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Computer Requirements for the Architecture Programs

Beginning in the Fall 2013 semester, the CAED will begin phasing in the following computer purchasing guidelines for students in the Architecture programs.  This policy was established to aid in the planning of computer purchase(s) throughout the completion of the Architecture programs.  

1st - 3rd Year:

The college highly recommends that students entering the Architecture programs have a mid-range consumer-grade laptop.  Students should consider using a laptop that is already owned or another existing computer if possible.  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.

Example minimum specs for 2013/2014:
Intel® Core™ i5 – 3rd (Ivy Bridge) or 4th (Haswell) (4 cores recommended)
4GB - 8GB Memory
500GB Hard Drive
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 2013/2014:
Intel® Core™ i7 – 3rd (Ivy Bridge) or 4th Generation (Haswell)
12 GB+ Memory
2TB Hard Drive
Dual 20"+ monitors
DVD±RW Drive
Dedicated ATI or nVidia video adapter with at least 1-2GB 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: and run the tool with the following settings:

1. Graphics Hardware
2. Autodesk Revit 2013
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 CS5 (or latest edition) Design Standard or it can be purchased at the or KSU bookstore     
3.    Microsoft Office Products (Word, Excel, Access, PowerPoint, etc)     
4.    Google Sketchup (FREE -     
5.    Revit Architecture 2013  (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 Premier & After Affects    
″    Rhino 3d    
″    Autodesk Max Design    
″    Autodesk Maya

File sharing of copyrighted content is illegal.  Using peer-to-peer services such as Limewire and bit-torrent 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.  

This page is current as of Tuesday, April 23, 2013

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