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8 Best Laptops for Computer Science Students (2024)

Computer science students need a great laptop to succeed in their studies. After all, a computer science degree requires the use of many different software programs and applications. Plus, computer science students need a laptop that can handle large amounts of data and be able to run multiple programs at the same time.

So, what are the specs for a great computer science laptop? And what are the best laptops for computer science students in October 2024? Keep reading to find out!

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Why trust our review?

We have personally reviewed and tested the most popular and high-rated laptops available on the market at the present moment. This review is being continuously updated as the new models come out and become available to users.

Our reviews are based on thorough research of specs, common problems, user ratings, and personal experience. As you read through the article, be confident that you are receiving the most thorough and accurate advice on the new tech available today.

computer science student working on a black circuit board
Photo by Blaz Erzetic @ Unsplash

Specifications of a great computer science laptop

Now that you know some of the basics that you will need as a computer science student, let’s take a look at what specs your best laptop for computer science students should have in order to help you succeed in your studies.

Minimum RequirementsRecommended Specs
CPUIntel Core i5 10th Gen or AMD Ryzen 5 3500UIntel i7 11th Gen or higher
RAM8GB16GB or more
Memory256GB SSD512GB SSD
GPUIntegrated AMD or Intel GPUNVIDIA GeForce GTX 16xx or higher
Battery Life6 hours10+ hours
Operating SystemWindows 10, Linux, or MacOSWindows 11, Linux, or MacOS

CPU: You will want a laptop with a powerful processor that can handle large amounts of data and run multiple programs at the same time. As a minimum, we recommend Intel Core i5 10th generation or AMD Ryzen 5 3500U processors.

RAM: You will want a laptop with at least 8GB of RAM, but 16GB or more is even better to future-proof your buy. This will ensure that your laptop can handle any task you throw at it, no matter how demanding.

Storage: You will need enough space to store all of your class lectures, notes, and project files. We recommend a minimum of 256GB of SSD storage, but 512GB or more is even better.

GPU: If you plan on doing any gaming on your laptop or if you want to use computer-aided design (CAD) software, then you will need a laptop with a dedicated graphics card. For general use, we recommend at least an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 or an AMD Radeon RX 560X.

Display: You will want a laptop with a display large enough to not have to squint your eyes to read your own code, but also compact enough that you could still transport it with you to your classes or the library with no problem. display that is easy to see. We recommend a display size of 14-16 inches, but 13 or 17 inches would work as well, depending on your preference and studying habits.

Battery life: As a computer science student, you will likely be spending a lot of time working on your laptop away from home, so you will want one with long battery life. We recommend a minimum of 6 hours of battery life, but 10 hours or more would be ideal.

Weight: You will want a laptop that is light enough to carry with you everywhere, but not so light that it feels flimsy or unstable. We recommend a weight of 4.5 pounds (2 kg) or less.

Other: You will also need some accessories, such as a built-in or portable web camera and microphone for any classes that will be held online and a mouse for easy navigation on your computer screen. You should also consider getting a pair of headphones for listening to online lectures, recording, teamwork assignments, and studying.

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monitor of a computer science student's laptop displaying index.html codes
Photo by Pankaj Patel @ Unsplash

What OS do I need as a CS student?

A computer science student can actually thrive on different operating systems. You can technically use most operating systems and have little-to-no problem running everything you need on your computer. However, each operating system presents its own advantages and disadvantages for a computer science student.

Mac OS

Advantages: Macs are known for their user-friendly interface and sleek design. They are also less prone to viruses than PCs and can run Windows programs using virtualization software like Parallels Desktop.

Disadvantages: Macs are generally more expensive than PCs and they have a smaller selection of software available, particularly when it comes to open-source software.

Windows

Advantages: Windows is the most popular operating system for laptops and PCs, so you will have the largest selection of software and accessories to choose from. It is also relatively easy to use and has a wide range of features.

Disadvantages: Windows is not as secure as Mac OS and it is also more prone to viruses. It can also be challenging to find Apple-compatible software for a PC.

Linux

Advantages: Linux is a great choice for computer science students as it is very versatile and can be customized to your specific needs. It is also free to download and use.

Disadvantages: Linux can be more difficult to use than other operating systems, particularly for those who are not familiar with coding. It also has a smaller selection of software available.

So, which operating system should you choose as a computer science student? It really depends on your specific needs and preferences. If you want an easy-to-use interface and don’t mind spending a little extra money, then Mac OS might be the best choice for you. If you want the widest selection of software and accessories to choose from, then Windows 10 would be a good option. And if you’re looking for a versatile and customizable operating system that is also free to use, then Linux might be the best choice for you.

Whichever system you decide to run on your computer, you should have the latest available stable version of that OS installed.

Top 8 best laptops for computer science students in 2024

So what are the best laptops for computer science students to buy in 2024? Below, we review the best choices that satisfy the specs listed above and discuss why these selected devices have made it to our list.

