Student Computer Purchasing

From Help Wiki

Computer Purchasing Advice

Most students find having a laptop computer at school especially helpful. We support Mac, PC and Linux platforms at Evergreen and we have wireless access and printing as well. The decision whether to purchase a Mac or a PC laptop depends on the focus of the student's studies and preference -- what software to include would depend on that as well.

For instance, if the student will be taking classes in media a Mac would be preferred. Some programs or curricular pursuits, such as classes in digital film, are for the majority, done with Macintosh software. However, this is not to say that a PC with the proper Adobe products could not do the same tasks. We suggest the student get in touch with those specific unit providers on campus for more information. If you have any questions about who to contact call the Computer Center/Academic Computing at (360) 867-6231

Minimum Specs

The following base minimum requirements are recommended to last the duration of your studies:

  • 2+ GHz Processor
  • 4+ GB RAM
  • 500+ GB Hard drive
  • Ethernet Ready
  • Wireless (802.11 g/n)
  • Bluetooth
  • Combo Drive (DVD-R/CD-R/W)
  • Mac OS 10.8 or higher or Windows 7 or higher.

Advanced Specs

Students desiring a powerful video or media editing machine should look into multiple core processors, 64 bit operating systems and large quantities of ram. Most advanced Macintosh desktops and laptops are purpose built for media editing, and higher end PC's can do the same.


More students are finding it helpful to have a mobile device such as a tablet or a smart phone for classwork and organization. There are a number of smartphone companies and a diverse ecosystem of software to fit your needs as a student. In general, Google's Android and Apple's iOS (iPhone, iPad) are the most common choices for mobile devices. Tablets are commonly used by students for note taking and iPhones can be useful for recording lectures and checking emails. We recommend that you use the most updated software on the device of your choice, as it will be most compatible with the applications you need.


Many of our current Mac native students enjoy the benefits of the most recent release of iLife, Mac's creative software suite. iLife is present on all our Macintosh computers in the lab and allows for easy editing of photos, video and audio. iLife is available for purchase from Apple.

The all-around most useful software to include is Microsoft Office for writing papers and presentations, however, a freeware version of Microsoft Office, is also available and now has a native version for Mac OS X. LibreOffice can open and save in Microsoft Word and Excel formats. Additionally, Google Drive can be used for free document, presentation, and spreadsheet creation and many students will find it sufficient for their needs.


An external storage device, either a hard drive or a USB thumb drive, is an excellent resource for both data backup and data transportation. Media students should strongly consider purchasing a large external hard drive, 1 terabyte or more if they plan on editing and moving digital film projects around campus. A large external hard drive can be purchased from many local retailers as well as several sites online.

USB thumb drives, usually found in 2GB increments, can be purchased at The Evergreen State College Bookstore, as well as almost all department stores. Thumb drives are the perfect way to take your documents into our lab for printing.