Recommended Computer Specifications for Incoming Students

The College has shared computer resources strategically located around the campus: in the Miller Information Commons (library), computer labs, the student lounge and other areas.

Our IT help desk provides assistance connecting personal computers to the campus network. If the student computer needs hardware repair, the student will be referred to his or her warranty service provider or a local vendor for service.

Champlain College cannot guarantee full network resources for computers that do not meet the recommended specifications, including older Microsoft Windows computers as well as Macintosh or Linux computers.

Champlain College students are eligible for discounts from Dell and Apple:

  • Dell: Join the Member Purchase Program to get the best price guarantee, member-exclusive offers, electronics and accessories discounts, and Dell Advantage. Our member ID is: US126616022.
  • Apple: Apple Education pricing is available to students, accepted students, parents buying for students, faculty, and staff.

SPECIFIC COMPUTER CONFIGURATION RECOMMENDATIONS BY DIVISION & MAJOR

Division of Communication & Creative Media
Division of Education & Human Studies
Division of Information Technology & Sciences
Robert P. Stiller School of Business


The Division of Communication & Creative Media (CCM)

Many of the courses in the CCM Division majors are computing intensive and require the use of highly specialized software, which is why we continue to maintain and expand our outstanding computer labs and classrooms. Specific hardware and software needs vary tremendously by course and by program, and it can be costly and difficult for students to keep their computers as up-to-date and as fully equipped as our labs. Here is some general information based on program of study:

  • Broadcast Media Production. Mac laptop is strongly recommended starting junior year. Plus, 2 (two) 1 terabyte or greater hard drives-one for storage and one to backup, are highly recommended. A computer capable of editing HD footage without crashing is convenient but not necessary (students can also use Champlain's workstations located around campus.)
  • Communication. Constant access to a computer will be essential, but the choice of laptop or desktop platform is largely a matter of a student's preference.
  • Creative Media. Continued access to a computer is important. A laptop is handy for the flexibility it provides but the choice of laptop or desktop is really a matter of preference. Because of the diversity of study within the Creative Media program we do not have a blanket recommendation for platform. For instance, Macintosh is favored by many in the creative industries and should be your choice if graphic design is a primary area of study but those pursuing a specialization in Game Media may find a Windows-based PC more useful (see the computer specifications for Game Design and Game Art majors for more information). Students with interests in both areas will likely choose one platform for everyday use and access Champlain labs for projects that require software only available for the other platform.

Some programs strongly recommend a laptop beginning junior year. As Creative Media students approach their junior year we recommend that they take stock of their computing needs in relation to their individual areas of specialization. The student's adviser or the program director can help students access the specific hardware and software recommendations for the various specializations.

  • Filmmaking. Mac laptops are strongly recommended starting junior year—please contact your program director for specific hardware and software specifications. However, 2 (two) 1 terabyte or greater hard drives-one for storage and one to backup, are highly recommended. A computer capable of editing HD footage without crashing is convenient but not necessary (you can also use Champlain's workstations located around campus.)
  • Game Art and Animation. *See below
  • Game Design. *See below
  • Graphic Design and Digital Media. Because of the high costs of font packages and other specialized software, use of laptops in GDD classes is not recommended for the first two years of study. A Mac laptop is recommended by the first semester of the junior year. A digital single lens reflex (DSLR) is recommended by the first semester of the first year.
  • Professional Writing. Constant access to a computer will be essential, but the choice of tablet, laptop or desktop, and the choice of a Mac or PC platform, is a matter of a student's preference. Specific classes may involve the use of a digital still camera, a digital audio recorder or a digital video camera.

*Game Design, Game Art and Animation, and Game Exploration:

Computer Specifications

For incoming first year students, we suggest students bring only a basic laptop with wireless capability (Mac or PC, your choice). You will use this for email, doing more traditional homework like writing papers, and for research. It isn't necessary that you have the hardware for game production this first year. We have multiple labs with high-end gaming computers for you to access the software and hardware you need to get started. 

However, if you decide you do want to have your own hardware we suggest the following:

A Desktop PC - Our game development pipeline is primarily PC, and you may find some problems with trying to incorporate a Mac. We highly discourage trying to replace this system with a gaming laptop. Here is what is in our labs currently:

  • Windows 7
  • Intel Core i7 2600
  • 16 Gig DDR3 @ 1600Mhz
  • 1T 7200 RPM disk
  • Nvidia 570 HD or better
  • 24" Dell Ultrasharp monitor connected via displayport for color correction.

Minimum specs:

  • Windows 7
  • Late Gen Intel Dual Core or Newer
  • 8 Gig or more memory
  • Hard drive: A single 7200RPM drive with at least 250Gig
  • Nvidia 500 series or greater.

Software

For the first year, you will find all your game development software needs met by using our development labs. All Champlain College students are given a Google account that includes access to Google Docs word processing software, however, you might want to have some basic word processing software for doing your traditional class work. If you decide to purchase software for your desktop, to save costs we suggest you buy educational versions. The limitations on educational licenses are that they are not upgradeable. We completely condemn the usage of "cracked" software on our campus.

