By Nootan Kumar | Last updated October 23, 2018

I hope you’ll agree with me when I say: an engineer’s life is not possible without a good laptop… or is it?

Well, there is only a problem, finding the best laptops for computer science majors is not an easy job.

Most incoming computer science majors make the mistake of buying an overpowered laptop, and they may not find as useful.

Best Laptops For Computer Science Majors

To simplify this process, I visited Indian Institute of Technology New Delhi, with my friend Ranjeev. I want to tell you Ranjeev is a final year CS student when I am writing this post.

We talked with more than 251+ students to know exactly what they want in a laptop?

We asked some questions to all of the students.

For example –

  • Which software mostly they use?
  • What are the minimum requirements of that software?
  • Which OS is the convenient according to them?
  • Where they mostly use the laptops?
  • What is the ideal screen size according to their need?
  • How much battery-backup do they want?
  • Are they play games on notebooks? If yes then how much time they spend to play games?
  • Does a laptop’s weight important?

Finally, we came up with some interesting information through our research, I hope this will help to choose the best laptop for computer science majors.

If you go through this whole article, I promise you will definitely get your perfect laptop or at least you will be aware of the things, that are most recommended before choosing.

Best Laptops For Computer Science Majors

Besides our recommendation for the best laptops for computer science majors, this article will also tell you exactly, what specs you needed. If you finish this article, you won’t need to read elsewhere for more info.

For those who already know how much “horsepower” they need or simply don’t have enough time to read the whole article. They can go through our recommendation first. However, you can jump to our buyer’s guide section any time by sidebar or navigation link.

So, without further ado, here’s our list of the best laptops for computer science majors.

Top Rated Laptops For Computer Science Majors

Click on the Laptop’s name, to know more.

Name
Processor
Memory
Storage
Graphics

(Editor’s Choice)

Intel i7-7700HQ 

16GB DDR4

256 GB SSD

GeForce GTX 1060-6GB

Intel i7

16GB DDR4

1TB SSD

Intel Iris Plus 640

Intel Core i5 7200U

8GB DDR4

1TB

Intel HD Graphics 620

(Premium Choice)

Dual-core Intel Core i5

8 GB LPDDR3

256GB SSD

Intel Iris Graphics 550

Dual-Core i7-7500U

16GB DDR4

1TB SSD

 AMD Radeon R7-4GB

(Cheapest)

Intel Core i5 8250U

8GB DDR4

1TB + 128GB SSD

Intel UHD Graphics 620

i7 7700HQ | GTX 1060 6GB | 16GB | 15.6″ 1080P IPS Touch | 6h 40min Wi-Fi browsing | 256 GB SSD

The Acer Predator Helios 300 is one of the best laptops for computer science majors. This laptop comes with an i7 7700HQ processor, 16 GB of RAM and GTX 1060 6 GB graphics chip, so it is capable to handle any complex process and support high-end gaming. This laptop is slightly heavy, but there is no compromise in the performance, if you are looking for a programming laptop that should be capable to run games, then this laptops is most recommended.

Processor

Perfect! Intel i7-7700HQ processor mostly found in the high-performance laptops. And it can handle any type of work, I have a similar processor, and never find any problem till yet.

RAM

16GB DDR4 memory is enough for a heavy user.

Storage

The laptop comes with 256GB of SSD, that is good and enough for storing your windows, Linux, and your project’s files, and your software will perform well. But there is no HDD preinstalled. However, you can get Seagate Firecuda 2 TB SSHD, that you have to install by yourself. Once you have completed this, you will get the high-performance speedy storage of 2.25 TB.

Graphics

Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060-6GB is perfect for high-end gamers, you can play any game on the highest setting with amazing performance.

Battery

One of the few laptops that provides great performance while maintaining the good battery life.

Weight

Comparatively heavy with size comes with 5.95lbs/2.69kg, but it is a powerful desktop in the compact body, so it worth it.

