By Nootan Kumar | Last updated December 09, 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

i5-8250U 3.4GHz

8GB

256 GB SSD

MX150

i5-8250U 3.4GHz

8GB

128GB SSD+1TB HDD

UHD 620

i7-7700HQ 3.80 GHz

16GB

256 GB SSD

GTX 1060

i7-8550U 4.00 GHz

16GB

512 GB SSD

UHD 620

(Editor’s Choice Windows)

i7-8650U 4.20 GHz

16GB

1TB NVMe

UHD 620

(Editor’s Choice Mac)

i7-7820HQ 3.90 GHz

16GB

512 GB SSD

Radeon Pro 560 

 i7-8750H 4.10 GHz

32GB

2x PCIe 500GB SSD (RAID 0) + 1TB

GTX 1080 

Best Laptops for Computer Science Students - Reviews

5.27 lbs | i5-8250U | MX150 | 8GB | 256 GB SSD | 15.6″ 1920 x 1080 | 15-hours | Win10 Home 

The Acer Aspire E 15 is the most affordable and good laptop for computer science students that you can get on the current market. This laptop almost fills all the blank these you’ll need for your programming study.

First of all, this cheapest laptop comes with the best mid-range 8th generation Intel Core i5-8250U processor, which is quite powerful and consume less power. And, that’s why it can last up to 15 hours on web browsing, pretty amazing!

Moreover, the 8GB of RAM and 256 GB of storage are not bad in this price range, even these are sufficient for a basic user. If you don’t have a large collection of video and music and don’t go above more than 1-3 tabs on chrome, it is pretty sufficient for you.

Despite budget laptop, it still provides a full HD 15.6 Inch IPS panel, which is good and can be used for watching movies.

Also, keep in mind, this is a heavy laptop (due to big battery capacity) and you might slightly get fatigue when carrying all day around.

Surprisingly, this low-price laptop also offering a dedicated MX150 dedicated graphs chip, which is not very powerful but allows you to play some light games as well.

Overall Acer Aspire E 15 is the most inexpensive laptop for computer science majors which offers good performance, great battery life.

If you are looking for some extra storage and a beautiful design at the same price then you’ll definitely like our next laptop.

  • Pros
  • Most affordable
  • Brilliant battery life
  • SSD is available
  • Good performance
  • Good display resolution
  • Cons
  • Heavy
  • Only 8GB of RAM
  • Less storage capacity, but upgradable 

3.7 lbs | i5 8250U | UHD 620 | 8GB | 128GB | SSD+1TB HDD | 15.6″ 1920 x 1080 | 5-hours | Win10  

The Asus VivoBook is another entry-level laptop on our list. Unlike our previous laptop, it has much better storage, you’ll get 1TB HDD and 128GB SSD of combination – SSD for performance and HDD for your extra data storage.

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, it also has a 15.6-inch full HD IPS display.

Aesthetically, this laptop looks so amazing due to its thin bezel and compact body. But keep in mind, there is a huge cut off in the battery life as compared to the previous laptop, it is only 5-hours on web browsing.

Also, keep in mind, there is no dedicated GPU is installed so it could be harassed by graphics-intensive applications.

However, from the weight and design aspect, it is great deals. Because it is a beautiful slim and compact laptop and has less weight, so it can easily fit with most people’s using style.

Finally, the Asus VivoBook is also an affordable laptop for cs students which offers a stunning design, compact body, large storage capacity, fingerprint sensor, and good performance.
But, keep in mind this laptop is not useful for heavy graphics work and has less battery life.

  • Pros
  • Affordable
  • Lightweight and slim
  • Thin bezel beautiful design
  • Good combination of SSD and HDD
  • USB Type-C available
  • Fingerprint supported
  • Nice display quality and performance
  • Cons
  • Struggling with battery life
  • Average quality keyboard

5.95 lbs | i7-7700HQ @3.80 GHz | GTX 1060 16GB | 256 GB SSD | 15.6-inch  1920 x 1080 | 7-hours | Win10  

The Acer Predator Helios 300 is one of the best mid-range laptops for computer science majors. Probably, you’ll rarely find a laptop with such a great performance at this price range. Don’t you believe me? I’ll make you.

First of all, this laptop comes with an i7 7700HQ processor, which is a quad-core processor and can achieve 3.80 GHz of clock rate. Extra cores are beneficial for multitasking, you’ll get a noticeable effect while using it. Moreover, there is a Nvidia GTX 1060-6GB dedicated GPU that it comes with, and it is quite powerful to handle most of the graphics-heavy task of high-end gaming.

In terms of memory and storage, there is a 16 GB DDR4 RAM and 256 GB of SSD are installed, those are going to make your programming experience smoother.

