While computer facilities are available on campus, all students in the Department of Landscape Architecture are required to have a laptop computer that runs a variety of software needed for their study of landscape architecture at Cal Poly Pomona. All prospective and current students should refer to the following suggestions when buying a laptop computer to ensure that their computer is capable of completing academic and design work required for their classes. Please note that this recommendation is only valid for the year it is published as computer hardware and software environment changes dramatically in a yearly basis.
It is the student’s responsibility to ensure that their laptop computer can run the most recent versions of software programs required by the department smoothly and efficiently. It is also the student’s responsibility to update and maintain their laptop computer so that they can continue to run these software programs without problems for three or more years. When purchasing a laptop computer, students should refer to the system requirements provided by the software producers to ensure that the recommended system requirements are met. Meeting the minimum requirement only allows one to run the software at the lowest level of performance and you may not be able to run other software programs efficiently at the same time.
It is highly recommended that students purchase a laptop computer with a high level of performance to ensure their laptop computer will not become outdated during their time as a student. Also, please be aware that 64 bit systems have a higher requirement for computer hardware than 32 bit systems. Please make sure that you are referencing the correct configuration requirements for the appropriate operating system.
PC or Mac?
Making the decision to purchase a PC (Windows) or Mac (Apple) laptop computer depends a lot on the student’s budget and personal computing preferences. The department highly recommended PC for classroom use though. On top of that, if the budget is less than $2000, a PC laptop is highly recommended as most mainstream PC laptop products at that price level allow one to run most software programs smoothly. If budget is not an issue, either a PC or Mac laptop computer can be chosen. However, if a Mac is chosen, a MacBook Pro is required as it should come with more RAM memory and hard drive space to allow the installation of Boot Camp that can run software, such as ESRI ArcGIS that comes in Windows-only versions. If purchasing a MacBook Pro, it is the students’ responsibility to ensure that they can customize their computer to run both Mac and Windows operating systems on BOOTCAMP. The department and university do not provide such service to students. Please also make sure to allocate enough hard disk to the Boot Camp Drive. A minimum of 250 GB is recommended for the boot camp drive.
It is the student’s responsibility to check the software requirements listed above when choosing a laptop computer with specifications that meets their needs and budget. The following is provided as an example of a laptop computer configuration that works well as of Fall 2017. Such specifications quickly become outdated as newer software versions are released with more demanding system requirements:
- Intel Core i7 CPU
- 15 or 17- inch Display
- 16 – 32 GB RAM Memory
- 1 TB -- 2TB Hard Drive or 512GB SSD hard drive with 1-2 TB external drive
- 8X DVD+/- RW DVD Drive (optional)
- NVIDIA GeForce 940M with 4GB of GDDR5 memory or Graphic Card with similar performance.
The following is a list of software programs that are frequently used in the program of Landscape Architecture along with recommended computer requirements to run these programs. It is the student’s responsibility to prepare and configure software programs to run on their computers. Please note this is not necessarily a complete list. There might be additional programs required by faculty members.