2023–24 Laptop Recommendation and Orientation Information
The 2023-2024 SAIC recommended model is an Apple MacBook Pro M3 Pro 14in with 11-core CPU, 14-core GPU, 16-core Neural Engine, 18GB of Unified Memory, 512GB SSD storage, 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 FAQ page below.
PLEASE NOTE: At this time Bootcamp/Windows is not developed or compatible for laptops built with the M1, M2, and M3 chips. Currently the software industry is playing catchup with Apple’s new M1, M2, and M3 processors which are utilized in Apple’s newest laptop models. Some software may not yet be compatible with the newest processor. Additionally, some third party software is not yet optimized for the M1, M2, and M3 processors and uses Rosetta 2 to run on the newest Mac models. You can find a detailed list here listing the software that is compatible with the new M1, M2, and M3 chips. The CRIT Help desk will update our community as compatibility changes in the future.
Later in the summer, you will be invited to the New Student Orientation Canvas course. In the New Student Orientation Canvas course, students will have the opportunity to review technology best practices, gain access to software and hear a little more about who CRIT is and what we offer to the SAIC community. The course will help the students get better acclimated to the school's technology before the beginning of the term.
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 2023-2024 school year, please email firstname.lastname@example.org 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, 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.
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 2023-2024 technology fee is $335 per semester.
Computer Resources and Information Technologies' goal is to ensure that when you graduate, you are fully conversant with the tools that technology can provide. 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. Owning a laptop that meets SAIC's minimum laptop requirements ensures that you will always have access to the many SAIC licensed softwares whether you're in a classroom, studio or at home.
Owning a laptop that meets minimum requirements will secure assistance from the CRIT Help Desk for help troubleshooting a wide range of issues that may come up during your time here at SAIC.
All incoming undergraduate students, with the exception of second-degree students, are required to have a laptop that meets SAIC's minimum laptop requirements. AIADO Graduate students have a separate laptop recommendation, please contact email@example.com for the AIADO laptop recommendation. If any degree-seeking students who owns a laptop and wants to find out if it qualifies, please see minimum requirements below.
All students enrolled for six or more degree seeking 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 can access curricular software both on and off campus, along with CRIT Help Desk Support. The 2023–24 technology fee is $335 per semester.
Incoming transfer students who hold a bachelor's degree from another institution are not required to own a laptop that meets SAIC's minimum laptop requirements. However, it is strongly recommended that all degree seeking students at the school have a laptop as technology is integrated into the curriculum and campus life at SAIC.
Computer Resources and Information Technologies highly recommends that you purchase a laptop before or at the start of your studies here at SAIC. Technology is integrated into your curriculum and while SAIC has many labs on campus with all the SAIC licensed software needed to get work done, instructors may require you to work on projects and assignments during class. CRIT wants all students to have equal access to their technology needs.
There are limited funds available to help defray the cost of SAIC's recommended laptop.
If you are requesting a loan, you should first use the Figure Your Cost worksheet (also included in your financial aid packet materials) to calculate how much you will need to borrow overall for the academic year. Include the cost of SAIC's recommendation to determine the total loan amount you wish to request. In addition, a family can request a Federal Direct PLUS Loan (parent of dependent students or graduate students) or a student Private loan for computer-related expenses.
A credit approval is required for these loans If you are concerned about being able to afford SAIC's laptop recommendation, please share your concern with your Student Financial Services Advisor or Admissions Counselor.
For more information, contact Student Financial Services at 312.629.6600 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Federal regulations prevent loan proceeds from being disbursed earlier than ten days before the semester start date.
Your laptop will be an essential tool in your educational and campus life. You will use your laptop to:
- Take notes, conduct research, work on projects, and write papers. Participate in online discussion groups with classmates and professors.
- Access the Internet for in-class and out-of-class projects and research.
- Access class materials in SAIC Canvas.
- Submit papers and other materials electronically to teachers.
- Use email to communicate with professors, classmates, parents, and friends from your networked dorm room and wireless areas throughout campus.
- Do advanced video and sound editing.
- 3D animation and modeling.
- Manipulate digital images.
- Create and maintain your personal website.
- Create and deliver presentations.
