Quick Links

Computer-buying FAQ

1) Where can I buy a computer?

  • The McGill Computer Store
    Located on the second floor of the McGill Bookstore, 3420 McTavish Street, the McGill Computer Store (MCS) is owned and operated by McGill University. It supplies computer equipment and software to McGill staff, students and departments as well as the affiliated teaching hospitals. As an educational reseller, the MCS offers a variety of software and hardware products at special discount prices. For more information, visit their website.
  • Off Campus Retailers
    In addition to the computer store on campus, there are a number of stores that sell computers located near both campuses. You can find their locations here.

2) Laptop vs. Desktop?

McGill does not have an official policy on the type of computer students should have. It really depends on your personal preference, and how you see yourself using your computer over the course of your university career.

If you prefer to type course notes during class, or like to use your computer around campus, then a laptop might be a better choice for you.

Another benefit to having a laptop computer is that McGill University’s Network and Communication Services has built and is continuing to expand a Wireless Network across campus. By logging on to the network, students can access the Internet, email, and McGill databases from any place on campus covered by the network.

One downside to laptops is their limited battery life, which can be inconvenient if your laptop runs out of power during a lecture or an important assignment. Another is that laptops can easily be stolen, which can be disheartening and upsetting if your laptop contained all your course notes and assignments. Consider purchasing an external hard drive with your laptop to do regular back-ups.

While desktops don’t carry the same concerns about batteries and theft, they aren’t exactly mobile either! However, if you do choose to purchase a desktop, be assured that you can easily save files to a USB key for use on one of the many campus computers. Click here to find a computer on campus.

3) Mac vs. PC?

The majority of computers on campus are PC, so students with Macs may run into compatibility issues when transferring files to PCs or using McGill course websites (such as WebCT and COOL). However, they should in no way feel obliged to purchase a PC system.

4) Can I rent a computer from McGill?

McGill does not offer long-term computer rentals, however, one-day or weekend rentals are available from the ICS Audio-Visual counters. If you believe you will need a laptop computer for a project, be sure to reserve far in advance, as they only have a limited supply of computers available. Reservations must be made in person at either of the following locations:

  • Downtown campus
    ICS Audio-Visual
    688 Sherbrooke Street West, room 285
  • Macdonald Campus
    ICS Audio-Visual
    Macdonald Stewart Building, room MS2-030
    walk-in lab