Thursday, February 25, 2021
Owning Your Own Computer

Although ESF students are not required to own or lease a computer, many students choose to do so. Purchasing a computer system with the correct specifications can be a difficult task. Use the specifications below to help you make the best decision. The information listed is pertinent to all programs at the College. If you already own a computer, you do not necessarily need to purchase a new one to meet these specifications.

The College is primarily a Windows-based computing environment. Macintosh computers have access to most network services, but some Mac users may find that certain courses and degree programs require use of software that does not run natively on the Mac OS, or for which Mac licenses are not readily available. Nearly all such software will run on current Macs with Boot Camp and Windows installed, and most of it will run successfully on emulation software like Parallels or Fusion. All such software will be installed and available for student use in many ESF's computing labs.

Recommended Minimum PC Specifications for New Students (Approximate minimum specs for a 4-year stay):

To handle the demands of advanced academic applications, document formats, media, etc., your computer should meet minimum specification levels for features, memory, drive space and processing power. Most pre-configured systems availabe to ESF students through the SU Bookstore meet these specifications. If you already have a computer or purchase one elsewhere, use these specifications to assess your system. If your current system doesn't meet these approximate minimums, we suggest that you anticipate needing to replace it at some point during your years at ESF.


  • Intel® Core™ i5 (2.5GHz, 3M Cache)
  • 8.0GB Memory
  • 250GB Solid State Hard Drive
  • 802.11ac/n rated wireless

Computer Systems Available through the Syracuse University Bookstore

Syracuse University (SU) offers computers for purchase by students through the Syracuse University Bookstore,—computers can be purchased online. The Dell systems described on the SU site meet or exceed the minimum performance specifications of ESF academic programs, and they are very aggressively priced. These same specifications can be used if purchasing computers from other sources.

Regardless of where you purchase your computer, ESF recommends that you carefully consider service arrangements in case you need to have your computer serviced while attending school.

SU Bookstore Systems
Designated systems sold at SU have at least the minimum features and performance specifications for use in all SUNY-ESF programs, except for the Landscape Architecture (LA) program. LA purchasers should purchase or compare specifications with the high end laptop offered on the SU site as suggested for their School of Architecture programs.

Apple Computers purchased through the Bookstore come with a one year Apple limited warranty. Optionally, you can purchase an additional 4-year Safeware Accidental damage warranty.  This covers everything that Apple covers and also covers accidental damage such as liquid spill, drops and cracked screens.

Most Dell computers sold through the Bookstore come with a 4-year accidental damage warranty from Dell.
The Bookstore is an Apple Authorized Service Center and a Dell Warranty Service Center Depot Location.
All questions regarding purchases of a computer through SU should be directed to the SU Bookstore, (315) 443-4089,

The Microsoft Office suite of applications (Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Access, Outlook, Publisher) is recommended as basic software for academic use. Please note that Microsoft Office is NOT included with the computer systems offered through the SU Bookstore. Information on purchasing it, at a substantial discount to ESF students and staff, can be found here: ESF Personal Purchasing.