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Program Technology Requirements

Last updated on Apr 22, 2022

Student computer and external storage requirements by program


Technology Requirements for Majors


ANIMATION + GAME ARTS

The following minimum recommendation is for Animation and Game Arts students and students working extensively with digital image creation:

Recommended (minimum) technology for 2022:

  • Apple 16-inch MacBook Pro M1 chip with 10-core CPU
    16-core GPU, 16-core Neural Engine
    Minimum 16GB unified memory
    Minimum 512GB SSD storage
    Liquid Retina XDR display
    Three Thunderbolt 4 ports, HDMI port, SDXC card slot, MagSafe 3 port
    Purchase here: CCA / Apple Online Store Bundles (see Recommended System No. 2)

Curriculum is designed for Macs, but if you prefer to use a PC, please see the following minimum specifications:

  • i7 or higher Intel processor
    16GB RAM
    1TB Hard Drive
    6GB Graphics Card (for further information on graphics cards, refer to this Autodesk Maya resource)

Example / purchasing link: Dell G15 Gaming Laptop

Peripherals

External Storage Device

All students in the BFA Animation and Game Arts program classes are required to own one or more external storage drives with the following minimum specifications:

  • External Drive
    2TB or larger capacity
    7200 RPM or Solid-state Drive (SSD)
    USB 3.0 with USB-C adapter, or straight USB-C connection

Example / purchasing link: SanDisk Professional G-DRIVE ArmorATD - hard drive - 4 TB - USB 3.1 Gen 1


ARCHITECTURE + INTERIOR DESIGN

Architecture (BArch, MArch, MAAD) and Interior Design recommend a Windows laptop, as some required software in the Architecture and Interior Design curriculums are only available for Windows (e.g. AutoCAD and Rhino). Virtualization software such as Parallels or VMWare are NOT recommended. As some classes require the use of computers in-class, DO NOT purchase a desktop computer.


PC Recommended Specs for 2022 (
Please be aware of the minimum system requirements for a laptop):

  • 15 or 16 inch screen
  • Matte/non-glare screen surface recommended
  • OS: Windows 10 64-bit
  • CPU: Quad-core Intel or AMD, 4.5 GHz or faster
  • GPU: Graphics card with at least 2GB of memory (NVIDA preferred)
  • RAM: 32GB RAM  (64GB Preferred)
  • 1TB or larger Solid-state drive (SSD)

Software

The Architecture and Interior Design programs use a core group of software: Autodesk (AutoCAD, 3DS Max, Revit), Rhino (CAM, Vray), Adobe Creative Cloud, ArcGIS, Lumion, and Enscape 3D. Much of this software is free or heavily discounted for CCA students. Learn more at: Creative Software.


External Storage Device
Connects via USB
1 TB (Terabyte) minimum storage space

Recommended: LaCie Mobile SSD High-Performance External Drive, for purchase at CCA/Apple online store (see Systems No. 3 & 4)


COMICS

The MFA in Comics program requires a desktop computer, laptop, tablet or a mobile computing device that can run the following digital platforms: Adobe Photoshop, Moodle, Mural, and Zoom.

  • In addition, students must be able to produce high quality digital reproductions of their comics work via flatbed scanners or digital cameras for sharing across platforms.
  • CCA students are eligible for educational pricing plus discounts on AppleCare and some MacBook Pro models at the CCA / Apple Online Store

External Storage Device
Connects via USB
1 TB (Terabyte) minimum storage space

Recommended: LaCie Mobile SSD High-Performance External Drive, for purchase at CCA/Apple online store (see Systems No. 3 & 4)


INDUSTRIAL DESIGN

Industrial Design recommends majors purchase a Windows PC laptop as some curriculum-required software (e.g. SolidWorks) are built to run on Windows. As some classes require the use of computers in-class, do NOT purchase a desktop computer.

No Mac Recommended Specs for 2022
All the newly released MacBook Pros, outfitted with the M1 chip will only run macOS natively. Additionally, virtualization software such as Bootcamp will not work on the M1 as it requires the Intel processor.

Recommended (minimum) technology for 2022:

  • Processor: Intel Core i7 3.3GHz (or faster), Xeon or equivalent AMD
    Screen: 15 inch, UHD (3840x2160) resolution, Matte/non-glare surface
    Operating System: Windows 10
    Hard Drive: Solid State Drive (SSD) 512GB + Additional HD 1TB and up
    Memory/RAM: 16GB minimum (32GB preferred)
    Graphics card: NVIDIA Quadro P2200 minimum or NVIDIA Quadro RTX 4000

Examples / purchasing links: Dell Precision 3561 Workstation , Dell Precision 5760 Workstation (currently out of stock)


External Storage Device

  • 1TB or larger capacity
    7200 RPM or Solid-state Drive (SSD)
    Connects via USB

Example / purchasing link: Samsung Portable SSD T7 MU-PC1T0T - solid state drive - 1 TB - USB 3.2 Gen


DESIGN + GRAPHIC DESIGN + ILLUSTRATION

The following minimum requirement is for Comics (MFA), Design (MFA), Graphic Design, and Illustration students and students working extensively with digital image creation:

  • Apple 16-inch MacBook Pro M1 chip with 10-core CPU
    16-core GPU, 16-core Neural Engine
    Minimum 16GB unified memory
    Minimum 512GB SSD storage
    Liquid Retina XDR display
    Three Thunderbolt 4 ports, HDMI port, SDXC card slot, MagSafe 3 port
    Purchase here: CCA / Apple Online Store Bundles (see Recommended System No. 2)

External Storage Device
Connects via USB
1 TB (Terabyte) minimum storage space

Recommended: LaCie Mobile SSD High-Performance External Drive, for purchase at CCA/Apple online store (see Systems No. 3 & 4)


INTERACTION DESIGN

The following minimum recommendation is for Interaction Design undergraduate students:

Recommended model for 2022:

  • Apple 13-inch MacBook Pro M1 chip with 8-core CPU
    8-core GPU, 16-core Neural Engine
    Minimum 16GB Unified Memory
    Minimum 512 GB SSD storage
    Retina display with True Tone
    2 Thunderbolt, USB 4 ports
    Purchase here: CCA / Apple Online Store Bundles (see Recommended System No. 1)

External Storage Device

All CCA students are required to own an external storage device for saving coursework and backups of digital work. When working with high-resolution image files, motion graphics, and video files, a great deal of data storage space is needed.

External storage device:
Connects via USB
1 TB (Terabyte) minimum storage space

Recommended: LaCie Mobile SSD High-Performance External Drive, for purchase at CCA/Apple online store (see Systems No. 3 & 4)


INTERACTION DESIGN (MDes)

The MDes program is hardware and software agnostic. Students can opt to use a portable laptop, tablet, or desktop. Most assignments can be completed with access to a modern web browser capable of running applications such as Figma, Adobe XD, Miro, Mural, Google Slides, or Slido. Some prototyping software (such as Unreal Engine) will require 16gb RAM. Although it dominates the creative industry, Apple products are not a requirement; that said, we have partnered with Apple to offer hardware and peripherals with student discounts, available at the CCA / Apple Online Store.


DESIGN STRATEGY

The MBA in Design Strategy Program requires a laptop such as a MacBook Air or a mobile computing device such as a tablet. Students can opt to use an iPad or similar tablet while attending residencies if they have access to another computer at home or work. We have partnered with Apple to offer laptops and peripherals that meet our technology requirements. CCA students are eligible for educational pricing plus discounts on AppleCare and some MacBook Pro models at the CCA / Apple Online Store.

External Storage Device
Connects via USB
1 TB (Terabyte) minimum storage space

Recommended: LaCie Mobile SSD High-Performance External Drive, for purchase at CCA/Apple online store (see Systems No. 3 & 4)


FILM

The following minimum requirement is for BFA and MFA Film students, and students working extensively with digital video and audio. Note that MFA Film students are required to own a laptop with these minimum specifications.

  • Apple 16-inch MacBook Pro M1 chip with 10-core CPU
    16-core GPU, 16-core Neural Engine
    Minimum 16GB unified memory
    Minimum 512GB SSD storage
    Liquid Retina XDR display
    Three Thunderbolt 4 ports, HDMI port, SDXC card slot, MagSafe 3 port
    Purchase here: CCA / Apple Online Store Bundles (see Recommended System No. 2)

External Storage Device Requirement

All students in BFA and MFA Film Program classes are required to own two external storage drives - one for use as a media drive, and one to backup that drive. Minimum drive specifications are listed below.

  • External Drive
    1TB or larger capacity
    Solid-state Drive (SSD)
    Minimum USB3 or Thunderbolt 3 connection

Recommended: LaCie Mobile SSD High-Performance External Drive, for purchase at CCA/Apple online store (see Systems No. 3 & 4)

  • Backup Drive
    Must be the same capacity, but if necessary can be a mechanical (spinning) drive with a minimum speed of 7200RPM. Note that a mechanical drive will significantly lengthen recovery and rendering times in the event of a crash or lost work, and may not be capable of editing your work in real time: SSD drives are always the first choice.

Equivalent Windows Systems While PC / Windows OS Systems may be used, the Film Program recommends Apple machines for purposes of instruction compatibility and interoperability with other CCA equipment. You should expect to be fully self-supporting if you choose to work with a Windows system: instruction is always done using Mac systems. A Windows laptop substituting for the required Apple laptops must have equivalent performance in all areas to the Apple specifications given above. Windows machines must be capable of running Adobe Premiere, After Effects, Audition, DaVinci Resolve, and ProTools.External drive requirements are the same as those given above.


FIRST YEAR and CCA Laptop Requirement

CCA requires that all students own a laptop that meets the minimum system requirements for software commonly used across the curriculum. This requirement will help ensure that all students have access to the college’s digital resources at home or on campus.

Recommended model for 2022:

  • Apple 13-inch MacBook Pro M1 chip with 8-core CPU
    8-core GPU, 16-core Neural Engine
    Minimum 16GB Unified Memory
    Minimum 512 GB SSD storage
    Retina display with True Tone
    2 Thunderbolt, USB 4 ports
    Purchase here: CCA / Apple Online Store Bundles (see Recommended System No. 1)

Software Requirements

External Storage Device

All CCA students are required to own an external storage device for saving coursework and backups of digital work. When working with high-resolution image files, motion graphics, and video files, a great deal of data storage space is needed.

External storage device:
Connects via USB
1 TB (Terabyte) minimum storage space

Recommended: LaCie Mobile SSD High-Performance External Drive, for purchase at CCA/Apple online store (see Systems No. 3 & 4)


Purchasing Information

We have partnered with Apple to offer laptops and peripherals that meet our technology requirements. CCA faculty, staff, and students are eligible for educational pricing plus discounts on AppleCare and some MacBook Pro models at the CCA / Apple online store. By purchasing through our online store you will help contribute to the support of student technology at CCA.

CCA strongly recommends the purchasing of appropriate warranty and support plans AppleCare for Mac for all computer purchases.


Insurance for Student-Owned Technology

We strongly recommend that you purchase insurance to protect against loss, theft or damage. Therefore, we urge all families to contact their insurance agent and check their homeowners or renters insurance policy to see if it provides such coverage; and to consider obtaining personal property coverage if it does not. For more information, please visit www.collegestudentinsurance.com.

Please note that CCA is not affiliated with or endorse individual insurance vendors or their products.


Support for Student Owned Laptops

Our Help Desk and User Support Specialists are available to help you with troubleshooting assistance and limited support for student-owned laptops. Please call or submit a ticket online to make an appointment with User Support:

Phone: 510-594-5010 (Monday-Friday, 9 am-5 pm)
Email: helpdesk@cca.edu
Online: Submit Help Desk Ticket

For hardware issues, contact the Apple Store. User Support is happy to help refer you if you are unsure what kind of support you need.