Laptop for a College Student



General Questions

1) What is your budget?


2) What size notebook would you prefer?
a. Netbook; 10” screen or less
b. Ultraportable; 11" - 12” screen
c. Thin and Light; 13" - 14" screen
d. Mainstream; 15" - 16" screen
e. Desktop Replacement; 17"+ screen

Mainstream or Desktop Replacement.

3) Where will you buying this notebook? You can select the flag of your country as an indicator.

United States of America.

4) Are there any brands that you prefer or any you really don't like?


5) Would you consider laptops that are refurbished/redistributed?

I would only consider these if the deals are exceptional.

6) What are the primary tasks will you be performing with this notebook?

Gaming, productivity, and video streaming.

7) Will you be taking the notebook with you to different places, leaving it on your desk or both?


8) Will you be playing games on your notebook? If so, please state which games or types of games?

Graphic-intense 3D games.

9) How many hours of battery life do you need?

More than three hours of surfing the web would be nice.

10) Would you prefer to see the notebooks you're considering before purchasing it or buying a notebook on-line without seeing it is OK?

Both options are O.K.

11) What OS do you prefer? Windows (XP or Vista or Windows 7), Mac OS, Linux, etc.

Windows 7 or 8.

Screen Specifics

12) From the choices below, what screen resolution(s) would you prefer? Keep in mind screen size in conjunction with resolution will play a large role in overall viewing comfort level. Everyone is different. Some like really small text, while others like their text big and easy to read. Click here for Screen resolution information.

1920 x 1080 at minimum.

13) Do you want a Glossy/reflective screen or a Matte/non-glossy screen?


Build Quality and Design

14) Are the notebook's looks and stylishness important to you?


15) When are you buying this laptop?

Within three weeks.

16) How long do you want this laptop to last?

Two years or more.

Notebook Components

17) How much hard drive space do you need? Do you want a SSD drive?

1TB (including SSD space) would be great.

18) Do you need an optical drive? If yes, a DVD Burner, Blu-ray Reader or Blu-Ray Burner?


The MSI GT60-0ne seems to offer the best package:

1. Decent build quality, matte 1080p screen, and weight
2. Good speakers, audio port and keyboard
3. Good warranty and customer service
4. Easy to maintain and tinker with, BIOS with many options (for a laptop)
5. High-powered GPU with GDDR5 VRAM

It lacks the professional look and build quality of a business-grade laptop and next business day support.

I would sacrifice GPU power for a laptop with #1-4.


Jan 30, 2013
If you're set on the whole 'gaming laptop' thing, then the GT60 looks like a good choice.

If having a midrange desktop and laptop in parallel isn't an option (if you're flying to school, for instance) you might also want to consider buying a slightly lower end ($1200) laptop that will give you decent performance for a few years, then upgrading in 2-3 years to a new machine. Generally speaking, that will give you more consistent performance than going big once. I tried to make my laptop last through 4 years and by the 3rd year I bought an Xbox to game on. It was that bad. Laptops just don't age as well as desktops, even when well taken care of.

I'll leave you with one last anecdote: college friend comes in with $2500 Alienware laptop, gets fed up with weight and size after 1 year and buys mid-range Dell XPS. Don't buy an XPS, but do consider going for a more mainstream PC with decent graphics and saving you back and your wallet.


I would like to avoid buying a heavy laptop, so I'm looking for a mid-range laptop that meets criteria 1-4.

game junky

Feb 2, 2012
I am partial to the Desktop and Tablet/Ultrabook solution - you'll get the portability you're looking for in-class and the performance you're looking outside of class.

Knowing how much college literature weighs, I would aim toward something light that gets the job done. ASUS and Samsung both have comparable options for that problem: ASUS has the Zenbook Touch - it's definitely meant for portability but is configurable with a 1080p screen, i7 quad & dedicated Nvidia GPU (only a 650, but it's a slim laptop):

Samsung has the Series 7 ultra - I am preferential to this option because it doesn't make you waste the money for the touch screen, but I haven't seen it listed at any retailers yet.

If you're really dead set on getting a performance beast, it might be worth looking at OriginPC - their EON15-S isn't skinny by any stretch of the word, but it isn't bloated either. It's configurable with the latest processor, SSD & GPU options so you can make it economic or ridiculous depending on your wallet and pride.

If it were me, I would get a Surface Pro & build a desktop but that's just me


Unfortunately, a desktop would not be convenient. I'm not dead-set on a "gaming laptop:" I just want a laptop that meets the first four criteria I posted.


I looked at the laptops suggested: I don't know what is wrong with Asus, but the N56VZ's BIOS is so locked down that you cannot add RAM without trouble. The MSI GE60 and GE70 have poor build quality.

Again, I would sacrifice GPU power for a laptop with easy maintenance, a good matte screen and speakers, keyboard, warranty, and build quality.
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