- Prepare projects for high-end peripherals and output devices on campus (such as a CNC laser router, and a Jacquard loom).
- Play digital audio files, watch Internet video and media content.
SAIC has relied overwhelmingly on Apple computers for many years, and our labs and production facilities are equipped with Apple hardware and software. Apple has a history of developing software to fill the needs of artists and designers and is the industry-preferred platform in the graphic arts, visual communication design, film and video, desktop publishing, and sound production.
Additionally, Mac OS X is virtually free from computer viruses and malware. Standardizing the computer platform, file formats, and software on campus enhances student mobility and facilitates project production and file sharing in our interdisciplinary educational environment.
The 2023–24 SAIC Laptop recommendation includes:
- Apple MacBook Pro
- Apple M3 Pro 14in with 11-core CPU, 14-core GPU, 16-core Neural Engine
- 18GB of Unified Memory
- 512GB SSD Storage
- SanDisk Professional 1TB G-Drive ArmorATD™ (for data backup)
- Anker USB-C 7-in-1 Hub with Ethernet adapter (this can be found on Amazon)
- 3-year AppleCare+ for Mac (needs to be purchased within 60 days after the initial purchase of the laptop)
Please Note: At this time Bootcamp/Windows is not developed or compatible for laptops built with the M1, M2, and M3 chips. Currently the software industry is playing catchup with Apple’s new M1, M2, and M3 processors which are utilized in Apple’s newest laptop models. Some software may not yet be compatible with the newest processor. Additionally, some third party software is not yet optimized for the M1, M2, and M3 processors and uses Rosetta 2 to run on the newest Mac models.
You can find a detailed list here listing the software that is compatible with the new M1, M2, and M3 chips. The CRIT Help desk will update our community as compatibility changes in the future.
For CRIT to assist in the most efficient way possible and provide equal access to a wide range of software, technical support and training, SAIC has instituted a laptop requirement for the 2023-24 school year with the following minimum specifications:
- Apple MacBook Pro
- 512 GB Internal Storage (External storage will not meet the requirement for 512GB of internal storage)
- 16 GB Memory
- 3-Year AppleCare Protection Plan or 3 Year AppleCare+ for Mac
Please Note: At this time Bootcamp/Windows is not developed or compatible for laptops built with the M1, M2, and M3 chips. Currently the software industry is playing catchup with Apple’s new M1, M2, and M3 processors which are utilized in Apple’s newest laptop models. Some software may not yet be compatible with the newest processor. Additionally, some third-party software is not yet optimized for the M1, M2, and M3 processors and uses Rosetta 2 to run on the newest Mac models.
You can find a detailed list here listing the software that is compatible with the new M1, M2, and M3 chips. The CRIT Help desk will update our community as compatibility changes in the future.
If you currently own a laptop that you believe meets these specifications and is a 2019 year model or newer, please email us at email@example.com with the serial number from your laptop, and we will confirm whether your laptop meets the requirements for the 2023-2024 school year.
Desktop computers do not satisfy the technology requirement due to SAIC's unique and mobile computing environment. PC computers also do not qualify, as our core curricular software licenses and instruction are specific to Apple, and the School is equipped with Apple computers in most of our labs and production facilities. If you already have an Apple laptop computer that meets or exceeds the minimum specifications, please verify if your laptop meets SAIC requirements by emailing us the serial number of your MacBook Pro as well as your SAIC ID number to the CRIT Help Desk at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We will then review your information and determine if your laptop meets the requirements. Please note that the verification is only valid for the 2023–24 school year, and we cannot guarantee that your laptop will be able to run SAIC-licensed software beyond this year.
Standardizing the laptop model and configuration provides numerous benefits to SAIC students:
- CRIT Help Desk will help facilitate Apple warranty hardware failure repairs and provide a loaner laptop to use during the process (warranty repairs for damaged laptops must be facilitated by the student)
- The computer model and configuration can be optimized to meet the needs of SAIC students.
- SAIC can provide a software package that has been thoroughly tested for software functionality and network access.
- The SAIC CRIT Help Desk can provide effective technical support and training.
