Recommendations for Computer Purchases

The School of Hotel Administration offers access to over 130 computer workstations in the Binenkorb Computer Center and the Nestlé Library, but students may find it difficult to access equipment during peak times when classes are in session and many assignments are due. For this reason, most of our students choose to purchase their own computers.


The School of Hotel Administration’s faculty rely exclusively on computers with Microsoft Windows 10 operating systems. We strongly recommend selecting a Microsoft Windows-based machine with Microsoft Office 2016 to avoid any compatibility issues, particularly related to class assignments.
Although new Apple computers are currently capable of running Windows, that requires purchasing both a Windows and an Office 2010 license. A dedicated Windows computer is still strongly recommended.

Laptop or Desktop?

Performance and cost are now very similar, so personal preference is key. Some students enjoy the ability to take their computers all over campus, benefiting from the extensive wireless networks that are in place at Cornell. Some classes may require a laptop in class. Ultimately, each student should purchase a computer comfortable for him/her, with the following minimum requirements:

Hardware Laptop Desktop
Processor Speed
(dual- or quad-core)
2.3-GHz Intel Core i5-6200U 6th Gen Core I7
Hard Drive 512 GB SSD 256 GB SSD
RAM 8 GB min, 16 GB preferred 8 GB min, 16 GB preferred
Monitor 15″ active matrix 22″ flat panel
Peripherals USB drive or external hard drive USB drive or external hard drive
Wireless Capability 802.11 n/ac integrated
Optional Enhancements CD-RW DVD-RW CD-RW DVD-RW

View university-wide computer recommendations

Get information on Cornell’s wireless networks


As a student in the School of Hotel Administration, you will be required to use Microsoft Office a great deal. While Office 2016 is available on all of our public computers, it is also available for students to download and install. Download Office 365 ProPlus for Students.


An easily overlooked but vital aspect of purchasing a new computer is the warranty that comes with it. Larger vendors, such as Dell, typically offer four-year warranty plans that include parts and labor. In some cases they might cost a little extra at the time of purchase but can save a tremendous amount of money and time if parts fail.

Servicing Your Computer

Please note that the School of Hotel Administration does not provide support for either hardware or software issues for students, but there are Cornell-provided support options. For computer repairs, the Cornell Store offers services. For on-campus technical support, please consult Cornell’s IT Service Desk.

If you have any questions, please contact:

  • Rob Miettunen
    Assistant Director of Instructional Technologies