Weitzman School Student Computer Recommendations
Choosing a computer that will serve your digital needs at The Weitzman School is an important decision. A computer will not only support your academic work, but also better position you as you transition to the workforce. Although a brand new computer is not required, you should expect to use a computer that is relatively new and with a proper warranty. Computers that are generally 4 years or older are most likely out of warranty and not efficiently capable of handling current OS software and applications. In today’s environment, being able to work productively everywhere and anywhere is more important than ever.
Windows 10 Pro is the preferred, current operating system. While Mac OS is capable of supporting many software titles natively, there are a few that are WINDOWS ONLY (e.g., ArcGIS, DesignBuilder, etc.) and would require additional costs (Windows OS license and a Virtual software package) and setup work on your end, as well as a higher specification computer to support the greater demand. While all of the Windows-only titles are available in Weitzman computer labs, if you ever need to install them on your personal computer, Weitzman IT does not provide support for additional configuration tasks on Mac OS since the expectation is that you are quite familiar with your own personal computer maintenance and support.
Note: Apple M1 Chip Macs currently are NOT capable of properly supporting the Windows OS. While there are various workarounds and beta solutions, the Apple M1 Chip Macs should not be considered if you will use Windows-only applications (e.g., ArcGIS) for your academic work.
Architecture and Landscape Architecture Students will use various software titles such as Adobe Creative Cloud applications, as well as both 2D and 3D applications, including Autodesk titles (AutoCAD, Revit, 3Ds Max, etc.) and Rhino. Memory and the graphics card are important components of your computer purchase. Selecting a better graphics card and more RAM will aid in overall performance and how efficiently your system handles various applications.
City Planning and Historic Preservation students use Adobe applications, as well as ArcGIS (Windows ONLY application). 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 Weitzman.
While Fine Arts students are not absolutely required to have a personal computer, it is strongly recommended that you own one for your expected needs for the two years of your MFA study. A new personal computer would not only support your academic and creative work, especially for those whose art is digitally or computationally focused, but it would be of service to you for several years beyond your graduation. Having a personal computer is an investment that would greatly enhance your studies and your post-graduate professional path.
We understand that finances are a concern, but you will want a computer 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 via the Penn-suggested portals, but if you choose to purchase elsewhere, or bring a computer you already own, please take into consideration the configurations we proposed.
Please be sure to read your Departmental memo below with specific information about required laptops, software applications, and other ordering information. We strongly urge you to place your computing order as soon as possible. Currently, supply chains and shipping dates can be delayed.
For any questions, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
-Weitzman School IT Services
Educational Pricing Options
We have created a PDF guide with our heavily discounted computer hardware recommendations. You can view it here: 2021 Laptop Recommendations (Updated 7/7/21).
To make a computer purchase online, please visit Penn's Campus Express store (available to view on June 1, 2021), where you will log in with your PennKey ID and password. After logging in, click on the "Books and Technology" link. In the menu on the left, click "Computer & Technology Discounts." At the bottom of this page, you will find links to the Dell UPenn portal and the Lenovo UPenn portal.
Note: if you are a non-US resident and would like to order a computer, you can have it delivered to Meyerson Hall. You may use this address for the delivery and pick up your computer when you arrive onto campus.
210 S 34th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
Meyerson Hall – G-29
Faculty, Staff, and Departments
Please see the following link: https://www.business-services.upenn.edu/computer-connection