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Computer Recommendations

The Office of Information Technology is happy to offer general recommendations for students, faculty, and staff that are purchasing a new personal computer. » more
Frequently Asked Questions
What do I need to bring to campus from an IT standpoint?
  • A laptop computer with a wireless adapter
  • A laptop lock to prevent theft
  • A 15-foot network cable with RJ-45 connectors to easily reach any part of the room (a back-up to the wireless)
  • A small printer to be shared by the roommates, requires a USB connection rather than wireless
Should I buy a Mac or Windows PC?

The decision is yours, as the Office of Information Technology is capable of supporting you with either decision. If you look at the entire campus, we have about 60% Windows and 40% Macs. If you look at just our students, those numbers are reversed, as more students are choosing Macs these days.

If you are unsure, consider the following:

  • What does the student want?  What is their preference?
  • What are they using today?
  • What are you as a family comfortable with?
  • What school are they going into?  Sometimes there is a bias for a particular program, so feel free to ask your advisor.
Can I get a discount by buying through AU?

American University has negotiated discounts for our students, faculty, and staff for personal purchases of computing hardware and software. Click on the links to Apple or Dell via the MyAU portal. In most cases, you will be offered a 10% discount on your purchase with the three-year warranty plan.

How should I configure my new computer to improve its performance?

The single best thing that you can do to improve the performance of your PC is to add more memory. Add as much as they offer and that you can afford.

Why do you recommend purchasing the three year extended warranty?

The three year extended warranty is critical, as laptops take a great deal of wear and tear. American University's Office of Information Technology can not perform hardware repairs ourselves for personally-owned computers. We can help you diagnose a problem, but then we have to refer you to the manufacturer.

I see that you have agreements with Dell and Apple. Is it acceptable to buy another brand of computer?

Yes, the Office of Information Technology is not partial to the brand of computer that you choose, as long as it meets the specifications.

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