Q: Best Laptop for CSCE Major?
Answer: If you have the budget, buy something that will hold up both physically and in terms of power for 3 or more years!
For example, Dell’s Latitude series offers better build quality than their Inspiron series. Likewise, Apple MacBook Pros usually offer more RAM/storage/processor speed than their MacBook Air series. So, while any of these will work, some will easily last and others will show their age before you graduate. Also, if you have only the laptop, and no desktop system as well, you may want to be sure it has plenty of RAM, storage, etc.
Specs to consider in the following order: (most important to least)
- Plenty of RAM. 8gb is enough for now but only barely. If the laptop RAM is not upgradable, get 16gb.
- HDD (Hard Disk Drive) vs SSD (Solid State Drive): For speed and battery life, get an SSD, not a HDD. These are more expensive per gb of storage, but they are faster, help with battery life, and hold up well to rough handling of laptop.
- An i7 Processor type series is best for speed and power, but i5 series can be almost as good for most work and will save money and battery use. Unless you must have the fastest, don’t worry about clock speed of the processor.
- Warranty. A 3 year warranty is pretty smart to have. Unless you can be sure you’re perfectly careful, it can save a lot of grief later. Remember, even if you’re careful, the person sitting next to you may not be.
- Operating System. Most of our students have Windows 10, Apple OS X, and Ubuntu/Mint/Arch are, in that order, the most common in our major and ALL are good for getting work done. What you can’t do with a particular OS, you can always accomplish by adding software (or a virtual machine), by making your system dual-boot, or by using one of the student lab PCs CSCE provides for you.