RECOMMENDED:

  • Student/Teacher Edition Microsoft Office Suite
  • Reliable anti-virus software

WHAT WE ARE USING:

  • Unity 3D 5
  • Adobe CC
  • ZBrush 4
  • Autodesk Maya 2016
  • 3DS Max 2016
  • UE4
  • Steam Account

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The Division of Education & Human Studies (EHS)

  • Criminal Justice
  • Early Childhood/Elementary Teacher Education
  • Environmental Policy
  • Law
  • Middle School Teacher Education
  • Psychology
  • Secondary Teacher Education
  • Social Work

Although the College has considerable shared computer resources available on campus, a student owned personal computer allows for flexibility and convenience.  As the campus provides broad wireless access, a laptop computer is especially practical but the choice of laptop or desktop is largely a matter of a student's preference.

Purchasing a refurbished computer is an alternative affordable option.  Locally Computers for Change sells high-quality refurbished computers with warranties, promoting reuse of functioning electronics to reduce electronic waste and resource use.

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The Division of Information Technology & Sciences (ITS)

Most of the majors in the ITS Division are computing intensive:

  • Computer & Digital Forensics
  • Computer Information Technology
  • Computer Networking & Cybersecurity
  • Computer Science & Innovation
  • Game Programming *See below
  • Radiography

They require the use of highly specialized software, which is why we continue to maintain and expand our outstanding computer labs and classrooms. Specific hardware and software needs vary tremendously by course and by program, and it can be costly and difficult for students to keep their computers as up-to-date and as fully equipped as our labs. Here are some general guidelines:

Most small computers sold through retail venues or the major online distributors (laptop, desktop or mini-tower) are generally adequate for a student's coursework both in and out of the Information Technology & Sciences Division at Champlain College. A lightweight laptop combined with a comfortable docking station (e.g. ergonomic keyboard and mouse combined with relatively high-resolution dual monitor(s)) is much more useful than an overpowered desktop. Especially when purchasing a laptop, but also for desktop purchases, it is important to be sure your computer comes with a warranty.

It is possible to use Intel-based Apple Computers, but some of the software needed for course work will only work with Windows, and you will need an installed and working copy of Windows 7 either via BootCamp, or using virtualization software.

The following are some general guidelines for computers all majors in the ITS Division. These are the minimum guidelines for you to think about if you plan to purchase a new computer or upgrade an existing computer.

  • A system (laptop or desktop) running Windows 7 or newer
  • A computer that has a dual core 2.4 GHz or faster processor
  • 4 GB or more RAM
  • 300 GB or more hard drive
  • 500 MB or better video card running at 1280x 768 or higher resolution
  • Laptops Wireless capable (802.11n or 802.11ac)

The configuration would accommodate most students' needs for the first 2 years. It may be beneficial to upgrade for the junior and senior courses.


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The Robert P. Stiller School of Business

The main instructional campus has wireless access in classrooms and common areas, which makes a PC or Mac laptop the ideal choice for business students at Champlain. The information below applies to the following majors:

  • Accounting
  • Business Administration
  • Finance
  • International Business
  • Game Production Management*
  • Management and Innovation
  • Marketing

Laptop Personal Computer or Mac | Minimum Configuration

The specifications below can be applied to configure either a Windows laptop or a Mac Laptop. Mac users may also need to acquire a licensed copy of a Windows operating system for their Mac computer depending on software requirements for classes.

  • A system (laptop or desktop) running Windows 7 or newer or MAC OS 10.6 or newer
  • A computer that has a dual core 2.4 GHz or faster processor
  • 4 GB or more RAM
  • 300 GB or more hard drive
  • 500 MB or better video card running at 1280 x 768 or higher resolution
  • Laptops: Wireless capable (802.11n or 802.11ac)
  • For Windows up to date and working virus protection
  • An integrated webcam is helpful for Skype/online chat sessions

This configuration is designed to serve the user for their 4-year college career.

Desktops

For personal preference, budgetary, or other usability reasons some students will find a desktop computer (PC or Mac) preferable. This is acceptable, though a laptop offers more versatility and flexibility in a college environment.

Backup

There are numerous backup devices available including online storage and physical external USB drives. All Champlain College students are provided a Google account that includes unlimited Google Drive storage online. Students may also use their own  "cloud" backup service, such as Dropbox or iCloud. Students are responsible for maintaining and updating an adequate backup copy of their work product to allow them to continue working in the case of a computer loss or malfunction. Another common solution is to include an external USB drive with at least the same capacity (160+GB) as the student laptop drive.

A smaller thumb drive is useful for porting files around campus but can be easily lost or damaged and is not recommended as the students' primary backup (either a portable hard-drive kept in their room or cloud backup services are advised).

* Game Production Management students should look at the requirements of the creative area they will be focusing in to determine their computer needs.

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