Tech Buyer's Guide: Choosing a Computer
Incoming freshmen and sophomore students are required to bring a computer that meets or exceeds the system requirements to support Adobe Creative Suite 5 software. You may already have a laptop that meets these requirements.
System Requirements and Recommendations
Adobe Creative Suite 5 software is available for either Macintosh or Windows, with similar minimum requirements:
- A Fast Processor
Macintosh: Multicore Intel® processor
Windows: Intel Pentium® 4 or AMD Athlon® 64 processor
- 1 GB RAM or more recommended (Random Access Memory)
CCAD strongly suggests 4 GB of RAM.
- Operating System
Macintosh: OS X v10.5.7, 10.6, or newer
Windows: Microsoft Windows 7 recommended; Windows XP w/Service Pack 3, Windows Vista Home Premium, Business, Ultimate, or Enterprise w/Service Pack 1 (Service Pack 2 recommended)
1,280 x 800 or more with qualified hardware-accelerated OpenGL graphics card, 16-bit color, and 256 MB of dedicated VRAM (not Shared Memory)
- Some GPU-accelerated features require graphics support for Shader Model 3.0 and OpenGL 2.0. Some features in Adobe Bridge rely on a DirectX 9-capable graphics card.
- DVD Recording Optical Drive compatible with dual-layer DVDs.
- QuickTime 7.6.2 or newer required for multimedia features.
We also recommend purchasing extended warranty coverage on your laptop. CCAD does not offer hardware repair services on campus.
A Note about This Computer
Any laptop computer you may already have or will purchase now for your Freshman year will likely seem slow by the time you are working on more complex projects in your Junior and Senior years. In addition, the major field of study you select may use different software or operating system than your original computer will support. So you may need to replace this computer once during your four years at CCAD. You may also be asked to upgrade the Adobe Creative Suite software once during that time, probably as you approach the start of your third year.
If you're purchasing a new laptop for your first year, we recommend a basic Mac or Windows laptop with an extended warranty. For example, an Apple MacBook with 4 GB of RAM and a 3 Year Extended Warranty is available with student discount for less than $1,200. Education Discounts on hardware are available from both Apple and Dell; more information can be found here.
Which Platform: Macintosh or Windows?
Adobe Creative Suite applications are virtually the same for both platforms, so whether you choose to bring a Windows or Macintosh laptop is a matter of personal choice. CCAD has about the same number of Windows and Macintosh systems on campus, and you will find our classrooms and labs equipped for specific uses. Macintosh systems are used in Ad & Graphic Design, Fine Arts, Illustration, Photography, and Video; Windows workstations are provided in Industrial & Interior Design, and 2- and 3-D Animation labs to support specific software. But students don't always need to purchase the same platform used in the classrooms — talk to your friends and instructors to determine the best fit for your personal needs.
A Note About Running Windows on a Mac
Because new Apple computers contain the same Intel processors that Windows systems use, it is possible to install and run Windows (and Windows applications) on these Macintosh systems. Although you cannot currently purchase a pre-configured system, there are two alternatives which allow you to run Windows on an Intel-based Mac — through virtualization software (such as Parallels Desktop or VMWare Fusion), or by using Apple’s BootCamp Assistant to configure a dual-boot system which can start up either in Windows or Mac operating systems. In both cases, you will need to purchase a copy of the Windows Operating System.
For more information about running Windows on a Mac, take a look at Apple's Online Resource.
CCAD has not deployed Windows on Macintosh systems for student use and does not currently support virtualization or dual-boot solutions.
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