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Suggested Minimum Personal Computer Features

A Reference for Prospective Engineering Students

The OSU College of Engineering does not require engineering students to have their own personal computer. The College does maintain a predominantly Windows PC environment with most computers using a version of Microsoft’s operating system. (Windows 7® or Windows 10® in most departments). Engineering students are provided access to certain College computers and software in support of their academic programs. However, the following computer related information is offered as a guideline for individuals who wish to obtain their own personal computer in anticipation of an academic career at The Ohio State University in the College of Engineering.

Students wanting to purchase a MAC should read the Cautionary Note at the bottom of this page.  Students will be taking coursework during their first year that involves using SolidWorks which requires the ability to run it on a Windows operating system.

 

Minimum Personal Computer Features

Desktop

Laptop

Processor(s): 2.0 GHz, 1MB L2 Cache (each processor), with at least SSE2 support

Processor(s): 1.8 GHz, 512KB L2 Cache (each processor), with at least SSE2 support

4GB Main Memory
 

4GB Main Memory
 

Hard Drive with 80 GB available

Hard Drive with 80 GB available

DVD-ROM Drive

DVD-ROM Drive

128 MB, Direct3D 9 or 10, or OpenGL-capable graphics video card
(shared memory is okay if 4GB or more main memory)

128 MB, Direct3D 9 or 10, or OpenGL-capable graphics video
(shared memory is okay if 4GB or more main memory)

An LCD type monitor with 17 inch display

14 inch display

Ethernet Network Interface Card (NIC)*

Ethernet Network Interface (NIC)*

Wireless optional

Wireless Networking Adaptor (802.11 b/g)**

Note that the above suggestions are MINIMUMs.
The features are ‘driven’ by the assumed use of SolidWorks® software, and The MathWorks MATLAB® software as used in the OSU Department of Engineering Education courses. Also, once enrolled, students are eligible to purchase Microsoft Office and other software products at reduced pricing (details found at http://ocio.osu.edu/software/mslicense/agreement); and students also have access to the campus retail tech store techHUB (located at the Tuttle Parking Garage) and the laptop help service BUCKEYE BAR (two locations - Thompson Library and also at techHUB). Be advised that most engineering software is not compatible with netbook-type devices, nor with some tablet-or-slate-type devices, nor with 'smart' mobile devices.

* All campus dorm rooms have wired Internet access; dorm buildings have wireless access points.

** The OSU main campus has many wireless network access points, with more added regularly. So a wireless network feature on a notebook could be put to good use.

 

Cautionary Note:  Students pursuing an engineering degree may prefer an Apple computer such as an iMac or MacBook Pro having an OS X operating system. Some of the software available to OSU engineering students for personal use is not directly compatible with OS X. However, an iMac or MacBook type of product can be configured to allow installation of ‘Windows only’ software. In general it requires either a dual-boot configuration of the computer, or, what is called a virtualized environment that allows the installation and subsequent use of a Windows operating system on the computer while having initially booted up to OS X.

 

Dual boot means the computer’s hard drive is set up to have OS X and Windows both installed, and the user boots up to OS X or Windows, and works only within the booted environment. Whereas in a virtualized situation the user boots up to OS X and can choose to operate in OS X or in Windows; and can easily switch back and forth between the two. The former method allows for full performance to be realized, while the latter, although offering flexibility, has a performance degradation of an application (typically about 10%-30% depending on device and application). Either configuration requires the acquisition of a Windows operating system software license. And the latter method requires a special software ‘layer’ (e.g., Virtual Box or Parallels) that enables Windows to install and work in harmony with OS X