educational Discounts on Computers

Many computer manufacturers offer discounts for students when buying a new computer. Click on any of the logos below for the educational site for that manufacturer:

Apple Student Discounts

Apple Student Discounts

Lenovo Student Discounts

Lenovo Student Discounts

Dell Student Discounts

Dell Student Discounts








Software Recommendations

Operating System Recommendations

The operating system is your computer's most important piece of software, because it is in charge of running all the other programs that you need, and making sure those programs interact well with your computer hardware. For security and stability reasons, we always recommend that you run the latest version of your preferred operating system:

  • Windows: This is the most common operating system if you own a PC. Windows 10 is the latest version of Windows, but Windows 8, 7 and Vista will also work on ResNet.
    • Recommended if you need to use MS Project or MS Visio.
  • OS X: This is the operating system that runs on Macintosh computers, and all versions will also work on ResNet.

A Note About Linux: Most flavors of Linux should also work on ResNet. Please be aware that the IS Service Desk can support Linux only on a "best effort" basis, so most errors you may have on the network will have to be solved on your own.

Educational Discounts on Software

There are several educational discounts available for software. See our Software page for more information.