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Shopper's Guide

This article provides advice on shopping for a new computer or printer.


Computer technology plays an essential role on college campuses for coursework, research and communication. A computer is an important tool that enables you to take advantage of Temple's state-of-the-art technology resources.

Do I need to own a computer?

Temple does not require students to own a computer. The University has over 100 computer labs throughout the campuses with over 4,000 workstations, including 600 computers and the latest software in the state-of-the-art TECH Center. Students use the resources in the labs to work and collaborate on papers, perform research and access the internet and email.

While not required, Temple recommends that you consider buying your own computer, if possible. A recent survey found that 95% of Temple students own computers. Owning your computer can prove to be indispensable in meeting course requirements on your own schedule and taking advantage of Temple’s technology resources.

Desktop, Laptop, or Tablet

A laptop is preferable because it's mobile, compact and ideal for taking advantage of Temple's free wireless Internet locations throughout campus. The vast majority of students purchase them. Laptops, however, are vulnerable to theft and/or damage, so renter's insurance might be something you’ll want to consider.  If you need a large screen for your major, you may want to consider a desktop for use in your room instead of a laptop.

While iPads, Chromebooks or other type of tablets are innovative and have many uses, including convenient web browsing, they are still not a replacement for a PC or Mac.

Mac vs. Windows

The purchasing decision is yours, but we suggest that you check with your particular school or college to see if a specific platform is recommended before you make your purchase.


Temple does not endorse a particular brand or type, but it’s best to select a name-brand manufacturer, such as Apple, Dell, HP, Lenovo or Microsoft. These manufacturers generally use name-brand components and offer reliable customer support. 

Please note that technical assistance is not available for custom-built computers.


Microsoft Office 365 provides current students, faculty and staff with access to the latest version of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote and more at no charge. Students can download the software on up to five PCs and/or Macs at no charge through TUportal. For details, see the CS Microsoft Office page.  

Adobe Creative Cloud is also available for current students, faculty and staff at no charge. Creative Cloud includes all of the Adobe Creative Suite apps (i.e. Photoshop, Acrobat, InDesign, Illustrator and more). For more details on what apps are included, and how to subscribe to the software, see the CS Adobe Creative Cloud page

Software offerings are subject to change. 

Note also, that Temple provides free cloud storage through (OWLbox, Google Drive and OneDrive.

Depending on your major, you may need additional software as well. Temple students can purchase a variety of software online including Adobe programs through ThinkEdu. For some software, you can save up to 80% off regular prices.


Temple does not sell computers, but several major computer companies offer educational discounts. Some companies offer discounts for Temple students. To learn more, see the Computer Services Educational Discounts for Computer Equipment and Software page.

Also, see each manufacturer's website for academic or educational sections. In addition, major discount retail stores offer sale prices that may compete with educational offers.

Finally, the Computer Recycling Center (CRC) sells refurbished computers and flat-panel monitors

Minimum Recommendations

Computer Services suggests that you first check with your particular school or college to see if a specific configuration is recommended. You can purchase an extended warranty with your system. When considering whether to buy an extended warranty, it’s a good idea to check with your credit card company to see if additional coverage is automatically provided. Below are suggested minimum requirements for PCs and Macs:

  • Screen Size: 12" (Macbook) or 13" (Macbook Air)
  • Processor: Intel Core m3 (Macbook) or  Intel Core i5 (Macbook Air)
  • RAM: 8 GB
  • Storage: 256 GB SSD **
  • Screen Size: 15" 
  • Processor:  Intel Core i5
  • RAM: 8 GB
  • Storage: 500 GB STATA HDD *
  • OS: Windows 10
  • Screen Size: 13" (MacBook Pro) with Retina Display
  • Processor: Intel Core i5 or i7
  • RAM: 8 GB
  • Storage: 256 GB SSD **
  • Screen Size: 15" or 17"
  • Processor: Intel Core i7
  • RAM: 16 GB
  • Storage: 500 GB SSD **
  • OS: Windows 10
  • Screen Size: 21.5”
  • Processor: Intel Core i5
  • RAM: 8 GB
  • Storage: 1TB HDD *
  • Screen Size: 19"
  • Processor: Intel Core i5
  • RAM: 8GB
  • Storage: 256 GB STATA HDD *
  • OS: Windows 10

* HDD - Hard Disk Drive

** SSD - Solid State Drive


At most campuses, each Temple student is allotted a quota of up to 300 double-sided pages for printing papers in the computer labs. Temple also offers Print on the Go, which allows students to submit print requests wirelessly and pick up their documents at any Print on the Go print station location. 

If you would like to buy a printer, a name-brand ink jet printer is a good choice because of low-cost and versatility. Temple does not endorse a particular printer brand. When purchasing a printer, take into consideration the cost of the ink cartridges.

If you will be living in a Temple residence hall, make sure your printer is USB compatible, as wireless printing is not supported. It is also a good idea to include a USB-to-printer cable as part of your purchase.

Email Address and Internet Connection

Temple provides you with a free TU Gmail account that you will use for email and coursework. In fact, Temple’s official means to communicate with students is to send email to their address.

Wireless internet access is available throughout campus, including university-owned residence halls. You can also access Temple’s computer resources from home using an Internet connection.