fbpx Laptop Information | University of Kentucky College of Engineering

Laptop Information

Your laptop needs to meet or exceed the following minimum specifications:

Processor Intel Core i5,
(4) or more core preferred
Intel Core i7,
(4) or more core preferred
Memory 8 GB of RAM 16 GB of RAM
Hard disk 250 GB 500 GB or larger
USB ports (2) type A 2.x (2) Type A 3.x
Operating System Windows 10, Professional, Enterprise, or Educational

To make choosing a laptop easier, Dell has configured two Precision mobile workstations that meet the above specifications. You can view these by visiting our Dell discount site, and clicking on the blue “View Recommended Solutions” button. The systems on this page are configured to meet or exceed the minimum specification.


You should purchase an Intel processor based MacBook Pro, not a MacBook or MacBook Air.

Processor Intel Core i5
or higher
Intel Core i7
or higher
Memory 16 GB of RAM 16 GB of RAM
Hard disk 512 GB 512 GB or larger
USB ports (2) type A 2.x (2) Type A 3.x
Operating System MacOS X 10.15 or newer
Windows 10 Professional or Educational
Apple’s Boot Camp (see OS notes below)

Apple M1 Processor Based MacBook Pros

The new MacBook Pros with Apple's M1 processor are not code compatible with many of the software packages used in Engineering's courses, so if you plan to purchase a MacBook Pro, you will need to purchase one with an Intel processor.

Windows Laptop vs MacBook Pro vs Chromebooks

A Windows laptop would be a better choice in the following academic programs: Biosystems, Biomedical, Chemical, Civil, Mechanical, and Mining Engineering. Either Windows or Mac would be appropriate for: Computer Science, Electrical Engineering, and Computer Engineering. Chromebooks and tablets (iPads, Android, Windows RT) are not recommended as your primary device, as they do not provide the functionality you will need in your studies.

USB Ports

Some of the newer laptops may only have USB-C or Thunderbolt III port ports. For these laptops, you will need to purchase an inexpensive USB-C to USB-A converter or hub. These are available from a number of suppliers (Amazon.com, Best Buy, Walmart, etc.).

Graphics Card

If the laptop model you are purchasing supports a discrete, or add-in graphics card, we recommend you add that to your system.


It is recommended that you choose a laptop that has, or can be upgraded to, 16GB RAM. Depending on the software you run during your career in the College, you will probably need this at some point in the future. If you are purchasing an Apple laptop, you will have to decide at the time of purchase whether to get 8GB or 16GB. There is no after purchase memory upgrade available for the current generation of Apple laptops.

Hard Drives

If you choose an Apple laptop, you will need to purchase a hard drive large enough to host a native MacOS X partition, and at least a 100GB Boot Camp partition for running Windows. For Apple Macintosh users: 500GB hard drive minimum, 1TB is preferred.


Laptops tend to lead harsher lives, and are usually harder and more expensive to repair than desktops. Many laptops on UK’s Dell Educational sites come with one-year warranty, and can be extended to four-years warranty. You will want to balance the cost of three and four year warranties against the cost of potential repairs or replacement.

You should also consider adding accidental damage coverage to the normal warranty if it’s not automatically included. This is the warranty that typically covers the laptops display, and damage from drops, falls, liquid spills, and the occasional use of the laptop as a seat. Warranties and accidental damage plans vary between companies, so confirm what is and is not covered before purchasing.

Operating System Note:

We recommend you purchase Windows 10 Professional or Education pre-installed if that option is available, since one of these versions is needed to run some of the software packages used in Engineering.

If one of those versions is not available at the time you purchase your Windows system, you can upgrade using the College’s AzureDev site or the campus download site after you begin attending classes at UK. In most cases, the upgrade simply requires entering the new product code for your current Windows 10 version. Microsoft Windows obtained from these two sites is for upgrade purposes only, so you must already own a copy of Windows to use this software.

Macintosh users: You may need to purchase a version of Windows OS for use on your Boot Camp or virtual Windows computer. The Microsoft Windows that is available to UK Engineering students through the College’s Microsoft AzureDev site, or the campus download site, will not work for this purpose because they are upgrade only versions. They should not be installed on systems that do not already have a licensed copy of Windows.