Knowledgebase: Hardware
Laptop Program 2020-2021: Buyer's Guide
Updated: 27 July 2020 01:34 PM

If you are coming to OCADU, more than likely, you will need a laptop. 

This page is designed to help you make some decisions and provide information about laptops at OCADU.

Should I buy a new laptop or use my existing laptop?

Generally-speaking, if you already own a computer, we recommend first evaluating how it performs against the type of work you will do in your Academic Program. The processing power needed for a Curatorial and Criticism student writing a critique is going to be different than a Environmental Design student running 3D-rendering software.

  • Does your computer run slow? Can it handle multiple applications at a time? 
  • Does your computer have an adequate CPU and amount of RAM? Needs will vary, but for most Academic programs that require any sort of Creative Software, 8GB of RAM and an Intel i5 or i7 Processor is a minimum recommendation. 

Often we recommend that you start off the year with the computer you already haveAs you progress through your course work, you will get a better idea of if your computer is up to snuff. In a world where computer technology is evolving so quickly, delaying your new laptop purchase until your second or third year may give you the most value as you do more complex work. 

I think I need a new laptop, what kind of laptop should I get? 

Ultimately, the laptop you choose is at your discretion and might be based on your previous experience with computers.. However, we do have particular manufacturers and models that we recommend to students.

The first decision you need to make is whether to get a Mac or a PC. Either platform will support you regardless of your Academic Program, but for students in Environmental Design and Industrial Design, we encourage you to go with a PC because of some of the Windows-specific software you may use. For students in these two programs that choose to purchase a Mac, you do have the option of adding a Windows partition to your Mac

Overall, our minimum recommendations when buying any new computer are:

  • 256 GB SSD or higher
  • 8 GB RAM or higher 
  • Intel i5 or i7 Processor (quad-core or higher preferred)

Based on our own suggestions and student feedback, we have identified these manufacturers and models as the best options to support students in their studies:

  • Apple 13" and 16" Macbook Pro 
  • Microsoft Surface Book 3 and Surface Book 2
  • Dell Precision 5540

See the next section links to our recommended configurations and information on how to make your purchase. 

Where should I purchase my new laptop from?

To purchase an Apple computer, check out these recommended systems from the OCAD University store page on Apple's website here. If you would like to purchase a custom configuration with educational pricing, you can do so here. Prefer to make your purchase in person? Any of Apple's retail stores can provide educational pricing with proof that you are a student (Student ID card, Offer of Admission, Confirmation of Enrollment etc.)

To purchase a Dell computer with an educational discount, here are our recommended systems through our partner CDW here. 

To purchase a Microsoft Surface product, visit Microsoft's online education store here

If you are purchasing a computer from any other retailers online or in-store, we always recommend asking if there is a student discount available. 

More Resources

Laptop Program - About
Laptop Program - Software
Laptop Program - Hardware
Laptop Program - Support
Laptop Program - All Articles