Buying the Right Computer

All incoming students are required to have a laptop or tablet to access university and college computing resources while on campus. The WCOE Dell storefront at has the current models recommended for our students. We encourage you to purchase our standard models that include discounts and long warranty periods.

We recommend the students purchase a light-weight, lower cost laptop for the first two years and then purchase a power laptop as the computing demands increase in the junior year and beyond. This two-step process provides more computing power their senior year at a lower cost than purchasing a single expensive laptop as a freshman.

Engineering Computing Services (ECS) recommends the following specifications for your laptop, but upgrades will help your system process faster.

Lightweight Laptop - Windows

This laptop would be good for note-taking, Office programs, and web browsing, but may be slow or unable to run engineering software. This light-weight computer will be easier on the back as you walk across campus during your first two years, but it will lack power as you progress. After the first two years, you could still use this for casual browsing, note-taking, or other occasions where the heavier power laptop isn't needed.

  • 64-bit Windows 10, Professional preferred (Upgrades to Professional are available to WCOE students through Microsoft Imagine.)
  • Intel Core i5 processor or AMD A6 processor (2 GHz or higher)
  • 4-8GB memory
  • 250 GB - 2TB hard drive or 128-500 GB Solid State Drive (SSD)
  • 512 MB dedicated memory graphics card or better
  • CD/DVD drive (optional)
  • 13" Widescreen or larger

Power Laptop - Windows

This laptop will run engineering software, including simulations, 3D CAD, and numeric calculations you will encounter in the later parts of your degree.

  • Windows 7 or 10, 64-bit, Professional or better (Windows upgrades are available to our students)
  • Intel Core i7 processor or AMD A8 processor (3 GHz or higher)
  • 8 GB or more RAM
  • 500GB or larger hard drive or 256GB or larger SSD hard drive
  • 1GB dedicated memory graphics card or better
  • DVD or Blu-Ray drive (optional, but handy)
  • 14" Widescreen or larger

Macintosh Laptop

Please be aware that we do not recommend MacBooks. While the Whitacre College of Engineering's Remote Lab gives students access to most of our engineering software, it's not unusual to need to run Windows freeware or student versions of software to complete your courses. In that case, Mac users will need to install and configure Windows with either Bootcamp or VMware Fusion.

Engineering Software

The Whitacre College of Engineering powers your on-the-go lifestyle with our Remote Lab cloud computing initiative. Students can use their favorite PC or Mac computers or tablets, including iOS, Android, or BlackBerry devices, to access the Remote Lab from any location with a high-speed internet connection. The Remote Lab provides access to a wide variety of engineering software without being tied to a traditional computer lab. For more information on our Remote Lab, please visit:

WCOE students have access to a variety of software at no additional cost:

  • Texas Tech University provides:
    • Microsoft Office 365, which includes OneDrive for storage, Outlook for email, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote, through
    • Most other TTU Site-licensed software is also available for download at
    • TTU IT services list additional software available through other delivery methods.
  • WCOE provides:
    • A variety of engineering software on our Remote Lab system.
    • Microsoft Windows, Microsoft Visual Studio, and (limited) server software through our section of Microsoft Imagine.
    • Access to Linux and Windows servers in conjunction with classes or individual study. Your professor will notify you if your course qualifies for this remote access. We have no general access servers at this time.
  • Your academic program or textbooks may provide access to other licensed software, freeware, or student versions of engineering software as well.