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System Recommendations

The following recommendations give minimum requirements, recommended, and advanced criteria for a computer for use in classes at Thomas University. Recommendations are given for both Windows and Mac computers and for both laptops and desktops.

  • The minimum requirements represent the oldest and least powerful computer a student could use to access Blackboard and Collaborate which are required for all online and hybrid courses as well as for some face-to-face courses. As new technology is developed, the minimum requirements could change. A system meeting the minimum requirements may not be viable for much longer than one year.
  • The recommended system represents the least powerful system, and possibly the least expensive, that a student could purchase new. A system meeting the recommended requirements should be viable for 3-4 years.
  • The best system represents an additional investment to upgrade hardware components such as video, memory, processing speed, and storage. A best system should be viable for 5 years or more.

As always, check with your professors and your advisor before purchasing a computer as there may be additional requirements for some classes.

Desktops 

Component Minimum Requirements Recommended System Best System
Windows Mac Windows Mac Windows Mac
Processor Intel Core i3 2nd Gen or
Pentium Dual Core or
AMD Next Gen or
AMD Dual Core or
AMD Quad Core
Intel Core 2 Duo
Processor iMac
(Earlier Models)
Intel Core i3/i5 -
2nd/3rd Gen
(3rd Gen Processors
have improved
Integrated Intel
HD Graphics)
Intel Core i5 quad-core iMac Intel Core i7 3rd Gen
(3rd Gen Processors
have improved
Integrated Intel
HD Graphics)
Intel Core i5
quad-core iMac
or Intel quad-core
Xeon Mac Pro
RAM (More memory (RAM)
increases performance and
enables your computer to
perform faster and better. )
2-4 GB
(4 GB will make a
noticeable difference
in performance)
2-4 GB
(4 GB will make a
noticeable difference
in performance)
4-8 GB 4-8 GB 8-16 GB 8-32 GB
Hard Drive 250 GB 250 GB 320 GB 500 GB 500 GB - 1TB 500 GB - 1 TB
Optical Drive 16x CD-RW/DVD +RW Superdrive 16x CD-RW/DVD +RW Superdrive 16x CD-RW/DVD +RW Superdrive
Network 10/100 Base-T 10/100 Base-T 10/100 Base-T 10/100/1000 Base-T
(Gigabit)
10/100/1000 Base-T
(Gigabit)
10/100/1000 Base-T
(Gigabit)
Wireless 802.11n Wi-Fi
(All-in-one models)
802.11n Wi-Fi 802.11n Wi-Fi
(All-in-one models)
802.11n Wi-Fi 802.11n Wi-Fi
(All-in-one models)
802.11n Wi-Fi
Graphics Integrated 
Video or  
Intel HD Graphics or
Graphics Card with
256 MB Memory
Graphics processor with 
256 MB Memory
Integrated 
Video or   
Intel HD Graphics or 
Graphics Card with 
512 MB Memory
Graphics processor with
256 MB Memory
Integrated 
Video or  
Intel HD Graphics or 
Graphics Card with 
512 MB - 1 GB Memory
Graphics processor with 
512 MB - 1 GB Memory
Printer Inkjet or Laserjet Inkjet or Laserjet Inkjet or Laserjet Inkjet or Laserjet Inkjet or Laserjet Inkjet or Laserjet
Monitor 17 in LCD Flatscreen 17 in Flatscreen 17-19 > in LCD/LED Flatscreen 21.5 in Flatscreen 19-24 > in LCD/LED Flatscreen 21.5 - 27 in Flatscreen
Operating System Windows 7 (XP is longer
supported by Microsoft)
Mac OS 10.5.6 > Windows 7 or 8 Mac OS 10.6.x > Windows 7 or 8 Mac OS 10.6.x >
Microphone / Headphones Built-in Stereo or USB Built-in Stereo or USB Built-in Stereo or USB Built-in Stereo or USB Built-in Stereo or USB Built-in Stereo or USB
Webcam Any Built-in Logitech or
Microsoft HD 720p or
(Built-in All-in-one Models)
Built-in Logitech or
Microsoft HD 1080p or  
(Built-in All-in-one Models)
Built-in
Additional / Optional Bluetooth / SD Card Bluetooth / SD Card Bluetooth / SD Card Bluetooth / SD Card Bluetooth /SD Card Bluetooth / SD Card
 

Laptops

 

Component Minimum Requirements Recommended System Best System
Windows Mac Windows Mac Windows Mac
Processor Intel Core i3 2nd Gen or
or Pentium Dual Core or
AMD Next Gen or
AMD Dual Core or
AMD Quad Core
Intel Core Duo 2.5 Ghz Intel Core i3/i5 -
2nd/3rd Gen
(3rd Gen Processors
have improved
Integrated
Intel HD Graphics)
Intel Core i5 Intel Core i7 3rd Gen
(3rd Gen Processors
have improved
Integrated Intel
HD Graphics)
Intel Core i5
RAM RAM (More memory (RAM)
increases performance and
enables your computer to
perform faster and better. )
2-4 GB
(4 GB will make a
noticeable difference
in performance)
2-4 GB
(4 GB will make a
noticeable difference
in performance)
 4 GB 4 GB 8 GB  8 GB
Hard Drive  160 GB  250 GB  320 GB  320 GB  500 GB  500 GB
Optical Drive 8x CD-RW/DVD +RW Superdrive 8x CD-RW/DVD +RW Superdrive 8x CD-RW/DVD +RW Superdrive
Network 10/100 Base-T 10/100 Base-T 10/100 Base-T 10/100/1000 Base-T
(Gigabit)
10/100/1000 Base-T
(Gigabit)
10/100/1000 Base-T
(Gigabit)
Wireless 802.11n Wi-Fi 802.11n Wi-Fi 802.11n Wi-Fi 802.11n Wi-Fi 802.11n Wi-Fi 802.11n Wi-Fi
Graphics Integrated 
Video or  
Intel HD Graphics or
Graphics Card with
256 MB Memory
Graphics processor with 
256 MB Memory
Integrated 
Video or  
Intel HD Graphics or
Graphics Card with 
512 MB Memory

Integrated 
Video or
Intel HD Graphics or
Graphics Card with 
512 MB Memory

Integrated 
Video or
Intel HD Graphics or
Graphics Card with 
512 MB - 1 GB 
Memory

Integrated
Video or
Intel HD Graphics or
Graphics Card with 
512 MB - 1 GB 
Memory

Printer Inkjet or Laserjet Inkjet or Laserjet Inkjet or Laserjet Inkjet or Laserjet Inkjet or Laserjet Inkjet or Laserjet
Monitor 11-14 in screen 13 in screen 13-17 in screen 15 in screen 14 - 17 in screen 15-17 in screen
Operating System Windows 7 (XP is longer
supported by Microsoft)
Mac OS 10.5.6 Windows 7 or 8 Mac OS 10.6.x > Windows 7 or 8 Mac OS 10.6.x >
Microphone / Headphones Built-in Stereo
or USB
Built-in Stereo
or USB
Built-in Stereo
or USB
Built-in Stereo
or USB
Built-in Stereo
or USB
BuBuilt-in Stereo
or USB
Webcam Built-in or Any Built-in Built-in or Logitech or
Microsoft HD 720p
 Built-in Built-in or Logitech or  
Microsoft HD 1080p
Built-in
Additional / Optional Bluetooth / SD Card  Bluetooth Bluetooth / SD Card   Bluetooth / SD Card   Bluetooth / SD Card  Bluetooth / SD Card 
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