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

  • 2.5GHz dual-core 7th-generation Intel Core i7 processor
    • 16GB RAM, 512GB Flash Storage, AppleCare. $2,348 from Apple Education Store.

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

  • 3.1GHz quad-core 7th-generation Intel Core i7 processor
    • 16GB RAM, 512GB Flash Storage, Radeon Pro 560 Graphics Card with 4GB memory, AppleCare. $3,128 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 1TB
Bus Powered (No separate power cord needed)
USB 3.0

OWC Mercury Elite-AL Pro 2.0TB
Larger, faster, better performance for video capture
eSATA / FireWire 800 / USB 3.0

Software — A Note About Adobe Creative Cloud (CC)

All software needed to produce work for Art classes is installed for you to use on Open Lab computers. While the Department of Art currently supports Adobe CS6 applications and will soon support Creative Cloud, we encourage the exploration of other alternatives. Adobe’s move to the subscription-based CC model requires that students pay a monthly fee rather than paying a one-time price. the fee increases over time. This is an overall more costly move for students over Adobe’s previous educational offerings, and requires continual payment in order to use the software. If you choose not to enter into this funding model with Adobe, we welcome you to explore alternatives, and work with your individual instructors regarding class requirements. You can read more details in our “Recommendations to Students Regarding Adobe Creative Cloud.”

This page should be used as reference only. Prices and links above were current as of July 11, 2017 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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