Computer Purchase Recommendations

Art students use digital technology for research, in the exploration and communication of ideas, and in the creation of art and design. Courses using digital technology can be found in all program areas, including multi-disciplinary Foundations courses, Art & Technology, Communication Design, Photography, Print Media, Painting and Sculpture.

UB recommends that students come equipped with laptop computers minimally configured to handle general course requirements (visit the UB IT Student Technology Guide). While the Department of Art maintains state-of-the-art labs for its students to use outside of class, it is strongly recommended that students purchase their own laptop capable of running typically more demanding graphics applications used in class. Owning your own computer will enable you to conduct research, write, and make work in-class, at home, and elsewhere.

The Department of Art has standardized on the Apple Macintosh platform, used widely by professionals in the arts, design and media industries. Macs are comparable in power and price with other platforms. However, they are generally considered to be easier to maintain, more secure against viruses and spyware and seamlessly integrate with iOS and Apple services. All new Macs include high speed networking capabilities, plug-and-play peripheral connectivity and support for 4K video and high-res audio.

Macs can easily be used for courses outside of Art, integrating well with UNIX, Linux and Windows. Popular applications are available for both Mac and PC, and Macs can read and write to PC disks. All new Macs can also run Microsoft Windows, if necessary, bringing applications previously only available on the PC to Apple hardware.

Minimum Hardware Requirements

In order to be successful in your online classes, for both attending sessions and making work, you must have access to a laptop or desktop computer with a functioning webcam and microphone, and minimally configured to run Adobe Creative Cloud software. 

If you will be purchasing a new computer, to maximize compatibility and the level of support we can offer you within the department, we recommend and Macintosh computer capable of running macOS 11 (Big Sur) or later with at least 8 GB at least 32 GB or more of available hard-disk space.

To run Adobe Creative Cloud on a Windows computer, you will need to be running Windows 10 (or later) on an Intel or AMD processor with 64-bit support, 2 GHz or faster processor, and at least 8 GB RAM (16 GB recommended.) You will need at least 32 GB or more of available hard-disk space.

Software Requirements

Recommended MacBook Pro Minimum Configurations

MacBook Pro 13˝ — recommended for Art History & General Studio majors:

  • Apple M2 chip with 8-core CPU, 10-core GPU, and 16-core Neural Engine
  • 8GB unified memory
  • 512GB SSD storage
  • 13-inch Retina display with True Tone
  • Backlit Magic Keyboard
  • Touch Bar and Touch ID
  • Force Touch trackpad
  • Two Thunderbolt / USB 4 ports
  • $1,399, plus $199 AppleCare+, extending hardware replacement and tech support to three years.

MacBook Pro 16˝— recommended for Photo, Graphic Design & Emerging Practices majors:

  • Apple M1 Pro with 10-core CPU, 16-core GPU, 16-core Neural Engine
  • 16GB of unified memory
  • 1TB of SSD storage
  • 16-inch Liquid Retina XDR display
  • Backlit Magic Keyboard with Touch ID
  • Three Thunderbolt 4 ports, HDMI port, SDXC card slot, MagSafe 3 port
  • $2,499, plus $319 AppleCare+, extending hardware replacement and tech support to three years.

Additional Recommendations

1In addition to a MacBook Pro, we also recommend an external hard drive for backups and file transportation, such as the LaCie Rugged 2TB Thunderbolt/USB3 ($110).

If you have any questions about this or any other technical concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact Domenic J. Licata.

This page is intended as a reference only. Prices and links above were current as of August 24, 2022 and may change.