I will discuss the online sources that I recommend for buying a home computer for CAD and GIS  used in my classes.

My recommendations are discussed here my website:

-1-  Mac – Directly from Apple Online or locally from The Orchard, and Best Buy.

-2- Windows – Dell Refurbished

I teach using the Windows AutoCAD so if you get a Mac, you will have to use a different interface. I teach using text commands and not the interface so using a Mac will take some getting used to.

It is important to keep in mind that AutoCAD Mac and AutoCAD Windows are free to students for three years and maybe renewable after that for free depending on your access to an educational email address and ID. You must setup an AutoDesk account using your SLCC student email  account to download and install the software.

Note, however, that ESRI home license software cost $100/year for Arc Map for non-commercial purposes. ESRI only runs within windows; so to run Arc Map on a Mac, you have to buy Parallels or use the native Apple Application (Boot camp) to emulate windows.




If you buy a regular windows computer, I recommend that you buy a Dell refurbished. I have bought computers from this site. They are not stylish, but they are reliable machines. They are usually and typically advertised individually!!! When one computer comes for sale, then it is unique. They are snapped up very fast so you have buy right away.

The best computer for the lowest price are these refurbished Dell. Buy one of these if you cannot afford a Mac or you just don’t like Macs.

Again, this is a tricky place to go and get a computer so I recommend that I give you a quick start overview of what to watch for before you buy.

The two links below may be dead because I copied them on the night of January 14, 2019. I have copied the specs below for future reference.

Here are good examples of what and where to buy for an education CAD and GIS computer.  The cost $450 as of July, 2020 This is a very good price for a computer that will run Autocad and Arc Map with middle size files. If it bogs down with huge files on AutoCAD and ESRI, you can turn off some layers and it will run okay.

Here are the specs of a computer selling for about $450 on the Dell Refurbished site as of July, 2020.

Dell Outlet Inspiron 3671 Desktop
Intel Core 9th Generation i5-9400 Processor
(6 Core, Up to 4.10GHz, 9MB Cache, 65W)
Windows 10 Home
1TB 3.5inch SATA Hard Drive (7200 RPM)
8GB (1x8GB) 2666MHz DDR4 UDIMM Non-ECC
Intel Integrated Graphics


Here is link to monitors on the Dell refurbish website for less than $100, again a very good deal. The cost as of July, 2020 for a 19 inch monitor is about $65. 

The Dell refurbished keyboards and mice are at this link: A wireless keyboard and mouse is less than $30 as of Jeuy, 2020.