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Buying a Laptop as a Computer Science Student—A Detailed Guide

Excited about your first day in college? We hope you have made all the necessary preparations. However, as a computer science student, apart from buying books, you should also get a high-performance laptop to complete programming tasks and research for your dissertation. If you already have the perfect laptop—that’s great. However, if you are planning to buy one, here are 10 factors you should consider:

10 Factors Computer Science Students Should Consider While Buying a Laptop

1. Processing Power and GPU

As a computer science student, you will be using tools and IDEs that require a certain amount of processing power. If your laptop’s processing power is not good enough to run the necessary programming and development software smoothly, it will lag a lot and get extremely hot. So, choose a laptop with a powerful CPU. Suppose you are a data science or artificial intelligence student. In that case, your CPU won’t be enough for analysing and visualising massive CSV files, nor will it be able to train complex models. You should go for a laptop with a capable GPU in such cases. Laptops come with CPUs and GPUs from AMD or Intel.

2. Storage

It would help if you decided beforehand on the type and amount of storage you want in your laptop. There are currently 2 types of physical storage devices, i.e., hard drives and SSDs. Hard drives are a lot slower compared to SSDs. One of the major differences you’ll observe between the two storage types is the boot time of your laptop’s operating system. With SSDs, the boot time is extremely minimal, unlike hard drives. You only have to wait for a couple of minutes for the latter. You will also have to select the amount of storage you want. Some laptops have a fixed amount of storage, while others have slots available for expansion.

3. Ports

This is an extremely crucial feature you should check while buying a laptop. Highly expensive and sleek laptops like the MacBook have limited ports. This is not good for students who often have to plug in their USBs, HDMI cable, headphones, and Ethernet. So, you should go for a laptop which has all the ports you need. If you want rapid data transfer speeds, you will have to look for a laptop with a much faster USB Type C Thunderbolt port. If you are going for a laptop with only a couple of ports, you should also buy a deck that connects to the available Type C port and provides access to various other ports.

4. Webcam

If you are a student who often does video calls or takes online classes, then you should opt for a laptop with a good webcam. Unfortunately, you won’t find a laptop with a good webcam if you are on a budget. It’s weird how cheap phones have such good cameras, but even a $600 laptop has a 720p webcam with subpar video quality. If you have money to spend, you will find multiple laptops with good sound and video quality webcams. MacBook has arguably the best webcam with amazing sound quality.

5. Display Quality

Well, let’s be honest, you won’t use your laptop for academic purposes only, right? You will view content on it as well. Therefore, it’s important to choose a good screen and display quality laptop. It should have great colours. Moreover, features like anti-glare and high refresh rates can enhance your experience. A good display is also important for you if you are a graphic designer or video editor who cannot compromise on colour accuracy. Also, check the type of display of the laptop and see whether it’s a normal LCD, an IPS LCD, or an OLED display.

6. Upgradability

We expect you’re planning on buying a laptop for at least 3-4 years. However, you can’t work with the same specifications forever. In the coming years, you will have to do tasks which require faster storage options and RAM. However, if you are going for a laptop which has fixed specifications, you can’t make an upgrade. Therefore, you should opt for a laptop which gives you the freedom to expand storage and RAM. Also, make sure the laptop you choose is easily repairable. After upgrading your system’s hardware, you will significantly boost performance and efficiency.

7. Operating System

You have to choose a laptop which comes with an operating system you’re comfortable with. Normal laptops come with Windows or Linux. On the other hand, Apple’s MacBook has its own operating system. Compatibility won’t be an issue because most of the programming software and tools students use work well on MacBooks. However, macOS offers some features and apps that no other operating system offers. Also, you won’t have to keep activating your laptop’s OS and apps, unlike Windows. Moreover, macOS is a lot more effIcient than Windows, as it is properly ptimizedd for its chipset.

8. Size and Weight

You will have to carry your laptop to school or university often. Therefore, it’s better to go for a light, portable, and well-built laptop. Many laptops will meet your performance requirements and have enough ports. But, some of them are quite bulky. Also, you will have to carry your laptop’s charger with you.
For instance, if you buy a gaming laptop, not only will you have to deal with the bulkiness, but you also have to carry its heavy power brick with you. Carrying such laptops can be quite a hassle because you also have to fit your notebooks, stationery, and books in your bag. IOn the other hand, if you go for a light and thin laptop which doesn’t have a good battery life, CPU/GPU, and enough ports, it won’t be worth the investment. Therefore, make sure your laptop offers the best balance between compactness and performance.

9. Battery Life

We all hate to charge our devices, don’t we? While your phone might easily last more than 12 hours on a full charge, the same cannot be said about laptops. The average battery life of laptops ranges between 2-6 hours. If you have to plug in your laptop to a power outlet after 2-3 hours of normal usage, it can seriously affect your working efficiency and productivity. Therefore, go for the laptop that provides the best performance without compromising battery life.

10. Budget

This is the most important factor for every student when picking a laptop. You need to pick a laptop which provides the best price-to-performance ratio. If you are low on budget but require a laptop with better specifications, you can consider buying a used or refurbished model from a reliable dealer.

We hope the tips above help you purchase the right device for your needs.

Like choosing the perfect laptop, buying the best online dissertation help UK is also quite difficult. There are so many options available online, but students don’t know which website is reliable enough to provide them with high-quality dissertations on time.

Therefore, you should go for the website, which has provided dissertation writing services to students for over a decade. You should choose British Dissertation Home, the No.1 dissertation writing service Manchester. If you aim to score high grades and access better career opportunities, we can pave the path for you by assisting you in your coursework and dissertations.

Author Profile

Dr Ryan M. Smith

Ryan is a data scientist who has a PhD degree in Artificial Intelligence. He joined our academic writing platform in September 2015, and since then, he has helped hundreds of students with their assignments, projects, and dissertations. His efficient research techniques allow him to deliver excellent papers within a few days. He is also a die-hard tech enthusiast who loves to write informative blogs for our website.

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