But, keep in mind this laptop has only 256 GB of SSD installed, However, this storage is good and enough for storing your windows, Linux, and your project’s files, and your software will perform well. But if you want to upgrade you can get a Seagate Firecuda 2 TB SSHD and you can install by yourself easily. Thanks to the extra 2.5-inch hard drive slot, which is easy to access.

There is a feature called PredatorSense which allows you to control system temperature, gaming feature along with CPU and system fan speed. Moreover, you are also getting USB Type-C support and backlit keyboard.

The build quality of this laptop is just amazing, the metal chassis and sturdy build ensure great reliability.

Overall, the Acer Predator Helios 300 is a great laptop for computer science student at the mid-price range, which is very powerful to handle all critical tasks and high-end gaming.

But, keep in mind, it a heavy desktop-replacement level high-performance laptop, resulting it is heavy and offers average battery life. It is definitely not suitable for on-the-go users.

  • Pros
  • Powerful performance
  • Solid build quality – Metal chassis
  • Pretty much memory
  • SSD supported
  • Extra slot for HDD is given
  • Powerful GPU for smooth graphics
  • Backlit keyboard
  • Cons
  • Average battery life
  • Heavy construction

3.28 lbs | i7-8550U | UHD 620 | 16 GB | 512 NVMe | 12-inch Touch 1920 x 1080 | 16-hours 45-min | Win10  

The HP Spectre x360 is the most unique laptop in our list, it offers great portability with decent performance.

The main highlight of this laptop is the design and battery life – you can easily take it anywhere and you don’t need to worry about the power source. Its 13.3-inch full HD IPS screen looks so great and also allow you to operate via touch. Moreover, the convertible design is very useful you can take notes via flipping around or can watch movies or can use as a full-featured laptop.

When we talk about the performance, this convertible laptop is powered by an Intel latest i7-8550U processor, 16 GB of memory and 512 GB of storage capacity. These specs are pretty enough for doing all computer science task without any hassle.

As I said above, its battery life is great which can last up to 16-hours 45-min on the web browsing, pretty amazing!

If you are looking for a most portable laptop for computer science study, then the HP Spectre X360 is the perfect choice in the mid-price, which can be called a powerful tablet too.

  • Pros
  • Great performance
  • Amazing battery life
  • Convertible design – 2-in1 touch laptop
  • Lightweight and portable – 13.3-inch
  • 512GB of SSD storage
  • 16 GB of memory
  • Cons
  • No dedicated GPU
  • Not upgradable
  • Sometimes audible fan noise

1.73 lbs | i7-8650U @4.20 GHz | UHD 620 | 16GB | 1TB NVMe | 12.3-inch touch 2736 x 1824 | 13.5-hours | Win10 Pro 

On the update of this article, the Microsoft Surface Pro 6 has been taken place of its previous version Microsoft Surface Pro 5th gen, which was cheaper around $500. There are many upgrades that we can see in this latest release. It has the better 8th gen Intel Core i7 processor (i7-8650U) which is capable to deliver 4.20GHz of clock rate. And the 1TB SSD storage and 16 GB of RAM are just great for smoother working.

The display quality is beyond expectation, this tablet cum laptop offers 12.3-inch Pixel Sense Display with 2736 x 1824 pixels of resolution, which can deliver accurate colors with great brightness.

As you know, the surface series is well known for its detachable keyboard design, which is very useful for taking notes in the class on the go. Most of the students prefer the SurfaceBook laptop due to this great feature.

Some users like to work with a big screen and sadly there is no bigger variant of Surface Pro 6. In this case, you need to see Microsoft Surface Book 2 which is also a top laptop for computer science that offer more powerful performance with portability.

Microsoft Surface Book 2 review
Big screen and dedicated GPU option in Microsoft Surface series

4.2 lbs | i7-8650U @4.20 GHz | GTX 1060 | 16 GB | 1TB NVMe | 15-inch Touch 3260×2160 | 17-hours | Win10 Pro  

The best thing about the Surface series is – you can customize your machine according to your requirements – you can choose between the i5 and i7 variants and also choose storage and memory accordingly.

This latest model offers 13.5 hours of battery life on video playback and also has enhanced camera performance, you’ll be getting the richest video calling experience on the laptop ever. It has 5MP front and 8MP of back sensors, and both support full HD video.

Overall, the Microsoft Surface Pro 6 is one of the best laptops for computer science majors that offer great performance, highest portability, richest display, durable metal body, luxury design, and great battery life.

Note: If you want to play some game along with your programming work, then you might need to go with the Microsoft Surface Book 2 version.

