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Your Digital Equipment

Suggested Hardware Specification

If you are looking to purchase a device prior to starting your studies at Durham University, we have provided hardware specifications below. This is reviewed annually and is in-line with the University computer classroom equipment.

Our recommendation is for a laptop to support flexibility in learning and working and for a built-in webcam, microphone and speakers.

  • Processor:
    • Modern Intel i5/i7, AMD Ryzen 5, Apple M1
  • Operating System:
    • Windows 11 and the latest Apple macOS
  • Display resolution:
    • 1920x1080 or higher
  • Memory:
    • 8GB or higher
  • Storage:
    • 256GB SSD or higher

Your Current Device

If you have an existing device, you can determine its suitability via a benchmark test using the following website: You can type in the details of your current processor (guidance for Windows and Apple MacOS below) or download a tool. A benchmark score of approximately 7,000 is the target pass mark.


Identify the processor in Windows 10/11

  • Click the magnifying glass icon in the start bar (bottom left of your screen)
  • Search for System Properties
  • The processor will be shown under Device Specifications

Identify the processor in MacOS

  • Click the magnifying glass in the top right corner of your screen.
  • Use spotlight to search for the Terminal application and run: sysctl -n machdep.cpu.brand_string ,
  • This will return the detail of the installed processor.
  • See this page for the latest macOS.

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Financial Support

A range of financial support measures are in place to assist students in the costs of attending Durham University. There is specific funding in place to support qualifying students with loan laptops that meet the suggested specification. All students can benefit from special prices on new devices.

You may be eligible for a loan machine if you do not have individual access to a computer that meets the suggested specification of the University and if your household income is within the assessment criteria in the academic year you apply for the loan machine.

Eligibility criteria Undergraduate

If your assessed household income by the statutory student funding body of your home nation (England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland) is less than £42,875 you should be eligible. You will know if you meet this threshold if you are in receipt of a Durham Grant

Eligibility for the Durham Grant Scheme is assessed on an annual basis, when you apply for student loans, if you applied for a loan machine in a year you were eligible, BUT THAT you do not retain eligibility for a full Durham Grant in subsequent years, this WILL NOT affect your on-going loan of a computer, which you can retain until you are required to return it at the end of your undergraduate studies. The 4th year of an integrated Masters (e.g. M.Sci.) is still classed as undergraduate study.

The scheme is open to all home undergraduate students, not just 1st year home undergraduate applicants, who meet the above criteria. If you do not meet the criteria, there are other ways you can access IT equipment (see below).

Postgraduate Taught Masters

Home Postgraduate Taught Masters Students who had a household income of less than £42,875 in their final year of Undergraduate study would be eligible for a loan laptop, and would be expected to provide a copy the student funding letter from their last year of undergraduate study, as in most cases this can be used to determine household income. If you no-longer have the physical hard-copy you may have electronic versions in your email, or should be able to access from your Student Loans Company account.

Estranged Students

If you are considered an estranged student then you may be eligible for this scheme. Your application will be validated by the appropriate team within student support services and you should upload evidence of this status as part of your application.

Care Leavers

Students who were in care prior to university may be eligible for this scheme. If we do not have data held in the student Records System to support your claim, you will need to provide evidence to support your application and it will need to be validated by the appropriate team within student support services.

Notes on the scheme

The scheme does not include Postgraduate Research students, and we do not have a mechanism for determining the household income of overseas students.


If you believe that you meet the eligibility criteria above, please make a request for a device via the IT Service Desk.

Other means of accessing equipment

The University does offer a library laptop loan scheme where laptops can be borrowed for use within the Library.

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New IT equipment for personal use

CIS has partnered with numerous PC manufacturers and resellers to provide you with access to discounted IT hardware. For all the sites listed, you'll need to register with your Durham e-mail address for access.

Retail and Enterprise products for private purchases at competitive rates. Available to both staff and students.

Apple hardware (Macs, iPads, etc.) at below standard Educational discount prices.

Retail and Enterprise products for private purchases at competitive rates. Not got your Durham email address yet? E-mail

Retail and Enterprise products for private purchases at competitive rates. Available to both staff and students.

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Recycled equipment for personal use

University staff and students can also purchase refurbished IT at discounted prices through its contracted recycling partner. 

Stone Computers

CIS recycle all IT equipment through Stone Computers, who provide robust, accredited secure handling and data sanitisation services. IT disposal through Stone is conducted in an environmentally and socially responsible manner. Compliance and effectiveness of the Stone IT asset disposal service has been continuously maintained to meet the ADISA standard, achieving the certification level ‘Distinction’.

To recycle IT equipment, staff members should first contact the IT Service Desk and the request will be handled according to an agreed process between CIS and Stone.

All data-bearing IT that is processed by Stone is either securely erased or destroyed.


Buying a recycled PC

Staff and students can purchase refurbished IT equipment, including laptops, desktops, and iPads previously used within the University through Stone's Refurb portal at a discounted price. For a further 12.5% discount use the code SRUDR-Q3202012 upon checkout.