Pros
  • Powerful Intel Core i7 7700HQ processor
  • 6 GB Nvidia GTX 1060 VR Ready graphics card, ideal for high-end gaming
  • 16 GB DDR4 provides the best performance
  • 15.6 inch full HD touchscreen, ensure the best viewing experience
  • PredatorSnese allows you to control system temperature, gaming feature along with CPU and system fan speed
  • USB Type-C supported along with USB 3.0 and USB 2.0
  • Windows 10 64-bit
  • Good battery life
  • Red backlit keyboard
  • Sturdy and reliable design with metal chassis
Cons
  • Slightly heavy

Intel Core i7 | Intel 640 | 16GB | 13.2″ 2736 x 1824 IPS Touch | 13h 30min Wi-Fi browsing | 1TB SSD

The Microsoft Surface Pro is also a good choice for computer science majors, that offers the powerful processor Intel Core i7, 16GB of RAM, 1TB SSD storage and great battery life. If you are looking for the most portable and high-performance laptop then Surface Pro is the perfect option. This laptop features a 12.3 inch touchscreen display and convertible design. It is available in different variants – you can choose between Intel Core M to Core i7,128 GB to 1TB of storage and 4GB to 16 GB of RAM.

Processor

Amazing! most efficient and energy-conservation Intel Core i7 processor provides the best performance. That can handle any type of heavy code and game.

RAM

Sufficient – 16 GB RAM is best for programming as well as for high-end gaming.

Storage

Capacious! you are getting 1 TB SSD storage, which provides the best performance and loading time. it will not take more than 3 seconds to show the desktop, that is really commendable.

Graphics

Inbuilt Intel Iris Plus Graphics 640, which provides stunning pictures quality, you can code seamlessly and also allows you to play some light games.

Battery

Great! the battery backup of this laptop is really great, that allows you to code up to 13.5 hours without interruption of the charging.

Weight

One of the lightest and powerful laptops ever made, weighted around 1.69 lbs.

Pros
  • Vivid and ultra-sharp display
  • Most convenient design, use as a Laptop or tablet
  • Powerful and efficient Intel Core i7 processor
  • Durable and reliable design
  • Sufficient amount of RAM – 16GB
  • 1TB of SSD ensure great performance
  • Excellent battery life of 13.5 Hours
  • Additionally, Surface Pen and Dial provided
  • Microsoft windows 10 with official Support
  • Most Lights weighted, easy to carry
Cons
  • Somewhat high price

i5 7200U | HD620 | 8GB | 15.6″ 720P HD Touch | 7h 30min Wi-Fi browsing | 1TB HDD

The HP Pavilion 15-CC510NR is the best entry-level laptop for computer science majors that is suitable for performing most of the task, and also allows you to play light games. The price is really good when we compare to its rivals, it provides more features than the higher price range laptops don’t have.

Processor

Intel Core i5 7200U is the best option in the mid-range processor for the laptops, that can perform most of the task easily. 

RAM

8GB DDR4, in this price range the memory is good and upgradable too if you ever need to in the future. However, you need to disassemble the whole laptop motherboard for changing the RAM.

Storage

1TB storage is sufficient for all your needs. Unfortunately, there is no SSD. But you can replace your HDD with SSD any time in the future.

Graphics

With the inbuilt Intel HD Graphics 620, you can play some older games without a problem.

Battery

Good, 7h 30min – when considering the price and other features the battery backup is really good.

Weight

Normal, 4 lbs/1.81 kg is the normal weight for any 15.6″ laptops.

