University of California, Riverside

Student Computing Services

Choosing a Computer

It is highly recommended that every UCR student have their own computer.  UCR does provide on campus access to computers including computer labs, both in the residence halls and on campus, laptop checkouts, and libraries.  However, having your own computer will give you greater access and flexibility to access online materials and complete coursework.

Whether you choose to bring a computer that you already have, or purchase a new one, there are several things to consider to ensure that your computer will provide the functionality that you need.

First and foremost it is recommended that students contact their program to verify whether or not a particular type of computer or operating system is recommended.  Some programs may have specific class requirements that make one type of computer more useful than others.  If your major does not have a specific requirement we offer the following recommendations for a computer that will provide you with flexibility and functionality for your work at UCR

Laptop, Desktop or Tablet

We highly recommend laptops over either desktop computers or tablets.  Laptops provide greater flexibility than a desktop computer as well as a larger, more functional interface than a tablet.  With wireless internet access available in most locations on campus bringing a laptop will make it easier to take notes in class and complete work between classes.  Tablets make useful supplements to a laptop or desktop computer, but are not recommended as a replacement.

For those students who do not have a laptop, or periodically choose to not bring it on campus, we do offer on campus computer labs and laptop checkouts.

Windows vs. Macintosh

If your program does not have a specific recommendation then either a Windows or Macintosh computer should work for you, as long as it is a recent version of the operating system.  For Windows you should have version 7 or above.  For Macintosh you should have version 10.7 or above.  Either operating system will run the programs needed by the average UCR student.

Hard Drive Storage and Memory

A minimum of 4 GB of memory and 128 GB hard drive are recommended.  However, if you are buying a new computer having more memory (at least 8GB) and a larger hard drive (at least 500GB) will improve your computer's functionality and provide greater flexibility to install and run software, as well as store and utilize media.


We recommend that your computer have ethernet capability, whether through a built-in ethernet card, or through a plug-in ethernet adapter, especially in the residence halls where ethernet connections are available in each room.  If you have a laptop it is also recommended that you have a wireless network card.  The UCR wireless network supports 802.11a, g, and n.

More Information 

General Campus Information

University of California, Riverside
900 University Ave.
Riverside, CA 92521
Tel: (951) 827-1012

Department Information

Student Computing Services
2103 Watkins Hall

Tel: (951) 827-4848 (827-IT4U)