Technology evolves at a rapid pace and newer technology is always right around the corner but this should not deter you from buying the computer you need now. NSCC has put together a set of minimum recommendations to help you select the right computer for your coursework.

General guidelines

  • Spend as much as you can comfortably afford. 
  • Unless you have specific requirements, you don't need to buy the absolute highest level of current technology. On the other hand, saving a few dollars by buying low on the technology curve does not necessarily represent your best value.  Make sure that your computer is covered by a warranty or service plan so that you will be able to get service from the manufacturer or the vendor should the need arise.
  • Certain college programs & courses have different requirements for computer use; for instance, the Graphic Design department uses Photoshop and Illustrator extensively. Please contact your faculty member if you have any questions or concerns.
  • Consider buying a headset with microphone to aid in online/remote classes.
  • To transport your files consider buying a USB flash drive with at least 8GB of storage.  
  • All NSCC students are eligible for a copy of Microsoft Office (Mac, PC, cloud-based for Chromebooks) for the duration of their enrollment at the college.  Instructions to get your copy of Office are located in the MyNorthshore portal.  Log in and search for the word “Office.”

Minimum Computer Specifications


  • Intel i5 (7th gen,)   AMD Ryzen™ 5 or higher
  • Windows 11
  • 16GB RAM or more*
  • 250 GB hard drive or larger
  • Integrated Wireless (802.11a/b/g/n/AC)
  • 10/100/1000 Integrated Networking
  • 3 years parts and labor warranty


  • Current model MacBook, MacBook Pro, iMac or Mac Pro
  • Current Mac OS
  • 16GB RAM or more
  • 250 GB Hard drive or larger
  • Airport Wireless (802.11 b/g/n/AC compatible)
  • 3 years parts and labor warranty