Student computer recommendations 2014

The College recommends that you bring a laptop. Currently 98% of our students bring a laptop. Windows (7 or 8.1) or Macintosh (OS X) laptop computers both work well in our network environment.

The majority of Colby-Sawyer computer labs use Windows applications. Although some majors, such as graphic design, use Macintosh systems.

Here are some general guidelines you should consider when purchasing a laptop system.

  1. Battery Life
    The longer you can go without having to charge your laptop, the better.
  2. Weight
    Carrying around a laptop all day, can put a strain on your back. Select a lightweight model.
  3. Processor
    Get the best processor you can afford. If you are making an investment in a new system that you hope will suffice for the next several years, a processor that runs Windows 8.1 with a touch screen or an Apple Mac Book Air should work.
  4. Memory
    Most systems come configured with sufficient memory (RAM). Know that, in general, the more RAM your computer has, the better. In most, cases RAM can be upgraded after purchasing the computer.
  5. Keyboards
    Tablets have been become increasingly popular, but having a full keyboard seems to be the most practical and popular choice among our students.
  6. Warranty
    We highly recommend that you purchase an extended warranty. If possible, get a 3 or 4-year plan. Some manufacturers offer accident protection plans as well.

    The College's HelpDesk does not provide hardware support. A good warranty is your best protection for this investment.

    NOTE: Colby-Sawyer is currently exploring having a third party vendor available to do some repair work on students systems. They will charge for this service, but for some students, it will be more convenient that trying to go back to the original sales location for repairs.

  7. Software
    • Do not purchase Microsoft Office with your new computer. With Microsoft's Campus Agreement, we are able to provide students with Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc.) at almost no cost. The Campus Agreement is still being negotiated as of March 28th, 2014. Preliminary indications are that student cost will be somewhere in the range of $9.00-$10.00
    • Do purchase and activate antivirus or security software- as it is required on student computers. There are free security packages available on the internet, Microsoft Security Essentials and AVG Free, for example.
  8. Wireless
    The campus has complete wireless coverage. As with cell phones, wireless network signal strength can vary from place to place. As a backup, we recommend you also have an Ethernet cable, most rooms have a port for each student. They are available in the bookstore.
  9. Printing
    Wireless printing features do not work with our campus wireless network. Bring a cable to connect your personal printer. Also, all of our student-accessible labs have laser printers. Colby-Sawyer does have a hard print quota that satisfies the needs of the majority of students.

We do not support older versions of Windows (95, 98, ME, NT) or alternative operating systems such as Linux.
Student owned computers must meet minimum security requirements in order to connect to the campus network and internet. Please be sure to have active and up-to-date internet security product on your computer.

Please call the HelpDesk at 603 526 3800 or email with any questions about campus technology.