Technology Requirements


We strongly recommend a MacBook Pro laptop computer, as KCAD is an all-Mac campus. At the same time we recognize that a computer is the individual’s choice, and some may bring computers and software that they already own. We recommend purchasing your laptop from the KCAD Apple Store.

For a new computer purchase, whether Mac or Windows, we recommend the following:

  • 15" screen
  • 2.2 GHz or higher Intel Quad Core i7 CPU
  • 8-16 GB RAM
  • 250+ GB Hard Drive (SSD preferably as they are faster than standard hard drives.) 500 GB for partitioned Mac, installing Windows via Bootcamp)
  • 1 GB Video Card

We also recommend that students purchase the following hardware accessories:

  • 22" - 27" external monitor for greater screen real estate for design work
  • 1-2 Terabyte external hard drive for data backups
  • VGA or DVI adapter to connect to projectors and large monitors
  • USB mouse or tablet with mouse for easier manipulation of design software applications
  • Surge protector
  • Security locks for laptop and monitor


Following is a basic list. Students with specialized interests, such as video editing or urban/GIS/mapping may require additional software. KCAD has unlimited seats for Keyshot rendering and animation software.

  • Adobe Creative Suite - Design Standard CS6 or Creative Cloud subscription. Creative cloud student prices can be found here.
  • Sketchup
  • AutoDesk Applications (AutoCAD, Revit), available for free to students here.
  • Rhino (with Grasshopper for advanced users)
  • Microsoft Office - 2010/2013 (for Windows) OR 2011 (for Mac OS X Lion). Note: an updated version of Office for Mac is due out soon.

Technical support information and links to the KCAD software store can be found here. Keep in mind that there are also numerous alternative sources for discounted software for students.

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