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Recommended Computer Specifications

Computer Lab Access

CSI offers more than twenty-five student computer labs across our main Twin Falls campus and four outreach centers. While some of these labs are program-specific, the majority are for general and class use. Computer lab availability varies, dependent upon when classes are in session in the building; however, computer labs are generally available in all buildings between the hours of 8AM – 5PM, with increased availability in the Student Union Building during Fall and Spring semesters from 7AM – 12 A.M.

Device Checkout Program for Students

CSI also maintains a device checkout program for students, allowing students to check out a device for a given period. Currently, 45 devices are available for student checkout, although this program may be expanded in the future. Contact Technology Support for more information at or (208) 732-6311.

Laptop Configuration Recommendations

The following are the minimum, suggested, and premium level configuration specifications recommended for laptop use leading to student success at CSI. Please use these computer specifications as a guideline for decision-making when bringing a laptop to campus. It is strongly encouraged that each student owns a recommended laptop computer to allow for mobility and collaboration outside of classroom and lab availability. Laptops in approved configurations are available for purchase through the CSI Bookstore

MINIMUM specifications are provided for those who choose not to buy a new laptop and want to bring an existing device to CSI.

SUGGESTED specifications are provided to assist students looking for guidance when planning to purchase a new laptop for general class use, including the use of productivity tools like Microsoft Office, web browsers, and web conferencing.

PREMIUM specifications are provided as a guide to students in media-intensive programs, such as digital arts and drafting, where increased computer performance will be necessary to run the required software. If you question whether this pertains to you, please ask your advisor or a professor in your desired or declared major. Additional details about specific programs are below.


Chromebooks or Netbooks, although popular due to low pricing, are suited only for web browsing and limited word processing and are not recommended for students who need more than these basic functions. As noted in the table below, we strongly advise against the purchase of a Chromebook, as these devices are incompatible with online textbooks used by some instructors at CSI.

Macintosh laptops should only be purchased after consultation with your advisor, an instructor in your department, or the IT Service Desk. Classes in some departments may require the use of Windows-only software.

  Windows PC Apple Macintosh
  Minimum Suggested Premium  Suggested
Intended Use (Tablet) Text documents, light web surfing, streaming video Moderate multi-tasking, all around general use Full multi-tasking, audio video editing, AutoCAD, gaming  
Operating System Windows 10
*Windows 10S is not recommended
Windows 10
*Windows 10S is not recommended
 Windows 10
*Windows 10S is not recommended
Macintosh OS 10.12 or higher
Processor Type Dual Core i3 or AMD APU

4 core i5 or i7 AMD Ryzen 5 or 7


Core i5 Processer


Core i7 Processer

4,6,8 cores i7 or i9 AMD Ryzen 7 or 9


Core i5 Processor


Core i7 Processor

Memory 4GB

8 to 12 GB


8GB Ram or higher

16 to 64 GB


8GB or higher

Hard Drive
(Solid state drive recommended)
64 to 128 GB

250 to 512 GB


250 GB


500 GB or higher

1 TB or higher


250 GB *Do not purchase a 128 GB HD*


500 GB or higher

Graphics Card Integrated



512 MB Video Memory or higher

AMD or Nvidia GPU


512 MB Video Memory or higher

Screen Resolution and Size  720 @ 10 to 13 inches 1080 @ 13 to 16 inches 1080, 2k, or 4k @ 14 to 17 inches STANDARD
Brand/Model Example

HP Stream Dell Inspiron 11, Microsoft Surface Go      Chromebooks are not recommended as they are incompatible with the content from some textbook publishers

HP Pavilion, Dell 5000 & 7000 series, Microsoft Surface Go 2 HP Envy, Dell XPS, Microsoft Surface Pro


MacBook Air or iPad Pro with keyboard and pencil


Mac Pro, 13-inch


Mac Pro, 16-inch

Optional accessories

Personal Printer: For ease of printing from home. There are many public printers available on campus, but during periods of high traffic volume, you may have long wait times. Wireless printing to a personal printer is supported on Eagle WiFi, or personal printers can be used by connecting the printer and the computer via USB printer cable.

USB Memory Storage Devices: Recommended for ease of use and ability to encrypt contents in case of lost or stolen property.

Webcam: Most laptops today include an internal webcam with a microphone; if your device does not, an external webcam will be a significant tool to enable effective participation in hybrid or remote learning and collaboration opportunities.

Programs requiring premium-level laptop specifications

Software and Warranty

  Windows PC Apple Macintosh
Productivity Tools Microsoft Office 365 can be downloaded FREE for students Microsoft Office 365 can be downloaded FREE for students. However, Microsoft Access for MAC is NOT included.
Warranty 4-year parts and labor Accidental Damage Coverage is highly recommended and on-site repair is strongly recommended. 3-year parts and labor AppleCare (recommended)
Virus Protection Software Windows Defender is built into Windows 10.

Macintosh OS has built-in virus protection.