//not a rant
In Semptember I will be attending information technology at university, and I was wondering what kind of laptop should I buy:
optimal screen size? (13.3 or 15.6)
ram? (for VMs)
dedicated graphics? (or should I just stick to integrated)
I will be mainly coding, running VMs and school stuff(maybe some casual game like League or Minrcraft), so I was wondering if you guys could help me out with the decision

  • 2
    An absolute crap tonne in my uni use Lenovos, the smaller one that I can't remember the name of, and I started out with a HP Pavilion series, does the job and not too expensive
  • 11
    Buy yourself a MAC, and save the pain of playing games during exams
  • 3
    Have a Lenovo Y50-70 myself but that is mainly because I wanted to play games on it too (can run GTA V at a reasonable framerate). It does the job but it is not the fastest laptop out there.

    But if you want my advice, stop playing League and get into Dota ;)
  • 3
    @bhargav-mogra this one is actual solid advice. And from what I have seen from classmates a mac can work really smooth if you know how to use it.
  • 2
    Small side note when it comes to Lenovo, the battery life isn't great at all so you'll be bringing your charger all the time and it has to be on life support almost constantely.
  • 2
    Using a i7 - 8GB RAM - 256GB SSD HP Spectre right now (ultrabook) as my daily driver. Easily runs VMS and all the software I use for business purpose. Games are a waste of time, totally.

    It really depends on your budget though. Do you wish to spend 1.5K+ or rather stay around 500-800.. y'know..
  • 3
    At least 8 GB of RAM and 256 GB SSD. Buy an external disk drive, good keyboard and a large monitor for when developing. The laptop is a base station for your setup so don't go overboard - you'll want portability.

    Asus and Lenovo are usually well supported by Linux/BSD. If not, you'll have to work with Virtual Machines.

    If money is tight, consider a Chromebook and use Crouton to provide an Ubuntu chroot system - see if you can swap out the storage provided for something larger.
  • 3
    speaking from a student's standpoint (int cash = 0; ) I bought a Chromebook that was a referb unit off newegg.
    it's arm based so games can't really get in the way unless you count good ol'msdos games. And set up with crouton gives a decent set up for coding on the go (was going to wipe for full install but bios are locked).
    I would recommend getting an Intel based one though if your interested in gaming (arm is only good for battery life imo)
  • 1
    @Wildgoose Why would anyone buy an external disk drive? I don't see the necessity anymore since I have two 1TB cloud storage solutions.. and internet is everywhere these days.
  • 0
    @UltimaQ Curious about Chromebooks. Atom.io isn't available I guess? Could use a online IDE such as ShiftEdit I guess?
  • 2
    I use a 3-4 year old 13" Macbook Air for my main computer at work.
    + trackpad to die for
    + great battery life
    + great portability
    + magsafe on the older ones. Saved the four macs I use about 50+ times. I won't buy a new one with USB C if it can be avoided.
    + great aluminium body.

    - glossy screens
    - things are glued on the motherboard so you have to buy it with maxed out RAM from start.
    - alt tab toggles between programs and not windows in mac. Still bothers me many years later.

    Note! My VMs eats a lot of disk (as well as RAM and CPU..) so the 120GB disk was a failure. I had to delete a few in order to save my dev machine and the backup one.

    Macbook Pro 15" 1-2 year old at home is more powerful for rendering movies or compiling large projects but to big to carry around. If you are bringing it to class buy 13".

    Dell XPS seems nice and can be bought with Linux. Bit pricey though. Lenovo has had a good reputation as well with my hardware nerd friends. At least the Thinkpads.
  • 1
    Given you have the bucks:
    Lenovo Thinkpad Yoga 460 is great. Best about it is the digitizer, which is really handy in university. It's also powerful enough for multiple RAM-eating IntelliJ instances, gradle builds etc... and most games, of course :D
  • 0
    Dell precision m4800

    I use one for work. Core i7, 32Gb RAM, 256Gb Pci-e ssd, 1tb 2.5inch ssd, no idea graphics

    Capable of light-medium gaming, I regularly run four or more VM's (one is a hackintosh) quick as you like.

    We have someone with an xps 15 but it's a bit to static in configuration
  • 0
    I was expecting an unequivocal "Get a ThinkPad!"

    On that note, I don't think I'll ever again buy anything but a ThinkPad X2*0 series (currently on x230, 30's are my fav as far as the look n feel goes). I might try an X1 carbon, but I'm not too impressed.
  • 0
    It's been a while since I worked with Windows. I really like my Macbook. I got it for 3 years now and it's still very fast. I'm a digital nomad and 90% of the IT professionals I meet in coworking spaces work on Mac.
  • 0
    @Elkstorm we have think pad t540p's and the build quality is shockingly bad. If you hold the laptop at opposite corners the whole thing flexes terribly.
    The keys keep falling off the keyboard.

    We have four of these bought a few months apart(which rules out bad batch)

    The xps series are cool and look nice but aren't self upgradeable
  • 0
    @YoungWebRebelz Because the internet isn't actually 100% reliable and the bandwidth of a modern USB3 drive is far greater than some pipe shared with Lord only knows many other students.
  • 0
    @philcr Sad news about the state of Thinkpad. I hired a guy who loved the old ones. Would buy refurbished ones. I think he said that they had actually drain canals for when you spill in the keyboard (but it might have been some other brand).
  • 0
    @Elkstorm Nope, that's ThinkPad. The only meh one I had was from the edge series. *40 series are meh too tho.
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