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New Students IT-related FAQs

Computer Recommendations

Access to a good computer is an essential part of your educational experience at Cal Maritime. If you plan to bring your own computer, here are a few things to consider before coming to campus. You can Download a PDF version of this document here

For more detailed suggestions on how to buy a computer, how to protect your computer against viruses and purchasing new software, please visit the Personal Computers at Cal Maritime web page at http://www.csum.edu/web/faculty-and-staff/personal-computing-at-cal-maritime


Q: Should I purchase a new computer or use my current computer?

A: If you already own a computer, you can bring it to campus; just make sure it meets the Minimum Requirements For Windows-based Computers. If you decide you want to purchase a new computer, use the Recommended Computer Hardware Requirements as a guideline. Both requirements are listed below.

Q: Where should I purchase my new computer?

A: You can purchase your computer from any dealer. Online computer makers like Dell and Gateway offer the chance to create your own custom computer, while chain stores like Best Buy, Fry's and Costco give you the opportunity to see the computer up-close and give it a test drive. Whatever option you choose, here are some things to consider and questions to ask your salesperson.

Whatever option you choose, here are some things to consider and questions to ask your salesperson:


Q: What type of warranty comes with the computer? Where do I take it for repairs and what is the average turnaround time? What type of technical support is included?

The Cal Maritime Information Technology Department will not service personally-owned computers. You are responsible for the configuration and repair of whatever computer you bring to campus. Research how current customers rate their overall customer service experience when they seek help.

Q: 64 bit or 32 bit Windows 7?
If you plan to use the most current hardware, peripherals and software packages, the faster 64 bit option is the way to go. However, if you need to access legacy items (old printers and scanners, software built for Windows 3.1 etc.) you might want to stick with the 32 bit version as these items may not work.


Q: What operating system and software applications come pre-installed on the computer?

A: If your new computer does not come with Microsoft Office, or any other software you plan to use on a regular basis, purchasing that software is an extra cost to be considered.

Q: Does the computer come with a manual and the original operating system CD's and disks? There may be a time where you need to re-install the original system software or programs that came pre-installed on your machine, so having the original media is very important!

Recommended Hardware Requirements

As you are probably already aware, there are two basic choices of computer platforms; Apple Mac OS X and Microsoft Windows XP or Windows 7.

Cal Maritime is primarily a Microsoft Windows environment and the computers available to students are Windows PCs. However, this does not preclude students from bringing a Mac if they so desire.

Microsoft Windows

Intel Dual Core processor running at 2.8GHz or faster, or Intel Pentium 4 running at 2.4GHZ or faster Windows: XP Professional or Windows Vista

  •  Windows 7
  • 4GB MB memory (RAM)
  • 250 GB hard drive with at least 10 GB free space
  • CD-RW Drive
  • 802.11b compatible Wireless Adapter required for notebooks. (If possible choose a Wireless Adapter that is also compatible with networks 802.11g and 802.11n networks )

Apple Macintosh

Intel Core Duo 2.0GHz or faster; or G4 or G5 running at 1.2 MHz or faster

  • Macintosh OS X 10.6
  • 2GB memory (RAM)
  • 250 GB hard drive with at least 10 GB free space
  • CD-RW Drive
  • AirPort Extreme Card (required for notebooks, optional for desktops)

Minimum Recommended Hardware Requirements

Microsoft Windows

Pentium D running at 900 MHZ or higher

Windows XP

  • 2 GB MB memory (RAM) or more
  • 60 GB hard drive with at least 1 GB free space
  • CD-RW Drive/DVD-RW drive
  • Ethernet Card installed
  • 802.11b compatible Wireless Adapter. Required for notebooks. Optional for Desktops. (If possible choose a Wireless Adapter that is 802.11b compatible AND compatible with 802.11g networks and higher)

Apple Macintosh

G4 running at 600 MHz or higher

  • Mac OS X 10.4
  • 2 GB memory (RAM)
  • 60 GB hard drive with at least 2 GB free space
  • CD-ROM drive
  • Built-in Ethernet
  • AirPort Card (Optional)

Network and Internet Access

All Cal Maritime Residence Hall rooms are equipped with Ethernet ports enabling students to access the Internet. If students plan to use their computers in their rooms, they must have a computer with an Ethernet card installed. Additionally, students must bring an Ethernet cable to connect their computers to the Ethernet ports in their room. The Ethernet cable should be a Category 5 (Cat5), 8 wire cable with RJ-45 plugs.

Wireless access in Cal Maritime residence halls, Library and classrooms is available.  Throughout campus there are various wireless hotspots where students can connect with their own notebooks or wireless devices.

On campus, students also can access the Cal Maritime network and Internet on computers located in the school computer labs, computers in the Center for Engagement, Teaching & Learning (CETL) as well as computers located in the Library. Upon arrival, students will be given specific instructions on how to connect to the Cal Maritime network.


Things you can do to protect your computer

  • Purchase a surge protector
  • Verify that your computer is covered in a homeowner's insurance policy. Cal Maritime is not responsible for any loss or damage to your computer
  • Make sure an up-to-date antivirus program is installed on your computer.
  • Periodically backup important data to a CD or to your flash drive
  • Enable Automatic Software Updating on your computer

Important Extra Items

Here are a few additional items students find helpful to bring to campus:

  • USB flash drive with a minimum of 4GB of space. If possible, purchase a flash drive with file encryption capability. The larger Portable USB external hard drives, with 250GB of space or more, can be had for under $90.
  • Category 5 (Cat5), 8 wire Ethernet cable with RJ-45 plugs. 10 ft or longer
  • Blank CD-RW CDs or DVDs

IT Help Desk

If you have any further questions about computing at Cal Maritime, please do not hesitate to contact the IT Help Desk.

Download PDF version of this document

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