Computer Guidelines for FYE Students

Through both ITaP and ECN, students at Purdue have access to computer facilities and a wide range of software. However, some students like to bring their own personal computer to campus. For these students, FYE maintains recommendations for both hardware and software.


Basically any modern desktop or laptop computer costing over $400, Mac or PC, is appropriate. Tablet style computers or Google Chromebooks (e.g., iPad/iOS, Galaxy/Android or ChromeOS) may be useful for some applications such as note-taking, but software for technical applications is largely not yet available. Minimum recommended specifications are listed below.

Component Minimum Specifications Recommended
OS Windows 10 or Mac OS X 10.10 or newer
Processor (PC or Mac) 2.4 Ghz Core 2 Duo or better
Memory at least 4 GB RAM
Video card any
Hard drive at least 160 GB or better
Optical drive not required (only if/when you discover a need)
Networking Gigabit Ethernet and Wireless 802.11 (g, n, and/or ac)
External ports at least one USB 2.0 port


Two software packages are heavily used in the ENGR courses taken in the first year: the Microsoft Office suite (especially Excel, Word, and Powerpoint), and MATLAB. All of these programs can be accessed by Purdue students in ITaP labs and on the computers in the ENGR classrooms, and MATLAB is also available through Software Remote.

Though purchase of these packages is not required, it is recommended if are planning to use your own computer, and many students find that it is much more convenient to have personal copies of the software. Student versions of these software packages can be purchased with discounted educational pricing at the links below. 

Product Notes and cost
Microsoft Office 365 University
4-year subscription to Office 365 University. One-time fee of $79. Runs on Windows 7 at later, Mac OS X 10.6 and later.
MATLAB Student version
Select the most recent release. Our classrooms currently use version R2013a. Cost is $99. Runs on Windows, Mac, and Linux.