- CRIT can provide software and operating system upgrades. Some departments like the AIADO classes require very specific software, and CRIT can provide a fully tested software template for those needs.
Yes. As long as your laptop meets or exceeds all the current recommended model specifications, the laptop will be sufficient for use in classes during your four years of study at SAIC. If you think you might need a more powerful laptop than SAIC's recommendation, it is best to upgrade the laptop at the time of purchase. Current Apple laptop models are non-upgradable after the time of purchase.
SAIC does not sell laptops. CRIT recommends purchasing your laptop through the Apple Store for Education page (while in the US) or in person at an Apple store in the US. By visiting the previous link mentioned or bringing your SAIC ID to an Apple store ensures that you will receive an education discount for purchase of your laptop.
The minimum requirement for laptop storage must be internal. External storage will not function in the same way. If your laptop does not meet all the SAIC laptop requirements including storage, CRIT will not be able to fully support it. By not meeting requirements you may not have access to certain SAIC licensed software like the AIADO software template or pro-apps like Logic Pro.
Our recommendation will ensure every student has equal footing with technology needs during the four years of study at SAIC.
The internal storage in all currently sold MacBook Pro models cannot be upgraded. If you choose to have a third-party service upgrade the internal storage on these models it will void the warranty. Failure to have at least one year remaining of your three-year Apple Care Protection Plan will also not meet SAIC's minimum laptop requirements.
If you are an AIADO graduate student, your course of study will need a more powerful laptop. If you own an Apple MacBook Pro that you think meets SAIC's the current school year minimum laptop requirements please send us an email to email@example.com with your SAIC ID number as well as the serial number for your laptop. New AIADO graduate students who do not own a laptop that meets the minimum requirements, please also email firstname.lastname@example.org. Please inform us within the email that you are a graduate student in AIADO so that we can make sure to provide you with the correct recommendation for purchasing a laptop.
Software at SAIC
No. All SAIC-licensed software belongs to the institution and is not transferable to the student when leaving the institution. CRIT can recommend purchasing some of the software at greatly reduced prices. Some software like Adobe are membership-based purchases, and these software's memberships die when you leave the institution, but you can purchase a new membership and sign in with that.
For more information, contact the CRIT Help Desk at 312.345.3535 or email@example.com.
Yes. You may install other software at your discretion. Please note installing or updating software has the potential to cause system failure, the loss of data, network access and the ability to use SAIC software. Therefore, we highly recommended that, before installing or updating software, you backup your personal information and files.
For more information on backing up your data and updates, please contact the CRIT Help Desk at 312.345.3535 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The school selects and provides software matched to the curriculum. By meeting the minimum laptop requirements students will not need to purchase additional copies of any SAIC Licensed software. If students choose to purchase or use their own software, CRIT will provide limited support. Also, if the CRIT Help Desk has to reinstall your laptop's software or operating system, you may lose your purchased software. Therefore, we strongly recommend against purchasing your own software until you are ready to leave the institution.
As a degree-seeking student taking 6 credit hours or more, you will have access to the Adobe Creative Cloud, Office 365 Suites, and the secure wireless network. Certain departments or classes will require installation of specific Pro Applications necessary for course material which will be available to you if you meet SAIC laptop requirements below.
These programs may include: Final Cut Pro, Rhino, Logic, Solidworks, Sketch Up Pro and more, please contact email@example.com for a complete list.
All degree-seeking students taking six credit hours or more during a semester have access to the Adobe Creative Cloud, Office 365, Autodesk applications, and the secure wireless network. If you choose to purchase or use a laptop that does not meet minimum requirements, you will only have access to the SAIC-licensed applications mentioned above. Laptops that do not meet minimum requirements have limited support from CRIT.
Software will be available to install on student laptops during new student orientation, if you are unable to attend the CRIT portion of orientation, you can get access to the software by contacting the CRIT Help Desk at a later date.
SAIC emphasizes a cross-discipline education that encourages experimentation during your time in school. While some students may take a painting class during their first semester, later at SAIC they may decide to take a class in Architecture or Film departments.
By having a laptop that meets all of SAIC's minimum laptop requirements, students can have access to any software SAIC provides and seamlessly move between courses and departments.
