EQUIPMENT GUIDE – School of Design – New Media Design

School of Design – New Media Design
2024 Freshman Equipment Guide

The following is a list of equipment that will be used throughout your time as a New Media Design student at RIT. This list is not meant to be a shopping list, but rather suggestions for items you will want to consider bringing with you or obtaining at RIT. Do not buy additional items if you already own them. Additionally, do not feel like you need to purchase all the items cited below by the first day of classes. We can help you determine what will best suit your needs and help you identify the correct items for the things you are not familiar with. You will, however, utilize most of these items by the end of the first year.

*All prices are estimated.



The School of Design does not require the purchase of a laptop or desktop computer. Students have access to multiple computer labs, equipment and software while at RIT to complete assignments and projects. However, if you are arriving on-campus with a computer or are considering a computer purchase, the following information may be helpful:

  1. A 15-inch laptop is recommended for portability and flexibility.
  2. Mac-based computers are largely utilized in digital design and interactive educational programs and careers, such as New Media Design. However, Windows-based computers are perfectly acceptable and applicable to your studies at RIT. There are NO software compatibility issues that will be encountered with either system.
  3. Purchase as much RAM (memory), hard drive space and an i5 – i7 Processor speed as affordable to best handle the manipulation of large digital files.
  4. An inexpensive 27 inch or larger second monitor can greatly increase productivity inside the dorm room as most work and software do require large screens to best work.
  5. Consider technology advancements. Due to the increases in computer speed and software requirements it may be desirable to purchase a new computer prior to your junior or senior years. We believe that there are two paths to select from to best meet your computer needs while at RIT.
    1. Purchase the best available laptop computer available today and plan to keep this computer for all 4 years.
      • MacBook Pro 16 inch or a PC alternative such as the 15” Dell XPS, MS Surface Book 2, or Lenovo with a dedicated video card.
      •  Core i7
      • 16+ GB RAM
      • 1TB Hard drive
      • Estimated Cost: $2,400.00
    2. Purchase a lower end laptop computer today and purchase a more powerful laptop during your junior or senior years when more computing power is needed
      • MacBook Pro 13 inch or Microsoft Surface Pro or Dell with an i5-i7 Processor.
      •  GHz Core i5
      • 8+ GB RAM
      • 512+ GB Hard drive
      • Estimated Cost: $1,400.00



Digital Storage Devices:

Remotely accessible server storage is available for temporarily moving files through the RIT network. USB “Thumb” drives should be used to meet your storage needs and are highly recommended for data backup. We also recommend that you keep backups of your files (projects, etc.) in AT LEAST 2-3 places and save often! Currently, the Adobe Creative Cloud subscription, Google Drive, Dropbox, Microsoft OneDrive and Apple’s iCloud offer online storage options for students.

  1. USB Flash (Thumb) Drives: Prices range from $10 – $155 depending on size; they can store between 128GB to 1TB. It is HIGHLY recommended to have at least two flash drives and use them to save duplicates of your files in addition to using cloud storage.




Our lab workstations have a wide array of software applications that you will use for your coursework at RIT.

For use on your own computer, we strongly recommend the Adobe Creative Cloud: CC subscription and the Microsoft Office Suite for all students. The Adobe Creative Cloud: CC will be the package installed in the labs at RIT. This service includes online storage, 2 devices installations and will automatically update the Adobe software over the duration of the subscription,

  1. Adobe Creative Cloud:  We are happy to say that beginning with Fall Semester 2024, RIT will be an Adobe Creative Campus and CAD students will have access to the full Adobe Creative Cloud for academic use. Details for access will be provided upon your arrival to RIT.
  2. Microsoft Office Home and Student or Apple iWork
    Academic price: Free to students

NOTE: Check for deals offered through RIT. Great discounts are frequently available closer to fall semester.


Smart Phone or Tablet Device:

Currently one of the major design and interactive trends is in portable devices. We have a limited number in our School of Design equipment “cage” available to sign-out; however, you may want to plan and consider an iPhone, iPad, or Android phone or table.


Due to the advancements in mobile phone cameras and VR, a high-end mobile phone such as the iPhone or Samsung will meet the needs for most freshman and upper level courses. In addition, the CAD photo cage will allow students to check-out cameras for a nominal lab fee that can be paid every semester.

Along with camera and computer needs, RIT’s Digital Den offers special pricing and/or manufacturers’ discounted offers on computers and software packages:



Art Kit (Freshmen Year):

During the freshman year students, will be enrolled in several foundation art courses. These art courses do require materials that can be purchased at the RIT bookstore, Barnes and Nobles@RIT individually or as a complete kit. It is important to note that the New Media Design program does not require a full year of foundation courses and therefore it may be more cost effective to purchase art materials as needed.


If you have any questions on the hardware or materials listed above please contact:

Jason Arena, New Media Program Director, at

NOTE: All this equipment can/will be used throughout your career at RIT.