Baseline laptop recommendations

  • Device: Laptop strongly recommended. Desktop computers, Chromebooks, and tablets are fine to bring, but may not meet your academic needs.
  • Processor: Dual-core Intel i5/Ryzen 5 or higher (quad-core or higher recommended).
  • System memory: 8GB required minimum; 16GB or more recommended. If you anticipate a computationally intensive course of study maximizing your memory will be incredibly helpful.
  • Computer operating systems: macOS Mojave 10.14.6 or newer; Windows 10 version 20H2 or newer. ITS recommends enabling automatic updates to keep your operating system version current.
  • Storage: 128GB minimum, 256GB or more recommended. Strongly recommend a solid-state hard drive (SSD).
  • Battery: ITS recommends making sure that your laptop’s battery can hold a charge for several hours and/or investing in a backup battery/battery pack, as classrooms may not be equipped with adequate power outlets for charging during class.

More technology recommendations

  • For listening: 
    • Recommended: Headset or Bluetooth earbuds
    • Alternatives: Built-in speakers, externally connected speakers
  • For Zoom and other video conferencing:
  • For speaking & recording:
    • Recommended: 
      • Headset with built-in microphone, or
      • Earbuds with built-in microphone, or
      • Standalone external microphone like the Blue Snowball.
    • Alternatives:
      • Built-in laptop microphone
      • Microphone built into an external webcam
  • Connectivity: 
    • On-Campus: Follow our eduroam connection guides to setup your device before you arrive on campus.
    • Off-Campus: Broadband internet access with speed of at least 1.5 mbps. If your internet is slower, you may need to turn off your camera during Zoom calls to assist with performance. Check your internet speed at

Assistance for students

Purchasing a laptop?

We strongly recommend you bring your own laptop to campus.  Review this information and recommendations before purchasing a new computer.

  • Education discount program through Apple at
  • Apple Certified Refurbished computers at
  • Education discount program though Dell at Macalester College Dell Member ID: US30732314.
  • International students with a U.S. credit card billing address can order from Apple and Dell web stores.
  • Macalester College does not provide repair services for personally owned equipment.