Parkland College - Recommended Minimum Hardware Requirements

Technology that is not recommended for school use:


While Chromebooks are smaller and cheaper than most other computer options available, they 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 classes at Parkland College, many instructors require that the downloaded version of Office for document creation. Chromebooks are also not compatible with some of the software instructors require students to use for their classes. Before buying a Chromebook, please consult online resources to ensure it is the right choice for you.

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 250GB of storage space

While these laptops are tempting with their low price tags, they are not ideal for personal or school use. Remember that laptops are meant to last you for at least 7 years if you take care of them properly and buy a decent one that you have researched and looked into. If you buy a laptop that runs a Windows operating system, 30 GB 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.

Minimum Hardware Recommendations:

Operating System
  • Windows 10
    • Microsoft will no longer be supporting and updating Windows 7 after January 14th of 2020. This means that more issues with Windows 7 will be seen as time progresses. Windows 8 is not a recommended operating system for a laptop as it is more so designed to be used with touchscreens and tablets. As Windows 10 is the latest operating system, it is recommended that your computer run on Windows 10.
Storage Space (HDD or SSD)
  • 500GB or Higher
    • As a college student, you will need to ensure you have enough space on your computer to download 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 the software you have installed; it also allows for local storage of files. Solid state drives (SSD’s) perform better than Hard disk drives (HDD’s) but also tend to cost more. 
  • 6GB of RAM or Higher
    • RAM allows you to have multiple programs on your computer running at the same time. 6 or more GB of RAM will allow you to work on homework, watch videos, and browse the web while still being able to do more. If you buy a computer with less than 6GB 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 even better speed.  You can also get laptops with i7 chips, but the cost will be way higher and it is not at all 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:
  • 14" or Larger
    • Many students find that a smaller, more compact computer is easier for travel, however it can make it harder to do homework. 14" would be our minimum recommendation when looking at laptop sizes.

Tech Service Desk: Contact and Hours

In-Person Assistance: 10 a.m. - 2 p.m., M-F, room A184

Phone/Virtual Assistance: 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