Buying Guide

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Supported Operating Systems

  • Windows 7
  • Windows 8
  • Mac OSX

General Buying Advice

Most students will only need a computer for word processing, e-mail, the Internet, and a few simple class-specific programs. All of these tasks can be done on an older system, though if you are buying a new computer, you should consider one that will last them through college. The average computer can last about 5 years before it becomes outdated or starts developing serious problems. Since most students also like to play games, music, or movies, you probably should ask them what they want to do on their computer before buying a potentially underpowered system.

Mac or PC?

Both platforms will work equally well for the vast majority of computer uses at UGA. Budget and personal preference are the biggest factors when it comes to deciding which one to buy. Both Macs and PCs are supported.

Do I need a special computer for a specific major?

Most likely no, but you should contact your department to be sure. In almost all cases, any program a class will require should work on any new computer and most old ones. Some departments, such as the School of Visual Arts, may have programs with higher system requirements, but these programs also tend to be expensive, and on-campus computer labs are typically available for students who do not have their own copy.

Current Recommendations

Because technology changes and updates so frequently, it is difficult for us to provide specific advice about hardware and software that will remain relevant for more than a few months. We instead recommend that you have a rough idea of what you need out of a computer, then consider options such as:

  • Laptop or Desktop
  • PC or Mac
  • Form factor
  • Size
  • Cost
  • Specific classes' software requirements

With this knowledge, visit local retailers to see their offerings in person to get a hands-on impression of current options and form a general understanding of what computers might meet your needs. Pricing out a desired model from reputable online retailers may offer better savings, though buying from brick-and-mortar stores often offers better convenience for warranty service or returns.

Most students prefer laptops, though desktops can be much cheaper and more powerful. A desktop paired with an ultraportable laptop, tablet, or smartphone can be a good way to maximize both cost savings and utility, though for simplicity's sake laptops remain the most common devices on campus. Ultimately, personal preferences, needs, and budget are the deciding factors for computer purchases.

I have an older computer. Can I still use it?

If you are bringing an older computer to UGA, please be aware that since July 11th, 2006, Microsoft does not support Windows 95/98/ME/2000. Because of this, these operating systems will no longer have security updates from Microsoft, and will not be supported by STS. Similarly, Windows XP is slated to be phased out by Microsoft in the near future, so we recommend "skipping" this version if you are upgrading from something earlier. We strongly encourage an upgrade to Windows 7 or 8, even if you use Windows XP.

Do I need a router?

No. Actually, personal wireless routers are not allowed in dorms with PAWS Secure coverage.

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