  • Pros
  • Most lightweight and portable
  • Top display quality and color accuracy
  • Beautiful and durable design
  • Best performance in Windows laptops
  • Great battery life
  • Touch display
  • Available in different variants
  • 1TB NVMe storage for faster performance
  • Cons
  • Expensive

1.06 lbs | I7-7820HQ | Radeon Pro 560 16GB| 512 GB SSD | 15-inch 2880×1800 | 10-hours | MAC OS X  

The Apple products always considered the most reliable and high-performance machine, and that should be. Arguably, Mac OS X has a lack of applications as compared to the Microsoft Windows, but for programming, MacBook is also the best options.

This MacBook Pro 15 that I am talking about comes with Intel Core I7-7820HQ processor with has 3.90 GHz of clock speed which is pretty much for your computer science needs. Moreover, 16 GB RAM and 512 GB of SSD storage also enough for Mac OS to perform outstandingly.

Durability and reliability are the core feature of Apple’s products. And definitely, this laptop also has the ultimate durable aluminum unibody design with powerful performance. This 15-inch MacBook Pro offer 2880×1800 pixels of resolution in the retina display, which delivers amazing viewing experience with richest and accurate color quality.

In facts, MacBook is not a purchase it is a big investment in the laptops like your study, but if you do it once, you don’t need to think anything. An average MacBook can last more than 5 years without any issue.

This MacBook model has a Radeon Pro 560 dedicated graphics chip inside, which has 4GB of vRAM capacity and allows you to do most of the graphics related task easily.

Overall, the MacBook Pro 15 is also the best laptops for computer sciences major in mac. And, it can perform all of your programming tasks without any issue.

Is this the best laptops for computer science if I can spend more than $3,000 or even more? Absolutely not, there is latest MacBook Pro model is released which is just an ultimate solution.

While if you are Windows user then the below machine is the supreme options for you, it is a dreaded beast that can handle any complex task or graphics processing without any hiccup.

  • Pros
  • Optimum performance
  • Top quality Retina display
  • Powerful top-notch performance
  • Extremely lightweight despite 15-inch size
  • Dedicated 4GB Radeon Pro GPU
  • Pretty enough memory
  • Touch Bar and Touch ID for faster navigation and security
  • Good battery life
  • Brilliant build quality
  • Cons
  • Expensive

10.35 lbs | i7-8750H @4.10 GHz | GTX 1080 | 32GB | 2x PCIe 500GB SSD (RAID 0) + 1TB | 17.3-inch 1920 x 1080 | 4-hours 30-min | Win10 Pro     

If you prefer portability or longer battery life then forget this laptop. The Asus Rog G703 is the highest performance laptop of our list, whether it’s about running multiple programs or playing the latest graphics-oriented games nothing can’t stop it.

Because it comes with Intel i7-8750H processor and can be overclocked up to 4.10 GHz. Moreover, the Nvidia GTX 1080 8 GB graphics card is a powerful option to handle graphics processes.

When we talk about the storage capacity, you are getting multiple options – 2 SSD of 512 GB has arranged with RAID 0 and a 1TB hard drive is placed separately. So, there is no need to worry about that. Apart from that, the 32 GB of RAM is the norm for this type of high-end laptops which is quite much for doing anything whether we talk about working with a large project or playing an advanced game.

This heavy machine has a wide range of input and out ports. These ports are – ThunderBolt 3, HDMI 2.0, mini DisplayPort 1.4, and USB 3.0. Moreover, the backlit keyboard, inbuilt Xbox wireless controller module, and Gigabit Wi-Fi – these are some extra options than you can take advantage while gaming.

Because it is a desktop replacement laptop, so it definitely not suitable for carrying. But if you are professionals who are looking for a stable setup then it likely can’t be ignored.

Overall, the Asus ROG G703GI is the ultimate solution for all programming and gaming-need. If you are a student or who prefer the portable and lightweight laptop then you need to skip this.

  • Pros
  • Totally desktop replacement
  • Ultimate performance
  • Ultimate display quality
  • Vast storage capacity multiple drives
  • Pretty much memory
  • High-end graphics card
  • ThunderBolt 3 Supported
  • RGB customizable keyboard
  • Extensive connectivity option
  • Cons
  • Very Expensive
  • Noisy fan
  • Most heavy

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?

microprocessor

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.

computer memory RAM

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.

hdd vs ssd

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.

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.

 

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

 

TestResultsPractically BackupOur Grade
Manufacturers Specs 6-hours4-hours 30-minAverage
Wi-Fi benchmark 3-hours2-hours 30-minBad
Wi-Fi benchmark 7-hours 45-min6-hours 440-minOK
Wi-Fi benchmark 11-hours 25-min10-hoursBest

Conclusion

I just want to say, 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″. 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.

Thank you very much!

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

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Agree! Acer Predator really provides the amazing performance, my friend purchased this laptop recently. And the gaming experience is beyond expectation. I am also planning to buy one.
    Thanks

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