All GSD Students are required to have a laptop. In-person instruction often involves formal and informal gatherings in various locations where software is actively used. Loaner computers can be checked out from the library in case of an emergency and for classroom support.

PC or Mac

It is generally a matter of preference to select a Mac or PC

Most of the core software that are used run very well on both Mac and Windows. This includes the Adobe suite, AutoCAD, Rhino. Some software are Windows-only, like ArcGIS Pro, Autodesk Revit, and some of the more specialized Rhino/Grasshopper plugins just to name a few.

Your decision should be made based on your comfort and preference, and how much you expect to be using the software.




Hardware Specifications

Windows Laptop

Basic Recommended Specifications:

  • Intel 11th generation Core i5 CPU with built-in Intel DirectX 12 GPU or AMD Ryzen 3000 equivalent
  • 16 GB dual channel DDR4 RAM
  • 512 GB NVMe Hard Drive

Apple Laptop

Basic Recommended Specifications:

  • Apple M1 Chip with 8-Core CPU and 10-Core GPU
  • 8GB unified memory
  • 512GB SSD storage
  • 16-Core Neural Engine

Better Recommended Specifications:

  • Intel 12th generation or higher Core i7 CPU with built-in Intel DirectX 12.1 or higher GPU or AMD Ryzen 7000 equivalent or higher (Core i9)
  • Discrete DirectX 12.1 or higher GPU instead of built-in GPU
  • 32 GB dual channel DDR5 RAM
  • 1 TB NVMe Hard Drive

Better Recommended Specifications:

  • Apple M2 Chip with 12-Core CPU and 19-Core GPU
  • 32GB unified memory
  • 1 TB SSD storage
  • 16-core Neural Engine

Vendor Requirements

Here are some specific requirements provided directly from the software developers.
Adobe Creative Suite

Computer Labs

The GSD maintains computer lab workstations in Gund Hall, Located in the Francis Loeb Library lower level.  This is lab is only available during library hours. In addition, students may use the IQSS Computer Lab  located in the CGIS Knafel Building. This computer lab contains a total of 44 workstations, each are loaded with the following applications:  Microsoft Office, ArcGIS, Adobe Creative Cloud, Rhino, Grasshopper, AutoCAD, 3D Studio and more.

Discounts for Harvard Students

Harvard students are eligible for computer discounts!  To learn more, visit the link below and supply your HarvardKey credentials when prompted: