The University of Kentucky strongly recommends that each student purchase a personal laptop computer or equivalent tablet device. A student's program requirements, budget, and preference should be the primary factors in choosing a laptop/tablet. Most laptops on the market will meet basic needs; however, UK offers a few guidelines. A student should also consider the major he or she will be pursuing, as some areas of study may have more stringent requirements than the recommendations listed below. We have also included some Frequently Asked Questions to help guide you in your decision.
Minimum suggested laptop computer hardware:
- Processor: Dual Core 1.8 Ghz or higher
- RAM: 4 GB minimum (more preferred)
- Hard Drive: 250 GB or larger preferred (minimum 100 GB or larger)
- Wireless card: 802.11n preferred (minimum 802.11 b/g compatible)
- Operating system: Most recent version for your hardware (for example, Mac 0S 10.10+ or Windows 8+)
- Up-to-date virus software, preferably installed before coming to campus
- Webcam (many laptops come with an integrated webcam and will not require an external device)
- Headphones or headset with microphone
- Other helpful options:2 GB or higher USB Flash Drive, external hard drive (for data backup/extra storage), wired or wireless external mouse, video out adapters (dvi/hdmi), and a laptop security cable
Minimum suggested tablet computer hardware:
- Processor: Dual Core 1.3 Ghz or higher | Apple A5 or higher
- Storage capacity: 32 GB or larger
- Operating system: Most recent version for your hardware (for example, Windows 8.1, Windows RT, iOS 8)
- Other helpful options: Adapters / Other Hardware.
Because tablets have less storage than laptops, tablet users with high-speed Internet connectivity can use UK's virtual desktop and application solution (www.uky.edu/VirtualDEN) to expand the number of applications available to them. See further below in this document about the software this service provides. Also, many tablets have HDMI or USB ports for connecting external monitors, keyboards, mouse, headset, and other devices.
College Specific Requirements
Some colleges have specific requirements in addition to these. Please visit the student information section of the UK Purchasing eBuy portal for college contacts and links (www.uky.edu/Puchasing/ebuy/student.php). The site also provides students with information that allows them to purchase equipment and software at a discounted price.
Other considerations when purchasing include warranty, accidental damage plans, display size and resolution, weight of the hardware, battery life, and charging options. A warranty may help if the laptop/tablet experiences problems in the first years of ownership. The student should consider the most appropriate warranty for his or her needs and whether an accidental damage plan would be beneficial. Each student should also consider where and how he or she will carry and use the laptop/tablet and how to keep it charged.
Visit https://download.uky.edu/ to learn about software available free of charge or at a reduced rate.
In addition to downloadable software, students with high-speed Internet connectivity can access myVirtualDEN (Virtual Desktop Environment), which provides access to general student lab software on any UK student's personal device (desktop, laptop, tablet). This allows anywhere, anytime access to a number of Windows applications, including SAS, SPSS, Microsoft Office, and Adobe products. See www.uky.edu/VirtualDEN for more information. Mac users can access myVirtualDEN software just as easily as PC users.
Note: Through the use of additional software, Apple laptops with Intel-based architecture (all new Mac laptops) can run the Windows operating system either natively or as an emulated device; however, there is no supported way to run Mac OS X software on non-Apple hardware.
This page last reviewed and updated January 2015.