1. Apple MacBook Pro M2 16.2″ – Best overall laptop for computer science students

Macbook Pro M2 as one of the best laptops for computer science students
  • Display Size: 16.2″
  • CPU & GPU: Apple M2 Pro chip with 12‑core CPU and 19‑core GPU
  • RAM: 16GB RAM
  • Storage: 1TB SSD
  • Screen: 3456×2234
  • Weight: 4.7 lbs
  • Battery life: Up to 22 hours

The Apple MacBook Pro M2 is the overall best laptop for computer science students. Its latest and the most powerful M2 Pro chip with 12-core CPU and 19-core GPU make it ideal for running intensive software development programs, and its large 1TB SSD provides plenty of storage space for your files. The 3456×2234 Retina display is stunning, making it a great device for viewing multimedia content or doing creative work. And with 16GB of RAM, you can rest assured there will be no lagging even with an increased software load.

MacBook Pro M2 also features excellent screen real estate, thanks to its large 16.2-inch form factor. If you’re looking for a powerful and large laptop for your computer science studies, the MacBook Pro M2 is a great option.

ProsCons
Powerful hardwareExpensive
Amazing display
Long battery life



2. Dell XPS 15 – Best Windows laptop for computer science students

Dell XPS 15 as one of the best laptops for computer science students
  • Display Size: 15″
  • CPU: Core I7-12700H(14-Core)
  • RAM: 16GB RAM
  • Storage: 512GB PCIe SSD
  • Screen: FHD+ (1920×1200)
  • GPU: NVidia RTX 3050 4GB
  • Weight: 4 lbs
  • Battery life: Up to 13 hours

The Dell XPS 15 is one of the best laptops for computer science students and the best Windows laptop on our list. It’s a great all-around laptop that is powered by a 14-core Intel Core i7 processor and 16GB of RAM, making it perfectly fast and capable of taking on any task. The 512GB PCIe SSD provides plenty of storage space for your files, and the 15-inch FHD+ (1920×1200) display is great for viewing multimedia content or working on your coding projects.

Computer science students also generally love XPS 15 due to the amazing visuals it provides. Despite being a budget-friendly computer, XPS 15 comes with an NVIDIA RTX 3050 4GB card that can handle most of the graphics-intensive tasks you’ll encounter while studying or working. All-in-all you be impressed by XPS 15 and are guaranteed to be happy with it.

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ProsCons
Very powerfulAwkward webcam placement
Great design
Beautiful screen

3. HP Spectre x360 14 – Best 2-in-1 laptop for computer science students

HP Spectre x360 as one of the best laptops for computer science students
  • Display Size: 13.5″
  • CPU: 11th Gen Intel Core i7-1165G7
  • RAM: 16GB RAM
  • Storage: 1TB SSD
  • Screen: 1920 x 1280
  • GPU: Intel Iris Xe Graphics
  • Weight: 2.8 lbs
  • Battery life: 10 hours

The HP Spectre x360 14 is our top pick for the best 2-in-1 laptop for computer science students. It’s a powerful and versatile laptop that can be used as a traditional notebook or converted into a tablet for easy viewing of multimedia content. The 11th Gen Intel Core i7-1165G7 processor and 16GB of RAM provide plenty of power for running a batch of software simultaneously, while the 512GB SSD provides ample storage space for your projects and entertainment. Plus, the 4K (3840×2160) display is perfect for viewing HD content or working on your coding projects.

The Spectre x360 14 is also one of the more portable laptops on our list, thanks to its 2.8-pound weight and slim form factor. So if you’re looking for a powerful and portable laptop for your computer science studies, the HP Spectre x360 14 is one of the best laptops for computer science students.

ProsCons
Gorgeous OLED touch screenNo internal pen storage
Elegantly sleek designAwkward keyboard layout
Great performance and battery life

4. Acer Aspire 5 – Best budget laptop for computer science majors

black and gray acer aspire laptop
  • Display Size: 15.6″
  • CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 5500U (6-core) 4.00Hz
  • RAM: 16GB RAM
  • Storage: 512GB SSD
  • Screen: 1920 x 1080
  • GPU: AMD Radeon Graphics
  • Weight: 3.9 lbs
  • Battery life: Up to 15 hours

The Acer Aspire 5 is our top pick for the best budget laptop for computer science majors. It’s a powerful and affordable machine that can handle most of the programming you will need to do as a student and as a future software engineer. The AMD Ryzen 5 5500U processor and 16GB of RAM provide plenty of power, while the 512GB SSD is enough to store everything you need on your PC. Plus, the AMD Radeon Graphics ensure smooth and realistic visual performance if you prefer to play computer games in your free time.

What separates Acer Aspire 5 from the other items on the list is the excellent value for your money. This machine is very powerful and capable but won’t break the bank. If you are a computer science major on a budget, this is the laptop for you.

