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COE Computer Requirements and Recommendations

All entering College of Engineering students are required to have a laptop computer. Undergraduate and graduate students will need laptops for remote access and for those courses that use College software in classrooms not equipped with desktop computers.

The College of Engineering provides access to Engineering software through the COE Virtual Lab (VLAB). A laptop that meets the minimum specifications listed below is sufficient for VLAB access. Processing power, memory, and graphics rendering are handled on our servers for VLAB sessions, so your laptop is used only as a terminal.

As an Engineering student, you will appreciate having a robust computer. Many students prefer to run Engineering software locally on their own computer if licensing permits and if their computer can handle it. Many Engineering packages run on Windows 10 only and/or have enhanced hardware requirements, so please keep that in mind when choosing your laptop.

View information on the VLab and the Computer Center

Minimum Laptop Requirements (to access VLAB)

  • Keyboard
  • Mouse (for SolidWorks)
  • Wireless network card which supports 802.11ac or better
  • 13″ screen or larger recommended

Recommended laptop specifications

To run the software locally on your own computer (without reliance on internet access), meeting or exceeding the RECOMMENDED specification in each component category is highly encouraged to improve software performance. The MINIMUM specification provided will allow the software to run, but performance may be significantly impacted.

Processor Series9th Generation i7 or AMD equivalent10th Generation i7 or AMD equivalent
Processor Specs4 cores, 1.8 GHZ6 cores, 2.2 GHZ
VideoIntegrated graphics with high-end CPUNVIDIA Quadro T1000 OR GTX 1650 — 4 GB GDDR5
Storage Drive256 GB Solid State + External Storage512 GB Solid State + External Storage
Technical Support / Warranty1-year Warranty + Accidental Damage4 years Warranty + ProSupport + Accidental Damage Coverage (default for models bought through University Dell Webstore)
Operating SystemWindows 10, OS X 10.13, current Linux distributionsWindows 10

Purchasing — UPDATED for Academic Year 2021/2022

As a Northeastern student, you have access to exclusive educational discounts for new Apple and Dell computers. Visit the customized Dell website for these three models specifically selected for the College of Engineering.

  1. Inspiron — for students who are possibly interested in Engineering, but are currently focused in other areas, and may not require a heavy-duty laptop, or are on a budget

  2. XPS — for students with more interest in Engineering, but want a more well-rounded heavy-duty laptop with high graphics performance
  3. Mobile Precision — for students committed to Engineering who want a laptop with maximum graphics performance dedicated to Engineering software

Service for computers purchased through the above website is available on campus via Connect to Tech.

Operating System

Most Engineering classes use Windows 10. However, Mac owners can seamlessly transfer files between systems. Many engineering applications run natively only on Windows; Mac users can use our VLAB for those programs. Linux is available in the VLAB and by remote login for classes that require it.


The major software packages used during the first year in COE are Microsoft Office, AutoCAD, MATLAB, and SolidWorks. All of these are available in the COE VLAB and other lab areas. If you wish to install these software packages on your own laptop, visit for more information.

Some software is available free or at a discount through the myNortheastern portal (see Software Downloads and Tech Marketplace under the Services & Links tab).

Engineering students have access to free software through Microsoft Azure Dev Tools for Teaching and other vendor programs. See for more information.


The Mathematics Department recommends that students have a graphing calculator as an example models TI-83 – TI-86 from Texas Instruments. Certain calculators may not be used in some cases, so it is always best to check with a course instructor.

Engineering Computer Center

For the VLAB, IT Help and other information, visit

COE Computer Center