Pros
  • Affordable
  • Good Intel Core i5 processor
  • Best battery life
  • 15.6″ touchscreen
  • Windows 10
  • 1 TB HDD
  • Dual audio speaker with B&O PLAY
  • Slim and lightweight design, easy to carry
Cons
  • No SSD provided
  • Only 8 GB of RAM provided. However, upgradeable
  • No dedicated graphics
  • Only HD resolution screen
  • No inbuilt DVDRW

Dual core i5 | Iris 550 | 8GB | 13.3″ Ratina | 6h Wi-Fi browsing | 256 GB SSD

The MacBook Pro 13 is one of the most efficient machines which can perform computer science task without any problem. This unit comes with high-speed SSD drive and 13.3″ sharp retina display, that is the perfect combination of the portability and performance.

Processor

Dual-core Intel Core i5 processor comes with an automatic frequency shifting, that normally works on the 1.2 GHz and whenever load increase it will automatically switch on the turbo mode (3.1GHz) without affecting your workflow. Apple did the great job in hardware utilization of the MacBook.

RAM

8GB ram is slightly low when compared to the other laptops.

Storage

256GB SSD works well with OS X and provides great performance.

Graphics

Intel Iris Graphics 550 is not too good but you can play some low graphics game without hassle.

Battery

One of the few laptops that able to maintain the battery life with the high performance.

Weight

Lightweight compact body design (3 lbs/1.3 kg).

Pros
  • Good Intel Core i5 processor
  • 13.3″ Retina ultra sharp display
  • Good RAM when considering the OS
  • Reliable and slim design
  • Lightweight easy to carry
  • Good battery life
  • Great OSX provide great performance
  • USB Type-C supported
Cons
  • Only 256 GB SSD provided
  • Somewhat costly

i7 7500U | Radeon R7 4GB | 16GB | 15.6″ 1080P IPS Touch | 5h  Wi-Fi browsing | 1 TB SSD

Dell Inspiron 15 comes with 1TB SSD that can provide faster performance and 4 GB Radeon graphics allow you to play most of the games easily. It is also a considerable option for CS students, that can bear the heavy task load easily.

Processor

Good! it is the latest version which comes with a Dual-Core i7-7500U, this 7th generation release is quite efficient, so there will be no compromise in the performance even when you work with your complex projects.

RAM

16GB DDR4 memory is perfect for all of the tasks.

Storage

1TB SSD is a solid implementation, that provides wonderful performance with high storage capacity.

Graphics

AMD Radeon R7-4GB graphics is a good option for playing most of the high graphics games.

Battery

Ok, about 5-hour battery life is not bad when considering the size and AMD graphics. and in the 21st century, you can find many plugs in public if whenever you are traveling.

Weight

Almost ok, 5.12lbs/2.32 is not too heavy when considering the size, and performance.

Extra

Backlit Keyboard allows you to work in the night without slowing down your speed and making any typing error.

Pros
  • Good performance Intel Core i7 7500 U processor
  • Dedicated AMD Radeon R7 4GB graphics card
  • Full HD 16.6″ IPS touchscreen
  • Backlit Keyboard
  • Stereo MaxxAudioR Pro sound
  • Windows 10 Home
  • 1TB Solid State Drive
Cons
  • Average battery life
  • Somewhat heavy
  • No USB Type-C

i5 8250U | UHD 620 | 8GB | 15.6″ 1080P | 5h  Wi-Fi browsing | 1 TB + 128GB SSD

The Asus VivoBook is another entry-level laptop on our list. This laptop is powered by Intel Core i5 processor and 8GB of DDR4 RAM that allows you to do most of the programming task without a problem. Moreover, you are getting 1TB HDD + 128 GB SSD combination. 

Aesthetically, this laptop looks so amazing due to its thin bezel and compact body. Overall this laptop is a good option for programming at the low price, which looks nice also.

Processor

Ok! Intel core i5 is a good option for entry-level laptops, that will not disappoint you.

RAM

Average! 8GB DDR4 RAM is not terrible, that is capable to handle your multiple programs.

Storage

1TB with 128 GB SSD is the perfect combination for the budget laptop that will provide the better performance with the capacious storage.

Graphics

Honestly, Intel UHD Graphics 620 is not ideal for playing heavy games, but that is sufficient for your programming work.