AppleCare+ or the AppleCare Protection Plan protects the laptop computer against defective parts and offers service and support beyond what is available through the CRIT Help Desk. AppleCare+ also covers some damage repairs with a deductible. Purchasing a laptop that meets the minimum requirements including AppleCare+ or the 3-year AppleCare Protection Plan ensures students have continuous support during their time at SAIC.
Please Note: The AppleCare Protection Plan warranty only covers defective parts—they do not cover accidents such as theft or physical damage. Laptop insurance is strongly recommended. CRIT will only facilitate hardware failure (not damage) on MacBook Pros that meet SAIC's minimum laptop requirements.
Yes. To ensure optimal functionality, CRIT provides information and instructions on how to properly upgrade or reinstall operating systems. Some updates to Pro-Apps are maintained by CRIT administrators. These are completed on a campus-wide based need. Most other applications can be upgraded as needed by the student. If you ever need help installing a new operating system or upgrading software but you are concerned or if you ever have issues with your software and need help troubleshooting please contact CRIT first.
Also, we highly recommend backing up your data before doing any updates or upgrades to your operating system.
Upon acquiring a laptop, you assume sole responsibility for loss, whether due to damage, loss, theft or other cause. Apple Care does not cover damage or theft and during this type of event you are fully responsible for the cost of the laptop.
We advise you to obtain personal property insurance to protect your equipment. You may want to consider covering the equipment under yours or your parents' homeowner's or renter's insurance policy. For your information and convenience, National Student Services, Inc., provides student personal property insurance; visit nssi.com for more information.
CRIT recommends backing up your laptop at least every week. Backing up your computer is critical during your time as a student. By keeping a backup of all your files, you are protected from potentially losing your final or school work from an entire semester. We strongly suggest purchasing an external hard drive to complete these backups.
Care of the laptop and protection against theft or damage is your responsibility. Insurance is strongly recommended. Keep in mind that while insurance can replace a computer, it does not protect it against theft or damage and cannot replace lost files. To fully protect your work, backup your data frequently.
Please use common sense when on campus or out in public. Some helpful suggestions and reminders:
- Don't leave your laptop unattended in a classroom.
- Do not leave your laptop bag in unattended cars, or transport it in a flashy bag that invites theft.
- Along with your laptop, be aware of the accessories that come with it. Your power supply and battery are costly and are the most commonly stolen items.
To protect against damage, we recommend:
- Always transport your laptop in a bag or protective case.
- Please be aware of the cords and cables attached to your laptop. These can cause a tripping hazard that could potentially pull your laptop off of a table.
There are numerous support resources for laptop users:
- CRIT Help Desk
- General Access Lab
- Contemporary Practices faculty and teaching assistants
- The Apple Store for education and Apple.com
CRIT Help Desks are located in 112 South Michigan Avenue, room 905. The Help Desk is open during weekday office hours. Staff can assist users with most software or hardware issues. CRIT staff can assess problems and help coordinate repairs.
Contemporary Practices faculty provide the best access to one-on-one assistance while utilizing your laptop in classes. Both faculty and teaching assistants can provide help for students using laptops to achieve the goals of classroom assignments and projects.
The Apple Store (located in downtown Chicago about 10 minutes from SAIC's campus) provides free weekly workshops, a Genius Bar, product consulting, and a retail outlet. Apple Computers and Apple.com provide manuals, tutorials, and a vast troubleshooting database available to all Mac users.
There are numerous training and instructional resources available to students.
Students are instructed on basic computing skills in the New Student Orientation Canvas Course. In this course, students receive instructions for first-time setup, connecting to the SAIC wireless network, file management, and backup, and accessing SAIC-licensed software.
In classes, training coincides with class assignments, and students are taught the necessary computer skills for completing class work.
Finally, students can receive personalized training from the Contemporary Practices program.
It is strongly recommended that students purchase a laptop to assist them with coursework during their time at SAIC. CRIT's loaner laptops are only used for students who meet SAIC’s minimum laptop requirements and are getting an Apple warranty hardware repair. Outside of these loaner checkouts, CRIT does not loan laptops to students. Students who need temporary use of a computer can use the general access labs.