Purchasing Computers

Help Desk & Training Services
M-F 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Sa-Su 10 a.m. - 10 p.m.

This page provides resources and guidelines for computer purchases by students and employees of Hamilton College.  Updated for the 2014-15 academic year.

Online Computer Stores With Academic Pricing For Hamilton College

Apple For Hamilton Online
Telephone: 1-800-MY-APPLE

Discounts are not available because vendor "specials"
typically exceed any discount we could offer.

Current computer configurations provided by these vendors will meet or exceed our recommended system requirements for NEWcomputers.

General Recommendations For Students

Word Processing

Many academic programs require the use of Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, and PowerPoint) for course work. It is therefore highly recommended that you purchase this software with your new computer, or that you purchase and install it on your existing computer. Please note that this software is not provided by Hamilton College, nor is it available at a discount. It can be purchased at the College Bookstore, from computer vendors, many retail stores and web sites.   Note that it is often the case that when you purchase it pre-installed on a new computer the cost is slighlty lower than the retail price.  The software product to choose is Microsoft Office Home & Student 2013 (Windows) or Microsoft Office for Mac 2011 Home & Student (Macintosh).  The Home & Student edition includes full versions of the software typically used in our academic program (Word, Excel, and PowerPoint).

Virus Protection

All computers on the Hamilton College network are required to have up-to-date anti-virus software installed.  New computers will typically come with a preinstalled trial version of anti-virus software.  We recommend you either purchase the full version of that software, other anti-virus software of your choice,  or install the free anti-virus products we fully support.  Please contact the Help Desk if you have any questions or need assistance (315-859-4181).

Backup Drive

Hamilton College provides students with a modest amount of server storage.   While the space provided is usually sufficient for storing documents, it is not sufficient for storing backup copies of music, video, photos, or exceptionally large project files.  Students may request additional space for academic purposes.  For backing up all your critical files (academic and personal) we recommend purchasing an external hard drive. When selecting a drive, please be certain to confirm it is compatible with the operating system on your computer (Windows or Macintosh).  Some external drives are designed for rugged use (they come with a protective rubberized bumper).  If the drive you are considering does not come with this level of protection, it is wise to purchase a neoprene sleeve or similar protective pouch for the drive.  Lastly, some new computers come with USB 3 and/or Firewire 800 ports.  You may want to purchase a drive that can take advantage of the faster file transfer rates these ports can deliver.


Printers are available for student use  in public computing labs located on both sides of campus.  Most are located in academic buildings that are open to students until late at night or, in some cases, all night.  There are no public printers available in any of the residence halls.  Approximately half of our students elect to bring their own printer. 


Hamilton College has secure wireless network access available in all campus buildings and most outdoor areas. Connectivity to the wireless network is supported by 802.11b or 802.11g /n wireless cards, which are available in most new Windows and Macintosh laptops. Please note that the installation of a personal wireless access point (Apple Airport Station, wireless router, etc.), is strictly prohibited on campus.

Network jacks are included in all the residence hall rooms for those who want to use a network (Ethernet) cable.  The College does not provide cables.

Microsoft Office for Employees

Through the College's license agreement with Microsoft,  employees can purchase a license for Microsoft Office at a special discounted rate. For more information, contact ITS at 315-859-4169 or by e-mail at its@hamilton.edu.

Hamilton College provides Sophos Anti-Virus free of charge to employees and their households for use on their personal computers.

Recommended NEW System Requirements

ITS recommends that new computers be configured to match or exceed the recommendations listed below. PLEASE NOTE: The minimum system requirements in the last column represent the bare minimum to connect to our network and support our standard software.

  • Intel Core i5 or i7 processor, 2 GHz or faster
  • Dedicated 256 + MB graphics card
  • Windows 8
  • At least 4 GB DDR3 RAM
  • 250 GB Hard Drive or greater
  • optional DVD/CD-RW optical disk drive
  • Built-in Gigabit Ethernet Card
  • 802.11n Wireless Card
  • Intel Core i3 processor, 1.8 GHz or faster.
  • Integrated HD video card
  • Windows 7 Home Premium
  • At least 4 GB DDR2 or DDR3 RAM
  • 120 GB Hard Drive or greater
  • optional CD-ROM/DVD Drive
  • 10/100 Ethernet card
  • 802.11 g/n Wireless Network card
  • Intel Core i5 or i7 processor, 2 GHz or faster.
  • Dedicated 256 MB + graphics card
  • Mac OS X 10.8
  • At least 4 GB RAM
  • 250 GB Hard Drive or greater
  • optional  - Superdrive
  • Built-in Gigabit Ethernet card
  • 802.11n Airport Wireless Card.
  • Intel Core i3 processor,or newer
  • Mac OS X 10.5 or newer
  • At least 2 GB RAM
  • Integrated HD graphics card
  • 120 GB Hard Drive or greater
  • optional - Combo CD-ROM/DVD-Drive
  • 10/100 Ethernet Card
  • 802.11 g/n Airport Wireless Card


Recommendations for PRE-OWNED computers

If your computer is less than four years old, it should work in our network environment and support our standard software (e.g. Web browsing, document authoring.)

Please keep in mind that most computers have a four-year lifespan, after which major components (e.g. hard drive, optical drive) are more likely to fail.  These components can sometimes be replaced, though they may be expensive and difficult to come by, especially in much older computers.  Also note that computers older than one year are not typically covered under warranty, making accidental damage costly to repair.

If you choose to bring a pre-owned computer to campus, please ensure the computer meets or exceeds the specifications listed below.  It is important to note that a computer that meets these specifications should not be expected to meet a student's needs for all four years.

  • 1.5 GHz Intel Core Duo or AMD Athlon 64 Processor or newer
  • At least 2 GB of RAM
  • Vista Home Premium, or 7 Home Premium
  • 120 GB Hard Drive or greater
  • Built-in ethernet card
  • Wireless card (optional but recommended)
  • 1.8 GHz Intel Core Duo processor or newer
  • At least 2 GB of RAM
  • OS X 10.6 or newer
  • 100 GB Hard Drive or greater
  • Built-in ethernet card
  • Wireless card (optional but recommended)


If you have further questions about a personal computer purchase, please contact the ITS Help Desk at 315-859-4181 or by e-mail.

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