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Every student needs a laptop, but not as important as how a computer science student does. As a computer science student or major, you do need a decent computer for coding, completing various projects and assignments.
Such a laptop doesn’t have to be overpowered but still has some decent specs.
And with the vast options available in the market today, it could require an effort on your part to find a suitable option.
That’s why I have outlined some of the best laptops for computer science.
- Best laptops for computer science students in 2021
- How to choose a laptop for computer science
- Wrap Up
Best laptops for computer science students in 2021
1. HP Pavilion x360
Storage: 256 GB PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD
Display: 14 Full HD (1920 x 1080) multitouch enabled
GPU: Intel Iris Xe Graphics
- Good audio quality
- 360-degree design
- No thunderbolt port
If you are a computer science student looking for a convertible laptop, you should choose the HP Pavilion x360. Despite its extremely minimalist design, it performs well. In terms of performance, this laptop features a Core i5-1135G7 processor that promotes better processing.
Besides, the processor also uses 10nm SuperFin technology for optimal performance. It contains turbo boost technology that enables it to reach 4.2GHz of the frequency with its four cores.
As part of these cores, HP Pavilion x360 has an Iris Xe Graphics G7 GPU. This laptop comes with a 14-inch IPS LED display that offers 1920 x 1080 resolution.
Additionally, it supports touch input via digital pen. Additionally, its peak brightness of 300 nits provides accurate color reproduction. The bezels are extremely narrow, which ensures an impressive viewing experience.
2. Acer Predator Helios 300
RAM: 16GB DDR4 3200MHz memory (2 DDR4 Slots Total, Maximum 32GB)
Storage: 512GB PCIe Gen 4 SSD (2 x PCIe M.2 Slots/1 x 2.5 Hard Drive Bay Available)
Display: 15.6 Full HD (1920 x 1080) IPS LED-backlit display with 16:9 aspect ratio, 144Hz refresh rate
GPU: GeForce RTX 3060 (6GB dedicated GDDR6 VRAM)
- High performance
- AeroBlade fans
- Perfect for gaming
- A bit heavy
Acer is a major laptop maker that offers many laptops at a variety of price points. One of the top-quality laptops by the Acer brand is the Predator Helios 300, which is why we have included it in the list of best laptops for computer science.
It comes with a traditional 15.6-inch display that uses IPS technology. A 16:9 aspect ratio and 1920 x 1080 resolution are the features of this display. Additionally, it offers a high refresh rate of 144Hz and a response time of 3ms which means you won’t experience lag.
A Core i7-11800H processor powers the laptop, which belongs to the 11th generator series. This processor consists of eight cores and sixteen threads to get a maximum clock speed of 4.6GHz. In addition, the laptop features the GeForce RTX graphics card, which supports a 6GB of GDDR6 VRAM.
Additionally, this GPU supports DirectX 12 Ultimate and Tensor Cores, another reason to invest in Acer Predator Helios 300 laptops. As for its storage capabilities, this laptop has a 512GB SSD with 16GB RAM resulting in performance boosts.
3. Dell Inspiron 15 5510
RAM: 8GB 3200MHz DDR4
Storage: 512 GB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD
Display: 15.6-inch FHD (1920 x 1080) Anti-glare LED Backlight Non-Touch Narrow Border WVA
GPU: NVIDIA GeForce MX450 with 2GB GDDR5 graphics memory
- Bluetooth 5.1 supported
- Dedicated GPU
- Stylish design
- Low storage
It may be your best decision to use the Dell Inspiron 15 5510 if you require a powerful laptop that comes with a dedicated graphics card. The laptop includes an i7-11370H processor that results in high-performance processing.
The processor delivers high performance because it gets eight threads as well as four cores. Moreover, the use of 10nm SuperFin technology makes the processor more potent.
The 3.3GHz base clock speed results from its high performance, but during turbo boost mode, the clock speed can reach as high as 4.8GHz. Furthermore, this laptop has a 2GB VRAM GeForce MX450 card resulting in high-end visuals.
Besides, Dell Inspiron 15 comes with a large 15.6-inch display with 1920 x 1080 resolution. For computer science students, 16:9 aspect ratios provide a more vertical workspace. Maximum brightness of 300 nits and 100% sRGB color coverage are also present in the Dell Inspiron 15 unit.
Due to its 16GB RAM and 512GB SSD, this laptop will let you multitask with ease. In addition, its minimal bezels enable an immersive experience. Additionally, you will receive a backlit keyboard and an optimal key travel distance that will result in easy typing.
4. Apple MacBook Air M1
Storage: 256GB or 512GB SSD
Display: 13.3-inch (diagonal) LED-backlit widescreen display
- Retina display
- Long battery life
- Fast processing
- Poor connectivity
Students interested in computer science often choose MacBooks due to their developer-friendly workspaces. This machine uses the M1 chipset released in 2020. Apple has made this chipset, which works on TSMC’s 5nm node and has eight cores.
Thus, you will be able to get speeds up to 3.2GHz. Also, this laptop is equipped with a 16-core that will increase the processing performance. It also comes with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of SSD storage, making the MacBook Air M1 ideal for those computer science students who perform high-end tasks.
