Purchasing Tips

Laptop and Notebook Computers

Laptop computers provide a great deal of mobility. Due to their small size, laptops cost more than desktop computers, but generally have the same features and computing power. Special considerations for laptops include battery life, weight, and screen size. Also, consider a port replicator to easily connect your laptop to a monitor, keyboard, mouse, and power when in the office. The portability of laptops does increase the risk of damage or theft, but the pros outweight the cons if you work frequently outside the office.


Tablets such as the iPad are designed to be used as accessories for your work environment, not as a laptop replacement. The exception to this is the Microsoft Surface Pro. It is a tablet that can be configured with as much hard drive and memory as a laptop and can run full Windows applications. If ordered with at least 8 GB of memory and at least 256 GB of disk space, it can be ordered and used as a laptop replacement, utilizing Desktop Enhancement funds.


Generally speaking, the largest monitors are the better option for purchase. Monitors retain their value longer than other computer components and have a high impact on personal productivity. For a person who works with a computer most of the day, a 19-inch monitor should be the minimum size to consider. A 22- to 23-inch monitor would be desirable, since it provides the best resolution and display speed possible.

Most monitors carry a three-year warranty; however, most monitors run for years beyond the warranty. A monitor should be used until the end of its life, not just until the end of its warranty.


With operating systems becoming more sophisticated and applications more complex, the demand for more computer memory is constantly increasing. Currently, 8 GB of random-access memory (RAM) is recommended.

Hard Drive/Removable Media

We recommend a minimum of 250 GB of hard drive space. Consider backup options (USB flash drives, external hard drives, backup servers or DVD+/-RWs) as well to prevent loss of data.

Disc Drives

Disc drives are being phased out as more software is available to install online. Writable drives (DVD+/-RW) can be used to back up data, but may not be required. Many laptops no longer come with disc drives.


Desktops should come equipped with a wired network card. We would also recommend a wired network card for laptops if it is available, in addition to a wireless network card. Wireless networks are convenient, but wired networks are faster and more reliable.

Extended Warranty

All machines come with a three- or four-year, next-business-day, on-site service warranty.

Hardware Repair

See the Mizzou Store TigerTech Computer Repair page for specific hardware support details.