Computers

Computer Requirements by Major

The VCUarts department computer requirements satisfy VCU’s general computer requirement for all students.

Art Foundation

COMPUTER REQUIREMENT
Although this department does not require its students to purchase a computer for classes, the university does require that our students have a computer while attending VCU. Please visit Student Computer Initiative for the university’s recommended minimum configurations. Specifications are subject to change.

To directly purchase a VCU recommended system please visit RamTech

SUGGESTED SOFTWARE

SUGGESTED COMPUTER PERIPHERALS

  • 1 TB Portable External Hard Drive with optional case

Art Education

COMPUTER REQUIREMENT
Although this department does not require its students to purchase a computer for classes, the university does require that our students have a computer while attending VCU. Please visit Student Computer Initiative for the university’s recommended minimum configurations. Specifications are subject to change.

To directly purchase a VCU recommended system please visit RamTech

SUGGESTED SOFTWARE

SUGGESTED COMPUTER PERIPHERALS

  • 8 GB USB Flash Drive

Art History

COMPUTER REQUIREMENT
Although this department does not require its students to purchase a computer for classes, the university does require that our students have a computer while attending VCU. Please visit Student Computer Initiative for the university’s recommended minimum configurations. Specifications are subject to change.

To directly purchase a VCU recommended system please visit RamTech

SUGGESTED SOFTWARE

SUGGESTED COMPUTER PERIPHERALS

  • 8 GB USB Flash Drive

Cinema

COMPUTER REQUIREMENT
The Department of Cinema requires all first year students to have a laptop computer equipped with and capable of running the required software.

Recommended Minimum Computer Specifications

  • 15-inch MacBook Pro
  • i7 CPU
  • 8GB RAM
  • 256GB SSD

To directly purchase a VCU recommended system please visit RamTech

REQUIRED SOFTWARE

REQUIRED PERIPHERAL

  • 1 TB external USB 3 hard drive

SUGGESTED SOFTWARE

Communication Arts

COMPUTER REQUIREMENT
The Department of Communication Arts requires all incoming sophomores and transfer students to have a laptop computer equipped with and capable of running the required software.

Recommended Minimum Computer Specifications

  • 15-inch MacBook Pro
  • i7 CPU
  • 8GB RAM
  • 256GB SSD

To directly purchase a VCU recommended system please visit RamTech

REQUIRED SOFTWARE

SUGGESTED SOFTWARE

Craft/Material Studies

COMPUTER REQUIREMENT
Although this department does not require its students to purchase a computer for classes, the university does require that our students have a computer while attending VCU. Please visit Student Computer Initiative for the university’s recommended minimum configurations. Specifications are subject to change.

To directly purchase a VCU recommended system please visit RamTech

SUGGESTED SOFTWARE

SUGGESTED COMPUTER PERIPHERALS

  • 8 GB USB Flash Drive

Dance & Choreography

COMPUTER REQUIREMENT
Although this department does not require its students to purchase a computer for classes, the university does require that our students have a computer while attending VCU. Please visit Student Computer Initiative for the university’s recommended minimum configurations. Specifications are subject to change.

To directly purchase a VCU recommended system please visit RamTech

SUGGESTED SOFTWARE

SUGGESTED COMPUTER PERIPHERALS

  • 8 GB USB Flash Drive

Fashion Design & Merchandising

COMPUTER REQUIREMENT
The Department of Fashion Design and Merchandising requires all Merchandising freshmen, incoming Design sophomores and transfer students to have a laptop computer equipped with and capable of running the required software.

Computer can be a Mac running at least OS X 10.9 or a PC running at least Windows 7.
(note that Macs can be configured to run both OS X and Windows)

Recommended Minimum Computer Specifications: Design Students

    • i7 CPU
    • 8GB RAM
    • 256GB SSD

Recommended Minimum Computer Specifications: Merchandising Students

      • i5 CPU
      • 4GB RAM
      • 256GB SSD

To directly purchase a VCU recommended system please visit RamTech

REQUIRED SOFTWARE: Design Students

SUGGESTED SOFTWARE

Graphic Design

COMPUTER REQUIREMENT
The Department of Graphic Design requires all incoming sophomores and transfer students to have a laptop computer equipped with and capable of running the required software.

