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Purchasing Technology for Personal Use

When choosing to purchase a computer for your personal use, it is important to consider

  • Supportability
  • Reliability
  • Whether it will meet future needs


ITS cannot repair hardware problems and thus we strongly recommend that you purchase an extended warranty for your computer, if available.  ITS can provide support limited to accessing Pomona systems on Faculty and Staff personally owned computers running OS X 10.13 or higher or Windows 10.  We can provide operating system support for Pomona Students running Mac OS 10.13 or higher or Windows 10.


To make sure your work is not interrupted, ITS recommends that you stick to brand names and reputable dealers when purchasing your new computer.  On campus, we use Dell business grade and Apple computers.  If you decide to purchase a pre-owned computer, make sure that it is factory refurbished or includes a comprehensive warranty from the retailer.

Whether it Meets Future Needs

The configurations we recommend below are the minimum requirements.  Bumping up specifications is a good way to ensure that the computer will continue to be able to support the latest software as it is released.

Purchasing Computer Hardware

Laptop vs. Desktop

Laptops provide portability and flexibility and are ideal for dorm life.  However, laptops do require more care and maintenance and because they are frequently moved around, are more susceptible to accidents.  They frequently cost more than their desktop counterparts and include configurations that are not as robust as desktop computers at the same price point.  If you are planning on purchasing a laptop, we highly recommend adding on the following accessories:

  • A padded laptop sleeve or case
  • Extra power adapter

A plastic or rubber clamshell cover and rubberized keyboard cover can also help to protect your investment from the rigors of campus life.

Desktop computers allow for more computing power, multiple monitors and more ports than their laptop counterparts.  In addition to productivity centers, they make great entertainment hubs, eliminating the need to bring a separate small TV to campus.  Students may find that an all-in-one configuration of integrated monitor and computer provides convenience when moving dorm to dorm.

Operating Systems

Pomona systems are supported and will work on all current Mac OS (10.13 High Sierra and higher) and Windows 10 operating systems.  Older operating systems, such as Mac OS operating systems prior to OS X 10.13 may receive partial support.  Operating systems whose support has been discontinued by the manufacturer or who do not meet our security requirements will not be allowed on the Pomona network and may not be permitted to access Pomona resources.

Hardware Configurations

Below you will find the basic requirements for several types of configurations (Basic, Advanced, and Premium).  Adhering to these minimum requirements will ensure that you have the tools you need for four years at Pomona College.  Please note that this is meant to be a baseline; you should consider your computing needs now and what you may need for the future when configuring your new computer.  Please feel free to consult with ITS if you have any questions regarding recommended systems.

Basic Configuration

Recommended for: General internet use, word processing, spreadsheets, Powerpoint presentations, minor publishing or graphics.

  • 8GB RAM
  • 256GB HDD, 5400 RPM
  • Windows 10 (Home, Education, or Pro) or current Mac OS
  • 12" or greater screen size with 1920×1080 resolution
  • USB 3.0 ports or USB-C ports
  • 802.11 A/C with 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz capable wireless
  • Intel i5 or m5 or greater processor

Types of computers with Basic Configurations include:

  • Apple MacBook Pro (no touchbar) or Macbook Air
  • Dell Inspiron 13 5000

Advanced Configuration

Recommended For: More computer-intensive tasks such as data-crunching or video editing, basic graphics design and photo editing plus general internet use, word processing, spreadsheets, Powerpoint presentations

  • 8GB RAM or greater (12–16 GB preferred)
  • 500 GB or larger Solid State Hard Drive (SSD)
  • Windows 10 Education or Pro or current Mac OS
  • 13" or greater with 1920×1080 resolution screen size
  • 802.11 A/C with 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz capable wireless
  • USB 3.0, USB-C, and/or Thunderbolt 3 ports
  • Intel i5 or i7 processor
  • 2 GB or more of dedicated Video RAM

Types of computers with Advanced Configurations include:

  • Apple MacBook Pro
  • Dell XPS 15

Premium Configuration

Recommended For: Power users who require more storage and processing power for high definition video editing, audio editing, advanced computation, software development and other intensive applications.

  • 16 GB RAM or Higher
  • 1TB GB Solid State Hard Drive (SSD) with second internal drive for storage, if available
  • Windows 10 Education or Pro or Current Mac OS
  • 14" or greater with 4K resolution (15" or greater preferred) for screen size for laptop or 24” or greater external monitor
  • 802.11 A/C with 2.4 GHz and GHz capable wireless
  • USB 3.0 and USB-C or Thunderbolt 3 ports
  • Intel i7 or i9 processor or equivalent
  • 4 GB or more of dedicated Video RAM
  • High Capacity Battery for laptop (if available)

Types of computers with Premium Configurations include:

  • Apple MacBook Pro 16" with Apple Customizations
  • Mac Pro Desktop, iMac Pro
  • Dell Precision 5520 Customized

Education Discounts

Education Discounts for Apple products are available through Huntley Bookstore, the Apple Store or the Apple Store for Education online.

Education Discounts for Dell Windows-based computers can be found at Huntley Bookstore on the Dell Membership Purchase Program (MPP).

Purchasing Software - Microsoft Office


Microsoft Office is included free of charge as part of Office365.  The software can be installed by downloading it from Pomona Office365.

Other Educational Discounts – OnTheHub

OntheHub offers other software discounts, including Microsoft Windows for personal use.

Huntley Bookstore

Last but not least, there are many discounts for software titles that you can find at Huntley Bookstore. If you can't find what you need at OnTheHub, give Huntley Bookstore a call at (909) 607-1502 or drop by to visit them at 175 E. 8th Street.

Anti-Virus Software


Windows 10 includes Windows Defender, an anti-malware software, as part of its operating system.  You can turn on Windows Defender by going to Start > Settings > Update & Security > Windows Defender.

ITS also recommends that you install Microsoft Security Essentials, which is a free tool provided by Microsoft.  Security Essentials can be downloaded from Microsoft.


While once it was considered unnecessary to install antivirus software on Macs, it is no longer the case.  Macs have become more popular with users and thus they have become more popular with hackers and virus writers.  ITS now recommends that you install antivirus software on your Mac.  For personally owned Macs, we recommend MalwareBytes.