Grad student laptop buying advice?


Sep 1, 2013
1. What is your budget?

$500-$750, though I can go up to $800 if the features are good enough.

2. What is the size of the notebook that you are considering?

Between 15'' and 17'', though 15'' is preferred since I'll be carrying this
throughout campus.

3. What screen resolution do you want?


4. Do you need a portable or desktop replacement laptop?

Portable laptop

5. How much battery life do you need?

Not sure. I tend to stay near an outlet when I work on the laptop, anyway.

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)?

No. This will not be a gaming machine.

7. What other tasks do you want to do with your laptop? (Photo/Video editing, Etc.)

Data analysis using STATA and SPSS, word processing using MS Office, streaming HD movies.

8. How much storage (Hard Drive capacity) do you need?

Doesn't matter - I use removable media more often than the HDD.

9. If you are considering specific sites to buy from, please post their links.

None in particular.

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

At least 4 to 6 years.

11. What kind of Optical drive do you need? DVD ROM/Writer,Bluray ROM/Writer,Etc ?

None needed.

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 prefer to stay away from HP and Dell due to previously poor product performance, unless someone can suggest an awesome line of laptops from either.

13. What country do you live in?

United States.

Any advice y'all could offer will be greatly appreciated.


Aug 5, 2009
You will have a lot of choices.

Will STATA and/or SPSS benefit significantly from a higher end CPU of GFX and/or the addition of an SSD or more memory?

For these type of very general questions I would strongly advise doing a Google on something like 'best laptop for the money 2013", then scan a few returns. You'll probably start to see certain models recur...check these out for more in-depth reviewing.

$500-$800 is a lot to part with so you'd need to be sure.

Of course we can list models but you'll not want to rely on this alone for a full system.