Computer Specifications

Computer Specifications Required for students entering UNL Fall 2015– Spring 2016

Studio Art majors

Art majors, are required to own a laptop computer that meets or exceeds the requirements below.

Art History majors

For students majoring in Art History, there is no computer requirement for hardware or software. If you are interested in purchasing a computer, consider the specifications below for “Studio Art” as a starting point.

Operating System

You may select a computer running either Microsoft Windows 7 or 8, or Apple's Mac OS X 10.7 or higher. You will find Apple Macintosh computers in the department's labs. Most of the faculty and many of the students will be using Macs, and students are successful with Windows PSs as well. We make no specific recommendation.

Use of Existing Laptops

You may use your existing computer equipment as long as it meets the required specifications. Foe questions contact the Hixson-Lied College’s Information Technology Services office at 402-472-5831 or

Where to Buy

You may purchase a computer from any vendor or store. The UNL Computer Store can advise you on appropriate models that will meet the specifications below. They also offer excellent academic pricing on software, including Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, Powerpoint) for $20. It is suggested that you not purchase other software until it is needed for a specific class. The UNL Computer Store is located in the Nebraska Union lower level. Contact: 402-472-0505 or UNL Marketplace.


Intensive use of graphic design and digital arts software places high demands on computer hardware. For this reason, the requirement is divided between medium-level specifications for most Studio Art students, and high-level specifications for Graphic Design students.

Studio Art (except Graphic Design)
Hardware Specification for Mac/Windows

  • CPU: Intel Core i5, i7 or AMD X4; 2.0 GHz or faster
  • Display: 13 in. or larger, min. 1280 x 800 pixels
  • RAM: 4 GB minimum; 6 or 8 GB is better. Apple Retina Models: RAM cannot be upgraded later. Consider buying a model with 8 GB or more of RAM.
  • Video Card:
    • Good: built-in video with shared RAM in most models will be adequate
    • Better: built-in Intel HD 5000 included with Intel Core i5 and i7 CPUs
    • Best: A discrete video card with dedicated RAM is best for video and 3D work.
    • Examples: AMD Radeon HD 5500 series or higher
      NVidia GeForce GT600 series or higher, GTS450 series or higher, GTX or Quadro
  • Storage: 250GB minimum
  • Optical Drive: (optional) DVD +/- R/RW
  • Wireless card: 802.11n

Studio Art: Graphic Design
Hardware Specification for Mac/Windows

  • CPU: Intel Core i5, i7 (dual or quad) or AMD X4; 2.0 GHz or faster
  • Display: 15 in., 1440 x 900 pixels, minimum
  • RAM: 4 GB minimum; more is better. Apple Retina models: The RAM is soldered on the logic board and cannot be upgraded later. Consider buying a model with 8 GB or more of RAM.
  • Video Card: A discrete video card with dedicated RAM (512MB min.)
    • Examples: AMD Radeon HD 38xx series or higher. (43xx, 58xx, 46xx, etc.)
      NVidia GeForce GT, GTS, or GTX series
  • Storage: 500GB minimum
  • Optical Drive: (optional) DVD +/- R/RW
  • Wireless card: 802.11n

Software Requirements

Standards of software may change during your time at UNL, and additional software may be required for certain courses. The Department of Art and Art History understands that additional expenses can be a burden for students and makes all efforts to minimize additional costs. No software, other than what is listed below, will be needed for any required courses. (Studio electives chosen by the student may need different software.)

Software For All Studio Art Majors Including Graphic Design

Adobe Creative Cloud Subscription

Adobe offers "Creative Cloud" student subscriptions at 40% discount to retail pricing: $29.95 per month with a 12-month committment. The Adobe website is:

As of June 10, Adobe has a special offer of two months free with an annual commitment, available at the above website. It is not known when that specific promotion will end. However, Adobe has a history of offering similar discounts on 12-month student subscriptions throughout the year.

The UNL Computer Shop and other retailers sell the "Adobe Creative Cloud Student and Teacher Prepaid Membership" as another way to purchase an annual subscription. Pricing can be found in the store and on the web.

Software for All Students

Lightroom is included in the Adobe Creative Cloud subscription (see above). If you are not purchasing a Creative Cloud subscription, then Lightroom is available in two forms:

1. A perpetual license for Lightroom 5: $79.00, at the UNL Computer Store and online. This is a one-time cost.
2. By subscription: Adobe offers a bundle of Lightroom CC and Photoshop CC for $9.99 per month, available online at

Writing/Presentation: Microsoft Office 2013 (Win), or 2011 (Mac) is Available through UNL’s Microsoft campus agreement for $20 at the UNL Computer Store

Antivirus: Symantec Antivirus is provided free by UNL. Download at, or take a blank CD to the UNL Computer Help Center in Rm 128, 501 Building, City Campus

Additions to consider

  1. Extended Warranty: 3 years
  2. Data backup: An external hard drive or/and a subscription to an online backup service. Choose both options for further security. Your computer’s hard drive will fail at some point. It’s essential to maintain an up-to-date backup of your data. In the same way, humans will fail to make regular manual backups. An automated method of using software and an external drive and/or an online service is necessary.
    External Hard drive: create a backup using the backup software bundled with your computer: Time Machine (Mac) or Windows Backup and Restore (Windows). The size of the external hard drive should be 2-3 times the capacity of the computer’s internal hard drive. Cost: $90-$150.
    Online Backup Service: Commercial web-based services begin at $5 per month.
  3. File transfer: a USB Flash drive, 4GB-8GB. Cost: $7-15
  4. Macintosh computers can run both Mac OS X and Microsoft Windows operating systems. You can purchase a license for Windows 8 for $17 at the UNL Computer Store. Windows can be installed by the student for no additional cost, using Apple’s free Boot Camp software. For an additional fee, the UNL Computer Help Center will install Windows. The UNL Computer Store can advise you on available options at (402) 472-0505. Note: Windows 8 can be installed on all MacBook Pro laptop models “Early 2011” or newer, and on 15” and 17” MacBook Pros “Mid 2010”. For older models, you will need to purchase a copy of Windows 7, or search the web for methods to install Windows 8.

For additional questions, please contact Art Chair Peter Pinnell at 402-472-5522 or

(Last Updated June 12, 2013)