It has an excellent display on the front portion, which is 13.3 inches in size and has a 3:2 aspect ratio. IPS LED technology underlies the Retina display.
Moreover, this display extends a total resolution of 2560 x 1600 and a pixel density of 227 per inch, which results in sharp visuals. Additionally, this display supports a P3 wide color gamut, which means it offers 25 percent more colors than sRGB displays.
Also, Apple MacBook Air M1 supports Bluetooth 5 technology in addition to Wi-Fi 6. As for the laptop’s build quality, it is made of solid aluminum, which results in an overall lower weight of around 3 pounds.
5. Lenovo IdeaPad 5
RAM: 12GB RAM
Storage: 512GB SSD
Display: 15.6 LED-Backlit IPS Touch Screen FHD (1920 x 1080)
GPU: Intel Iris Xe Graphics
- Integrated graphics card
- Numeric keyboard
- Battery life is comparatively low
As one of the world’s largest laptop makers, Lenovo manufactures many top-quality laptops. One of the high-performing laptops by Lenovo for computer science students is IdeaPad 5. This lightweight laptop is very well-built and comes with the latest Intel Core i7 processor.
Additionally, the chipset uses a 10-nanometer technology for optimal performance. This processor has four cores with a maximum clock speed of 4.7GHz. In addition, the laptop employs the Xe Graphics G7 GPU that can easily manage high-end graphics processing.
Its display features 1920 x 1080 resolution on a 15.6-inch screen. In addition to supporting touch input, this display makes it easier for anyone to use. With the support of a digital pen, you can take notes, draw, and perform various other tasks.
The display also offers very good color accuracy and excellent picture quality. With thin bezels surrounding the display, and a front-facing camera mounted on top, you will enjoy a further enhanced experience.
6. Asus ZenBook 14
RAM: 8GB LPDDR4X
Storage: 512GB PCIe NVMe SSD
Display: 14 inch 400nits Full HD (1920x1080), Anti-Glare IPS level NanoEdge bezel display
GPU: Iris Xe Graphic
- Facial recognition supported
- Backlit keyboard
- Power-efficient display
- Built-in IR camera
- No thunderbolt 4
From high-end gaming laptops to budget laptops, Asus offers several good laptops, including the ZenBook 14. In the middle of the range is this Asus ZenBook 14 with the Intel Core i5-1135G7 processor.
In this 11th generation processor, there are four cores and eight threads of processing power. These cores are very powerful, featuring clock speeds of 4.20GHz and 2.40GHz.
Further, the Iris XE GPU that goes along with this processor acts as an integrated graphics card. The display comes in a 14-inch model, while 1920 x 1080 resolution is available on this IPS LED display.
The display provides a max brightness of 400 nits and 100 percent sRGB color coverage out of the box. As a result, you will enjoy viewing in vivid color and brightness. There is only 14.3mm thickness on the Asus ZenBook 14, and it weighs 2.69 pounds.
Besides, this laptop includes 8GB RAM and a 512GB SSD, which will help computer science students to store their important files. The memory and storage are upgradeable and can perform more tasks simultaneously. In addition to that, it provides exceptional security with the help of an IR camera and fingerprint scanner.
7. Acer Swift 3
RAM: 8GB LPDDR4X
Storage: 512GB NVMe solid state drive
Display: 14 Full HD widescreen LED-backlit 100% sRGB
GPU: Radeon Graphics
- 100% sRGB display
- Wi-Fi 6 supported
- Fingerprint reader
- Not upgradable
If you are a computer science student searching for an affordable laptop, you should go for the Acer Swift 3. This laptop offers great value and performance at an affordable price.
The laptop has a 14-inch large display with an FHD resolution. The laptop does have color accuracy, but that is not a vital thing for a computer science student.
Moreover, it provides a maximum brightness of 300 nits, which is ideal for regular use. On the inside, it comes with a Ryzen 7 5700U processor, which is high-performing. It is a mighty processor for a budget laptop that uses 7mn technology. The Zen 2 microarchitecture has eight cores, each with a maximum clock speed of 4.3GHz.
Besides that, AMD Radeon RX Vega 8 graphics are also built into this laptop. Though it is an on-board GPU, it also delivers impressive performance. Additionally, the laptop features 8 GB of RAM and a 512 GB SSD, so it has plenty of memory.
8. HP Pavilion 15
RAM: 16 GB
Storage: 512 GB SSD
Display: 15-inch FHD IPS
GPU: Intel Iris Xe Graphics
- 178-degree wide-viewing angle
- Good connectivity
- High performance
- Stunning visuals
- Might run noisy
Laptops with good performance and portability are popular among computer science students, due to which I have added HP Pavilion 15 to the list. Powering the device is a Core i7-1165G7 processor based on microarchitecture technology.
4.7GHz is the maximum clock speed of these 10nm cores. In addition, this laptop comes with a GPU integrated by Intel, the Iris Xe Graphics G7. So, whether you’re coding or doing other tasks, you’ll get excellent performance with HP Pavilion 15.
