Computer Recommendations

Computer Recommendations

Beginning Fall 2021, the Department of Geography and Planning strongly recommends that students, especially those pursuing the Certificate in Geographic Information Systems (GIS), purchase Windows-based laptops. While software is available on department computers and uDesk, these are not always convenient options.

Q: What laptop specifications should I look for?

A: In addition to the minimum computer specifications provided by Appalachian State ITS, 16 GB of RAM, a 512 GB solid-state drive (SSD), and a 4 GB graphics card are recommended. When purchasing a laptop it is important to remember that it should be meant to last the amount of time you are in school, thus opting for a higher performing machine helps keep it relevant for longer.

Recommended Windows-Based Laptop Specifications


Intel i7 Processor (or AMD Equivalent)

Performance Memory (RAM)

16 GB

Physical Storage Capacity (Hard Drive)

512 SSD

Dedicated Graphics Memory

4 GB

Warranty Period

4-Year Accidental Protection

Q: Which brand of computer should I purchase?

A: Appalachian State ITS recommends Dell laptops. In order to assist students with technology issues, ITS staffs several Dell Certified Technicians and a Dell Technical Account Manager. Additionally, the University Bookstore offers special pricing and warranties on Dell products.

Note: We do NOT recommend Apple laptops. The majority of the software packages required by the Geography and Planning degrees (such as ArcGIS) are Windows-based, meaning that Apple laptops will not be able to support the software needed to complete required course work. While it is possible to install Windows on an Apple machine through Bootcamp, this brings many potential complications with software and hardware.

Q: Who should I contact for more information?

A: Questions can be directed to the GIS Lab Supervisor and IT Support Services (

Additional Resources: