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Technology Requirements for Academic Programs

Hardware needs vary greatly depending on a student's chosen major. The hardware needs of an Architecture student are far greater than the hardware needs of a Writing student. If a student knows their intended major, they should check the recommended bundle for their major. Recommended systems should be considered minimums.


Technology Requirements for Majors

The following programs have specific laptop requirements:

  • Animation
  • Architecture (BArch, MArch)
  • Comics (MFA)
  • Design (MFA)
  • Design Strategy (MBA)
  • Film (BFA, MFA)
  • Graphic Design
  • Illustration
  • Industrial Design
  • Interaction Design (MFA, MDes)
  • Interior Design

ANIMATION

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

Recommended technology for fall 2020:

External Storage Device

All students in the BFA Animation Program classes are required to own one external storage drives with the following minimum specifications:

  • External Drive
    1TB or larger capacity
    7200 RPM or Solid-state Drive (SSD)
    USB 3.0 with USB-C adapter, or straight USB-C connection

ARCHITECTURE + INTERIOR DESIGN

Architecture (BArch, MArch, MAAD) and Interior Design majors must consider curriculum-required software in the selection of a Mac vs. Windows laptop.

Please note:

  • Some required software in the Architecture and Interior Design curriculums are only available for Windows (e.g. AutoCAD and Rhino).
  • Mac OS X and Windows can be run on a Mac using Apple’s Boot Camp. Be sure your Mac has enough space available for a dedicated Windows partition.
  • 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.

Please be aware of the minimum system requirements for a laptop:

PC Recommended Specs

  • 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
  • RAM: 32GB RAM  (64GB Preferred)
  • 1TB or larger Solid-state drive (SSD)

Examples:

Lenovo ThinkPad P Series Mobile Workstations

Dell XPS 15 Precision Mobile Workstations

Mac Recommended Specs

  • 15 or 16 inch screen
  • Matte/non-glare screen surface recommended
  • OS: Mac OS X 10.13.6 or later
  • CPU: Intel Core i7 or AMD processor, 3.2 GHz or faster
  • GPU: AMD Radeon Vega series card or higher
  • RAM: 32GB RAM  (64GB Preferred)  

Visit CCA/Apple Education Store for discounts. (The bundle for Animation or Film will be appropriate)

Software

The Architecture and Interior Design programs use a core group of software. Much of this software is free or heavily discounted for CCA students. Learn more here. Please visit the following sites to get a sense of the costs for the core software used in the programs. Use your CCA email address to create an account to download Autodesk required software (free).


INDUSTRIAL DESIGN

Industrial Design majors must consider workflow and curriculum-required software in the selection of a Mac vs. Windows laptop. We recommend that you purchase the hardware for the operating system you plan to primarily use in your workflow.

  • Some required software in the Architecture, Industrial Design, and Interior Design curriculums are only available for Windows (e.g. AutoCAD and Rhino).
  • Virtualization software such as Parallels or VMWare are NOT recommended.
  • Mac OS X and Windows can be run on a Mac using Apple’s Boot Camp. Be sure your Mac has enough space available for a dedicated Windows partition.
  • As some classes require the use of computers in-class, do not purchase a desktop computer.

Mac Recommended Specs

  • 15 or 16 inch screen
  • Matte/non-glare screen surface recommended
  • OS: Mac OS X 10.13.6 or later
  • CPU: Intel Core i7 or AMD processor, 3.2 GHz or faster
  • GPU: AMD Radeon Vega series card or higher
  • RAM: 32GB RAM  (64GB Preferred)  

Visit CCA/Apple Education Store for discounts. (The bundle for Animation or Film will be appropriate)

If you choose not to purchase one of the recommended Mac laptops, please be aware of the minimum system requirements for a laptop:

  • Windows 10
    15 inch screen, UHD (3840x2160) resolution
    Quad-core Intel Core i7 or better
    Minimum 16 GB RAM
    512GB or larger Solid-state drive (SSD)
    Graphics card with at least 2GB of memory
    Matte/non-glare screen surface recommended


COMICS + DESIGN + GRAPHIC DESIGN + ILLUSTRATION + INTERACTION DESIGN

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

  • Apple MacBook Pro 16-inch, Retina Display
    2.6GHz 6‑core Intel Core i7 processor
    16GB RAM
    Minimum 512GB Solid-state Drive (SSD)
    Purchase at CCA / Apple Online Store Bundles (see Recommended System No. 3)

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.


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 MacBook Pro 16"
    Intel Core i7 or i9 six- or eight-core processor
    Minimum Processor speed 2.6GHz
    Minimum TurboBoost speed 4.5GHz
    Minimum 16GB RAM
    512GB Internal Solid State drive for system and applications
    Internal AMD Graphics with at least 4GB
    Purchase minimum specifications laptop at CCA / Apple Online Store Bundles (see Recommended System No. 4)

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
  • 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 All Other Majors Not Listed Above, (Minimum Requirement)

Digital literacy is essential to art & design education. CCA requires that incoming 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 fall 2020:

  • Apple MacBook Pro 13-inch, Retina display
    2.3GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 processor
    16 GB RAM
    516 GB SSD storage
    Four Thunderbolt 3 ports
    AppleCare+ for Mac
    Purchase at CCA / Apple Online Store Bundles (see Recommended System No. 1)

Software Requirements

External Storage Device

All CCA first-year 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. The drive will continue to be a valuable resource as a backup drive or expanded storage drive after the completion of the first year of instruction.

  • External storage device:
    Connects via USB
    1 TB (Terabyte) minimum storage space
  • Recommended external storage devices:
    LaCie Mobile SSD High-Performance External Drive, purchase at CCA/Apple online store.

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.