Battery

Below average – 5 hours battery backup is not quite impressive, you have to keep in mind.

Weight

3.7 lbs – The weight is really commendable when we think about the 15.6-inch screen size, very easy to carry.

Extra

A fingerprint sensor is located on the touchpad, which is yet another secure way of locking.

Pros
  • Very affordable price
  • Good Intel Core i5 processor
  • 15.6″ full HD screen
  • Windows 10
  • 1TB + 128 GB storage
  • Fingerprint sensor
  • Thin bezel
  • USB Type-C support
  • Slim and lightweight
Cons
  • No dedicated graphics
  • Average battery life
  • Only 8 GB of RAM 

Best Laptops For Computer Science Majors – Buyer’s Guide

As we said earlier, some peoples think, choosing an overpowered laptop may solve all the problems, but it is not always true, this myth has been broken when we talked with students. There are many factors that should keep in mind before choosing a laptop for programming. And after spending a lot of money you may not want to be regretted.

After our research and survey, we have written this buyer’s guide.

Below you can find exactly, which features you should look into and how much specification is sufficient?

So, what are the key points that should be considered before purchasing the best laptop for computer science students?

Which processor is good for CS students?

As a computer science student, probably you do coding in several languages like Java, Python, PHP, Ruby, Prolog, Haskell, C, C++, Objective – C and many more.

Do you know that? for this programming load, you don’t need an ultra-fast processor. Because, a coding assignment, in particular, is unlikely to cross more than 1000 lines. However, a project in the workspace area can take several thousand of line and a modern laptop can compile that code in seconds.

According to my advice, an Intel Core i5 processor is perfect (an Intel Core i3 even work for you, but you might face some performance problem, so I don’t recommend). If you specialize in other areas like 3D Modeling, Animation, Parallel Computing etc. Then you should need to move your needle toward Intel Core i7.

Remember, a powerful processor increases the productivity and makes you a better programmer. The laptop is a one-time investment and processor probably is not upgradable in most of the modern laptops (processors are directly embedded on the motherboard instead of locking in slots), so make sure before choosing.

How much RAM is sufficient for CS students?

RAM requirement totally depends on the user’s behavior, I mean some user’s do multitasking, and their most of the stack always remains open. So, they definitely need a large amount of RAM. In these cases, 12 GB of RAM works well. There are few rare instances in which you might need 12+ GB of RAM.

Finally, 12 GB of RAM works well in most of the cases, but if you rarely go above 10 tabs on chrome and your budget is below $900, then it’s not necessary to go above 8 GB of RAM.

There is another important thing that you should consider, make sure the laptop is upgradable with respect to the RAM. Moreover, RAM types also matter – in the same size as the DDR3 and DDR4 RAMs, the DDR4 will perform far better.

As a CS student, you don’t need a capacious storage until you haven’t a large video or music collection. A 500 GB HDD is sufficient to store your project files. There is another option, you can use an external hard drive to save some extra files.

But, don’t worry, nowadays most of the laptops come with 1TB of storage. So, that is not a big problem.

Now, let’s talk about the technology – everyone knows that SSD is always a better option than HDD.

Here are some final options,

  • If you choose HDD, then make sure get a 7200 RPM hard drive, that will perform about 33% faster than 5400 RPM hard drive. And storage depends on your needs.
  • There are some hybrid options are also available. I mean, some laptops come with both types of hard drives combination. In this combination, the manufacturer provides SSD for windows or other OS installation, and for storing other project files and media they attach HDD for that. So, this way you can get both performance and storage in some less price.
  • At last, if you can choose a laptop with SSD only, that is the best option. This selection provides the maximum performance, but it is something costly. However, if you will pick an external drive, instead of a big inbuilt SSD. This might save some money.

That’s it, you have all the options, now you can choose storage according to your budget and need.

