ComputerGuide: Deals by vendor, recommendations, and common questions
On this page:
- Hardware deals by vendor
- Supported operating systems
- New computer hardware minimum recommendations
- Minimum requirements for existing hardware (i.e., a computer you already own)
- What software do I need to buy?
- Should I use Windows or Mac?
- Do I need my own printer in the residence halls at IUB?
- What about networking hardware?
- What wireless protocols will work at IU?
- Which Ethernet switches should I use?
- Can I have my computer delivered to my residence hall at IU?
Hardware deals by vendor
- Do not unnecessarily order software from vendor sites, as many products are available as free downloads to IU students, faculty, and staff via IUware, and on disc at campus bookstores. See the software section of this page.
- At IU Bloomington, the IU Bookstore in IMU M074 carries computer accessories, as well as Apple laptops.
- Some of the sites below require authentication with a valid IU Network ID.
|Apple||IU and Apple have teamed up to create a custom Apple Store where you can buy systems at a significant discount.|
|CDW-G||For information about the prices CDW-G offers to those affiliated with IU, see the Indiana University FSS Purchasing Page.|
|Dell||IU and Dell have teamed up to offer Dell computers, electronics, and accessories at a discount to all IU students, faculty, and staff. Visit Dell's IU Store.|
|GovConnection||IU students, faculty, and staff qualify for special pricing for IT products from GovConnection.|
|Sony||For details about IU's agreement with Sony, see Employee & Student Purchasing Program: Sony.|
Supported operating systems
Windows 8.x and Windows 7 are the preferred Windows operating systems at IU, though Vista with Service Pack 2 is compatible with most services. UITS does not support previous operating systems.
For more, see Recommended Windows operating systems at IU.
UITS recommends Mac OS X version 10.7 (Lion) or greater, and strongly discourages use of older versions, as they may have compatibility issues with some university online resources.
IU has a license for students, faculty, and staff to use Red Hat Enterprise Linux. Numerous community-based distributions, such as Ubuntu Linux and Fedora Core, may prove suitable for some, as they tend to offer more recent hardware drivers. For more about Linux distributions, see DistroWatch.com.
UITS also mirrors many popular Linux distributions.
To use all the technology services available at IU, UITS suggests the following minimum hardware components for a new purchase. IU students, faculty, and staff can take advantage of special computer deals; see the Deals by vendor section. Also, on this page, see What about networking hardware?
Laptops and desktops
|New Windows laptop or desktop||New Mac laptop or desktop|
|Processor:||Any current-generation processor of over 2 GHz and at least 2 cores||Any currently shipping Apple laptop or desktop (MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, iMac, Mac mini, or Mac Pro)|
|Memory (RAM):||4 GB or more|
|Hard drive:||320 GB or more|
|Network card:||Wireless 802.11 a/b/g/n (dual band)
Note: Make sure the wireless card supports 802.11n in both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz.
|Operating system:||Windows 8.x or Windows 7|
If you own a computer you plan to bring to campus, it should meet certain hardware requirements to function effectively within the IU computing environment. Do not use these specifications for a new computer purchase; instead, see the New computer hardware recommendations above.
- Minimum requirements for Windows computers: In general, Windows computers built in the last five years with at least Windows Vista Service Pack 2 should be sufficient for lightweight computer usage at IU.
- Minimum requirements for Apple computers: In general, Apple computers capable of running Mac OS X 10.7 (Lion) or higher should be sufficient for lightweight computer usage at IU.
If you use an older computer, you may find it sluggish when running graphically intense applications or when running more than one application. If you only need to check email and do simple word processing, you may find the performance to be adequate. Bear in mind, however, that an older computer means a higher risk of breakdown or losing important work.
Note: When bringing your own computer to IU, be sure to bring all your software installation media and documentation.
As an IU student, you are eligible for free downloads of many software packages, including those offered by Adobe and Microsoft, as well as antivirus products. For more, see http://iuware.iu.edu/ . You do not need to purchase any Microsoft packages (such as "trial" or "student edition" versions).
Additionally, as a student, you may use IUanyWare to run Windows software virtually on your Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, or Blackberry device, without the need for downloading.
IU has software licensing agreements with different software companies, allowing IU to distribute software at a discounted educational price. See At IU, how can I access discounted software?
Both operating systems are well supported at IU. The most useful software packages (i.e., word processing, spreadsheet, or communication software, and web browsers) look similar and perform well on both platforms. Some academic programs that rely heavily on business-oriented software are better served by the Windows platform, but some programs that rely heavily on graphics and multimedia software may be better served by the Mac platform.
Consult your department for recommendations. IU has a diverse environment; choose the computer you prefer, or the one that best fits your budget. Be sure you use the New computer hardware minimum recommendations to make your purchase.
Note: Kelley School of Business (KSOB) students are required to use Microsoft Access, a Microsoft Office database application available only for Windows. If you have a Mac, you can use Access on any Windows computer in the IU Student Technology Centers, or purchase a Windows DVD from the UITS Support Center ($20 plus tax) and install it on your Mac using Boot Camp. For instructions, see At IU, how do I install Windows 7/8 64-bit on my Mac?
You do not need to bring a printer to campus, as printers are available in the Student Technology Centers and Residential Technology Centers (STCs/RTCs). Use the Printer Configuration Utility to configure your computer to print to the networked printers in the STCs and RTCs.
If you live on campus, you can use your computer's Ethernet or wireless card to use the campus network in your residence hall. The wired Ethernet connections tend to be faster and more stable than wireless. Each room in your residence hall on campus has one active phone jack and one active Ethernet jack.
If you live off campus, you may have a choice of using a network connection offered by your leasing agent or getting cable modem or DSL service. Contact your leasing office about available Internet connections. To set up cable modem service, contact a local cable company; to set up DSL service, contact a local phone company.
What wireless protocols will work at IU?
802.11n, in both the 2.4 and 5 GHz spectrums, is generally available at IU. 802.11b/g is also available in 2.4 GHz.
The 802.11n network will provide a more stable wireless connection, especially in 5 GHz. The 802.11b/g/n 2.4 GHz client space is generally more congested and traditionally has more sources of interference (e.g., cordless phones, Bluetooth devices, game controllers, microwaves) than the 5 GHz space. Additionally, there are more channels available for 802.11n in the 5 GHz space. For those clients that can take advantage of them, the extra channels allow for additional 802.11n access points in congested areas.
UITS recommends that you purchase and use devices that support 802.11a/b/g/n, supporting both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz (dual-band) for 802.11n.
Which Ethernet switches should I use?
Routers are only allowed in selected areas on campus; see At IU, may I add a wireless access point to my campus housing residence, classroom, or office? However, Ethernet hubs, repeaters, and switches are a cost-effective way to provide network connectivity to multiple devices via a single data jack. Unfortunately, improperly implemented switches can result in network problems for an entire building or even, in rare cases, an entire campus.
To prevent network problems, end-user Ethernet switches on the IU network must meet the basic requirements published by UITS. For an explanation of these requirements, and for testing instructions, see Testing Ethernet switches for compatibility
For recommended Ethernet switches, see Recommended Ethernet switches