Laptop Recommendations for Poole Undergraduate Students

  1. Introduction
  2. Windows or MacOS?
  3. Purchasing a new laptop
  4. Types and Classification of Computer Models/Systems
  5. Shared Computing Labs and Resources at NCSU
  6. IT Support for Computers
  7. NC State Bookstore Purchases
  8. Software
  9. Antivirus


The Poole College of Management requires that undergraduate students have a laptop on their first day as students in the College. Students should bring their laptops to campus, as many courses actively use laptops during instruction. Please review the minimum and recommended configurations listed below. 

Alternative devices such as Android tablets, Chromebooks, iPads, and iPad Pros are not acceptable as primary computers. However, these devices can be used for quick note-taking and other essential functions.

Computers that do not meet our minimum specifications may prevent students from completing course assignments and will hinder the student’s ability to be successful at Poole College.  

Windows or MacOS?

Poole College recommends that students use or purchase a laptop running Windows OS (See the recommendation for hardware and support OSs below).  

If you are considering a BS in Accounting degree program, you are STRONGLY advised to use a Windows-based laptop, as Windows is the industry standard in accounting. 

While we do not require a specific operating system on student laptops, MacOS will be limited and will require additional work on the student’s part. 

The challenges to using a Mac laptop are listed below:

  • Many types of software used in Poole courses are Windows-based, which can lead to problems for students using MacOS laptops.  
  • The Poole IT Team has installed Windows-based software in the university virtual computing environment, creating a Virtual Computing Lab (VCL) named PCOM-Lab to provide access via a web browser regardless of OS; however, using the VCL is not as convenient as having the software installed natively on a computer running Windows OS.
  • Installing a virtual environment using third-party software (Parallels or VMware Fusion) allows for installing Windows OS and other applications. This solution requires the following: 
    • Purchasing licenses for both the virtualization software and a copy of Windows OS 
    • Ensuring your Mac Laptop has the available resources– it is important to understand this is NOT easy, and the Poole IT Team service desk does not support it. Review this article to learn more about recommendations for resources needed (MacPro w/32GB RAM dedicating 8GB RAM to Windows VM). 

Purchasing a new laptop

You are not required to buy a new laptop if you have a machine that meets the recommendations below.  If you are unsure, you can check the specifications of your current machine against the “minimum” specifications listed in the table below. 

If you plan to purchase a new machine, consider one of these recommended models available for purchase through NCSU Wolfpack Outfitters located in Tally Student Union:

NOTE – Poole College recommends adding the 4th year of warranty at the time of purchase and increasing the HD to 1TB if financially feasible to ensure the laptop will have sufficient internal storage for the entire four years.   

Types and Classification of Computer Models/Systems

Recommended Models: 

  1. Business Class: Recommended – (see table below) mid-level pricing, standardized models, more durable, well supported, best investment for longevity > four years. 
  2. High Performance/Gaming:  Recommended ONLY for specific needs- most expensive, high-end computational, graphical, and design work.

Not Recommended/Not Supported Models: 

  1. Home use/Consumer class: Not recommended – less expensive, typically doesn’t hold up well to rigorous, consistent academic use and transport, average lifespan <3 Years.
  2. Alternative models: NOT Recommended – NOT Supported; Will NOT RUN software applications required for coursework. (i.e., Chromebook, Pixel Book, Android,iPad, IOS device, Linux OS)

Minimum and recommended configurations

Minimum Recommended MinimumRecommended
Operating SystemWindows 10 Professional (64-bit)Windows Pro 11 (64-bit)Macintosh OS Monterey 12.5 Mac OS Sonoma 14
CPUIntel i3 processorIntel i5 or i7 processor 12th Generation AMD 6-coreIntel i5 processor (2018 or later model) Preferably Apple Silicon M1 Any Apple silicon-based (latest models) M2 or M3 8-core CPU
MemoryAt least 8GB16GB or higherAt least 8GB16GB or higher
Storage (Hard Disk)512 SSD (Solid State Drive)512GB or 1TB SSD (Solid State Drive) 512GB SSD (Solid State Drive) 512GB or 1 TB SSD (Solid State Drive)
AccessoriesWebcam and Microphone (built-in or separate)Webcam and Microphone built-inWebcam and Microphone (built-in or separate)Webcam and Microphone built-in
Wireless802.11ac802.11ac802.11Wi-Fi 6E (802.11ax)6
Warranty3 years 4 years or more w/Accidental Damage 3 Year Applecare 4 Year AppleCare Plus (Education) 

Shared Computing Labs and Resources at NCSU

Poole College does not have a computer lab for faculty, staff, or students. The college has a few loaner laptops available for request from the Poole IT Service desk for short-term checkout only. 

The Office of Information Technology (OIT) supports seven public Unity computer labs open to all NC State students, faculty, and staff with active Unity accounts.

In addition, most colleges and several other campus units maintain computing labs and related computer resources, such as library checkout laptops.

IT Support for Computers

The Poole IT team provides computing support to all graduate and undergraduate students at the Poole IT Service desk located in Nelson Hall 2410 suite. Types of support provided include:

  • Application installation and troubleshooting support (non-virtual environments)
  • Mobile device/tablet support and troubleshooting
  • Connection to the PCOM Lab in the Virtual Computing Environment (VCL) and AWS instances (for virtualized software in the cloud)
  • Native operating system troubleshooting
  • Short-term (up to 2 weeks) loaner computers
  • Network connectivity issues
  • Support with computer purchase recommendations, etc. 
  • Warranty and hardware advice and information on where to seek repairs

The Poole IT Service Desk cannot perform any hardware repairs. 

NC State Bookstore Purchases

If a laptop is purchased through the NC State Bookstore, students can receive computer support at the OIT Walk-In Center, which includes these areas:

  • Operating System
  • Software
  • Network Connectivity
  • Warranty and hardware repair


Central Campus

West Dunn Building, Room 101

2901 Thurman Drive at the intersection with Dan Allen Drive

Raleigh, NC 27695


Microsoft Office 365, including full downloadable versions of Office products, is free for NC State students from the NC State Office 365 website.


NC State University requires an approved and up-to-date antivirus program for all computers connected to the NC State network.  Anti-virus software recommendations are available at Antivirus Products.