Laptop Program: Recommended PC Laptop
Updated: 22 March 2018 10:52 AM
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We recommend you check out our Laptop Program: Purchase Advice page, and wait until Summer 2018 to purchase a laptop.

Recommended PC Laptops: Microsoft Surface Book 2 & Pro and Dell XPS & Precision 

Microsoft Surface Book 2: Best Option for Recommended Programs

The new Surface Book 2 has two different models a 13" and 15" models.

Surface Book 2 – 13.5" / 256GB / Intel Core i7 or better

We recommend purchasing the Surface Book with a minimum of an i7 processor and 8GB of RAM. There are more expensive models available and these provide more RAM and storage.

  • 8th Gen Intel Core i7-8650U (quad-core) with up to 4.20 GHz Max Turbo
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 discrete GPU w/2GB GDDR5 graphics memory
  • 256GB SSD
  • 8GB RAM
  • 13.5” PixelSense Display, Resolution: 3000 x 2000, (267 PPI), 10-point multi-touch G5
  • Surface Pen not included
  • Windows 10 Pro

Surface Book 2 – 15" / 256GB / Intel Core i7 or better

  • 8th Gen Intel Core i7-8650U (quad-core) with up to 4.20 GHz Max Turbo
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 discrete GPU w/6GB GDDR5 graphics memory
  • 256GB SSD
  • 8GB RAM
  • 15” PixelSense Display, 3240 x 2160, (260 PPI), 10-point multi-touch G5
  • Surface Pen not included
  • Windows 10 Pro

Surface Book 2 vs MacBook Pro: Face-off! (Laptop Mag)

Surface Laptop vs. Pro

Recommended Surface Pro model: Surface Pro - Intel Core i7 / 256GB SSD / 8GB RAM

  • The Surface Pro is ideal for drawing: you can lie it flat, and draw on the screen.
  • We do not recommend any of the cheaper configurations, as if you're going to be drawing in Photoshop or Illustrator, you will want the computing power of the Intel i7.
  • Surface Pro Signature Type Cover and Surface Pen are not included and cost extra.
  • With its fantastic PixelSense display, improved Type Cover, faster performance and even better battery life, the Surface Pro is still the king of detachable 2-in-1s.

Surface Pro

Lowest cost option: Surface Laptop - Intel Core i5 / 256GB SSD / 8GB RAM

  • If you have no plans to draw on your screen or just want the least expensive option (and something comparable to the Dell XPS 13) then this is it. You can configure this laptop with a more expensive i7 processor, but we would perhaps direct you to get the Surface Pro, as you can use it for drawing.
  • In our limited experience, the Surface Laptop has a better screen than the Dell XPS 13.
  • LaptopMag: Surface Laptop vs. Dell XPS

Surface Laptop


Dell Laptops

OCAD University is currently reviewing support for Dell laptops for 2018. We will update this with models in the coming months.

Already Own a PC? Don't want to buy the Recommended Model?

Here is our minimum recommended specification for older PC models.

Minimum Specification
3 years old or less
Intel Core i7 Processor (Dual or Quad processor: 6th Gen Skylake or newer)
8 GB RAM or better
256GB SSD or better (or 7200rpm HDD)
NVidia Geforce or Quadro Graphics, AMD Radeon Graphics

We strongly recommend you speak to the Laptop Help Desk before considering buying a cheap PC or something other than the recommended model. We've seen a lot of cheap PC laptops that are hopelessly underpowered, poorly constructed and bad value for money overall. If your system is not a recommended system we offer no support for it:

  • We cannot image your laptop
  • We cannot install any operating system (Windows) on your laptop
  • We do not troubleshoot any kind of issue with your computer
  • Unless it's an Apple laptop there is no on campus repair support. 
  • You will be required to manually install all of your software.
  • Sometimes, the software does not install at all and we cannot be responsible for any issues relating to unsupported computers.

This often results in students wasting large amounts of valuable time: your time is more valuable than the money you save buying a cheap laptop. Please purchase a recommended configuration for your program.