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Computer & Software Recommendations for Personal Computers


This article provides some guidance about selecting a computer for personal use at OSU. This topic applies to personal devices for students and employees.

For a recommendation for a university-owned device, please contact your IT department. 

Community Network customers: please use the CN Computer Recommendation request form.




Type of Device: Laptop, Desktop, Tablet, Chromebook

When choosing the type of device, consider how you plan to use it, how much money you want to spend, and whether you will want to upgrade it in the future.

  • Laptops offer mobility, take up less space and can be used on the OSU wireless network in all residence calls and most buildings on campus. For this reason, most students decide to use a laptop at OSU. They are harder to upgrade, however, tend to wear out faster than a desktop computer, and are the most expensive option.
  • Desktop computers take up more space and are not mobile. They are generally faster, cheaper to upgrade and repair, and last longer than laptops.
  • Tablets - such as iPads - can be used to do many day-to-day tasks but some software will not run on them. They can be a nice complement to a desktop or laptop computer but probably not a replacement.
  • Chromebooks can be used to do almost anything that is accessible via the web. Many software titles can be accessed via Office Online or Citrix Apps, and some students have been able to use them for most day-to-day work. However, they are not a good choice for fields of study that require specialized software.


Hardware Manufacturer

Computers are constantly changing, so when shopping around for a particular brand/style, it is a good idea to do your research beforehand. The following websites offer good computer reviews and comparisons:


Educational Discounts on Computers

Many computer manufacturers offer discounts for students when buying a new computer. Click on any of the logos below for the educational site for that manufacturer:

Operating System

The operating system is your computer's most important piece of software, because it is in charge of running all the other programs that you need, and making sure those programs interact well with your computer hardware. For security and stability reasons, we always recommend that you run the latest version of your preferred operating system:

  • Windows: This is the most common operating system if you own a PC. Windows 10 is the latest version of Windows, but Windows 8, 7 and Vista will also work on ResNet (the Residence Hall network).
    • Windows is recommended if you need to use MS Project or MS Visio.
  • OS X: This is the operating system that runs on Macintosh computers, and all versions will also work on ResNet.
  • Linux: Most flavors of Linux should also work on ResNet. Since Linux comes in so many flavors, support by the IS Service Desk is on a "best effort" basis only. Linux sometimes presents issues with connecting to the network, using hardware such as video and audio, and printing. If you decide to use Linux, you may have to research and resolve these issues on your own.


Educational Discounts on Software

There are several educational discounts available for software. See our Software page for more information.


If you need any assistance, feel free to call the Service Desk at 541-737-8787.



Article ID: 52019
Mon 4/16/18 9:43 AM
Mon 4/16/18 9:51 AM