IT Services

PennDesign Student Computer Recommendations

Dear Students,

Choosing a computer that will serve your digital needs during your time at PennDesign is an important decision.

Architecture and Landscape Architecture Students will use Adobe Creative Cloud Applications, as well as both 2D and 3D applications, including: AutoCAD, Rhino, 3D Max, and so on. Memory and the graphics card are important components of your computer purchase. Selecting a better graphics card and more RAM (16GB is the absolute minimum – 32/64/128GB is better) will help the system handle various applications.

City Planning and Historic Preservations students use Adobe applications, as well as ArcGIS in your courses. The more RAM the better—16GB of RAM is the minimum you should have. Most faculty advise students to use Windows machines rather than Apple computers due to Windows-based software applications used in various courses. Again, this is all dependent on the courses you take during your time at Design.

For all students, most of the software applications used at Design are Windows-based.  We do not include Apple computers in our Back-to-School sale, but if you plan to bring a Mac you can check out the available models at Penn's Computer Connection Store. If you do bring a Mac computer and need to use PC-only software, you will need to consider either Boot Camp or a Virtual package (VM/Parallels) that will meet your needs.

We understand that finances are a concern, but you will want a machine capable enough to handle the various software applications used in your field of study. Please consider the courses you plan to take, whether you might be a dual degree student, or plan to take a class or studio in another discipline and plan accordingly. You do not need to purchase your system from the Computer Connection, but if you choose to purchase elsewhere, or bring a computer you already own, please take into consideration the configurations we proposed.

You can find our computer hardware recommendations here via the Back to School sale. To make a computer purchase online, please visit Penn's Campus Express store, where you'll log in with your PennKey ID and password. Please make sure to browse the documents below, including school-specific recommendations, as well as how you can save via purchasing through UPenn's Computer Connection.

-PennDesign IT Services