Choosing the best laptop for computer science students

Choosing the best laptop for computer science students Economy Insights

We recommend the laptop only to those who always want to take their computer with them, or who travel a lot: otherwise there's no point in buying a laptop to keep it at home.
2022-12-01, by Ted Jackman, Independent Financial Adviser

#Laptops || #CS || #Reviews ||

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The laptop is uncomfortable, it gets hot, the keyboard is non-compliant in most cases...


Laptop vs Tablet

Moreover, the monitor on the laptop is right next to your face, with the desktop you can make your own workstation as you wish... that is, there is no comparison. The desktop is more comfortable.

We run the computer lab (I work for the municipality) at the school. We bought desktops of course, let alone buying laptops to be placed in a room perpetually... 100% better the desktops

Unfortunately, the teachers preferred laptops on their desks. In my opinion an all-in-one was better at best, but 'de gustibus'....

A laptop, always and in any case. A fixed computer is only needed in exceptional conditions, after which the laptop is by definition the one you can always take with you and use almost everywhere; if then the application is for university, all the more so and (I would add) not only for Computer Science but for all kinds of faculties → more and more students face teaching and studying with PCs (laptops), everything is obviously optimised a lot compared to traditional standards.

I made the mistake of buying a powerful and expensive computer in the first year of my three-year degree convinced that such majesty would serve me well during the course. I only dwelt on the power, a nice i7 processor, a nice graphics card and a big screen.

Years later, I still brood about how wrong my approach was because I did not foresee two fundamental elements of being a computer engineering student.

The first is essentially the mobility factor, preferring light and reliable laptops because you will have to move quickly from one classroom to another and you will feel every kilo on your back at the end of the day. This essentially means a weight under 2kg, a matt IPS screen for when you are in bright environments (classrooms, outdoors), a screen size between 13 and 15 inches (I strongly recommend a 14) and a battery that allows at least 7/9 hours of autonomy, despite the fact that libraries have all the electric sockets under the desks (I hope for you).

The autonomy factor relates to the second element that I might not have anticipated before enrolling in a computer engineering course: more than half of the courses do not require a PC, such as Analysis, Physics, Geometry, Signals, Economics, etc. For these courses you would only need a Rasberry Pi because they will only require web browsing.


The other half of the courses will need a minimum of computing power, so I recommend an i5 processor, which, unlike its big brother i7, consumes little power but guarantees excellent performance. The RAM memory of your PC will have to be more than 4gb, preferably 8. The graphics card, in my humble opinion, doesn't need to be considered, you won't need it at least until the master's degree, so an integrated graphics card is fine. The last fundamental element is the archiving memory. Leave the now paleolithic mechanical HDD memory in museums and always look for SSD memory of a size greater than or equal to 256gb because you may need to create a Linux partition.

What can I say... this is all I would recommend to a fellow novice. Good luck and hang in there always.

More detail on some topics.

Starting with the processor, their generation and 'best feature' is indicated in the code that identifies them. In particular, I recommend opting for a processor that has U as its final code. This letter indicates that it is an "ultra low power" processor and therefore excellent for autonomy, without losing performance.

I recommend DDR4 RAM memory, the most modern at the moment.


A good graphics card is important for any laptop, but especially if you are majoring in computer science. Many computer science courses require heavy gaming or video editing as part of the curriculum.

Fortunately, most gaming laptops come with a good GPU already installed. If you are not looking to buy a new laptop, however, you can always buy an external graphics card to boost your computer's performance.


One of the most important features to look for in a computer laptop is a good battery. You don't want to be stuck without a charge in the middle of your search! Laptops with good batteries will last for at least 8 hours on a single charge.

What do Computer Science students deal with

How to navigate data structures. Lists, trees, queues, etc. In general, you need to know why each structure is necessary, which ones to use and when to use them effectively. You need to solve a problem on a project, and you're like "Oh, this problem is similar to the graph story". You have a clue, start googling graphs, algorithms for solving problems on graphs, libraries for that.  Trust me, your life will get a lot easier if you store the configuration settings for your bot in a dictionary rather than in an array. Again, you don't need to know how to implement this dictionary, hash table from scratch with your own hands (although you can, there's nothing cumbersome there). You just need to know that it exists and when to use it.

Networking. The whole world is slowly moving online. So it would be a good idea to understand how the Internet works. Again, at a basic level. The protocols, sockets, DNS, IP addresses, how they work and how they interact with each other.

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