Recommended Hardware for GSD Students
For Fall 2013



Increasingly, instruction at the GSD requires meeting in locations and classrooms with only WIFI network, and actively using software in-class, some of it Windows-only; and not just in the relatively small GSD computer lab, equipped with Windows desktop computers. So, ALL GSD STUDENTS ARE EXPECTED TO BRING TO SCHOOL A LAPTOP COMPUTER CAPABLE OF RUNNING WINDOWS. This requirement reflects the reality that students with only a desktop, or unable to run Windows, will not be able to fully participate in the diversity of educational opportunities and activities essential to today's design education.

While a Mac running Windows (as a 'virtual machine') is an acceptable solution, in our experience a PC Laptop works best in our environment (e.g. Dell or Lenovo). Here are some recommendations to help you choose a laptop for Design computing:

RAM Memory: 4GB or more
Processor: 2Ghz dual core or higher
Graphics Card: 500MB or more dedicated memory capable of displaying resolutions higher than 1024x768
VGA Port or VGA adapter: for connecting to projectors and external monitors found in various meeting spaces throughout the building
Some students find it useful to connect their laptop to a 19-inch or larger monitor for desktop computing.

Below you will find specific hardware requirements for some of the more popular software applications used at the GSD.
AutoCAD -
Rhino -
Adobe CS5 - ucts/creativesuite/mastercollection/tech-specs.html
ArcGIS v10 -

Note that substantial discounts on Dell and Apple hardware and a wide variety of software can be found at the Harvard Purchasing Portal at (requires your HUID and PIN.)

GSD students with a .HARVARD.EDU email address are also eligible for a discount from Lenovo, at


Resources: Computer Resources: Your Computer

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