Laptop Recommendation

2021–22 Laptop Recommendation and Orientation Information

The 2021-2022 SAIC recommended model is an Apple MacBook Pro Retina 13" 2.0 GHz quad-core 10th-generation Intel Core i5 processor with Touch Bar and Touch ID, 512GB SSD, 16 GB memory, and three-year AppleCare+ for Mac (AppleCare+ needs to be purchased within 60 days of the laptop purchase date). The recommendation that is listed highlights what we think you will need to move seamlessly between departments at SAIC and meet all your technology needs during your time here. You can purchase it with a student discount from any Apple Store, or online while in the U.S. by visiting the Apple Store for Education. You may also purchase the MacBook Pro  from any Apple-authorized retailer of your choice by bringing your student ID or other proof of enrollment. Since Apple frequently releases new products, we recommend that before you buy, you check for up-to-date information on our Laptop Recommendation page.

PLEASE NOTE: At this time the newest MacBook Pro model with the M1 processor is incompatible with many 3rd party software used at SAIC. The software industry is currently playing catch up. We have noticed that some software companies have begun developing software that could be supported by Apple's M1 chip, but we can not promise an exact time when developers will be able to fully support laptops with this type of hardware. Some software that is used for curricular use that is not fully compatible with the M1 chip are Rhino, Premiere Pro, After Effects and Keyshot to name a few. Additionally, any software that uses Bootcamped Windows on a Mac like Rhino, RhinoCAM, Revit or Solidworks are also not compatible. We ask that you follow our recommendation above when purchasing a new MacBook Pro or you may have difficulties using the required software for your classes. Additionally, MacBooks and MacBook Airs do NOT meet SAIC's minimum laptop requirement. Tablet computers, netbooks, Chromebooks, etc. that cannot run a full Macintosh Operating System and cannot install regular software will not be adequate. PC laptops have limited support by CRIT.

Once you have your laptop, you will need to attend our brief Laptop Setup orientation session, which will be held during New Student Orientation. To prepare for the session, please make sure your laptop is fully charged, and you have activated your ARTIC Account.

If You Already Own an Apple Laptop

If you currently own a laptop and would like to know if it meets SAIC’s minimum laptop requirement for the 2021-2022 school year, please email with the serial number of your laptop and your SAIC ID number. We will respond to your email and verify that your laptop meets SAIC'S minimum laptop specifications and can access all the resources SAIC has to offer.

SAIC Technology Requirement

For more than 150 years, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) has been committed to providing the best and most innovative art education possible. SAIC seeks to ensure that, when you graduate, you are fully conversant with the tools that technology can provide. In order to ensure an integrated curricular technology and equal access to a wide range of software, technical support, and training, SAIC has instituted a technology requirement consisting of two parts: a school-wide minimum laptop requirement and a technology fee.

Technology Fee

All students enrolled for six or more degree credit hours are charged a technology fee. This fee enables a student to access wireless and wired networking, curricular software in computer classrooms and labs, and CRIT Help Desk support and training. In addition, students with a qualifying laptop computer can access curricular software both on and off campus. The 2021-2022 technology fee is $325 per semester.