Student Computing Recommendations & Requirements

CCA recommends that all students own a laptop computer to assist in their studies. Students will benefit from having continuous computing access to support research, communication, and studio practice.

Hardware needs vary greatly depending on a student's chosen major. For example, the hardware needs of an Architecture student are far greater than the hardware needs of a Writing student. If a student knows their intended major, they should check the recommended bundle for their major. If they don’t know their major, they can choose to wait and utilize the computing labs at CCA for their first year, or bring or purchase a computer with the First Year program recommendation. Visit our Computer Hardware Stores page for information on laptop purchasing.

For more info, please see:

FIRST-YEAR PROGRAM RECOMMENDATIONS & REQUIREMENTS

Computer Recommendation

CCA recommends that incoming freshmen own a computer that meets the minimum system requirements for the software used in the First-Year curriculum. If a student knows their intended major, they should check the recommended bundle for their major. If they don’t know their major, they can choose to wait and utilize the computing labs at CCA for their first year, or bring or purchase a computer with the First Year program recommendation:

  • 8GB of RAM
  • 500 GB Hard Drive or Solid-state Drive (SSD)
  • Mac OS X 10.8 or above

Software Recommendation

  • Adobe Creative Cloud 2014 or Creative Suite 6 Design & Web Premium
  • Apple iLife *
  • Microsoft Office

*Apple iLife is part of the First-Year curriculum, and requires Mac OSX

Students planning to major in the Film Program, are recommended to substitute the Adobe Creative ClProduction Premium for Adobe Creative Suite 6 Design Premium.

Adobe Creative Cloud 2014 and Microsoft Office can be purchased at discounted rates through www.journeyEd.com

Apple Software can be purchased at CCA’s Apple Education Advantage Store

External Storage Device Requirement

All CCA first-year students are required to own an external storage device for saving coursework and backups of digital work. When working with high-resolution image files, motion graphics, and video files, a great deal of data storage space is needed. The drive will continue to be a valuable resource as a backup drive or expanded storage drive after the completion of the first year of instruction.

Recommended external storage device specifications

  • Connects via USB or USB and Firewire 800
  • 1 TB (Terabyte) minimum storage space

Examples of recommended external storage devices

  • Western Digital My Passport 1 or 2 TB USB
  • Western Digital My Book Studio 1 or 2 TB / USB or FireWire 800
  • G-Technology 1TB G-DRIVE USB 3.0 / FireWire 800

Back to top »

COMPUTER REQUIREMENTS FOR MAJORS

The following programs have laptop requirements:

  • Architecture (BArch and MArch)
  • Film
  • Graphic Design
  • Graduate Design
  • Interior Design
  • Interaction Design
  • Industrial Design
  • MBA in Design Strategy
  • MFA Film
  • MFA Comics

General recommended minimum system specifications:

  • Apple / Mac OSX
  • Intel-based MacBook Pro
  • Mac OS X 10.8.x or higher
  • Bootcamp (If running Windows OS)
  • Minimum 8GB RAM
  • 750 GB Hard Drive or Solid-state Drive (SSD)

PC / Windows OS Alternative for Architecture and Interior Design

  • Intel Core 64-bit processor
  • Windows 7 (64-bit)
  • Minimum 8GB RAM
  • 750 GB Hard Drive or Solid-state Drive (SSD)

Back to top »

MBA in Design Strategy Recommendations

The MBA in Design Strategy Program requires a laptop such as a MacBook Air or a mobile computing device such as a tablet*.

* Students can opt to use an iPad or similar tablet while attending residencies if they have access to a another computer at home or work.

Purchase at the CCA Education Advantage Apple Store

Back to top »

Animation Recommendations

The following minimum recommendation is for Animation students and students working extensively with digital image creation:

  • Apple MacBook Pro 15”
  • 2.7GHz Quad-core Intel Core i7
  • 8GB RAM
  • 750GB Serial ATA drive @ 7200RPM -or- 512GB Solid State drive

Animation Program External Storage Drive Requirement

All students in BFA Animation Program classes are required to own one external storage drives with the following minimum specifications:

  • 750GB or larger capacity
  • 7200 RPM or Solid-state Drive (SSD)
  • eSATA and Firewire 800 connections (additional USB Drives are recommended)

Back to top »

Graphic Design, Grad Design and Illustration Recommendations

The following minimum recommendation is for Graphic Design and Illustration students and students working extensively with digital image creation:

  • Apple MacBook Pro 15”
  • 2.7GHz Quad-core Intel Core i7
  • 8GB RAM
  • 750GB Serial ATA drive @ 7200RPM -or- 512GB Solid State drive

Back to top »

Architecture, Interior Design, and Industrial Design Recommendations

Architecture, Interior Design, and Industrial Design majors must consider workflow and curriculum-required software in the selection of a Mac vs. Windows laptop. We recommend that you purchase the hardware for the operating system you plan to primarily use in your workflow.

