fbpx Laptop Information | University of Kentucky College of Engineering

Laptop Information

Your laptop needs to meet or exceed the following minimum specifications:

Processor Intel Core i5,
2.5 GHz or faster
Intel Core i7,
2.8 GHz or faster
Memory 8 GB of RAM 16 GB of RAM
Hard disk 250 GB 500 GB or larger
USB ports (2) type A 2.x (2) Type A 3.x
Operating System Windows 10, Professional, Enterprise, or Educational

To make choosing a laptop easier, Dell has configured two Precision mobile workstations that meet the above specifications. You can view these by visiting our Dell discount site, and clicking on the green “Shop your standard configurations” button. The Precision 3520 is configured to meet the minimum specification, and the Precision 5520 is configured to meet the preferred configuration. Both system can be customized above their base configurations.

Model You will need to purchase a MacBook Pro,
not a MacBook or MacBook Air
Processor Intel Core i5,
2.5 GHz or faster
Intel Core i7,
2.7 GHz or faster
Memory 16 GB of RAM 16 GB of RAM
Hard disk 512 GB 1 TB
USB ports (2) type A 2.x (2) Type A 3.x
Operating System MacOS X 10.11
Windows 10 Professional, Enterprise, or Educational
Apple’s Boot Camp (see OS notes below)

Windows Laptop vs MacBook Pro vs Chromebooks

A Windows laptop would be a better choice in the following academic programs: Biosystems, Biomedical, Chemical, Civil, Mechanical, and Mining Engineering. Either Windows or Mac would be appropriate for: Computer Science, Electrical Engineering, and Computer Engineering. Chromebooks and tablets (iPads, Android, Windows RT) are not recommended as your primary device, as they do not provide the functionality you will need in your studies.

Graphics Card

If the laptop model you are purchasing supports a discrete, or add-in graphics card, we recommend you add that to your system.


It is recommended that you choose a laptop that has, or can be upgraded to, 16GB RAM. Depending on the software you run during your career in the College, you will probably need this at some point in the future. If you are purchasing an Apple laptop, you will have to decide at the time of purchase whether to get 8GB or 16GB. There is no after purchase memory upgrade available for the current generation of Apple laptops.

Hard Drives

If you choose an Apple laptop, you will need to purchase a hard drive large enough to host a native MacOS X partition, and at least a 100GB Boot Camp partition for running Windows. For Apple Macintosh users: 500GB hard drive minimum, 1TB is preferred.


Laptops tend to lead harsher lives, and are usually harder and more expensive to repair than desktops. Many laptops on UK’s Dell Educational sites come with one-year warranty, and can be extended to four-years warranty. You will want to balance the cost of three and four year warranties against the cost of potential repairs or replacement.

You should also consider adding accidental damage coverage to the normal warranty if it’s not automatically included. This is the warranty that typically covers the laptops display, and damage from drops, falls, liquid spills, and the occasional use of the laptop as a seat. Warranties and accidental damage plans vary between companies, so confirm what is and is not covered before purchasing.

Operating System Note:

Depending on which Microsoft Windows-based computer you purchase, it will come with either Windows 7, Windows 8, or Windows 10 – most will come with Window 10. We recommend you purchase Windows 10 Professional or Enterprise pre-installed, since one of these versions is needed to run some of the software packages you may use in Engineering.

If the professional or enterprise version is not an option on the Windows system you’ve chosen, you can download a copy from the College’s Imagine site or the campus download site after you begin attending classes at UK. You will have to rebuild your system to install it. Microsoft Windows obtained from these two sites is for upgrade purposes only, so you must already own a copy of Windows to use this software.

Macintosh users: You may need to purchase a version of Windows OS for use on your Boot Camp or virtual Windows computer. The Microsoft Windows that is available to UK Engineering students through the College’s Microsoft Imagine site, or campus download site, will not work for this purpose because they are upgrade only versions. They should not be installed on systems that do not already have a licensed copy of Windows.