University at Buffalo
Department of


Art & Design

Art History

Visual Studies

Computer & Software Purchase Recommendations

University at Buffalo expects students to have access to a computer that meet UB’s computing standards. The Department of Art maintains open computer labs for courses that require them. However, it is highly recommended that students purchase their own laptop and applications used in class. The Department of Art recommends the Apple MacBook Pro for students and faculty. These laptops are preferred over the iMac desktop for convenience and flexibility. The MacBook can be used in class, in the library, while collaborating with fellow students and faculty, and at home.

Macintosh is traditionally the platform of choice for creative exploration and expression, and increasingly also among other disciplines on campus. Windows PCs and Macs are comparable in power and price, but PCs are generally more difficult to setup, more costly to maintain over the long-term, and more susceptible to viruses and spyware. The Mac OS has an advanced, intuitive interface, integrated media solutions, and seamless workflow connectivity with other Mac and iOS devices, which provide for a rich, creative experience. All new Macs include high speed networking capabilities, standards-based peripheral connectivity, HD audio and video, and an award-winning suite of media and office applications.

Macs are easily used in courses outside of Art, integrating seamlessly with UNIX, Linux and Windows environments. 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, bringing applications previously only available on the PC to Apple hardware.

The Department of Art recommends the following MacBook Pro minimum configurations for our students:

MacBook Pro 13″ with Touch Bar and Touch ID
Recommended for Art History & General Studio majors

  • 2.3GHz quad‑core 8th‑generation Intel Core i5 processor
    • 16GB RAM, 256GB Flash Storage, AppleCare. $2,094 from Apple Education Store.

MacBook Pro 15″ with Touch Bar and Touch ID
Recommended for Photo, Graphic Design & Emerging Practices majors

  • 2.6GHz 6‑core 8th‑generation Intel Core i7 processor
    • 16GB RAM, 512GB Flash Storage, Radeon Pro 560 Graphics Card with 4GB memory, AppleCare. $2902 from Apple Education Store.

Additional Recommendations

In addition to a MacBook Pro, we also recommend  an external hard drive (such as listed below) for backups and transporting files between computers. Students are required to implement a backup strategy and to bring all files to each class.

OWC On-The-Go Pro 500GB
Bus Powered (No separate power cord needed)

OWC Mercury Elite-AL Pro 1.0TB
Larger, faster, can be used for video capture

Software — A Note About Adobe Creative Cloud (CC)

All software needed to produce work for EP/GD classes is installed for you to use in the Open Labs. If you choose to purchase your own software, we recommend not subscribing to Adobe Creative Cloud (CC), but instead exploring other alternatives, such as the Affinity products mentioned above. When Adobe moved to CC from Creative Suite, they imposed a subscription-based  licensing model that effectively tripled the cost of ownership over 4 years. We and many other professional designers and educators find the CC revenue model unacceptable and disempowering, requiring monthly payments to Adobe at the risk of losing access to editing your own body of work. While the Department of Art has upgraded to CC to meet the expectations of supporting “industry standard” tools, we strongly encourage the us of suitable alternatives

This page should be used as reference only. Prices and links above were current as of August 27, 2018 and may change.

202 Center for the Arts, North Campus
Buffalo, New York 14260-6010
(716) 645-6878
(716) 645-6970 fax
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