  • 15-inch MacBook Pro
  • i7 CPU
  • 8GB RAM
  • 512GB SSD

REQUIRED SOFTWARE

Additional software packages will be required with specific GDES courses

REQUIRED CAMERA

      • 10 mega-pixel digital SLR camera with manual shutter speed and aperture control (not automatic)
      • 16 GB Flash memory compatible with camera model

GDES students use their cameras in many of their courses, and you should purchase a camera that will grow with your skills.

SUGGESTED SOFTWARE

Interior Design

Students should not purchase upper level configurations until just prior to entering those years. The computer requirements listed below are the recommended minimum computer requirements. Specifications are subject to change.

SUGGESTED MINIMUM COMPUTER REQUIREMENTS

Sophomore Year/Transfer Students

Hardware:

Students in Interior Design can use either a Microsoft Windows-based laptop or a Mac OS laptop. We use the Autodesk Revit software entry-level configuration as a starting point for minimum recommendations for laptops. You can refer to the full set of Autodesk recommendations at this link.

Windows-based laptop minimum recommendations:

Operating System:

Microsoft Windows 7 64-bit or Windows 8 64-bit

CPU/Processor:

Single- or Multi-Core Intel Pentium, Xeon, or i-Series processor, or AMD equivalent with SSE2 technology. Highest affordable CPU speed rating is recommended.

Memory:

8 GB RAM

Recommended: 8 to 16 GB RAM

Video Display:

1,280 x 1,024 with true color

Video Adapter:

Basic graphics: display adapter capable of 24 bit color

Advanced Graphics: DirectX® 11 capable graphics card with Shader Model 3 (or as recommended by Autodesk at this link).

Pointing device:

3-button scroll-wheel MS-Mouse or 3Dconnexion® compliant device

Wireless network adapter

Mac OS laptop minimum recommendations:

As part of the Interior Design curriculum, we teach AutoCAD and Revit design software, both fromAutodesk and run within the Windows operating system. To run the software on a Mac, you will need to install Windows 7 (64-bit) or later. Here are two options for installing Windows on a Mac:

A. Apple Boot Camp Assistant (we recommend this method)

Boot Camp Assistant is a free utility that comes pre-installed on Intel-based Macs. Boot Camp creates a dual boot system to allow the Mac to run Mac OSX and Microsoft Windows, but not both at the same time. To switch between Mac OSX and Windows, the Mac must be restarted. The dual boot system tends to be a more stable environment for running Windows on a Mac because Windows will use the Mac’s native hardware devices and memory. Read more about Boot Camp atHow to install Windows using Boot Camp.

B. Parallels Desktop for Mac

An alternate option is to install Parallels Desktop for Mac, which is virtual software that allows Mac OSX and Windows to run concurrently without having to restart the Mac. The Mac OS and Windows have to share the Mac’s hardware devices and memory, which can slow down the software and potentially create instability. However, it does provide the convenience of not having to restart the Mac. Students can purchase Parallels Desktop for Mac at this link. Read about Autodesk’s recommended configuration for Parallels at this link.

Hardware type:

MacBook Pro, early 2013 or newer

Operating System:

Mac OS X 10.9 (Mavericks)

Processor:

2.7 GHz quad-core Intel® Core i7™ recommended

Memory:

8 GB RAM

Recommended: 16 GB RAM

Virtual Machine Memory:

8 GB RAM

Virtual Machine Operating System:

Microsoft Windows 7 64-bit or Windows 8 64-bit (both free and downloadable from VCU)

Virtual Machine Video Adapter:

512 MB video memory minimum dedicated to the Windows Virtual Machine.
Note: While at Retina display resolutions on the Mac OS, turn off any Retina Resolution options in Parallels Desktop to adjust for proper DPI within Windows and Revit software products.
Graphics: Parallels Desktop virtual display adapter without “Use Hardware Acceleration” option in Revit software products.

Pointing device:

3-button scroll-wheel MS-Mouse or 3Dconnexion® compliant device

Peripheral devices:

External Data Storage: 16 GB USB Flash Drive

11″ x 17″ inkjet printer – highly recommended to defer cost of outside printing

Software:

Adobe Creative Cloud Students and Teachers membership

Autodesk AutoCAD and Revit — free download

Sketchup Make (free download) or Sketchup Pro (discounted for students)

Microsoft Office 2011 (OS X) or 2013 (Windows) — free download.

