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Equipment Recommendations


It is strongly recommended that all incoming CI students have a laptop for use in their academic studies. Students are not required to purchase a specific make or model, but it is strongly recommended the laptop you choose meets or exceeds the minimum specifications outlined below.

For students entering the School of Journalism and Media, it is also strongly recommended you purchase an external hard drive with at least 1TB of storage space and USB 3.1 speed or better.

Available Discounts

Dell and Apple have been the preferred vendors of UK for several years, and through these relationships UK students and employees receive discounts on computers and other items. To take advantage of these discounts, please visit UK’s Dell site or UK’s Apple Educational Store.

Laptop Specifications

Microsoft Windows



Intel Core i5 or comparable AMD Ryzen 5

Intel Core i7 or comparable AMD Ryzen 7

Memory (RAM)

8 GB

16 GB

Hard disk

250 GB

500 GB or larger

Operating System

Windows 10 or 11





MacBook Air

MacBook Pro



M1 Pro or better

Memory (RAM)

16 GB

16 GB

Hard disk

250 GB

512 GB

Operating System



NOTE: Windows/Mac Laptops vs Chromebooks/Other Tablets

When purchasing a laptop, make sure it can run Microsoft Windows, MacOS, Linux, etc. Chromebooks and tablets cannot serve as your primary device because they do not have the functionality you will need. Devices in this category include iPads, Android tablets and Windows RT-based systems.

Other Considerations

Data Storage

All UK students receive a Microsoft 365 account which includes Microsoft Office 365 applications (Word, Excel, Power Point, etc.) and 5TB of OneDrive cloud storage. Students also have access to Google Workspace which includes a small amount of Google Drive storage. These services reduce your local storage needs by allowing you to off-load older files and make it easier to share files between different devices.

You may, however, consider purchasing an external hard drive with at least 1TB of storage and USB 3.1 speed or better to back up your entire laptop (operating system, programs, etc.). This is especially true for students entering the School of Journalism and Media.

USB Ports

Some newer laptops may only have USB-C or Thunderbolt III ports. For these laptops, you may need to purchase an inexpensive USB-C to USB-A converter or hub. These are available from several suppliers (Amazon, Best Buy, Walmart, etc.).


You may want to consider purchasing a two or three-year warranty with your system, though you should balance the length of the warranty against replacement or repair cost of the laptop as it gets older. You may also want to investigate accidental damage coverage. This type of warranty add-on usually covers damage to a laptop’s display, as well as damage from drops and spills.

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