CAD Computer Recommendations

What computers are recommended for the degree programs at CAD?

Your specific needs for computer equipment will vary widely based on your program of study. The College of Art and Design suggests that you wait on making any purchases until after you arrive on campus and begin your classes. Your instructors and Program Directors will share with you recommendations for hardware, software and other equipment that is most relevant for your academic major, but you will have access to all technology/equipment in either the College-managed labs or for checkout through the Equipment Cages.

All undergraduate labs are available to all CAD students via RIT card swipe, and are open 24/7.
You can learn about our wide variety of Facilities HERE.
You can look up all the various labs and lab schedules within the College HERE, including pictures of the spaces, and what hardware and software is available.

We suggest the versatility of a laptop for most majors, however some programs may need a more robust solution offered in a desktop computer (consult with your Program Director as noted above).

You an find the latest recommended models available through RIT’s Digital Den listed here:

Generally, we suggest the the minimum benchmark desktops and laptops specifications for the Mac and PC platforms:

Mid-Range Mac Laptop: Mid-Range PC Laptop:
14″ MacBook Pro (~$1849)

  • M2 Pro 10C CPU 16C GPU
  • 16 GB Unified Memory
  • 512 GB SSD
15″ Dell XPS 15 (~$1899)

  • Intel Core i7 @ 4.6GHz
  • 16 GB DDR4
  • 512GB M.2 NVMe SSD
  • NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050, 4GB VRAM
Mid-Range Mac Desktop:  Mid-Range PC Desktop:
iMac 24″ (~$1599)

  • M1 8C CPU 8C GPU
  • 16 GB Unified Memory
  • 512 GB SSD
Dell XPS Desktop (~$2100)

  • Intel Core i5 3.9GHz (4.9GHz boost) 
  • 16GB DDR4
  • 512GB M.2 NVMe SSD
  • NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 Ti 8GB VRAM
  • 24″ Dell 24 Monitor – SE2422H

The College compiles a list of all of the specific recommendations prior to the Fall Semester. Those lists are updated each Summer, and they may be found HERE.