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 2019



Processor(s): Intel Core i5-103G1 or equivalent

Processor(s): i5-8265U or equivalent

12 GB Main Memory

8 GB Main Memory

Hard Drive with 500 GB

Hard Drive with 500 GB

UHD Graphics

UHD Graphics

Screen size (personal choice)

Screen size (personal choice)

Ethernet Network Interface Card (NIC)*

Wireless Networking Adaptor (802.11b/g/n)

Wireless optional

Ethernet Network Interface (NIC) optional

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; 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