Students at the Eskenazi School of Art, Architecture + Design are required to have a personal laptop computer available for use in class. The following are recommendations for laptops that meet the minimum memory and operating standards required for the software used in the school’s courses.
Students may purchase any brand, make or model of laptop as long as it meets the recommended hardware specifications. Indiana University has discount agreements with some vendors including Apple, CDW-G, Dell, GovConnection, and Microsoft.
If a student would like a Mac, it is recommended to purchase the laptop computer through the IU Bookstore.
Interior Design and Comprehensive Design Students are advised that a Mac laptop or Apple computer will not meet the requirements outlined below.
Interior Design and Comprehensive Design students are expected to have a personal laptop computer powerful enough to support the demanding graphic and computational requirements necessary for course work, as well as adequate storage to accommodate new software releases.
The software programs used in Interior Design and Comprehensive Design are PC-based (Windows operating systems). The software will not run in expected ways on a Mac (Apple operating systems)—even with Boot Camp or Parallels. Any problems arising from installing, formatting, or running programs on Windows for Macintosh (and subsequent interfaces such as Boot Camp or Parallels) are solely the responsibility of the student. Some essential software plug-ins will not run on a Mac computer even with Windows for Macintosh running in Boot Camp or Parallels.
Students are expected to maintain their computer, operating system, and software.
Interior Design and Comprehensive Design students should refer to the specifications outlined on this page (and linked at the end of this page) before buying a laptop.
Students should not download or activate free educational licenses for design software until directed to do so by course instructors. Software changes rapidly. The specific software required for the curriculum has included the programs listed here. This list is subject to change based on cost, professional expectations, and learning outcomes. Software has recently included: AutoCAD, Revit, Rhino, SketchUp, Grasshopper, Enscape, Lumion, Twinmotion, Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator.
Students are advised that software (and computer processing) requirements may change during the time they are completing their degrees. A basic or minimum-level computer may not meet their needs for the four years of their education.
PC Laptop requirements (updated April 2023)
Three computer options are referenced below. While these options refer to Dell laptops available for purchase through IU’s educational discount program, students may purchase a laptop from any retailer. We encourage students to consider reliability, performance, and cost as they make a decision about which computer to purchase. These options are provided as examples and to simplify the comparison process.
The “Minimum” option is equivalent to a basic sandwich (white bread, deli meat, no cheese, no lettuce, no condiments). This computer will perform the basic needed functions but will not handle advanced digital rendering or VR applications. Students will need to use a campus computer lab outside of regular class time to complete anything more than basic graphic tasks.
The “Better” option is equivalent to a dressed burger (bun, patty, cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickle, and basic condiments). This computer will handle some advanced rendering, but at slower speeds and limited scales. Students will need to use a campus computer lab outside of regular class times to complete some advanced tasks.
The “Best” option is equivalent to a gourmet burger (toasted bun, patty, cheese, special condiments, lettuce, caramelized onions, tomato, pickles, etc.). This computer will handle most advanced digital rendering and VR applications. Complex VR rendering may need to be completed in a campus computer lab.
Model / Screen Size
Dell G15 Gaming Laptop
Alienware x16 Laptop
16” Screen (2560x1600)
Alienware X18 Laptop
18” Screen (2560x1600)
13th gen Intel i7-13650HX
13th gen Intel i9-13650HX
13th gen Intel i9-13900HX
Memory / RAM
16GB RAM DDR5
32GB RAM LPDDR5
64GB RAM DDR5
1TB M.2 SSD
1TB M.2 SSD
1TB M.2 SSD
Nvidia GeForce RTX 4060 Ti w/ 8GB Dedicated RAM
Nvidia GeForce RTX 4080 Ti w/ 12GB Dedicated RAM
Nvidia GeForce RTX 4090 Ti w/ 16GB Dedicated RAM
** The Minimum laptop will not handle large or complex 3D models without significant delay or lag time. The Minimum laptop will not support advanced graphics (e.g., use of rendering plug-in applications like Twinmotion, Lumion, or Enscape). The size and complexity of models increases significantly as students progress through the curriculum.
All laptops must run the most recent Windows® 10 (64-bit) operating system or higher.
Operating most design software requires an external mouse (wired or wireless). The trackpad will not enable a student to use all features of the software. A mouse is required.
Many students prefer to work with an external monitor to support a two-screen workstation. The purchase of an external monitor is optional but recommended.
Students will have access to university-provided, cloud-based storage systems for creating back-up copies of their work. They may also prefer to have an external solid-state drive for backing up work.
Refer to the system requirements for the most recent version of Revit software available on the Autodesk website.
As an IU student, there are multiple free software packages available to you. These software packages have already been paid for by Indiana University and can be downloaded at IUware. Students are welcome to purchase any necessary software packages for courses from any vendor of their choice.
Purchasing a computer and financial aid
Students can request additional financial aid to support the discipline-specific computer requirements of design students through the Cost of Attendance appeal process.
Hardware and software support
It is the student’s responsibility to maintain their laptop in good working order for use in the classroom. Any damage and associated repairs, loss, or operating problems that may occur will be the sole responsibility of the student. Students must have their laptop repaired as needed at their own expense, or secure another unit meeting minimum hardware and software requirements on which they can work.
Late work, lost data, and other such problems due to any incident associated with a student’s laptop will not be accepted by instructors. Students are advised to backup their digital files in multiple formats so all data can easily be transferred to another computer if needed.
Students are also advised to purchase laptops only from reputable vendors with good warranty programs and a proven record of quality service. We recommend that students strongly consider purchasing extended warranty and service plans.
Indiana University does not offer any university-wide hardware repair service and students must visit repair shops off campus.