College laptop recommendation for a CS major

James Devenberg

May 22, 2013
1. What is your budget?
Under $1400, but the closer to $1K the better.

2. What is the size of the notebook that you are considering?
12"+ with preference for 14"+

3. What screen resolution do you want?
1280 x 1024 minimum

4. Do you need a portable or desktop replacement laptop?
I'm doing all my classes online from home, so portability is not the #1 concern, but I don't want a 19" 12 lbs. computer either.

5. How much battery life do you need?
I'll be near an outlet usually, but 3 hours would be minimum

6. Do you want to play games with your laptop? If so then please list the games that you want to with the settings that you want for these games. (Low,Medium or High)?
I may play some games if the laptop is capable of doing it on at least medium, but I prefer gaming on my Xbox, so its not a priority

7. What other tasks do you want to do with your laptop? (Photo/Video editing, Etc.)
I will be a Computer Science Major, so I'll need a decent CPU & RAM

8. How much storage (Hard Drive capacity) do you need?
I'm not too concerned with size, as I can use an external hard drive, but I'd like at least a caching hard driveand like the idea of an SSD only or dual hard drive with one SSD and one traditional.

9. If you are considering specific sites to buy from, please post their links.
Don't really care too much

10. How long do you want to keep your laptop?
4 years

11. What kind of Optical drive do you need? DVD ROM/Writer,Bluray ROM/Writer,Etc ?
An optical drive isn't required, as I'll be buying most or all of my software as downloads any way, but if it is there, I'd like it to be a Blu-Ray so I can watch movies on it.

12. Please tell us about the brands that you prefer to buy from them and the brands that you don't like and explain the reasons.
I've had bad experiences with HP, but I'm not closed to them if they have the machine that fits my needs best, just would prefer a different brand

13. What country do you live in?
United States

14. Please tell us any additional information if needed.
I'd like to buy in the next month, but if waiting for Haswell is best, I could go as long as early August or September (would have to be a pretty amazing piece of hardware to wait for September). I'd really like a touch screen but will get a computer without one if it checks every single other box on my list.


3 hours is doable but not when doing heavy GFX work

I'd suggest a hybrid HD / SSD (Seagate Momentus XT 750 GB) gives best of both worlds

Id suggest either of these:

17" (Starts at $1280)
15" (Starts at $1085)

Using the 15" model, recomemnded upgrades include:

$0 GTX 670MX 3GB GDDR5 Memory
$80 Windows 7 Home Premium 64-Bit Edition
$80 16GB Dual Channel DDR3 SDRAM at 1600MHz - 2 X 8GB
$90 750GB Seagate Momentus XT ST750LX003 7200RPM 32MB
$55 6X Blu-ray Reader/8X DVD±R/2.4X +DL Super-Multi Drive
-$50 Instant $50.00 OFF! (my order is over $1, 350.00)

Total $1,374

James Devenberg

May 22, 2013

What do you think of this lenovo:
It seems to be comprable to the laptop you posted except that it lacks an optical drive and has dual GT650M's instead of the single GTX670MX.

They have very, very loose recomendations. They do have programs for discounts through Dell and through CDW (where the prices really don't look THAT great). This seems to be the best bet through one of their programs:
Inspiron 15 Special edition:


3rd Generation Intel® Core™ i7-3632QM processor (6MB cache, up to 3.2 GHz)

Operating System

Windows 8, 64-bit, English


15.6" Full High Definition (1080p) LED Display


8GB3 Dual Channel DDR3 SDRAM at 1600MHz

Hard Drive

1TB 5400 RPM SATA Hard Drive with

Video Card

AMD Radeon™ HD 7730M 2GB

Optical Drive

Blu-Ray Drive

The Dell doesn't have the SSD or cache I want, but for $850, it has everything else and I can upgrade the hard drive and buy a case for it's 1 TB drive and end up with a laptop with an SSD and a 1TB external drive for around $1K


Feb 20, 2008
The Y500 has a ultrabay that the 2nd GPU is using. You can buy a DVD-RW for $80 that can use the ultrabay. It takes just a second to remove the GPU and add the DVD-RW.

You only need the DVD for installs, then put the GPU back in. To remove items from the ultrabay just remove the battery and flip a switch.
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