Office of Information Technology

Recommendations for Buying a New Windows Laptop


Recommended Configuration

Please note: Any new laptop on the market will have sufficient power to run office applications, e-mail, and surf the Web; but, we do recommend the following configuration:

Microsoft Windows - Laptop
  • Microsoft¬†Windows 7¬†or Windows 8
  • Microsoft Office
  • 4 gigabytes or more random access memory (RAM)
  • 500 gigabyte or larger hard disk
  • CD/DVD-writer combination drive
  • Built in 802.11b/g/n wireless adapter
  • 15"or larger display
  • inkjet or laser printer
  • carrying case
  • three-year extended warranty


Other Options to Consider

Laptop and Tablet PC purchases require more consideration than performance alone. Size, weight, and battery life are three of the most important laptop attributes. Think about how you will use your laptop from one day to the next.

  • Would you rather have a 10-pound "desktop replacement" that performs like a desktop computer but takes up less space?
  • Or would you rather have a 3-pound ultra portable that won't break your back, but also won't break any speed barriers?

Most laptops fall somewhere in between, but understand the trade-offs as you shop.


Below are some other options that you may want to consider:

  • Upgrade to 8 gigabytes (GB) of memory, for better performance, if funds permit.
  • Consider upgrading to a larger hard drive, for greater multimedia storage, if funds permit.
  • Obtain an extra battery, if you plan to frequently work away from a power source. Some laptops offer a high capacity main battery or a battery that fits in the slot normally occupied by the CD/DVD drive.
  • Consider buying a port replicator for convenience to connect your laptop to and external monitor, keyboard, and mouse, while in your room of office.

Academic Discounts

AU has negotiated special prices on certain computer configurations for personal purchase. Links to the vendor sites are available through the myau.american.edu portal on the TECHNOLOGY page under GENERAL LINKS. In addition, the Campus Store sells standard Dell configurations for students to purchase.