Additionally, a 512GB SSD and 16GB RAM are also present in this laptop so that you can perform multitasking seamlessly. It features a large 15.6-inch display with a 1920 × 1080 resolution to provide an optimal viewing experience.
With a 16:9 aspect ratio, the display is surrounded by very narrow bezels, making it an ideal machine for both programming and entertainment.
Furthermore, this screen can deliver accurate colors and a brightness of 300 nits. With this model, you can video call and take classes using the HD camera. HP Pavilion 15 also has a coating that reduces glare to filter out unwanted light.
9. Microsoft Surface Laptop 4
Storage: 512GB SSD
Display: 13.5 Touch-Screen 400 nits
GPU: Intel Iris Xe
- Supports split-screen multitasking
- Thunderbolt 4 supported
- HD camera
- Slim and light
- No facial recognition
Surface Laptop 4 is one of Microsoft’s newest laptops that belongs to the “Surface” series. The Surface series contains lightweight and well-built laptops, and the Surface Laptop 4 is one of those.
With a display size of 13.5 inches and an IPS LCD technology, this laptop looks sleek. Computer science students can work more efficiently thanks to its 1920 x 1080 resolution and 16:10 aspect ratio.
Furthermore, it features a high-quality color gamut that will result in rich and accurate colors. Also, the display does not have any bezels. Intel Core i7-1165G7 processor powers the Surface Laptop 4 which will help computer science students to perform complex tasks.
Besides, multitasking is made possible by the addition of 16GB RAM and 512GB SSD. The device also features Wi-Fi 6 that will deliver a faster and more reliable connection. Since the laptop is a Windows device, it operates Windows 10 OS with a free upgrade to Windows 11.
While it offers the latest technologies, it also comes with a long-lasting battery. Though the Surface Laptop 4 is a bit more expensive than a few listed laptops, it features a lightweight design with an elegant display.
10. Acer Aspire 5
RAM: 4GB DDR4
Storage: 128GB NVMe SSD
Display: 15.6 Full HD display with 82.58% screen-to-body ratio
GPU: Radeon RX Vega 6
- Purified voice technology
- Backlit keyboard
- Supports Wi-Fi 6
- Low build quality
The Aspire 5 is a good choice for those who do not want to spend a lot of money on laptops. Despite its low price, this laptop has great specifications compared to its competitors — the Ryzen 3 3350U processor powers this unit, which includes four threads.
With a 12 nm design technology and a Zen+ microarchitecture, these cores deliver excellent performance. The processor can still produce maximum clock speeds of 3.5GHz despite being an old model.
This laptop features a 15.6-inch FHD display on the front, offering a resolution of 1920 x 1080. Since it is a budget laptop, a dedicated GPU is not possible, so it comes with Radeon RX Vega 6 GPU for better performance. You can watch movies or shows without any lag on this laptop.
It also includes BlueLightShield to lessen blue light and Color Intelligence to enhance color accuracy. Furthermore, the Acer Aspire 5 comes with 4GB RAM and a 128GB SSD. However, both the RAM and storage are upgradeable due to the extra slots. Wi-Fi 6 technology provides a fast and consistent connection.
How to choose a laptop for computer science
Being a computer science student, your curriculum will require you to make use of software like MATLAB, Python, Java, C, C++, R Studio, and the likes. It is only vital you get a laptop that supports these specs. With this list, you will gain an insight into the idea of laptop requirements for such software.
There are two main processor types that are quite suitable: you can either opt for an Intel processor or an AMD processor series. In all, I would recommend you get the processor type with fast processing speed.
To help deploy, compile your codes faster and, at the same type, ensure smooth performance. In the instance of Intel processors, the likes of core i5 and i7 will be your best bet. While for AMD processors, you should go for Ryzen 5, 7, and above.
As a computer science student, your area of specialization will demand a lot of screen time. It is only vital that you opt for a laptop with good screen resolution and possibly have an anti-glare functionality to reduce eye strains.
So, in this case, I did recommend getting a computer with a full HD display from 1400 x 900 pixels of screen resolution and above to help support you when you use a computer for long hours.
You will be running a lot of other applications as you are going through your coding tasks. For example, a typical student could open a notepad (for taking notes), an IDE (language support), a browser (to test code and search for resources), and a code editor (for editing codes) simultaneously.
Therefore, laptops with an 8GB of RAM capacity are required as the barest minimum.
Same as most engineering student who uses a laptop strictly for studies, you don’t need the most powerful graphic card except you are a gaming nerd. Any integrated graphics from Intel and AMD hardware that is good enough for programming. However, as a machine learning expert, you could opt for a laptop with a dedicated graphics card.
You need a decent amount of storage space to store numerous coding projects. Therefore, it’s up to you to choose your storage capacity option.
However, I did recommend a storage capacity of no less than 256GB for your best use in the list above and in the best laptops for data science articles.
Also, when it comes to internal storage, there are two variants known as SSD and HDD. With SSD laptops, you get an extensively fast workflow as you can effortlessly search through a cluster of codes faster for SSD than HDD.
If you vet through this list thoroughly, you will be able to get a laptop that could satisfy your programming and design needs.
With this review, you could examine your options and choose a computer that is best suited for your computing needs as a computer science student.