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Computing Resources for Students

Computer Purchase Recommendations

Personal computers are not required by RIT for course work as all assignments and projects can be completed using the computer labs provided by the university. However, most students find having a computer while attending RIT beneficial for academic and personal use.  Additionally, laptops are the recommended style computer as students can bring them to class, to their labs and directly to the faculty for help.   However, if you choose a desktop follow the same basic hardware guidelines found below.

Scaled down tablet devices such as the Microsoft Surface, iPads, and Android tablets are not really sufficient if you wish to run the higher end CAD tools and Engineering software packages you will be working with in class. 

Recommended Manufacturers (not an exhaustive list):

  • Dell
  • Lenovo
  • HP


NOTE:  Although Apple manufactures fine hardware, the software used in the department does not run on MacBooks or MacBook Pros. 

Operating System

Windows 7, Windows 8.1, or Windows 10 64-bit OS

Hardware Recommendations

Processor At least Intel i5 Processor, i7 processor recommended.  Please see this link for laptop processor benchmarking information -

RAM At least 8GB recommended, 16GB better.

Hard Drive:  At least 128GB hard for the boot drive(hard drive with operating system and main applications), 256 GB recommended.  Solid State drives are strongly recommended.  External or secondary drive for additional storage can be 7200RPM SATA drives or better.  * Some server space is provided to students, see towards the bottom of the page.

Graphics Card:

At Least 1GB Memory that supports Open GL. 

Some examples are:  Nvidia GeForce, Nvidia Quadrio, or AMD FirePro series

If possible, use the SolidWorks System/Graphics Card Requirements matrix to find recommended graphics when configuring a new PC – see link here for certified models.

Laptop screen size:

This is up to your preference, some models listed have 12.5 inch screens and some go up to 17 inch screens.  The 17” laptops can be quite cumbersome.  Most models have docking stations so that you could hook a larger monitor and standard keyboard and mouse in your rooms.  15” would be the suggested size.


It is strongly recommended to purchase at least a 3 year warranty that covers failed hardware.  Some vendors such as Dell also offer complete care which covers accidental damage from drops, liquid spills, etc.


An external hard drive or usb thumb drive large enough to backup your important files externally is recommended.   Additionally, cloud services such as dropbox and carbonite backup offer space off your computer to securely store important files.

Additional information

Almost all manufacturers have educational discounts ranging from 5% - 10% off. The manufacturer website will have an education section in the online store.

Software Recommendations

Microsoft Office 2013 OR 2016 OR 365: Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.

Microsoft Office 365 is provided to all students free of charge by RIT. 

Specialized Software

Students may download and use education versions of many software that will be taught throughout their courses. See the following webpage for details:


The Microsoft Developer Network Academic Alliance(MSDNAA) agreement with Microsoft provides the following operating systems and software packages to the students of MMET/PS:
The latest versions of Microsoft Windows OS, Visual Studio, Microsoft Visio, Microsoft Project, MS SQL Server and many more. Students can access the using a RIT Computer Account to authenticate. 
CAST School of Engineering Technology - MSDNAA


Department provided file share space for students:
All students in the MMET and Packaging Science departments are provided with private network storage for saving files related to course work. The file share can be accessed at \\\Students$\<username>

Instructions to map a network drive:

If you need to access the share off campus you will need to use the RIT VPN client:

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