ECE graduate and undergraduate students are required to own a personal laptop for their studies.

Hardware – Laptop


Note: This should be an actual laptop, as a tablet or Chromebook will not be sufficient for your EE studies.

  1. A 64 bit version of Windows, Linux, or Mac OS.
  2. A 64 bit dual core processor from AMD or Intel
  3. 4 Gigabytes of RAM with capacity to upgrade
  4. 12 inch or larger screen with resolution of 1366×768 or higher
  5. NVidia, AMD, or Intel integrated graphics processor
  6. USB 2.0 ports
  7. Built-in or add-on 100 Mbit wired Ethernet
  8. Hard disk with 256 Gigabyte capacity


  1. A 64 bit version of Windows 10: Most software you will use in your studies runs on Windows, followed by a large number of Linux tools. If you choose a Mac, you will need to dual boot or host a virtual machine on your laptop for some classes. Some students find the extra complexity cumbersome.
  2. Core i7 processor, or AMD Ryzen
  3. 8 Gigabytes of RAM or more
  4. 12 inch or larger screen with resolution of 1366×768 or higher
  5. Discrete NVidia graphics processor, or NVidia or AMD integrated graphics processor
  6. USB 3.0 ports
  7. Integrated 1,000 Mbit wired Ethernet
  8. Solid State Disk (SSD) with 512 Gigabyte capacity or higher

A resistive touch screen and stylus for taking notes or making drawings is a nice-to-have, but not necessary.

Some examples of laptops you may consider

Any model of recent vintage: Lenovo ThinkPad, Lenovo Yoga, Dell Latitude, Dell Precision, HP EliteBook, etc.

Dell has created a special page specifically for ECE students.


  1. Select the operating system of your choice (with a strong preference for Windows, native or dual-boot/VM – see above). Certain applications may require a specific operating system. Matlab for example will run on Windows, Mac OS X, and Red Hat or Ubuntu Linux, but certain other packages will only run on Windows.
  2. UW students can get a number of free Microsoft software through the EE Dreamspark program. See here:
  3. Many other vendors provide low-cost software through UW Uware; see here:

Equipment Checkout

Technology equipment can borrowed by students, faculty, and staff of the department. Our checkout pool includes both Mac and PC laptops, webcams, and more when available (first come first served basis).

Equipment can be reserved either by creating a ticket that includes detailed information of your equipment needs or by coming to the IT offices located on the third floor of the ECE building and requesting equipment.

  • Please bring photo ID when picking up your equipment.
  • Before taking the equipment, please remember to double check with our IT staff if you need any special adapter or cable to use it.
  • Remember your peers are waiting for borrowed equipment. Please be mindful and return it on time.
  • Reservations not picked up within one hour of reservation start time may be canceled.
  • Users who repeatedly return equipment late without authorization, will have their checkout privileges suspended.

ECE Department Equipment Checkout Appropriate Use Statement

“I assume all financial responsibility for equipment checked out to me in the event of loss, theft, or damage by negligence. I will not loan the equipment to another person. I will return all equipment in good condition and I will report any and all damage upon return of equipment. I will return all equipment at the date and time stated in the original request. I understand that the IT Computing Staff will attempt to notify me when the equipment checked out to me is overdue, but that ultimately it is my responsibility to return it on time. The IT Computing Staff will not accept used equipment in place of their own.”

Note: Equipment will not be checked in without all included extraneous pieces. For example, headphones will not be checked in without the case.

If you have any questions, come talk to one of the departmental computing staff