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Computer Requirements and Recommendations

You will need an up-to-date computer to make full use of your ResNet connection. See below for our current requirements and recommendations for each computer operatating system.

Recommended Computer Specifications 2015 - 2016

The following configruation is recommended for students who intend to keep a computer for four years without a major upgrade:

Desktop Computer Laptop Computer
Monitor 24 inch LCD, 1080p Personal Preference
Operating System Windows 7/8.1, 64-bit, Home Premium or higher, fully updated with firewall enabled Windows 7/8.1, 64-bit, Home Premium or higher, fully updated with firewall enabled
Processor/CPU Sixth Generation Intel Core i5-6600 (Quad Core) or AMD A8-7650K (3.4 Ghz, Dual Module) Current generation Intel Core i5 (2.4 Ghz, Dual Core) or AMD APU 8-3500M
Graphics/GPU AMD Radeon R7 370 or Nvidia GTX 950 or higher Integrated graphics
RAM 16 GB 16 GB
Hard Drive 256 GB solid state drive (SSD) with internal/external 1TB Storage Hard Drive 256 GB solid state drive (SSD) with 1TB External Storage Hard Drive
Networking Hardware 10/100/1000 Ethernet adapter 10/100/1000 Ethernet, 802.11 A/B/G/N/AC Wireless Adapter
Software Office 365 (Free - Login with your UCSD credentials @ http://portal.office.com/) Office 365 (Free - Login with your UCSD credentials @ http://portal.office.com/

*A solid state drive is a storage drive that does not use "traditional" hard drive technology of recording data on magnetic disks, meaning it has no moving parts. This makes them more reliable, faster, and less prone to data loss from dropping / carrying a laptop around. The downside is solid state technology is still more expensive than "traditional" hard drive technology, and space is still a limiting factor. If a solid state drive is purchased, we recommend also purchasing an external hard drive for data storage. 

Ultrabooks

Small, lightweight computers with reasonable processing power and high build quality have become popular in the last couple of years and are suitible for academic work. However, many of these computers lack Ethernet ports, forcing you to rely on wireless only. If you choose to purchase a We highly recommend that you purchase a USB Ethernet adapter for use in your dorm room, as wireless is only guaranteed in the common rooms.

Minimum Computer Requirements

Below are the minimum required specifications for any Windows computer to be used on the network. It is not recommended to use a computer on campus that does not meet these specifications. Computers that do not meet these minimum requirements will receive limited support.

  • Operating System: Windows Vista with Service Pack 2. Please note that Windows XP is no longer supported and is not allowed on the network. Please see here for more information.
  • Processor: Intel Pentium dual-core or AMD A4 APU
  • Memory: 2GB RAM
  • Hard Drive: 80 GB Hard Drive with at least 15% free space
  • Networking Hardware: 10/100 Fast Ethernet Adapter / 802.11g or higher WiFi adapter
  • Current Firewall Program
  • Current anti-virus software package from this list
  • Current Internet web browser

Recommended Computer Specifications 2015 - 2016

The following configruation is recommended for students who intend to keep a computer for four years without a major upgrade:

Desktop Computer Laptop Computer
Computer 21.5" iMac with 2.7 GHz Intel Core i5 processor MacBook Pro 13",15" (Personal preference)
Operating System OS X Yosemite (10.10), fully updated with firewall enabled OS X Yosemite (10.10), fully updated with firewall enabled
RAM 16 GB  16 GB 
Hard Drive 1TB Fusion Drive with 1+ TB External Time Machine Backup Drive 256 GB SSD with 1+ TB External Time Machine Backup Drive
Networking Hardware 10/100/1000 Ethernet adapter 10/100/1000, 802.11 A/B/G/N/AC
Software Office 365 (Free - Login with your UCSD credentials @ http://portal.office.com/) Office 365 (Free - Login with your UCSD credentials @ http://portal.office.com/)

Ethernet Adapters

All of the current laptop offerings from Apple are Wi-Fi only; they do not have a wired Ethernet port on them. As ResNet's wireless coverage is only guaranteed in the common rooms, we highly recommend that you purchase a USB or Thunderbolt Ethernet adapter for use in your bedroom.

