Academic Programs

Graduate and Undergraduate Student Laptop Requirement

Starting fall quarter 2014, UW EE graduate and undergraduate students will be required to own a personal laptop for their studies. The following are minimum requirements for hardware. Some information on software is also provided.

Hardware - Laptop


Note: This should be an actual laptop, as a tablet or Chromebook will not be sufficient for your EE studies.

  1. A 64 bit version of Windows, Linux, or Mac OS.
  2. A 64 bit dual core processor from AMD or Intel
  3. 4 Gigabytes of RAM with capacity to upgrade
  4. 12 inch or larger screen with resolution of 1366x768 or higher
  5. NVidia, AMD, or Intel integrated graphics processor
  6. USB 2.0 ports
  7. Built-in or add-on 100 Mbit wired Ethernet
  8. Hard disk with 256 Gigabyte capacity


  1. A 64 bit version of Windows: Most software you will use in your studies runs on Windows, followed by a large number of Linux tools. If you choose a Mac, you will need to dual boot or host a virtual machine on your laptop for some classes. Some students find the extra complexity cumbersome.
  2. Core i7 processor, or AMD Phenom II
  3. 8 Gigabytes of RAM or more
  4. 12 inch or larger screen with resolution of 1366x768 or higher
  5. Discrete NVidia graphics processor, or NVidia or AMD integrated graphics processor
  6. USB 3.0 ports
  7. Integrated 1,000 Mbit wired Ethernet
  8. Hard disk with 512 Gigabyte capacity or higher

A resistive touch screen and stylus for taking notes or making drawings is a nice-to-have, but not necessary.

Some examples of laptops you may consider

Any model of recent vintage: Lenovo ThinkPad, Lenovo Yoga, Dell Latitude, Dell Precision, HP EliteBook, etc.


  1. Select the operating system of your choice (with a strong preference for Windows, native or dual-boot/VM - see above). Certain applications may require a specific operating system. Matlab for example will run on Windows, Mac OS X, and Red Hat or Ubuntu Linux, but certain other packages will only run on Windows.
  2. UW students can get a number of free Microsoft software through the EE Dreamspark program. See here:
  3. Many other vendors provide low-cost software through UW Uware; see here:

Please speak with anyone in the computing offices (EEB 307E, 307F, 307G) if you have questions.

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