Find A PhysicianHome  |  Library  |  myDownstate  |  Newsroom  |  A-Z Guide  |  E-mail  |  Contact Us  |  Directions
curve gif

Minimum Technical Requirements for Laptops Used in the SUNY Downstate Medical School Curriculum

Last updated February 4, 2014

The following table lists key technical specifications required for laptop computers used by students in the Downstate College of Medicine curriculum. Specifications are based on requirements of applications used in learning and examination activities. Students should not plan to use laptops that do not meet these technical specifications, such as smaller screen size or non-recommended operating systems. While machines with the minimum technical specification should be suitable for usage in the curriculum, we have also included a 'recommended' specification for some categories. Users are encouraged to obtain computers with the 'recommended' specification if possible.

Category Minimum Recommended

CPU speed of 1.7 Ghz or faster

2.0 GHz or faster

Operating System

Windows operating system-based laptops:

  • Windows Vista (Ultimate, Enterprise, Business, or Home Editions), 32-bit or 64-bit versions, Service Pack 2 or later.
  • Windows 7 (Home Premium, Professional or Ultimate Edition), 32-bit or 64-bit version.
  • Windows 8 "full" OS editions (Consumer, Pro and Enterprise editions)
    • PLEASE NOTE: Win 8 OS comes in two main types:
      • A “full” OS (Win 8 “consumer”, Pro and Enterprise editions) that runs on Intel/AMD processors and that can run standard PC software. These can be on desktops, laptops and even some tablets.
      • A “restricted” OS (RT edition) that runs on ARM processors and that will NOT run standard PC software. Instead, it requires the purchase and installation of “apps” from the Microsoft Store.
      • We do NOT recommend purchase of Win 8 RT tablets using ARM processors at the present time for the following reasons:
        • These may not be able to connect to campus WiFi even after implementation of an upgrade enables connection of other "full" Win 8 editions.
        • These may not be able to run software required as part of the future curriculum.

Mac OS X operating system-based laptops:

  • Mac OS X 10.6 or greater.
Laptop type
(standard vs. tablet)
  • Students are required to have a laptop.
  • Other devices such as Apple iPad, Android or Windows 8 tablets are not currently supported.
  • Standard laptop
  • Minimum drive size: 250 Gb
  • Minimum RAM: 4 Gb
  • Minimum partition for Windows OS on Apple dual-boot configuration: 40 Gb
System memory (RAM)

At least 4 Gb

4 Gb or more

Hard Drive

At least 250 Gb hard drive capacity; at least 80 Gb free drive space after installation of operating system(s), programs and files

250 Gb or more hard drive capacity, with 80 Gb or more free drive space

Screen size

At least 13 inches (diagonal measurement). Screen sizes smaller than 13 inches, such as found on certain ‘netbooks’, are not compatible with applications used by the College of Medicine.

14 inches or more (diagonal measurement)


Video system capable of displaying

  • 24-bit color;
  • 1024 × 768 pixels resolution or better;
  • 60 Hz or faster refresh rate

Video card/processor with 256 Mb or more of its own video ram (VRAM)


NOTE: both wired (Ethernet) and wireless (Wi-Fi) networking capability are required

  • 100 Mb/sec or faster Ethernet port
  • 802.11g wireless (Wi-Fi)
  • Ethernet cable, 5 ft

1 Gb/sec (Gigabit) Ethernet

Ethernet cable, 5 ft

  • 4–5 hour battery or 3 hour battery life with spare battery
  • Not all laptops may allow users to remove and replace batteries. Please check.
  • Students will be required to bring their AC/DC adapters to activities that require the use of the laptop.
Four to five hours battery life, and a spare battery
Software There are four Minimum column entries for this category:
  • Microsoft Office (Student Edition)
  • Antivirus —  the following antivirus programs are allowed:
  • Adobe Acrobat Reader
  • Internet Explorer (8.0 or greater), Firefox or Google Chrome — Note: some browsers such as Apple Safari or Google Chrome may not function properly with all systems in use at Downstate.
Four to five hours battery life, and a spare battery

Students must purchase their own hardware, operating systems and software. SUNY Downstate does not provide these.