I am majoring in Computer Science and need a laptop for college


Jul 9, 2014
1. What is your budget? $1000-$1300

2. What is the size of the notebook that you are considering? 14"-15.6"

3. What screen resolution do you want? 1920x1080

4. Do you need a portable or desktop replacement laptop? A mixture of both. I am going to be carrying it around to class, but I'd still like it to be powerful.

5. How much battery life do you need? 5 hours

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)?
Civ 5, Kerbal Space Program, Minecraft, and other indie games like Don't Starve and Fez, which don't seem to be very graphics-intensive.

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

8. How much storage (Hard Drive capacity) do you need? 512 GB

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

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 ? None.

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 can get student discounts from Lenovo and Dell, but I think that's only if I order directly from their websites, which I'm not sure I would do.

13. What country do you live in? USA

14. Please tell us any additional information if needed.
I enter college this fall and I plan on studying computer science. I'd like a laptop that I can carry around in a backpack, that has decent battery life, and that I can use for programming and light gaming. I'd like to be able to comfortably dual-boot Linux and/or use a virtual machine. Although I plan on majoring in computer science, I could potentially change to a different engineering major. Because of that, I'd like to keep my options open and get a laptop that can handle some CAD. So far, I've looked at several different laptops:
-Lenovo ThinkPad W540: I like this laptop, but is it overkill for my needs? My school recommends this model.
-Lenovo Y40/Y50: From what I've read it seems as though the screen is quite poor.
-Asus N550JK: I've seen this laptop recommended quite a bit. I'm not thrilled with having to install an SSD myself if I choose to go that route.
Alternatively, I've thought about getting something more like the Lenovo t440s and hope that the integrated graphics will suffice or use computer labs instead. I like the portability and battery life of the t440s. There's also the t440p, but that loses the thinness and battery life of the t440s.
I'm open to other suggestions. What do you think I should get?


Jun 4, 2014
Okay, so people will be pretty split about my suggestion, but I'm going to suggest this product based on personal experience.
Alienware 14.

Yep, its expensive; Starting at $1,099; and maybe a bit overpriced for the specifications. However - it WILL last the 4 years. It will take a hammering.
I've found the overall build quality of my alienware compared to an MSI counterpart to be significantly better. Sure, MSI will get you a higher spec laptop, but it wont have quite the same 'feel' of indestructibility. I work as a software engineer currently, and my laptop gets carried with me everywhere. It never fails in terms of performance - the only thing I could do with is extended battery life - but even thats not too bad.

Now, you'll also be able to alter the performance to save battery life - such as turning off the dedicated GPU while not plugged in, and using the CPU's integrated graphics. You'll get 4 hours with GPU switched off.

Also - a 14" screen is GREAT for when you're out and about - but not so much for when you're at home at a desk. Get a second monitor to go with it.

You should also get your student discount through Alienware, as they are a part of Dell.


Nov 26, 2012

Recommending an Alienware laptop to a computer science student is an absolute joke. It has horrible battery life, is very bulky and heavy, costs way too much, and is overpowered.



May 19, 2011

I would recommend the Lenovo Ideapad Y510p. The 1080p models are around $1000.



Jun 4, 2014

Did your computer science room not have power points at every desk?
Overpowered being an issue?
If he has the money to spend, do it. I did, so I got it.

Seriously, if you want a laptop that you'll be able to do so much more with, there's no problem with the alienwares -
Although is bulkiness is an issue (Mine still fits into a rucksack fine...), then check out the Alienware 13 post on TomHardwares front page today.