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Students: Find the right technology for CWRU at the right price

Two students using windows and mac laptops.The transition from high school to college marks the beginning of a new phase, often coupled with a new technology device. The Division of University Technology, [U]Tech at Case Western Reserve University offers students special pricing on quality computers. In addition, most of the software students will need is available to them at no cost through the university’s Software Center.

What computer should I buy?

Where should I buy?

What about software?

Who can I call for help?

What computer should I buy?

The computer purchased for college should be treated as a significant investment. After all, it might be the one tool you will carry with you for all four years. Purchasing a computer is ultimately a personal decision, and students should consider their academic program when buying. Both Windows PCs and Macs are used widely on the Case Western Reserve campus. At the minimum, UTech recommends the following:

If you prefer a Windows PC:

Consider purchasing from Dell. Case Western Reserve partners with Dell to provided expedited, on-campus support. Software for technical majors, such as engineering, only operates on Windows. At the minimum, a computer should meet these specifications.

Memory (RAM)

Four gigabytes (GB) of memory is passable, but 8GB of memory is strongly encouraged, especially for students with technical majors, such as engineering.

Hard Drive

Solid state drives (SSDs) offer a significant performance boost over typical spinning hard drives (HDDs). A 256GB SSD offers great performance with enough storage space to store common files. If more storage space is needed, a 1 terabyte (TB) HDD is suitable.


An Intel Core i5 processor is recommended.


For Dell computers, purchase the four-year ProSupport Plus warranty. It covers manufacturer defects and accidental damage for the standard duration of college. Students can bring their Dell computer to the UTech Customer Assistance Resource and Education (CARE) Center in the lower level of the Kelvin Smith Library for repairs. For more information on the CARE Center, visit

If you prefer a Mac:

On-campus technicians can provide consultation support for Macs, but hardware repairs are conducted through Apple directly at this time. (On campus-warranty support for Apple computers will be offered in the near future.)

Software for technical majors, such as engineering, only operates on Windows. To use this software, students will need to install Windows on a partition of their Mac’s hard drive or through a virtual machine program, such as Parallels. (For more information, see What about software?) UTech recommends two options for Mac computers:

Macbook Pro 13” with Retina display

  • 2.7GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor with Turbo Boost up to 3.1GHz
  • 8GB memory
  • 256GB SSD (or more)
  • Intel Iris Graphics 6100

Macbook Pro 15” with Retina display

  • 2.2GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 processor with Turbo Boost up to 3.4GHz
  • 16GB memory
  • 256GB SSD (or more)
  • Intel Iris Pro Graphics

Consider purchasing an external hard drive to conduct regular backups using Apple’s built-in Time Machine software. The external drive must be at least the same size as the computer’s hard drive. Also, consider purchasing AppleCare to extend Apple support and protection through the duration of college.

Where should I buy?

You will receive an educational discount if you purchase through Case Western Reserve’s Dell or Apple stores. To browse or purchase, visit

What about software?

From Microsoft Office to antivirus protection, the majority of software you will need during your time at Case Western Reserve is available to download at no cost. The remaining software titles, such as Adobe Creative Cloud and Parallels, can be purchased at a significant discount.

To download software onto your computer, visit once you arrive on campus. Software will download much faster on the university network. If you opt to download software from home, you must first connect to the university’s Virtual Private Network (VPN). See for more information.

Who can I call for help?

Students can contact the UTech Service Desk at 216.368.HELP (4357) or for technology support at any time and at no cost. Students should also watch the New Student Checklist this summer for important technology information.

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