Parkland College - Recommended Minimum Hardware Requirements

Approved laptops are available for loan through the Parkland Library and the checkout period is for the entire semester - In addition, the Library has workstations that are available for use during business hours -  Approved laptops are also sold through the Parkland Bookstore and financial aid money can be used for the purchase -   

Technology that is not recommended for school use:


While Chromebooks are smaller and less expensive than most other computer options, they do not allow you to install software on them and thus are not compatible with the downloaded version of Office. While the online version of Office 365 can still be used, it is not as full featured. Please keep in mind that if you intend to take any Humanities courses at Parkland College, many instructors require the downloaded version of Office for document creation in Microsoft Word. 

Tablets & iPads

While tablets and iPads are a great resource, many students run into the issue of required software not being compatible with these devices. Web browsers, downloads, and other aspects of computers required for college can be more difficult to navigate while using a tablet or iPad.

Any laptop with less than 256GB of storage space

While these laptops are tempting with their low price tag, they are not ideal for school use. If you buy a laptop that runs a Windows operating system, 30 GB or more will be taken up by the operating system and required software that comes pre-installed on your machine. Office 365 requires a minimum of 3GB of space available in order to download. If you don't have enough space on your drive, the operating system struggles to run and you will have very little processing power and speed. While 256GB will suffice, 512GB will afford you more space for your files.

Optimal Hardware Recommendations:

Operating System
  • Windows 10
    • Microsoft is no longer supporting and updating Windows 8.1 as of January 10th, 2023. This means that more issues and security risks with Windows 8.1 will be seen as time progresses. Windows 10 is is still serviceable but will be unsupported starting in October 2025. As Windows 11 is the latest operating system, it is recommended that your computer is running Windows 11. Macs running the latest OS are also acceptable, however, they may not be compatible with some specific course content. Please ask your instructor if you are not sure.  
Storage Space (HDD or SSD)
  • 256GB for basic functionality, however, 512GB or greater is recommended
    • As a college student, you will need to ensure you have enough space on your computer to download any required software and documents for your classes. It is useful to have more space than you need to ensure that your computer will have enough space to update its operating system and any other software you have installed. Solid state drives (SSDs) perform better than Hard disk drives (HDDs) but also tend to cost more. 
  • 8GB of RAM or higher
    • RAM allows you to have multiple programs on your computer running at the same time. 8GB or more of RAM will allow you to complete homework, watch videos, and browse the web with ease. If you buy a computer with less than 8GB of RAM, you may find it difficult to have multiple programs running at the same time.
  • The central processing unit (CPU) is akin to the laptop’s brain and the better the processor, the faster your computer will run. An Intel i3 is completely serviceable and fine but an i5 will guarantee you even better speed. An AMD Ryzen 3 3250U is also completely serviceable and fine, but the Ryzen 5 will yield better performance. You can also get laptops with i7 or AMD Ryzen 7 chips, but the cost will be higher and it is not necessary for the average user. Processor speed determines how fast the computer processes the information in its brain and is measured in gigahertz (GHz). 
Screen Size:
  • 13" or Larger
    • Many students find that a smaller, more compact computer is easier for travel, however it can make it harder to do homework. As such, a 13" display would be our minimum recommendation.
Webcam / Microphone / Speakers:
  • A webcam, microphone, and speakers (or a USB/Bluetooth headset with a microphone) will ensure that you can test remotely and interact as needed within your courses.

Tech Service Desk

Room A184, 217-353-3333

Fall/Spring: 7:30 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. M-Th. / 7:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Fridays

Summer: 7:30 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. M-Th

Submit an IT Help Ticket via

Keywordsmac, requirements, recommendations, computer recommendations, chromebook, tablet, ipad, Windows 10, HDD, SSD spec specs chrome book hardware laptops laptop device minimum   Doc ID94698
OwnerThomas P.GroupParkland College
Created2019-09-26 15:23 CSTUpdated2023-09-25 13:08 CST
SitesParkland College
Feedback  3   0