If you can afford a MacBook (Which is the viable option) then, this point is not for you. OSX and Linux work equally well for CS students, so it’s a personal preference. OSX is based on a variant of BSC Unix accessible under the terminal, so it is very useful. Moreover, OSX is very popular among students and professionals, you can see a lot of shining logo of apple if you go to the CS conference.

For the CS students, the laptop should compatible to run some Linux distro: Ubuntu, Fedora, Mint, Arch, Debian and so on. Though, this is not the big deal, because most of the laptops work efficiently and flawlessly with the Linux.

In general, still many people are comfortable with the windows, and you might need a dual boot setup environment. Then, in this scenario, you should pick a laptop with 500 GB of SSD or at least 250GB of SSD + 1TB.

graphics card

This is not the most crucial requirement but it also matters, if you also play games on your notebook.

First of all, we have to know which types of gamers are you? I mean, how much time do you spend to play games on the laptop and which types of games do you like (ultra-high graphics or light)?

If you always be excited to try the newly launched games, you should definitely pick the laptop with graphics cards like GTX 1080M, 1070M, 1060M. But if you are a casual gamer then Nvidia GTX 960M, 970M or 1050M will work fine.

And as a concern of memory of the graphics card, 2 GB is ideal for 960 M and 1060M in normal cases. But for the heavy gamers, at least 4GB memory is strongly recommended, that will allow you to play High-quality games like Monster Hinder, Far Cry, Fallout, Vampire etc.

This factor is also important if you use to carry your laptop for the whole day. A lightweight laptop allows you to code anywhere and anytime.

Personally, this feature is most important, even a single pound extra weight can affect too much, if you use laptop longer in your lap or carry it all day.

So, try to pick a laptop as much as possible lightweight. Clearly, if you need a high-end laptop (if you’re doing Animation additionally), then it might not possible.

In the end, additionally I just want to tell, you should also keep in mind, lightweight laptops always suffer from the restrictive airflow, that makes them difficult to clean. And the lightweight laptop with great performance not cheap at all.

So, if you want a slim laptop then you have to sacrifice with performance or pay more for it.

laptop battery

The best battery can juice up your laptop whole day. Whether you are working in the computer lab of the university or in a coffee shop, you don’t need to worry about the charging points.

I recommend, choose a laptop that offers at least 6+ hours of backup, so this will last your whole day for all lecturers.

But technically how can we judge the battery life of any laptop?

Manufacturers provide the battery runtime value according to their test. And this test depends on how long last the laptop on browsing the web over the Wi-Fi connection. But here is a catch, they reduce the brightness of the screen to extend their rating.

While, practically when we use our laptop, we approximately set the brightness level at least 40 to 80 percent or even on 100 percent (in bright sunlight). That’s why the value that is provided by the manufacturer for the battery runtime differ from the real life.

But how much difference is that?

You can get some idea with the following table that how much difference can be between the manufacturer rating and practically in the life.

 
Battery run-time cheat-sheet

Test

Result

Practically Backup

Our Grade

Manufacturers Specs 

6h

4h 30min

Average

Wi-Fi benchmark 

3h

2h 30min

Bad

Wi-Fi benchmark 

7h 45min

6h 40min

OK

Wi-Fi benchmark 

11h 25min

10h

Best

Conclusion

I want to say that don’t stress out about your laptop – just make sure that matches your needs and style of usage.

If you’re always on the go, don’t buy a big heavy laptop like 17″. And on the other hand, if you are looking for the powerful gaming rig into the compact body, don’t think about the small laptops like 13″ or 14″.

If you have any questions about these laptops, comment down below for me, I’ll get back to you quickly.

Navigate to our Best Laptops For CS Majors

Posted under Computer & Technology By Nootan Kumar

nootan kumar

ABOUT NOOTAN KUMAR

Nootan Kumar is a 24-years-old Blogger from India. He is a Cisco certified network engineer and currently doing the job in a reputed company. He is very enthusiastic about Computer gadgets and technology. Read more about him

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