Computer Requirements and FAQs
Although many OBU students have personal computers, various labs on campus have Windows and Mac computers publicly available for word processing, e-mail and web surfing, data analysis, programming, graphic design, etc. Lab hours and details
Should I get a PC or a Mac?
OBU supports both Windows and Mac computers, and you can get your basic academic work done on either. If you bring a Windows computer to campus, you must learn to use it securely and to keep it free from viruses and spyware. If you bring a Mac, there may be times when you will have to use a Windows computer (available in the public labs) to complete a specific assignment that requires Windows-only software. We have begun to see malware on Macs, so they too are just as important as a Windows PC to update the operating system regularly.
Do you recommend buying a computer locally, online, or where?
There are many options these days where you can buy your new computer. You may want to inquire into what offers you might find locally but also online. Most of our students have Dells, HP/Compaq, Sony and Toshiba. Traditionally Dells have been sold only through Dell's website or over the phone, however that trend has changed over the course of a few years and can be found in some retail stores. HP/Compaq, Sony and Toshibas can be found at just about any large computer retail store. Remember to ask questions such as:
How long is my new computer's warranty?
Where do I have to get service if my computer has a hardware problem?
Does it cost any extra for someone to come out to my house/dorm room to fix my computer?
How long are the average hold times on the phone?
In the end, no one manufacturer is going to be without its problems. Check out reviews on computers such as CNET's website. Make an informed decision. It’s always best to know what to expect when investing in something such as a computer.
What specifications will my computer need?
Computers come in many different shapes and sizes. No one computer is right for every person. The following is a guide to what we recommend.
Desktops\Laptop: 7th or 8th generation Intel® Core™i3, i5, or i7 Processor
8 GB of memory (RAM) or higher
- Hard Drive
Solid State Drive (SSD), 256 GB or higher. (Note: Fusion Drive is OK if buying an iMac)
- Operating System
Windows 10 or later
MacOS 10.13 or later
- Antivirus software
Most new PCs will come with an Antivirus program but will only include about 3 months of free updates after which you will have to renew your subscription. There are free antivirus programs available such as Microsoft Security Essentials (which is preinstalled on windows 10), Immunet, or Sophos Home.
A 3-4 year warranty is highly recommended. We also recommend enquiring on accidental damage plans such as dropping it on the floor. Apple offers various AppleCare Protection Plans. Other manufacturers offer similar plans.
- Microsoft Office
OBU provides a free downloadable copy of Microsoft Office and 1 TB of OneDrive space while you are enrolled as a student. You will have access to the online versions of Office and can download the PC/Mac versions of Office on up to 5 devices from the Microsoft Office 365 Portal.
What about other operating systems?
Computers with Linux and other operating systems usually can be configured to work with the OBU network. We don't, however, provide support or documentation for these systems.
What do I need to connect to the Internet?
The OBU network will provide you with Internet access. To connect you'll need a computer with WiFi. All residence halls and most academic buildings have wireless coverage.
How can I back up and move my documents from place to place?
You have several options. One option is to use a cloud service like Microsoft OneDrive. As a student, you receive a free OneDrive 1TB account. Another option is to use a USB flash drive (also known as a thumb drive or a memory key) or an external hard drive to move files from one computer to another. We always recommend keeping your important documents stored in more than one location in case of hardware failure.
What if my computer breaks?
OBU will not repair your computer hardware. The I.T. Services office can make recommendations on what might need to be done. We highly recommend you buy a computer with a manufacturer's warranty of up to four years. For best service, you'll probably want an on-site warranty with desktop computers; a depot/off-site warranty is fine for laptops. When computers break (and sometimes they do), a warranty is invaluable. If you do not have coverage, Complete Computing in Little Rock offers repair service with a 10% discount to OBU students. Best Buy is located in in Hot Springs, AR and they offer computer repair through their Geek Squad services.
What will the IT Services department help me with?
We have a hardware and software specialist who can help if you have problems with the OBU network, common computer and operating system problems, or questions about your e-mail account or certain software applications.