Information Technology Services > Procedures > Computer Recommendations and Replacements


ITS Recommendations for Computer Purchases and Replacements (Last Updated: December 16, 2020 12:20 PM )

Opinions vary regarding how frequently computing resources should be replaced. Generally, there are many factors that determine this and available funding is certainly a key consideration. New River strives to replace computers using an eight-year replacement cycle.  Rather than simply using the purchase date as the basis for the replacement decision (because computers purchased on any particular date may vary significantly in performance), there are essentially three primary factors we use to determine when a computer should be replaced.  Those factors are:

  1. CPU Speed
  2. RAM
  3. Storage

These recommendations apply not only to New River-purchased equipment, but also to recommendations for employees and students who purchase their own personal computers. 

To determine if you should be replacing an existing computer you should look at Row 1. To determine the type of computer you should currently be purchasing you should look at Row 2. While no one can accurately predict future events, this table provides a reasonable estimate and should effectively guide computer purchasing and replacement decisions.  This information is updated periodically.

Row Status

When Purchased

Computer Type CPU Speed RAM Storage Display
1 Now replacing.
2012 and earlier
Laptop < 1.8 Ghz Duo < 2.0 GB < 80 GB 15" LCD
Desktop < 2.0 Ghz Duo < 2.0 GB

< 140 GB

19” LCD

2 Now purchasing.
Laptop 2.6 Ghz 6-core i7 16.0 GB 256 GB SSD 15" LCD

3.0-4.8 Ghz 8-core i7

16.0 GB

256 GB SSD

22” LCD


  1. Yellow (Row 2 above) indicates the current configuration for new computer purchases.
  2. Any new computer purchase should include a gigabit ethernet card as well as a built-in webcam, Bluetooth, USB headset with microphone. Laptop purchases should additionally include a carrying case and a wireless network adapter.
  3. Laptop specifications (CPU, RAM, Storage, Display) are typically lower than desktops and laptops are more prone to damage and theft with perhaps a shorter life cycle as a result.
  4. Removable media drives are recommended which currently include CD/DVD-RW. USB flash drives are recommended for users to easily transport copies of their files. Storage space in OneDrive is available to all users with 1TB each.
  5. Processor speeds are in Ghz and include number of processors (Duo, Quad, 6-core, or 8-core). Currently, we purchase i7 processors with 6-core for laptops and 8-core for desktops.


Computer Purchasing Recommendations

To determine the configuration of a new computer please refer to ROW 2 above.


Computer Replacements and Minimum Configurations

To determine the minimum configuration of an older computer that you might want to replace refer to ROW 1 above.



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Email: | Phone: 304-929-6725 | 280 University Drive, Beaver, WV 25813-8987 | Updated: December 16, 2020