Laptop Computer Requirements

Many courses at Sierra Nevada College require the use of a laptop computer during class, for homework and class assignments, and occasionally outside of class during field trips or other extra-curricular activities. Almost every classroom has wireless and/or Ethernet connectivity. The residence halls provide Ethernet/wireless connectivity. SNC does not have “computer labs” for general use so each student must provide his/her own laptop computer. Any laptop meeting or exceeding the requirements below should be adequate. Occasionally, individual courses may require additional software. The syllabus for each course should describe any such requirements.

PC minimum hardware requirements:

  • 2.0 GHz CPU
  • 1GB RAM
  • 80 GB Hard Drive
  • 24x CD ROM or 8x DVD ROM
  • 800 x 600 display resolution
  • VGA output (to drive LCD projectors, monitors and displays)
  • Ethernet and wireless internet capabilities
  • If laptop has DVI output, then a DVI-to-VGA adapter is required
PC recommended hardware:
  • Intel or AMD Duo Core CPU
  • 2GB RAM or higher
  • 200GB Hard Drive or higher
  • 1024 x 768 display resolution or higher
  • A mouse, trackball or other optical pointing device
PC minimum software requirements:
  • Microsoft Windows XP Professional (SP-3), Vista or Windows 7 (32 or 64) operating system
  • Microsoft Office 2007, Microsoft Office 2010 or Apache OpenOffice (free)
  • Web browsing software (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari)
  • Adobe Reader X or higher
  • Decompression software (Winzip, RAR Extract Frog)
  • Anti-virus protection software (Microsoft Security Essentials, Norton, McAfee, AVG) with active subscription so that updates can be automatically downloaded
PC recommended software:
  • Adobe Flash Player (free download)
  • Adobe Shockwave (free download)
  • Internet Explorer 8 or higher
  • Malwarebytes Anti-Malware (free download, skip trial offer)
  • Java (free download)

Mac/PC compatibility requirements:

  • If you plan on bringing a Mac laptop to SNC for school use, you must install a Windows operating system on your machine as well, so that you will be capable of using any and all needed programs for your classes. The SNC I.T. department is not responsible for this installation, nor can it perform the installation for you.
  • Newer Macintosh Operating Systems (Leopard or higher) come with “Boot Camp” native on the platform, on which the Windows Operating System may be loaded. Installation instructions may be printed from the Boot Camp installation on Macs running Leopard.
    • Please note: Installing Windows will also require Anti-Virus installation and possible subscription as described in the PC Software Requirements section above. 
  • An alternative way to achieve compatibility with the PC, Windows, and MS Office environment is to acquire Virtual Box for Mac, VM Fusion or other similar software. Such software allows a Mac to emulate a Windows operating system environment.
Windows-based software for specific courses:
  • SPSS (for PSYC 415 and PSYC 445)
  • ArcMap (for GIS and ENVS 421)
  • Minitab (for classes involving statistics)

Mac minimum hardware requirements:

  • 2. 0 GHz Intel CPU
  • 2GB RAM
  • 80GB Hard Drive
  • 24x CD ROM or 8x DVD ROM
  • 800 x 600 display resolution
  • Ethernet and wireless internet capabilities
  • VGA adapter (Students must purchase their own)
Mac recommended hardware:
  • Intel Duo Core CPU
  • 200GB Hard Drive or higher
  • 1024 x 768 display resolution or higher
  • A mouse, trackball or other optical pointing device
Mac minimum software requirements:
  • OS X v10.6 Snow Leopard or higher
  • Web browsing software (Safari or Firefox)
  • The ability to share (create, modify, edit) files with the Microsoft Office 2007 environment which includes MS Word documents, MS Excel spreadsheets and MS Powerpoint presentations. (Microsoft Office: Mac 2008 or 2011)
  • Installation of Windows XP using Boot Camp or Virtual Box (Windows XP or Windows 7 license required)
Mac recommended software:
  • Sophos anti-virus software (free)

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