Laptop recommendations

Even though some Chromebooks, Android, and iOS devices can be used for many web-hosted applications and many have apps that work well for accessing various university network-accessible services, a computer(laptop/desktop) that meets or exceeds the following minimum requirements will give students the best overall learning experience.

Preferred platforms Windows-based PC Apple Minimum Requirements
Operating system Windows 10 macOS X Windows 10/macOS 10.13
Web browser Firefox or Google Chrome Firefox or Google Chrome Chrome, Firefox, Edge, or Safari
Processor Intel Core i5 based model or equivalent (AMD Ryzen 5) or greater Intel Core i5 based model or equivalent Intel Core i3 based model
RAM/memory 8 GB 8 GB 8 GB
Storage 256 GB SSD or greater with 40 GB of available space 256 GB SSD or greater with 40 GB of available space 256 GB SSD with 40 GB of available space
Screen resolution 1024 x 768 or greater 1024 x 768 or greater 1024 x 768
Connectivity Wireless 802.11AC or ethernet Wireless 802.11AC or ethernet Wireless 802.11 b/g/n or ethernet
Audio USB/Bluetooth/Aux Headset USB/Bluetooth/Aux Headset External Speakers and Microphone
Webcam HD – Built into device HD – Built into device HD – External
Anti-Virus HD – Defender HD – Sophos HD – Defender/Sophos

Checking my computer

Here's a quick way to check your current device.

For Windows based computers

You can use the Settings application within Windows to check your hardware and software specifications by using these stpes:

  1. Click your Start button (usually located in the bottom left corner of your screen)
  2. Type in - About your PC
  3. Hit Enter

Your computer should now display your device information, including your computers name, processor type and speed, RAM specifications, as well as details around which version of Windows your device has installed.

For Mac devices

  1. Click on the Apple logo in the top left corner of the screen
The "About" screen will display your Mac device's information, including processor type and speed, RAM, and other details about your device.

Software

Unless otherwise noted, we can not help install this software on your personal computer.

Software with free student licenses

Software Description Information
/install
Comments
Autodesk (multiple programs) Many computer-aided-design and modelling packages including AutoCAD, Maya, etc. Info/install Free or paid versions available
ESRI ArcGIS/ArcMAP Software for spatial data analysis Info/install Requires VirtualBox or VMware
Microsoft Office365 Microsoft productivity tools - MS Word, Excel, Powerpoint Info/install
QSR NVivo Data management/analysis tool Info/install Must fill in form to request a license
R/RStudio Statistical computing language Info/install Free or paid versions available
SAS University Edition Statistical analysis package Info/install Requires VirtualBox or VMware
SketchUp 3d Modelling/Design Info/install Requires signup on website
IBM SPSS Statistical analysis package Info/install 14 day free trial available
MathCAD Express Mathematical worksheet Info/install 30 day trial for MathCAD full features

Software with reduced-cost student licenses

This software is available to current students for a reduced cost compared to regular pricing.

Software Description Information
/purchase
Cost*
Adobe Creative Cloud Suite Graphics and video design tools Info/purchase $29.03/month
Endnote Bibliographic management tool Info/purchase $99.00
MiniTab Statistical analysis package Info/purchase $43.55 for 6 months

* Costs may change - costs are current as of March 19, 2020.

Internet connectivity

On campus

You can access campus provided internet on the 'uofs-secure' network. You will be required to enter your NSID and password to access this secure network.

At home

Students are responsible for all Internet Service Provider (ISP), phone, or any other communications service requirements when accessing USask resources from home.

High speed internet packages

  • High speed internet is a requirement to participate in online courses
  • We recommend an internet package with a minimum connection speed of 5.0 Mbps download and an upload speed of at least 3.0 Mpbs
  • Higher speed packages, where available, are recommended, as they allow for a better experience in online meetings, video downloads, and online collaboration tools
  • If you are sharing your internet connection with multiple users, please consider upgrading to a higher connection rate to improve overall performance for all users – (100 Mbps+)

Wireless high speed internet providers

Fixed wireless technology - please note that environmental concerns (rain, wind, snow) can impact the connection quality and speed of fully wireless (microwave/satellite) services. We recommend, if possible, that a wired service be used where possible (Sasktel, Shaw, Access).

Satellite internet

Satellite internet, while still high speed, has more latency than a fixed wireless service, which can cause challenges for online meetings and collaboration. Learn more regarding the challenges this may cause an end user.

LTE mobile data plans

  • LTE data may be more reliable and faster than fixed wireless or satellite in some situations – this can include limited line of sight to a wireless tower, or poor/non-existent fixed wireless coverage based on your geographic location
  • LTE internet is provided by a cellular carrier – Sasktel, Telus, Bell, or Rogers
  • Apple and Android devices can be used as a wireless hotspot, enabling you to utilize your current wireless plan to connect
  • Secondary hardware (Rocketstick, or mobile router) can also be purchased to provide stand-alone service
  • Generally speaking, LTE mobile data is capped by the providers at various data transfer sizes (15 GB, 20 GB, etc.)
  • If using a mobile data plan, please be aware that you can incur extra cost if you go over your allotted amount of bandwidth in a month

Assistive technology

Students using assistive technology for remote learning may have a need for a system with greater capabilities.

Technology tips

Learn more about accessing your USask email, Course Tools and software available to you as a student.

Ask for help

Get help with tech issues by submitting a ticket through the IT support portal.