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Computer Requirements

Beginning in the Fall 2014 semester, the CAED will begin phasing in the following computer and software purchasing guidelines for students in the Architecture and Interior Design programs.  This policy was established to aid in the planning of computer purchase(s) throughout the completion of the Architecture and Interior Design programs. 

The college highly recommends that students entering the Architecture and Interior Design programs have a mid-range consumer-grade laptop.  Students should consider using a laptop that is already owned or another existing computer if possible. If you do not have access to a laptop already and must purchase a new one we have some recommendations below. Again, please note that if you already have a laptop it does not need to meet the specifications below. These specifications are only for people who don't already have access to a laptop and must purchase a new one.  Some courses in the university may require a more robust system, so be sure to verify any class/software requirements before making a purchase.  The College will update these specifications on an annual or biannual basis to match advances in software and hardware requirements. Limited computer lab usage will also be available to students. There is a paragraph at the end of this document regarding Apple Computers. Please review it carefully before purchasing an Apple Computer.

1st - 3rd Year

Example suggested specs for 2014/2015:

Intel® Core™ i5 – 3rd (Ivy Bridge) or 4th (Haswell) (4 cores recommended)

6GB - 12GB Memory

500GB Hard Drive or larger

15.6" HD Widescreen LED Display

DVD±RW Drive

Dedicated ATI or nVidia video adapter

Wireless Network Adapter

4th Year and Graduate Students:

Students entering 4th year Architecture will begin rendering and using other resource intensive applications.  The college requires the purchase of a high-end desktop computer.  Many students choose to have these systems custom built to better fit their needs. 

Example minimum specs for 2014/2015:

Intel® Core™ i7 – 3rd (Ivy Bridge-E) or 4th Generation (Haswell)

Memory: 12GB - 16GB+

2TB Hard Drive

Dual 22"+ monitors

DVD±RW Drive

Dedicated ATI or nVidia video adapter with at least 2GB memory

Wireless Network Adapter

Note: Autodesk provides a free online tool that recommends Graphics Hardware based on software you intend to run on your system.

Please go to: run the tool with the following settings:

1. Graphics Hardware

2. Autodesk Revit 2014

3. Windows 7 64-bit

Click find and it will recommend a list of graphics cards Autodesk recommends for both laptops and desktops.

Software Resources:

1.    AutoCAD Architecture 2013 (or latest edition) Academic Version (Free download when you join the student community at

2.    Adobe Creative Suites CS6 (or latest edition) Design Standard or it can be purchased at the or KSU bookstore
. Please Note: 1st and 2nd year students may be able to use Creative Suite 6 in CAED labs as their classes will not always rely on this software. Please check your class syllabus before investing in this powerful, but expensive, software. 

3.    Microsoft Office Products (Word, Excel, Access, PowerPoint, etc)   

4.    Google Sketchup (FREE -

5.    Revit Architecture 2014  (Free download when you join the student community at

6.    Virus and Spy/Malware Protection – Microsoft Security Essentials (Free - click the download link at

Additional Software:

The following and other software may be required for certain classes.

    Adobe Premiere & After Effects

    Rhino 3d

    Autodesk Max Design

    Autodesk Maya

File sharing of copyrighted content is illegal.  Using peer-to-peer services such as Limewire and bittorrent services can not only get you into legal trouble, but can also cause your computer to run poorly – sometimes requiring you to reload Windows from scratch.  These costly headaches can be avoided by simply not using peer-to-peer services.   

Please note - free downloads are offered by the respective software developers and not Kent State. These free promotions are subject to change or end at any time without notice. Most downloads are not perpetual, and expire after a set amount of time. 

Note about Macintosh Computers

In previous years, Macintosh computers were not recommended because the software packages and college print drivers used were only compatible with the Windows operating system. Apple has since started using Intel processors in the Macintosh product, allowing Windows and other operating systems to be run.  These operating systems can run exclusively, or in a "virtual" environment simultaneously with the Mac OS.  Because of the resources required to run certain software packages and the variance between a PC and a Mac, we are still not recommending the purchase of a Mac computer for school use. Keep in mind that if you have a Mac, we cannot support it or guarantee its compatibility with the required software packages, college print drivers, or classroom lectures.