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CS major: recommendations from experience please!

SophicleesSophiclees Registered User Posts: 46 Junior Member
edited March 2016 in College Computers
I've only owned HP products my entire life but when I browsed through some common laptops used by CS majors, I see more of Lenovo, Asus, and Apple. I'm looking for something lightweight, 13-15", and long battery life. I do game occasionally but I'm probably going to quit once I get into college. Not too concerned with memory, but would like an i5 processor. I want to stay away from Apple because I'm not too familiar with them (too confusing for me, and even though I can if I wanted to, I don't want to spend extra time learning all the shortcuts and the workings). I'll be using the laptop mainly for coding and browsing the Internet. Any suggestions?

*edit: Thought I'd mention that my school recommends Dell New Precision 5510 15". I don't really know about the specs, but it looks bulky. It also recommends the macbook pro 13" but for reasons stated above, I'm not interested in it.

Replies to: CS major: recommendations from experience please!

  • nanotechnologynanotechnology Registered User Posts: 2,526 Senior Member
    Dell makes solid computers. I'm a Lenovo fan, personally; they're slightly more expensive, but the build quality is great and I don't mind spending hours on it coding. Specifically, I'd check out the T series (what I have), X series if you're looking for something super light weight, or the L series of you're on a tighter budget.

    Going into CS, I think you should lay off the fear of the unfamiliar OS. In CS, a lot of people use Linux and Mac because it is way more programming friendly than Windows. There's a learning curve to either of these, but once you get used to it, there are big advantages to using these Unix-based systems. Seriously, it doesn't take that long to get used to Mac (or even Linux). On the high end, it would the you a few weeks so get totally comfortable with it.
  • SophicleesSophiclees Registered User Posts: 46 Junior Member
    @nanotechnology Have you heard anything about the P series before? My university has the Lenovo ThinkPad P50 on their BYOD recommended list and I'm looking into that as well.
  • saif235saif235 Registered User Posts: 1,042 Senior Member
    I've never taken much stock in university recommendations for computers - so long as you have a decent amount of battery life you should be fine.

    I second lenovo - currently they're my favorite PC brand. I've been using the same lenovo machine since I started college and while it's taken quite a beating (I take it everywhere) it's performed admirably.

    As for the OS thing: currently OSX and Linux are more programming friendly than Windows. I eventually installed vbox and used a Linux VM for some of my less windows friendly projects. However, Windows is adding a native Bash shell to Windows 10 as part of the Windows 10 anniversary update which will do wonders to bridge the gap between Windows and the Unix kernel OSes.
  • SophicleesSophiclees Registered User Posts: 46 Junior Member
    @saif235 Do you think I should invest in the ThinkPad P50 then? or is the T460 good enough?
  • saif235saif235 Registered User Posts: 1,042 Senior Member
    If you go for at least the $935 model of the T460 on the lenovo website you should be fine.
    The $800 is skimping a bit on processing and memory for my taste.
  • SophicleesSophiclees Registered User Posts: 46 Junior Member
    edited July 2016
    @saif235 Sorry for the late reply and another question... but I just found a Lenovo laptop at an affordable price - had everything I needed, including an i7 processor, 16GB of RAM, etc.. but the size is a little big for my taste at 15.6". Do you think that will be a problem regarding weight and carrying it around campus? Should I look for a 13 or 14" or should I stick with this one? Also said battery life is 5 hours, is that too short?
  • saif235saif235 Registered User Posts: 1,042 Senior Member
    The size worries me less than the battery life. Personally I prefer 14-15" screens because I like the extra screen space. However, 5 hours is a bit short especially considering that they usually report battery life under ideal rather than realistic conditions. So that five hours may be more like three. Nowadays you're likely to find lots of available power outlets, but I'd look for a laptop with better battery if I were you.
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