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Recommended IT Device Specifications for Students: Central Guidance

Students at Warwick will need a personal computing device. We have produced this central guidance on the recommended specification for any device you use to undertake your academic work.

This guidance should be followed unless your department provides you with specific alternative guidance to follow (as it may be for a higher specification), which would take priority.

We have good quality IT workspaces and computing labs but for convenience students may prefer to use their own device. We recommend a laptop for portability as you may need it on campus, in residences, and in your home during term time and holidays.

This guidance is for a recommended technical specification. Your device must support Microsoft Office Pro Plus (or equivalent), Microsoft Teams and Moodle.

What you will need to participate in your individual learning and assessment may depend on your particular course activities, and in that case, your department should provide you with further information.

You may sometimes need to participate in online sessions while on campus: you could use a mobile phone but it will limit your ability to participate in some activities requiring specialist software or document authoring.

It is not essential to buy a new device to study at Warwick – if you already have a reliable laptop that is less than three years old, it is likely to be sufficient. If you have an older laptop, you may want to check its specification (go to System > Settings). We recommend Intel® Core™ i5-7nnn (7th generation) or higher.

You may use a Windows or Mac device. If you know you want a Mac or iPad with a keyboard rather than a Windows Laptop, that is fine, particularly if you already work with specialist software in your chosen discipline. Your department may give you specific guidance on Chromebooks or Linux but we do not recommend them in the central guidance.

Recommended Technical Specifications

This is what we recommend if you are buying a new device. You may use a Windows or Mac device.

Recommended minimum specification for Windows:

  • Intel Core i5 OR AMD Ryzen 5 processor
  • 8GB RAM
  • 256GB SSD storage
  • Windows 10

Recommended minimum specification for Mac:

  • Intel i5 or Apple M1 or better
  • MacOS 12 (Monterey) or better

If you are planning to purchase new equipment:
  • As a guide, you should expect to spend £500-600 to purchase a Windows laptop and from £900 for Macbook of this specification (indicative prices given October 2022).
  • You should buy a warranty with your device.
  • A microphone/headset would be a good investment and can be obtained for £15-30.
    To participate in some online sessions you will need access to a camera, ideally on a laptop (most laptops have built-in webcams and mics). You could use a mobile phone instead but that might restrict your participation in some activities such as whiteboards or collaborative authoring.
  • You will be able to download Microsoft office products for FREE when you get your IT account in late August, so don't feel you have to buy a personal licence.

Anti-Virus and Cybersecurity:
  • If you have a Windows machine you will have Windows Defender anti-virus software built-in. You should enable that as soon as you start using your device.
  • If you have a Mac machine you will have XProtect but may wish to install additional anti-virus software.

Wi-Fi and Mobile Data:
  • There is unlimited FREE Wi-Fi for students on campus including in teaching rooms and social spaces.
  • If you are living in Residences: there is unlimited Wi-Fi throughout campus residences. However, for optimum broadband, students in campus residences study bedrooms should use a wired connection. On-campus study bedrooms have an ethernet socket for optimised broadband connection so bring a USB-to-ethernet adaptor if you don’t have an ethernet port on your device.
  • If you are living off-campus: ensure you have a broadband contract or 4G data plan.

If you want to link to this page please use the Go address:

Note: If your department provides you with specific alternative guidance, you should follow that instead of this central guidance.

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