OIT recommends Apple and Dell computers for their reliability and configurations. Dell has service technicians in the area who make service calls to the college for computers requiring warranty repair.
Williams College is committed to supporting both PCs and Macs. Academic departments and our public labs are split evenly although departments tend to choose one platform or the other depending on the software they use. Contact the departments of your interest to see if they have a recommendation.
See our specific model recommendations and methods for purchasing below.
For Apple computers we recommend either MacBook Pro or MacBook Air
Apple computers can be purchased with an academic discount through the Apple Store for Education: http://www.apple.com/us_edu_357437/shop
For Dell computers, academic discounts can be accessed here: http://www.dell.com/williams . OIT recommends the Dell XPS 13 or the Inspiron 13 or 15.
If you already have a computer or plan to purchase another brand they should meet these minimum specifications:
Laptop or Desktop Computers
- 13, 14 or 15 inch screen
- Apple M1, Intel Core i3, Core i5 or Core i7 processor
- 8gb of RAM or more
- 1TB hard drive or 256GB or larger Solid State Drive
- Mac OS Catalina, Big Sur or Windows 10
For any model computer we recommend getting a three year Service Plan/warranty.
Along with the computer we recommend the following peripherals:
- Headphone/Earbuds with built in mic
- Webcam (Unless one is already built in to laptop)
- External hard drive for Backup (more info below)
- Microsoft Office 2019 is available to download for free to students who sign up with their @williams.edu email address. More info here: http://oit.williams.edu/help-docs/office-365-office-2016-software/
- Keep in mind your Williams account comes with access to G Suite for Education which includes Docs, Sheets, Slides, etc. These apps can open most Word and Excel files, and save in those formats as well.
- All public campus computers have the Microsoft Office suite installed as well as other applications that are used frequently used in academic work.
There are many public network printers available at Williams, in the Library, OIT, and other academic buildings, but only a few located in dorms. More information on printing to public printers is located here: https://oit.williams.edu/help-guides/printing/web-print/
If you choose to bring your own printer there are many inexpensive options. You will need to decide whether you want an inkjet or a laser printer. A laser printer will tend to be faster, be more efficient with consumables (toner lasts longer than inkjet cartridges), but will cost a bit more initially and be heavier.
Wireless internet, 'Eduroam', at Williams is currently available in all buildings on campus. All modern laptops will have compatible wireless cards. Full details on the Williams wireless network is available here: http://oit.williams.edu/help-docs/network/. Please do NOT bring your own wireless router or airport base station to campus as it will conflict with our wireless network.
Game consoles and other wireless devices like tablets, smartphones and streaming devices can also join the Williams wireless network. If wireless authentication does not work then your device right away they may need to be registered by OIT. For help with devices that do not easily connect to our network see: https://oit.williams.edu/help-guides/wifi-and-wired-connections/network-device-registration/.
When shopping for a new computer, remember to think about a backup storage device. USB external hard drives allow for full disk backup and restore. All Williams students have G Suite Accounts which come with unlimited Google drive storage , but keep in mind this ends upon graduation. Documents, pictures and other files can be saved to this cloud space and accessed from any computer with a network connection. Further information on backup can be found here: http://oit.williams.edu/help-docs/backup/.
You may be eligible to receive a student loan or use outside scholarship for the one-time purchase of a computer. If you would like details of how to take advantage of this option, please email [email protected] or call the office at 413-597-4181.
For any technology questions or help students can email [email protected] , stop by the Student Support Desk at the Center for Educational Technology (CET) on the second floor of Sawyer Library or Call x3088 (413-597-3088 from off-campus). Please use your Williams email address when contacting OIT when possible.