The following information will help you select a computer that will most effectively use the dorm network (DormNet).
Windows or Macintosh?
Both Windows and Macintosh computers will meet basic word processing, spreadsheet, e-mail, and Internet needs. Both platforms are supported on DormNet. We suggest you check with the head of your academic department to see if they recommend one platform over the other.
Desktop or Laptop?
Students should examine their computing habits to determine whether a laptop or a desktop computer would best suit their needs.
- Desktop computers tend to be easier to use because they are not as compact as a laptop and thus can be configured in a more ergonomically correct manner. For a given level of performance, a desktop computer is generally cheaper than a laptop computer. Desktop computers also offer better expandability and can often be upgraded in performance.
- Laptop or notebook computers offer students better mobility and ease of setup. As they tend to be more fragile, an extended maintenance policy is suggested. Since laptops are more easily stolen or damaged due to their portability, insuring them is a good idea.
- USB Flash Drive: You should purchase a USB Flash Drive. While you will have 1 Gig of network storage on campus, it is convenient to have a USB flash drive.
- Random Access Memory (RAM): Memory affects the performance of the computer and the amount of applications that can be running at the same time. It is best to configure a system with as much memory as you can afford. Purchase a system that will allow for future upgrades in RAM if needed.
- Wireless Access for Desktop Machines: There is now wireless access in the dormitories and on-campus apartments. If you have a desktop machine, you may want to purchase either a wireless Ethernet card for it or a wireless USB Ethernet device.
- 10BaseT Ethernet Cable: If you wish to use a wired connection, you will need an ethernet cable or "patch" cable to plug your computer in. Patch cables will be provided in the freshmen dorms. Upper classmen are expected to keep their patch cable throughout their Harding career or purchase one of their own.