Laptop for Computer Science student


Jan 3, 2014
I will be a fresher this Sept and therefore need a machine. The more I am looking for what laptop to buy, the harder it gets to find what I need.

What I will be using my laptop for is generally programming, surfing the web, occasional movies, etc. and therefore I can't really classify myself as a power user. I really don't plan on playing games, but I am really unaware of what exactly my courses will involve. What I mean to say is that a high GPU is not a priority, but maybe some coursework will need something more than the shitty integrated video card in the CPU? If anyone has any input on this, I'd be glad to hear their side on the topic.

As far as my research for a laptop goes, I get that Lenovo's laptops ThinkPad series have the best keyboards (which I apparently need for coding) plus their battery runtime is better than most of the other brands and the rigidity is outstanding. That's why I spend most of my time looking for ThinkPad machines.

The form factor is also a priority. I haven't been to college before, but isn't it super important to be able to bring your laptop around with you? That is why I am more prone to looking at ultrabooks and generally slim machines with screen size of 14in.

I checking out at laptops like the X1 Carbon and T460/s/p but I just keep bumping my head why the hell they are so expensive - almost no GPU options (and if you pick one you'll have to dig deeep in your pockets for honestly a low-mid range gpu), generally weak CPUs (even the top models) and still 1500++ usd.

I'm asking for someone with experience of being a CS student to tell me whether my overall priorities are alright and if they have any recommendations for laptops (even if not ThinkPads) to share them with me. Maybe an important thing to note is that I'll be a foreign student in the UK and a PC would be hard to transport around.


Jul 28, 2014
I used a moderately crappy $600 Lenovo running on an AMD A8 APU (which I still have) for my last year of work on my associate's degree. Performance, while considerably poorer than the lab machines we were generally provided with, was good enough to complete all of my programming assignments.

I think you'll find that, unless you're going to do work in HPC or large dataset manipulation, many low-end (~$600) laptops can meet your basic needs, even if the performance leaves much to be desired.
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