Computer Purchasing Guide

Chromebooks

 

Pros: Great Battery life, low cost, ease of use, does productivity work efficiently.

Cons: Not ideal for GPU based workloads such as nonlinear video editing, CAD, and software development.

Use case: General Computing (eg. word processing, web browsing, media viewing)

 

Specs

  Minimum Recommended
RAM 4gb 4gb
Screen Resolution 1366x768 1920x1080
Storage 16gb 32gb
End of auto-update 2025 2026+

 

14" Screen: Lenovo 14e

11" Screen: Lenovo 100e mk2

 

To see how long a specific Chromebook will continue to receive updates, please refer to Google's auto-update policy support page.


Windows Laptops

 

Pros: Can do almost any computing task, huge software catalog, large variety of form factors and models to choose from. 

Cons: More expensive than Chromebooks, cheapest options can be a poor experience, Windows is less intuitive than ChromeOS.

Use case: General Computing, CAD, programming, Video Editing, Graphics work

Specs

  Minimum Recommended
RAM 8gb 16gb
Storage 256gb SSD 256+ SSD
CPU Intel i3, or AMD Ryzen 3 Intel i5, Intel i7, AMD Ryzen 5, or 7
Graphics  Intel integrated Ryzen Vega, Nvidia GTX/RTX graphics
Operating System Windows 10, or Linux  

 

Lenovo Ideapad Series *preferably with Ryzen CPU (low cost for good performance)

Acer Nitro 5 Series: affordable entry level to mid range gaming/CAD/Graphic design capable laptops)

Lenovo Thinkpad L,T,X,P lines 

Dell XPS 13 and 15 lines: (Focus on portability and battery life over raw performance)

Asus TUF line (mid to high end gaming/CAD/Graphic design laptops)

Razer Blade line (high end gaming/CAD/Graphic design capable)


Mac Laptops (Apple)

Pros: Good build quality (dependent on model), High end specs compared to low cost PC/Chromebook options, 

Cons: High price for lower performance than PC alternatives, compatible with less existing software than windows, limited choice of devices. Limited ability to run major enterprise and engineering software (eg. Creo, Solidworks)

Use case: Using apple exclusive software (eg. garageband, iMovie), General Computing,programming, Non Linear Video Editing, Graphics work.

General Computing Graphics Work  Nonlinear Video Editing Programming
any apple computer Macbook Pro 16" Macbook Pro 16" Macbook Pro 13,16

 

128gb SSD minimum | 256gb recommended


 
Glossary of terms

CPU: Central processing unit (aka processor). Runs programs and executes any general computing task. A faster CPU means things tend to open faster.

GPU: Graphics processing unit (aka video card). Used to render 3D images and do video work. Very important for CAD, graphic design, non-linear video editing, and, to an extent, software development.

RAM: Random-access memory. Temporary storage for running tasks. A common example of a RAM dependent task is having many tabs open at once in your web browser.

Non-Linear Video Editing:  Professional video editing software such as Final Cut Pro or Adobe Premiere. Requires a high end computer and is vastly more demanding and capable than very basic editors such as iMovie or Windows Movie Maker.

General Computing:  Document / presentation / spreadsheet creation, email, anything that can be done in a web browser, etc.