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Shopper's Guide

Computer Shopping FAQs

Introduction
Do I need to own a computer?
Should I buy a desktop or laptop computer or an iPad?
Should I buy a Mac or a Windows-based computer?
What brand of computer should I buy?
What software should I buy?
Does Temple offer discounts on computers?
Computer shopping is confusing. How do I know what to buy?
Should I buy a printer?
Do I need to have an e-mail address and Internet connection?
Does Temple offer telephone service for residence hall students?


Introduction

Computer technology plays an essential role on college campuses for coursework, research, and communication. A computer is an important tool that you will use to take advantage of Temple's state-of-the-art technology resources. These resources have received national recognition. For example, Temple was recognized as a 2012 Laureate in the Computerworld Honors Program and, for seven consecutive years, as one of the "Best Places to Work in IT" (Computerworld).

Do I need to own a computer?

Temple does not require students to own a computer. The University has over 100 computer labs throughout the campuses with over 4,000 workstations, including 600 computers and the latest software in the state-of-the-art TECH Center (www.temple.edu/cs/techcenter). Students use the resources in the labs to work and collaborate on papers, perform research activities, and access the Internet and e-mail.

While not required, Temple still recommends that you consider buying your own computer, if possible. A recent survey found that 95% of Temple students own computers. Owning your computer can prove to be indispensable in meeting course requirements on your own schedule and taking advantage of Temple's technology resources and services.

Should I buy a desktop or laptop computer or an iPad?

Either a laptop or desktop computer is acceptable, but you should base your decision on the model that best suits your needs. Laptops have major advantages. They are mobile, compact, and ideal for taking advantage of Temple's free wireless Internet locations throughout campus. Laptops, however, are vulnerable to theft and damage, more expensive to buy and repair, and have a smaller screen and keyboard than a desktop model.

Desktop models are typically less expensive, more expandable, and often more comfortable to use than laptops. On the other hand, they are designed for stationary locations, so they take up more space than a laptop.

If you plan to bring your computer to classes or wish to use the Temple's wireless network, you might consider buying a laptop. If you prefer to work primarily in your room, you might consider purchasing a desktop model.

Temple does not recommend purchasing an Apple iPad or other tablet as a primary computer. While tablets are innovative and have many uses, including convenient web browsing, at this stage they are not a replacement for a PC or Mac.

Should I buy a Mac or a Windows-based computer?

Either one is fine but first check with your particular school or college to see if a specific platform is recommended.

What brand of computer should I buy?

Temple does not endorse a particular computer brand or type. You can minimize potential problems, however, by selecting a name-brand manufacturer, such as Apple, Dell, HP, or Lenovo. These manufacturers generally use name-brand components and offer reliable customer support. If you have computer problems, you can also contract with SOMA, a computer repair and maintenance company, for hardware repair service on campus.

What software should I buy?

Overall, Microsoft Office is a very popular suite of programs used at Temple. Temple students can download a copy of Microsoft Office and Windows Upgrades by logging in to TUportal and clicking the "Microsoft Download" link under TUapplications.

Depending on your major, you may need additional software as well. Through thinkEDU (www.thinkEDU.com/bn), Temple students also can also purchase a variety of software online including Adobe programs. For some software, you can save up to 80% off regular prices.

Finally, through the Computer Services antivirus program, residence hall students receive Temple's required version of Symantec Endpoint Protection at no charge. Students may also purchase this software for home use for $8. Details are available at www.temple.edu/cs/security/virusinfo.

Does Temple offer discounts on computers?

Temple does not sell computers, but several major computer companies offer educational discounts. Some companies offer discounts for Temple students. To learn more, see educational discounts.

Also, see each manufacturer's web site for academic or educational sections. In addition, major discount retail stores offer sale prices that may compete with educational offers.

Computer shopping is confusing. How do I know what to buy?

Computer Services suggests that you first check with your particular school or college to see if a specific configuration is recommended. Suggested minimum requirements for PC and Mac laptops and desktops are as follows:

Standard PC Desktop
Standard PC Laptop
Intel i5 processor or AMD equivalent Intel i5 processor or AMD Equivalent
4GB RAM 4GB RAM
500GB hard drive 500GB hard drive
DVD-RW DVD-RW
256MB video card 500MB video card
19” or higher display 14” display
Ethernet capability 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi compatible wireless card
Ethernet capability

Higher-End PC Desktop
Higher-End PC Laptop
Intel i7 processor or AMD equivalent Intel i7 processor or AMD equivalent
4GB RAM 4GB RAM
500GB hard drive 500GB hard drive
DVD-RW DVD-RW
512MB video card 1GB video card
19” or higher display 15” display
Ethernet capability 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi compatible wireless card
Ethernet capability

Standard 13" MacBook Pro
Higher-End 15" MacBook Pro
2.5GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 Turbo Boost up to 3.1GHz 2.3GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i7 Turbo Boost up to 3.3GHz
4GB 1600MHz memory 4GB RAM 1600MHz memory
500GB 5400-rpm hard drive 500GB 5400-rpm hard drive
Intel HD Graphics 4000 Intel HD Graphics 4000
Built-in battery (7 hours) NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M with 512MB of GDDR5 memory
  Built-in battery (7 hours)

Should I buy a printer?

Each Temple student at most campuses is allotted a quota of up to 300 double-sided pages for printing papers in the computer labs. (For details, go to www.temple.edu/cs/policies/printingpolicy.pdf.)

If you would like to buy a printer, a color ink jet printer is a good choice because of low-cost and versatility. Printer manufacturers include Epson and HP. Temple does not endorse a particular printer brand. When purchasing a printer, take into consideration the cost of the ink cartridges.

Do I need to have an an e-mail address and Internet connection?

Temple provides you with a free @temple.edu TU Gmail account that you will use for e-mail and coursework. In fact, Temple uses e-mail as an official means to communicate with students.

Wireless Internet access is available throughout campus, including university-owned residence halls. For details, see the Computer Services wireless web site at www.temple.edu/cs/wireless. You can also access Temple's computer resources from home using a high-speed connection, such as a cable modem, DSL connection, or FIOS connection.

Does Temple offer telephone service for residence hall students?

Telephone service for incoming, emergency, and on-campus calls is available as an amenity with the price of the room in University-owned residence halls. Students can make free 5-digit internal campus calls, and also use a prepaid calling card for making local, long distance, and international calls. In addition, voicemail is included with Temple's telephone service.

Updated August 2013

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