Computers for Incoming Students FAQ

Q) What kind of computer do I need?
A) Every department has different requirements. Students will need a computer with at least an Intel i5 or better, 16GB of RAM, and a 256 GB solid state drive. Some majors have very specific requirements, so check with your advisor or department for details. Please visit for more details on computer requirements.

Q) How are your prices compared to other companies?
A) Most of our computers are available at lower than standard educational pricing that we have negotiated with the chosen vendors. This can mean a savings of several hundred dollars! We offer value-added options like accidental damage protection and priority service with local, certified technicians.

Q) Can't I just get a $500 laptop directly from a manufacturer?
A) Purchasing low-end standard consumer models is discouraged for new students for several reasons:
  1.       a. They do not meet university standard computer requirements, and may not run the required programs effectively.
  2.       b. They are made with desktop or budget parts with a higher fail rate than the business class models for which we negotiate educational pricing.
  3.       c. You will need your computer every day, and need it to last the 4-6 years you are here as a student. A consumer grade computer is only set to last 2-3 years versus the business class models.

And, we service every business class computer we sell on the terms of the manufacturer’s warranty, giving you access to local repairs.

Q) What does “Priority Service” mean?
A)When you purchase a new computer through our technology stores at University Bookstore, Hokie Centric, and Volume Two, it allows students to:
  1.       a. Request a loaner* laptop when submitting a computer for repair. Loaners are typically given after a diagnostic is finished and an estimated time of repair is determined.
  2.       b. Receive reduced rates on non-warranty repairs and service.
  3.       c. Have their units diagnosed before individuals who did not purchase through the bookstore locations.

  4. *Loaners are first come, first served.

Q) What technology hardware do I need on my first day of school?
A) Past checking your individual department’s computer requirements, there are some basic needs for which to prepare:
  1.       a. A laptop computer
  2.       b. A backup solution—i.e. external hard drive
  3.       c. A flash drive
  4.       d. A 3 or 4 year warranty with accidental damage coverage
  5.       e. A surge protector

Q) What other protection can I get for my laptop?
A) Protection is very important to us as it will help keep your unit and data safe. We will have the following security solutions available:
  1.       a. Lojack
  2.       b. Yubikey
  3.       c. Laptop locks
  4.       d. Hard shell/Soft cases

Q) Why do I need a laptop backpack?
A) A laptop backpack has a special sleeve specifically for a laptop, in addition to its normal pouches and compartments. This is essential for students at Virginia Tech because the padded sleeves help to protect the computer during travel. A computer in a normal backpack will jostle and could become damaged or may even lose data if the computer is asleep! A backpack with a built-in padded computer sleeve will solve that problem. Be sure to get one with plenty of padding on the bottom in case you accidentally drop your backpack once you get to class.

Q) What software will I need on my first day of school?
A) As a freshman, you receive your incoming student software bundle (includes operating system upgrades and Microsoft Office) at the end of summer orientation. The incoming software bundle is paid for through your tuition through Software Distribution in Torgersen Hall. So be mindful before buying software from other stores.
For more information on software, please visit

Q) How does ordering a computer work? Will you have stock during orientation?
A) You can order with our order center via telephone (540-315-1991) or online at your convenience. You can pay in full to have the unit reserved for shipping or in-store pick-up. You may also reserve the computer with at least a $200 deposit and pay the remaining balance at pick-up during orientation or August move-in.

We will have some stock for general purchase before and during orientation but, it is best to reserve your computer as soon as possible to ensure that you have it before classes, and while supplies last.

Q) Do you offer a payment plan?
A) We offer a Technology Payment Plan which operates as follows:
  1.       a. Pay the fall semester with half the price of the computer plus $100 administrative fee at the time of pickup.
  2.       b. Pay the spring semester with half the price of the computer plus a $100 administrative fee by the contract due date during exam week in December.

Q) Can I use my scholarship money or financial aid to pay for my computer?
A) A) We have no way of accessing scholarship funds or financial aid accounts currently. You will need to have your scholarship association or financial aid office write you a check or reimburse you for the amount of the computer and electronics approved for purchase. These offices typically estimate $2,500 to help pay for the purchase of a computer. For further details, contact the University Scholarships and Financial Aid offices.

Q) Can I upgrade a computer in a bundle? Can I increase the RAM or HD capacity?
A)We are happy to place custom computer orders. Doing so will increase the cost, and take additional time. Therefore this type of order would need to be placed well before you expect to receive it (i.e., orientation versus fall move-in). Custom orders are not available from all manufacturers. Payment for custom orders must be made in full at the time of the order. In terms of RAM, we are happy to order and even install it for you for free!

Q) I've placed my order online, but I haven't been charged yet. When will I be charged for the computer?
A) Please allow 72 hours for order processing for both computer deposit orders as well as full payment orders. Even though it only takes a minimum of $200 to reserve and place your computer order, full payment is required before shipping or computer pickup.