Student Computer Recommendations

The College recommends that you bring a laptop- nearly all students do. Microsoft Windows (7, 8.1 or 10) and Apple MacBook (OS X 10.9 or higher) laptops both work well in our network environment.

Most Colby-Sawyer computer lab machines run Windows. There are also two Mac labs for use by students enrolled in graphic design, photography and video editing courses.

Here are some general guidelines to consider when purchasing a laptop.

  1. Battery Life
    The longer you can go without having to charge your laptop, the better.
  2. Weight
    Lightweight models usually cost more, but are easier to carry around to classes.
  3. Processor
    Get the best processor you can afford (Intel multi core, for example); it's the brain of the system and is not upgradable. Processor choice can change the price by hundreds of dollars, but is not a good place to economize.
  4. Memory
    Most new systems have sufficient memory (RAM). In general, the more RAM your computer has, the better. With most laptops RAM can be upgraded after purchase.
  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 HelpDesk does not provide hardware support. A good warranty is your best protection for this investment.

  7. Software
    • Do not purchase Microsoft Office with your new computer. With Microsoft's Office365 program, students are able to install the current Microsoft Office suite (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc.) on up to 5 devices.
    • Purchase and activate antivirus or security software- highly recommended on student computers. There are also 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 will not work in our wireless network. Bring a cable to connect your personal printer. Also, all of our student-accessible labs have laser printers. Colby-Sawyer has a hard print quota ($24.00 = approximately 800 b&w pages) that satisfies the needs of most students.

We do not support older versions of Windows (95, 98, ME, NT, XP) or alternative operating systems such as Linux.
Please call the HelpDesk at 603 526 3800 or email with any questions about campus technology.