Q: Best Laptop for CSCE Major?
Answer: If you have a big enough budget, buy something that will hold up both physically and in terms of power for 3 or more years!
For example, Dell’s XPS and Latitude series of laptops offer better build quality than their Inspiron series. Apple MacBook Pros usually have more RAM/storage/processor speed than their MacBook and MacBook Air series. So, while any of these will work, some will easily last longer and others will show their age before you graduate. If you have only a laptop, and no desktop system as well, you would do well to invest in plenty of RAM, storage, etc., and have a good data backup system in place.
Specs to consider in the following order: (from most important to least)
- Plenty of RAM. 8gb is enough for now but 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 on a per gb of storage, but they are faster, help with battery life, and hold up better to rough handling.
- An i7 Processor type series is best for speed and power. An i5 processor is almost as good for most work and will save money and battery use, but they don’t do virtualization as well. 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 and Apple OS X systems, but a significant minority run a variant of Linux (Ubuntu/Mint/Arch/Red Hat, etc.) 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.