PC Purchase

ID #1106

What is your recommendation on the purchase of a personal computer?

A question frequently directed to our Help Desk is: "What type of computer should I purchase when coming to Rutgers?"

Neither the university nor our department officially recommends or discourages any specific computer brand or model. Dell, HP and Apple computers are used throughout the campus. Many public lab systems also run Linux. Any new system, based on current technology and running Windows Vista or 7, or Mac OS X (Tiger, Leopard, or Snow Leopard) would be a good selection. Regardless of the brand of computer purchased, or the operating system (OS) installed, we do recommend that any computer system to be used on campus contain at least 2 gigabytes (GB) of RAM/memory (4GB is preferred) and a 120 gigabyte (GB) hard drive.

A related question that we are often asked is whether students should purchase a laptop or a desktop computer. Laptops have become a much more popular choice for many students, providing mobility (at a higher relative price vs. performance when compared to desktops). The Camden campus has deployed wireless networking across much of the campus. Any laptop to be used on campus, should include wireless (802.11G or higher) support. More information on wireless on the Camden campus (including networking, printing, requirements, coverage, etc.) can be found at the following location:


Students living in the residence halls will have access to a hard-wired ethernet connection in the room, but wireless is not yet fully deployed throughout all areas of the residence halls.  So resident student computers will need a wired ethernet adapter that uses an RJ-45 connector. More information is available at http://resnet.rutgers.edu/index.php.

For Personal Purchases:
While there are numerous places from which to purchase a computer system, Rutgers has developed "findTech Connections," at http://findtech.rutgers.edu, to connect the Rutgers community to sources for institutional and personal technology purchases. The findTech site contains links to online stores for vendors of Rutgers' most common computer technology and accessories, providing students, faculty, and staff with educational discounts and direct, online ordering capabilities. Related links and information on the site provide easy access to university services for software and computer repair. If a particular system or vendor is not listed, do not hesitate to contact the vendor directly. Make sure to let them know that you are a university student/faculty/staff member, and to inquire about any educational pricing discounts or specials.

The same is true for any software purchases to be made; however, software discounts for the university community can be found via the Rutgers "University Software Portal," at http://software.rutgers.edu.Otherwise, neither the university nor our department officially endorses any particular vendor or retail store.

A NetID is required for access to both the findTech Connections and University Software Portal sites, and can be obtained as per the instructions and links at http://oit.rutgers.edu/services/account/quick.html.

For Institutional Purchases:
The same "findTech Connections" site, at http://findtech.rutgers.edu, contains links to online stores of common vendors, with whom discounted quotes can be generated at prices exclusive to Rutgers University. Additional resources on the site include institutional IT procurement activities, funding and available purchasing channels, and links to university services for software (http://software.rutgers.edu) and computer repair (http://computerrepair.rutgers.edu).

No matter what brand/model of computer system is purchased, or from where, it is advisable to always consider obtaining a hardware contract (warranty) that will cover repair or replacement of the system and its components for at least 3 years, if not more.

Some important tips to keep in mind for any computer:

  • Always make sure that Microsoft Update (http://update.microsoft.com/microsoftupdate) for Windows, or Apple's Software Update (via System Preferences) for Mac OS X, is run regularly - preferably automatically.
  • Windows users will be able to download and install the Rutgers Anti-virus Delivery System (RADS), free of charge, at http://rads.rutgers.edu/. In addition to anti-virus software, anti-spyware software is recommended to be installed and run regularly on any Windows system. Mac users can download and install ClamXav, based on the free, open-source ClamAV anti-virus software. More information on ClamXav is available at http://computing.camden.rutgers.edu/macintosh/clamxav.php.
  • Faculty/Staff: Some departments have one or more dedicated/departmental IT (Information Technology) staff, sometimes referred to as a UCS (Unit Computing Specialist), available to them. Since a UCS would be the direct/default support for a given department's system(s) on campus, consult any applicable UCS before purchasing any system for institutional/campus use. Although the requirements for home and work usage may differ, any relevant UCS should also be one source of information for any personal/home system purchase. Anyone unsure of whom their UCS may be, if any, should feel free to contact us:
    OIT - Camden Computing Services
    Business & Science 1st Floor

For more information about Camden Computing Services, our staff and/or our services, please visit us at http://computing.camden.rutgers.edu.  For additional questions on this, or any other computing issue, please email us at help@camden.rutgers.edu.

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Last update: 2010-08-24 22:44
Author: Cory Labbree
Revision: 1.1

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