(Updated May 2022)
NOTE: All students should have a full computer, at least an older computer, available for coursework in the Fall Semester of their first year. Using a smart phone only will not work for courses.
ALL departments require students to have a computer with minimum specifications. Computers that do not meet minimum specifications may prevent students from completing course assignments.
Please read this page AND the general information before spending money on computer hardware and software.
EACH DEPARTMENT HAS DIFFERENT REQUIREMENTS!
Graphic Design undergraduate students must have their own computer by the Fall Semester of their first year.
Graphic Design graduate students must have their own computer by the Fall Semester of their first year.
Macintosh computers are required for Graphic Design students.
The Department of Graphic Design and Industrial Design at NC State was the first program in the University of North Carolina System to require students to have a computer for their studies. This requirement has allowed our students to gain a level of computer proficiency and confidence that is essential in practice. Graphic design integrates computers in virtually every step of the design process from conception to production and in a range of media including print, video, and web. Apple Macintosh is the preferred platform of the graphic design field and is required for our Graphic Design students.
Each department in the College of Design has different computer requirements.
Please read the College’s Student Computing Requirements Information page for general information before spending money on computer hardware or software.
We recommend that your computer meet or exceed the specifications below. Computers that do not meet minimum specifications may prevent students from completing course assignments. A computer with greater capability (processor speed, RAM, disk capacity) and expandability will be more likely to continue to run required software in later years of college.
This chart provides minimum recommendations for students purchasing new computers. Software requirements are listed at the bottom of the chart. Additional specialized software may be required in other courses, as determined by the instructor. Students may consider the purchase of other software to support their particular goals and learning styles.
|Components||Macintosh Desktop||Macintosh Laptop|
|CPU (Processor) or Model||Good
iMac 24″(includes built-in monitor) any current model
Mac Studio or Mac Pro, any current model
|MacBook Pro, any current 14″ or 16″ model|
|System RAM||16 GB minimum, more preferred|
|Hard Drive (Storage)||512 GB SSD minimum, more preferred (multiple drives are fine)|
|Monitor/Display||21″ 4K resolution minimum (Consider two monitors for more working space on the computer.)
iMacs include a built-in 5K monitor. Monitors from other vendors will work with Apple computers.
|14″ or larger display included (Consider a second 4K external monitor for more working space on the computer.) Monitors from other vendors will work with Apple computers.|
|Graphics Processor Unit (GPU) Should have a discrete GPU.||4 GB VRAM or higher. Avoid integrated graphics processors|
|Operating System||Mac OS 11 (Big Sur) or later|
|Audio||Standard on Macs|
|Network Adapters||Wi-Fi card or adapter|
|Backup||External Drive – Time Machine (external drive needs to be at least twice the computer’s storage capacity)|
|Warranty Service||3-year AppleCare Protection Plan or third-party loss/damage coverage|
Be sure to check for educational discounts through the College of Design or Wolfpack Outfitters.
Many Autodesk products are available free through Autodesk’s Education Community.
Adobe Creative Cloud annual subscription discounts are available through the College of Design.
Additional software may be required for certain courses.
|• Microsoft Office 365 (Free for NCSU students.)
• Adobe Creative Cloud (Annual subscription discounts are available through the College of Design.)
|Digital Camera (Sophomore Year)||8.0 Megapixel or higher, Macintosh-compatible digital camera with case|
The College’s Information Technology staff will be glad to go over purchase choices or answer any related questions. You can send an email to email@example.com or use this form to contact the College Information Technology staff with specific information about your problem.