SoA Technology Guide

TECH PURCHASE GUIDE – FALL 2021 (will be updated soon for 2023)

As a NEW STUDENT entering UNC Charlotte in Fall 2023, you will need a personal laptop computer to support your college experience, particularly as classes adapt to include more virtual options. You can bring a laptop you already have or choose to buy a new laptop from any vendor. The requirements below combine the UNC Charlotte Niner Ready Laptop Initiative information as well as more specific requirements for the David R. Ravin School of Architecture.


If you need a new laptop, you can choose to purchase one from any vendor or choose a Niner Ready Bundle from the NinerTech Store. Niner Ready Bundles meet all of the recommended hardware specs and provide streamlined access to on-campus services and support from the NinerTech Store. Bundles include education discounts. The recommended laptops are linked below ensure your device has the power, speed, and memory to be Niner Ready in Fall 2021. If you purchase elsewhere, be sure to compare the specifications to these recommended laptops.

Recommended Mac - SoA students who prefer Macs are responsible for purchasing and installing the Windows operating system.

Recommended PC                                                

NOTE:  Chromebooks, iPads, and mobile devices DO NOT meet the laptop requirement.


External Hard Drive - 1 TB or greater to back up work and facilitate file transfers. Ensure compatibility with your laptop before purchasing.

External Mouse - A multi-button wired or wireless external mouse.


All SoA students are required to have the following software on their laptop computers:

Microsoft Office - Available to download FREE at

Virus Protection - Available to download FREE at

Adobe Creative Cloud -Student subscriptions are available at  

In the same way a textbook purchase would be required for a class, additional software purchases may be requested by individual professors or desired by students. By waiting to purchase software until it is needed, you will be able to purchase the most up-to-date version and not carry the burden of upgrading software you as a student may not have used.  Some software you will likely need in your first semester, but do not need to download in advance as more information about access options will be provided in your fall studios. This includes:

Autodesk Suite - AutoCad, 3DS Max, and Revit are available at .

Rhino 3D Modeling  - A limited number of licenses available for students to checkout on their personal laptops while enrolled in the SoA. Student subscriptions are also available for purchase at .


The SoA has computer labs that complement, but do not suffice as a substitute, for students' laptops. There number of computers in these labs may be reduced in Fall 2020 to accommodate physical distancing requirements recommended by the Centers for Disease control and adopted by UNC Charlotte.

The following are applications available in the SoA computing labs and may be required by courses:

Software on SoA Computers


If you need to borrow a laptop, the UNC Charlotte main library, Atkins, offers short-term loaner laptops.

Laptops circulate for a 24-hour period. AC adapters are also available. Only one laptop can be checked out per patron at any given time and there is four hour wait before a patron can check a laptop out again.

Laptops are available for currently enrolled UNC Charlotte students only. UNC Charlotte ID must be presented for checkout (temporary IDs are not acceptable) and a student’s library account must be in good standing (no fines or overdue items).