Kinetic Imaging

COMPUTER REQUIREMENT
Can be a MAC running at least OS X 10.9 or a PC running at least Windows 7.
Animation, Video and Sound classes use OS X.
3D modeling and animation classes use Windows and Autodesk Maya.
(note that MACs can be configured to run both OS X and Windows)

To directly purchase a VCU recommended system please visit RamTech

Computer specifications
•look at online system requirements for Adobe After Effects and Autodesk Maya
•64-bit system, dual / multi-core Intel processor or AMD Phenom II processor (PC)
•8 GB RAM or more
•Large capacity hard drive – 250 GB — more is better
•Hard drive speed SATA 3, 7200 mps
•Graphics card is important (look at software certified cards, online)
•USB 3.0 ports
•OpenGL 2.0–capable system
•Adobe and Maya certified Open GL graphics card

REQUIRED SOFTWARE:
Adobe Creative Cloud Students and Teachers membership

REQUIRED COMPUTER PERIPHERALS
• 1 TB External 2.5″ Hard Drive
An external hard drive is a must – 500 GB or more is recommended, and one that is portable.
A second hard drive is recommended to back up your files.

REQUIRED CAMERA
•Digital SLR camera with video capability

A great source for purchasing camera and related equipment – B&H Photo and Video (go toStudents/Educators tab at top, for student pricing).

Camera technology changes rapidly. It is recommended that you wait until entry into the department, use some of the cameras that are available for rental and talk with your instructors. The cameras listed below are DSLR cameras, which work on the animation stand as well as for video.

As of May 2015, recommendations are:
•Canon EOS Rebel T4i Digital Camera and lens
•Nikon D3100 Digital SLR Camera with lens
•Canon EOS Rebel T3 Digital Camera with lens

SUGGESTED SOFTWARE
•Microsoft Office 2011 (OS X) or 2013 (Windows) — free download.
•Sophos Anti-Virus — free download

SUGGESTED COMPUTER PERIPHERALS
•Over-the-ear studio headphones
•Tripod
•4GB SD card (you will use this many, many times)
•4GB USB memory stick (thumb drive)
•4GB SD Micro card (thumb drive)
•Audio recording equipment (Zoom H4n)
•HDMI cord 6′-16′ (Zoom H4n)
•Thunderbolt to HDMI adapter
•Thunderbolt to VGA adapter

Music

COMPUTER REQUIREMENT
Although this department does not require its students to purchase a computer for classes, the university does require that our students have a computer while attending VCU. Please visit Student Computer Initiative for the university’s recommended minimum configurations. Specifications are subject to change.

To directly purchase a VCU recommended system please visit RamTech

SUGGESTED SOFTWARE

SUGGESTED COMPUTER PERIPHERALS

  • 8 GB USB Flash Drive

Painting & Printmaking

COMPUTER REQUIREMENT
Although this department does not require its students to purchase a computer for classes, the university does require that our students have a computer while attending VCU. Please visit Student Computer Initiative for the university’s recommended minimum configurations. Specifications are subject to change.

To directly purchase a VCU recommended system please visit RamTech

SUGGESTED SOFTWARE

SUGGESTED COMPUTER PERIPHERALS

  • 8 GB USB Flash Drive

Photography & Film

COMPUTER REQUIREMENT
Please wait to purchase a desktop or laptop computer until your first class meeting when computer requirements will be discussed.

After the first class meeting, to directly purchase a VCU recommended system please visitRamTech

REQUIRED SOFTWARE

SUGGESTED SOFTWARE

SUGGESTED COMPUTER PERIPHERALS

  • Photography students: 8 GB USB Flash Drive
  • Filmmaking students: 1 TB External 2.5″ Hard Disk

Sculpture + Extended Media

COMPUTER REQUIREMENT
Although this department does not require its students to purchase a computer for classes, the university does require that our students have a computer while attending VCU. Please visit Student Computer Initiative for the university’s recommended minimum configurations. Specifications are subject to change.

To directly purchase a VCU recommended system please visit RamTech

SUGGESTED SOFTWARE

SUGGESTED COMPUTER PERIPHERALS

  • 8 GB USB Flash Drive

Theatre

COMPUTER REQUIREMENT
Although this department does not require its students to purchase a computer for classes, the university does require that our students have a computer while attending VCU. Please visit Student Computer Initiative for the university’s recommended minimum configurations. Specifications are subject to change.

To directly purchase a VCU recommended system please visit RamTech

SUGGESTED SOFTWARE

SUGGESTED COMPUTER PERIPHERALS

  • 8 GB USB Flash Drive

Student, Faculty, and Staff pricing on computers is available through RamTech or directly from the computer manufacturers.