  • Some required software in the Architecture, Interior Design, and Industrial Design curriculums are only available for Windows (e.g. AutoCAD and Rhino).
  • Virtualization software such as Parallels or VMWare are NOT recommended.
  • Mac OS X and Windows can be run on a Mac using Apple’s BootCamp
  • As some classes require the use of computers in-class, do not purchase a desktop computer.

If you chose not to purchase one of the recommended Mac or HP laptops (see purchasing section below), please be aware of the minimum system requirements for a laptop:

  • 15 inch screen
  • Quad-core Intel Core i7 or better
  • 8 GB RAM (16 GB preferred)
  • Hard Drive: 500 GB or larger 7200 RPM or Solid-state drive (SSD)
  • Graphics card with at least 2GB of memory
  • Matte/non-glare screen surface recommended

Recommended Apple laptop: Purchase at the CCA Education Advantage Apple Store

Recommended Windows laptop: Purchase at the CCA Educational Advantage Lenovo / GovConnection

The Architecture and Interior Design programs use a core group of software. Much of this software is free or heavily discounted. Please visit the following sites to get a sense of the costs for the core software used in the programs.

Back to top »

MFA Comics Recommendations

The following minimum recommendation is for MFA Comics students and students working extensively with digital image creation:

  • Apple MacBook Pro 15”
  • 2.7GHz Quad-core Intel Core i7 or better
  • 8GB RAM (16GB RAM preferred)
  • 750GB Serial ATA drive @ 7200RPM -or- 512GB Solid State drive

Back to top »

Film Program Recommendations

The following minimum recommendation is for Film students and students working extensively with digital video and audio:

  • Apple MacBook Pro 15”
  • 2.7GHz Quad-core Intel Core i7 or better
  • Minimum 16GB RAM 
  • 750GB Serial ATA drive @ 7200RPM -or- 512GB Solid State drive

Film Program External Storage Drive Requirement

All students in MFA Film Program classes are required to own two external storage drives with the following minimum specifications:

  • 1TB or larger capacity
  • 7200 RPM or Solid-state Drive (SSD)
  • USB 3 connection

Back to top »

MFA Film Program Recommendations

PC / Windows OS Systems are acceptable however, MFA Film recommends Apple machines for purposes of compatibility with auxiliary equipment provided by CCA. The following minimum recommendation is for MFA Film students:

  • Capable of running Adobe Premiere, After Effects, and Speedgrade. Ability to run Davinci Resolve Lite and ProTools is desirable.
  • 16 GB RAM minimum.
  • Internal (system) Hard Drive: Minimum 500 GB 7200 RPM or Solid-state drive (SSD)
  • Quad Core i7 Intel processor
  • Screen resolution of 1920 x 1080 or more
  • USB3 Ports.Firewire 800 port OR Thunderbolt with Firewire 800 adapter
  • Thunderbolt and Firewire 800 ports are recommended. Apple computer models should have at least two thunderbolt ports.
  • Capable of connecting SDHC and SDXC cards directly or with external USB card reader
  • Matte/non-glare screen surface recommended

MFA Film Program External Storage Drive Requirement

All students in MFA Film Program classes are required to own two external storage drives with the following minimum specifications:

  • 1TB or larger capacity
  • 7200 RPM or Solid-state Drive (SSD)
  • USB 3 connection

Back to top »

PURCHASING

Apple / Mac OS X Laptops

Apple offers specially-priced computers for CCA students in majors that require laptops. These systems are custom-configured in collaboration with the academic programs to meet the instructional needs of the curriculum.

CCA faculty, staff and students are eligible for an educational discount at the Apple Store either in person or online. To use the discount in person, visit an Apple Store with your current CCA ID or order online at an educational discount at the Apple Store for Education / CCA

PC / Windows 7 Laptops for Architecture and Interior Design

Software used in the Architecture, Graduate Architecture, and Interior Design curriculums are Windows-based. Lenovo and GovConnection offers specially-priced computers that are custom-configured to meet the instructional needs of these majors.

All purchases are made directly with govconnection.com/cca

Please visit our custom online GovConnection store at:

Educational Advantage Lenovo / GovConnection - Recommended Systems

Back to top »

SUPPORT FOR STUDENT-OWNED LAPTOPS

Educational Technology Services (ETS) staff can provide limited troubleshooting assistance and support for student-owned laptops for the following issues:

  • Printing to selected campus printers
  • Utilizing the campus wireless network
  • Utilizing CCA dedicated network file storage

CCA strongly recommends the purchasing of appropriate warranty and support plans for all computer purchases.

Back to top »