Mac Memory Upgrade Information

Only the iMac 27" and Mac Pro feature user-replaceable / upgradable memory. If you are purchasing any of the following computers, you will not be able to upgrade or replace your memory after your purchase. ResNet recommends maximizing your memory configuration prior to purchase:

  • 21" iMac
  • 13" or 15" MacBook Pro with Retina Display
  • 13" or 13" MacBook Air
  • 12" MacBook
  • Mac Mini

Minimum Computer Requirements

Below are the minimum required specifications for any Macintosh computer to be used on the network. It is not recommended to use a computer on campus that does not meet these specifications. Computers that do not meet these minimum requirements will receive limited support.

  • Operating System: OS 10.9 Mavericks or higher with the latest software updates
  • Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo
  • Memory: 2GB RAM
  • Hard Drive: 80 GB Hard Drive with at least 15% free space
  • Networking Hardware: 10/100 Fast Ethernet Adapter / 802.11g or higher WiFi adapter
  • Current Firewall Program
  • Current anti-virus software package from this list
  • Current Internet web browser

Important Considerations

  • Beyond the information on this page, ResNet only offers limited support for these systems.
  • Intrusion into multi-user operating systems is common and may result in your computer violating our Acceptable Use Policy. You will be held responsible if this occurs, even if you had no knowledge of the intrusion.
  • Because it will not be accessible from off-campus locations, hosting a web page or other service on your computer will not be possible.
  • You are responsible for not violating the Acceptable Use Policy if you provide services on your computer.

Minimum Hardware Requirements

There are no minimum hardware requirements for running Linux / Unix. If you can get it to run, congratulations!

Minimum Software Requirements

You must ensure that the operating system and all software is kept up to date. Security updates come out for most Linux distributions daily. It is your responsibility to stay on top of these updates to ensure conformance with the Acceptable Use Policy and, more importantly, to keep your machine from getting broken into.

Some of the most common pitfalls of Linux machines are configurations that have been overlooked. A few things to watch out for are:

  • SMTP server running on port 25 (ex. Postfix, Exim, Sendmail)
  • SSH allowing version 1 connections (only version 2 should be allowed)
  • FTP (port 21) or Telnet (port 23) services running

Additionally, you must configure your firewall (IPTables) to prevent unwanted connections.

Linux Recommendations

Linux is available in many different "flavors" known as "distros". A few of the most popular ones are:

Ubuntu Linux
Ubuntu has been hailed eWeek as the most popular Linux distros today. It is the easiest to install and use for first-time Linux users, but versatile enough for pro-users as well. Recommended for beginner to advanced Linux users.

Linux Mint

A build of Ubuntu making use of a clean user interface, Linux Mint is the 4th most-widely used operating system behind Windows, OS X, and Ubuntu. Mint makes use of a more traditional user interface that PC switchers may find useful.

Gentoo Linux
Gentoo throws you head first into Linux knowledge by having you build your system from the ground up. Recommended for intermediate to advanced Linux users that want to learn a lot and run a very customized operating system.

Debian Linux
One of the longest running distributions, Debian is still under active development, but releases more slowly than other Linux distros. It tends to be used for servers, rather than desktops.

SUSE Enterprise Linux
The commercial version of Linux from Novell. You have to pay for it, but unlike many others it comes with support.

openSUSE
The open source (and free) version of SUSE from Novell.

Mandriva Linux
Another commercial Linux distribution that comes with support. Recommended for Linux beginners.

Red Hat Enterprise Linux
The commercial version of Linux from Red Hat. You have to pay for it, but it comes with support.

Fedora Project
A Red Hat-Sponsored Community Project.

Unix Recommendations

The most common Unix variant (aside from Linux) is BSD, developed at UC Berkeley. The most popular open source distributions of BSD are: