We are excited to welcome you to Warren Wilson College. Here is some general information and specifications computer purchases
TL;DR: Most PCs and Macs less than 3 years old will work well. Older machines are likely to need replacement at some point during your college career.
We definitely recommend bringing a laptop instead of a desktop.
The brand doesn’t matter greatly. WWC employees are issued Dell computers.
Remember that you probably will want to use this computer for entire time as a student so quality is important. A minimum rule of thumb is that for every $150 spent on a new computer, you get a year of good life.
Thinking of Purchasing something new or used?
Look here for a list of best laptops by the NY Times Wirecutter site.
And here for the best under $500 although computers with the specs we recommend typically are closer to $600 or $700.
New Windows PCs minimum recommended specifications for any brand
Processor: Intel Core i5 8th generation or newer (How to tell). You may see good “deals” on Amazon advertised to have an “i5” or even an “i7” but you need to check the model number to make sure it isn’t a much older model.
RAM/Memory: 8 GBs DDR4 or better
Storage: STRONGLY recommend an SSD (Solid State Drive) for storage...having a 256 GB SSD will serve you far better than a 1000 or 2000 GB hard drive. Look for something that says SSD or Solid State Drive. Not hybrid, not HDD. Most newer models will have this.
Touch Screen?: Your call, some people like them, some people don't. They are more expensive to repair and add about $100-200 to the cost of a laptop.
Sneaky things to look out for: Celeron or Pentium processors, Windows 10 Home “S Mode” (don’t do it, it will limit what you can install including some necessary classroom software),
You can go up from there if you anticipate that your course of study will have graphics-intensive needs or you’re into gaming.
What about Chromebooks?
Chromebooks can be useful and are attractive due to their portability and low price. However, many of them have lower end processors (like Intel Celeron and Pentium models) and hardware and aren’t able to run some mathematical or statistical software. We still recommend Intel Core series (i3,i5,i7) processors.
Brand new Macbook Pros or Macbook Airs are good machines and should work with the needs of most courses of study. iPads can work if necessary but are not recommended. If you get a used one, look for one less than 3 years old.
As a Warren Wilson student, you can use your student email account to sign into and use Microsoft Office products like Word, Excel, and Powerpoint so an additional purchase of these is not necessary. More information here: https://office.warren-wilson.edu. All students will have a Warren Wilson associated Gmail account and Google Workspace Apps.
Is there wifi on campus?
Seriously? We may have a farm but we aren’t Luddites (Wikipedia link). In the past two years, we've upgraded our campus wifi to brand new hardware and have recently overhauled our entire campus network.
How does email work?
Every student receives Google Workspace account which allow use to check your email using Gmail on any device. You do check your email, right?
Who can read my email?
Nobody, unless you give them your password.
What happens to my stuff when I'm no longer a student?
Google has a serviced named Takeout that can be used to migrate your data and email to a personal account.
What about AMD Processors?
Some of them are good also. Here’s a chart to compare if you really want to: https://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/cpu-hierarchy,4312.html
I love computers and technology? Is there a crew for that?
Yes, IT Services Crew. Here’s our webpage. We have a couple openings for Fall 2022, please apply!