CVPA Computer Recommendations
Welcome to the UMass Dartmouth College of Visual and Performing Arts. This message is for students who are considering a college major in one of the following fields: Illustration, Graphic Design, Photography, and Digital Media. If you are considering a purchase now or before entering your sophomore year at UMass Dartmouth and are interested in these fields, we have recommendations for the types of computers that would be best to own. Please note: a computer will not be necessary for work in freshman studio classes during the first year. However, if you are thinking about a purchase soon, we believe that it would be wise to take these recommendations into account.
Prior to the sophomore year, we strongly recommend, but do not require, that students entering the major of Visual Design, which includes the options of Graphic Design, Illustration and Photography, and Digital Media have an Apple laptop computer. We make this recommendation also for students who are transferring to UMass Dartmouth from other schools and may find themselves in upper level classes. Beginning in the second year, you will have many of your classes in our computer labs. The number of courses using the lab may limit your access to lab computers outside of class time, although our lab typically remains open until at least 10:00 p.m. Owning a computer will give you more opportunity and more time to complete assignments. We recommend Apple laptop computers because they may also be used during classes and because the College of Visual and Performing Arts is currently equipped with Apple technology and runs Apple-compatible software. Compatibility issues are greatly reduced when students also own Apples.
The link below with connect you with the Apple Education Store.
Students wishing to configure Apple computers should follow these guidelines:
Intel based Macs
- Screen size:
In all cases it is recommended that students purchase the largest screen size they can reasonably afford. Larger screens do facilitate higher productivity, but most work can be accomplished on screens as small as 13".
All machines should have both an Ethernet connection and an AirPort card. Currently, these are standard on all Apple laptops. The University is in the process of equipping all areas of our college with a wireless network.
There is never enough. We recommend two gigabytes of RAM. Apple lists the maximums for laptops on their site.
- Hard Disc Space:
Apple lists the maximums on their site. You can always add external hard drives or portable storage devices as needed.
- Optical Drive:
Apple's SuperDrive allows students to burn their work to DVDs. This will be helpful in developing portfolios and backing up large animation or video files. Generally, we recommend that computer purchases be made as late as possible, in order to access the very latest in technology and pricing. You may find that Apple will offer substantial savings towards the end of the summer.
Our recommendation for software is the newest version of the Adobe Creative Suite Design Premium. We will be running the Adobe Creative Suite 5 Design Premium suite in the fall and spring. The suite is optimized for the Intel based machines. This software package enables students to interact with the software programs used in the College so they can submit assignments, participate in group work, and otherwise share work with instructors and fellow students.
If you have questions you may email our computer lab technician, Joy Miller, at the following address: firstname.lastname@example.org. If you receive financial aid please contact that office in regards to allocations for computers. Computers are covered in the financial aid package. The faculty of the College of Visual and Performing Arts welcomes you and wishes you success in your academic career!