Recommended Hardware for GSD Students
For Fall 2015



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 and planning education.

While a Mac running a dual-OS solution (i.e. bootcamp) and a separate copy Windows 7 or Windows 8 is an acceptable solution, in our experience this may require more expense and complication, since you will have two rather different operating systems and applications on your computer -- a PC Laptop (e.g. Dell or Lenovo) is usually a simpler and more dependble solution.

Here are some suggestions to help you choose a laptop for Design computing.  These are component specifications for meeting the most basic performance requirements.

RAM Memory: 8GB minimum

Processor: i5 or i7 processor 

A strong Graphics Card: ideally with it's own dedicated memory capable of displaying resolutions higher than 1024x768. 

An HDMI port (or an adapter) for connecting to projectors and electronic display screens found in various meeting spaces throughout the building.  

Some students find it useful to connect their laptop to a larger monitor (between 20-24 inch) 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 Creative Suite -
ArcGIS v10 -

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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