Ordering a Mac

Like Dell, the University has a preferred vendor contract with Apple that allows students to purchase Apple computers and other items at a discount. You can access the UK Apple Store through University's EBuy site.

Apple Macs

Macs are versatile computers and for doing things like: typing papers, working with Microsoft Excel and Power Point, reading email, surfing the web, or other general tasks you won't see any functional difference between a Mac and a Windows PC. However, a Mac will not run Windows-only software without some help, and a number of software packages used in the Engineering cirriculum will only run under Windows. There are three common options available to students with Macs when they need access to Windows-only software.

  • Use one of the Student Computer Sevices labs or departmenal computer labs for running software used in a particular course. Most, if not all, of the software used in your classes will be available in one of these labs. These software packages tend to be complex and expensive, so you will likely be using these labs to run this software whether you purchase a Mac or a Windows PC.
  • For software that you find yourself using a lot, and want to purchase a student version of, you have two choices if there is not a Mac version of the software available.

  • Use Apple's Boot Camp to turn your Intel-based Mac into a dual boot computer. You will have the option of booting up under Windows (sold separately) or MacOS when you start your computer. The disadvantage to this method is that a reboot is required to use the other operating system, and sharing files between the two OS's requires extra steps. The advantage is that your programs should run faster, because your Mac is running as a Windows computer now. Boot Camp is part of the current Macintosh operating system, and necessary drivers are available directly from Apple.
  • Purchase a program like Parallel's Desktop for Mac or VMWare Fusion that allows you to run a virtual Windows computer on your Mac. This does not require a reboot to switch between operating systems, essentially Windows runs as an application under MacOS, and files created under one OS are easily shared with the other OS. This is a very convenient solution, but being a virtual computer it may not handle 3D graphics well. VirtualBox from Oracle is another option for running Windows under MacOS, and is currently free.

Note to Mechnical Engineering Students

Software used in the Mechanical Engineering program is largely Windows-based, and can be resource intensive. If you are going to use your personal computer to run this software, you will most likely need to run it using Boot Camp. This means that you may be running your Mac as a Windows computer for extended periods of time, or booting between Windows and MacOS frequently. A Windows computer is a better choice for students entering the Mechanical Engineering program.

Note to Civil Engineering, Mining Engineering and Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering Students

Software used in these programs is almost exclusively Windows based, and can be resource intensive. Students entering these fields should choose a Windows based system.

About Microsoft DreamSpark Software

The software the College licenses through the Microsoft DreamSpark program will not run natively under Mac OS. To use this software on your personal system, you will need to use one of the methods above for running Windows on your Mac.

Running Linux on a Mac

MacOS is based on a cousin of Linux known as FreeBSD, and a number of the tools and open-source software packages available for Linux are also available for MacOS. If you need to run Linux on your Mac, Boot camp and virtual machines will allow you to do this.