Hardware Assistance

General System Recommendations

Latest Generation
Intel Core i5 Processor minimum
Intel Core i7 Processor recommended

The CPU determines how fast your computer can make complex calculations. This helps in math intensive applications such as AutoCAD and Revit, as well as rendering engines built into software such as 3DS MAX, Maya, and Revit.

System Memory (RAM):
8 GB minimum
16 GB recommended

RAM gives your computer fast access to a limited pool of data. The more RAM, the larger the pool. This is useful in content creation software where large files are being continually accessed. Video editing, compositing, digital painting, and texturing all benefit from more RAM.

Screen Resolution:
1920 x 1080p, minimum
Greater than 1920 x 1080p recommended (1440p, 4K)

Screen Size:

Video Chipset (GPU):
Integrated GPU with Hybrid memory minimum (See below for details)
Dedicated (Discrete) GPU strongly recommended

The GPU draws the image that you see on screen, and performs UI and software animations and visual effects. The more powerful the GPU, the more complexity this image can contain. Better GPU's benefit software that contains advanced viewport, or software that works with large file sizes.

Viewports within AutoCAD, Revit, 3DS MAX, and Maya will perform better, and look better with a more powerful GPU. Software that must interpret or encode large files, such as Photoshop PSD files, or high resolution video files will also perform better.

It is recommended that you find video chipsets that use dedicated (discrete) RAM. Video chipsets that employ a hybrid memory sharing technology are acceptable. A number of integrated video chipsets rely entirely on shared system RAM, these chipsets are not recommended

Video Memory (RAM):

2GB minimum (GTX 1050)
6GB+ recommended (GTX 1060 or greater)

Network Interface Card (NIC):

Wireless Network Interface Card:
College of Art and Architecture facilities are wireless ready (802.11 b/g/n compatable)

Hard Drive:
512GB 5400 rpm, minimum
1TB+ 7200 rpm, recommended
Solid State Drive, recommended for best performance

There are currently two types of storage devices available.

SSD is a non-mechanical solution offering high speeds, and increased durability towards shock related damage. The price per gigabyte of capacity is higher than that of HDD's, the other option.
HDD is a mechanical hard drive with a spinning disk. The faster the RPM, or rate the disk spins at, the higher the performance.

The optimal setup for storage is a combination of the two, a small SSD for the operating system and intensive software, and a large HDD for data storage. Users working within software such as Photoshop, After Effects, or Premiere Pro will greatly benefit from a larger SSD that can be used for these programs scratch disk.

Additional Removable Storage:
USB Flash Drive (recommended)
USB Hard Drive (good for projects and backup)

Video Adapter Cables (must be able to connect to VGA, DVI, and HDMI)

External Mouse (USB or wireless)
Security Lock and Cable
Carrying Case
Notebook Cooling Device
Manufacturer's Extended Warranty


Operating System:
Windows 7, 8 or 10 Professional 64 bit

The HOME versions of Windows are NOT recommended

Mac OS X

Must purchase and install Windows (BootCamp or Virtual Machine) to run some software (Autdesk, ArcGIS, etc).


Security software is strongly recommended. Sophos Home offers a free solution that should be adequate. More information and the download can be found here: https://home.sophos.com/

Productivity Software

Microsoft Office is available to U of I students free of charge through the University’s agreements with Microsoft. The office suite can be downloaded by visiting https://portal.office.com/ and signing in with your U of I email address and password.