Industrial Design Computer Requirements

(Updated March 2021)

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 listed below. 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.


Industrial Design undergraduate and graduate students must have their own computer by the Fall Semester of their first year.

Windows-based computers are required for Industrial Design students.

The Department of Graphic Design and Industrial Design requires purchase of computers by Industrial Design students. While the industrial design industry uses different platforms, our department has chosen to use the Windows platform for its software applications. Windows-based computers are required for Industrial Design students.

Students in Industrial Design should pay particular attention to the AutoDesk qualified hardware list to find computers and hardware compatible with Autodesk products. In addition, Industrial Design students should avoid purchasing computers with integrated graphics processors and are encouraged to select NVidia graphics processors for increased software compatibility. Industrial Design students need to have higher-end computers for the intense processing and rendering required.

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. Because of the intense software needs of Industrial Design students, higher-end computers are specified. 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.

Windows Computers

Components Windows Desktop Windows Laptop
CPU (Processor) or Model Intel Core i7 or newer processor
System RAM 16 GB minimum, more preferred
Hard Drive (Storage) 512 GB SSD minimum, more preferred (multiple drives are fine)
18″ or larger—1920 x 1080 minimum screen resolution 15″ or larger (second external 1920 x 1080 minimum screen resolution monitor optional, but recommended)
Graphics Processor Unit (GPU) Should have a discrete GPU. 4 GB hardware-accelerated OpenGL 2.0 or higher professional graphics cards with recommended driver from Autodesk hardware certification pages. NVidia graphics processors preferred for increased compatibility. No integrated Graphics processors.
Operating System

Information for obtaining a free student license of Windows 10 Education is available here.

Windows 10 Home or Pro
Audio Standard on PCs
Network Adapters
Wi-Fi card or adapter
Backup External Drive – Windows Backup & Restore (external drive needs to be at least twice the computer’s storage capacity)

Cloud Backup Services – Google Backup & Sync (using NCSU Google account with “unlimited” storage) or another backup service

Warranty Service Minimum 3-year onsite parts and labor or third-party loss/damage coverage
Additional Hardware Three-button mouse with mouse driver software (Optional certified Wacom tablet recommended)

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.

Additional software may be required for certain courses.

Microsoft Office 365 (free for NCSU students)
• Adobe Creative Cloud
• 1st Year BID and Track III MID students will need a licensed version of Dassault Systèmes SolidWorks 2020-2021 or later (free student license available from: installed on their personal computers for use in ID 210 in the Spring semester.
• 2nd Year BID students will need Luxion KeyShot installed on their personal computers for use in ID 310 in the Fall semester. KeyShot for Education is available at a reduced rate for students here:


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 or use this form to contact the College Information Technology staff with specific information about your problem.