ProsCons
Comfortable keyboardMediocre webcam
Good battery lifeModest performance
Solid build

5. Apple MacBook Air M2 – Best budget Apple laptop for computer science students

macbook air on white wooden desk
  • Display Size: 15.3″
  • CPU: Apple M2 8-core
  • RAM: 8GB RAM
  • Storage: 256GB SSD
  • Screen: 2880×1864 Retina Display
  • GPU: Apple 8-core GPU
  • Weight: 3.3 lbs
  • Battery life: Up to 18 hours

The Apple MacBook Air is the best budget Apple laptop for computer science students. It is just what you need if you are looking to get a classy Apple computer while not sacrificing a fortune from your student stipend. The Apple M2 8-core processor and 8GB of RAM provide are solid for everything you will need as a CS student, while the 256GB SSD provides plenty of storage for all of your projects.

If you are considering a sturdy and reliable budget-friendly laptop for your computer science studies, the MacBook Air is a great option. It’s not only powerful and capable but also lightweight and portable. Plus, the battery life is excellent, so you can take it with you anywhere without having to worry about running out of juice.

ProsCons
Thin, light designLimited port options
All-day battery lifeGets warm
Great performance

6. Dell XPS 13 – Best compact laptop for computer science students

Dell XPS laptop displaying code
  • Display Size: 13.3″
  • CPU: Intel Core i7-1195G7
  • RAM: 16GB RAM
  • Storage: 512GB SSD
  • Screen: 1920 x 1080
  • GPU: Intel Iris Xe Graphics
  • Weight: 2.8 lbs
  • Battery life: Up to 15 hours

The Dell XPS 13 is our top pick for the best compact laptop for computer science students. It’s a lightweight and portable machine that can handle everything you throw at it in the programming department. The Intel Core i7-1195G7 processor and 16GB of RAM support the machine’s performance, while the 512GB SSD gives you more than enough space to store your projects and multimedia files. Plus, the integrated Intel Iris Xe Graphics card ensures smooth and realistic visuals for your gaming and coding activities.

One of the best things about the Dell XPS 13 is its portability. This machine weighs only 2.8 pounds, making it easy to carry with you to lectures or the library. Plus, the compact design means it won’t take up too much space on your desk. So if you’re looking for a powerful and portable laptop for your computer science studies, the Dell XPS 13 is another one of the best laptops for computer science students.

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ProsCons
Classy designLimited port selection
AffordablePerformance suffers under intense workload
Great portability

7. Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon – Best laptop for work and study

black ThinkPad laptop computer turned on with black screen
  • Display Size: 14″
  • CPU: 12th Gen Intel Core i7-1260P 12Cores
  • RAM: 16GB RAM
  • Storage: 512GB SSD
  • Screen: 1920×1200
  • GPU: lntel lris Xe Graphics
  • Weight: 2.4 lbs
  • Battery life: Up to 18 hours

The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon wins the title of your best work-and-study laptop. It’s a powerful machine that can handle all of your computer science tasks with ease. The 12th Gen Intel Core i7-1260P processor and 16GB of RAM boost the machine’s performance, while the 512GB SSD is enough to store all of your school files and multimedia.

One of the best things about the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon is its portability. This machine weighs only 2.4 pounds, making it easy to carry with you to lectures or the library. So if you’re looking for a powerful and portable laptop for your computer science studies, pick the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon and you won’t be disappointed.

ProsCons
Very lightExpensive
Excellent battery life
Top-level screen

8. Asus ROG Zephyrus G15 – Best gaming laptop for computer science students

turned-on Asus laptop near eyeglasses, succulent plant, and empty clear glass bottle
  • Display Size: 15.6″
  • CPU: Ryzen 9 5900HS (8-core)
  • RAM: 24GB RAM
  • Storage: 1TB SSD
  • Screen: 2560×1440
  • GPU: Nvidia Gefore RTX 3060 6GB GDDR6
  • Weight: 4.2 lbs
  • Battery life: Up to 10 hours

The Asus ROG Zephyrus G15 is the best option for a gaming laptop for computer science students. It’s a powerful and versatile machine that can handle even the most demanding gaming or coding tasks. The Ryzen 9 5900HS processor and 16GB of RAM provide beast power to the laptop, while Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 6GB GDDR6 graphics card ensures smooth and realistic gaming performance.

The distinguishing feature of Zephyrus G15 that can separate it from the rest of the devices on our list is the innovative cooling system. This helps to prevent the laptop from overheating during intense gaming sessions or long coding projects. So if you’re looking for a powerful and reliable gaming laptop for your computer science studies, the Asus ROG Zephyrus G15 is a great option.

ProsCons
Sleek designCan get hot
Excellent performanceNo webcam
Comfortable typing experience

What software will I need on my laptop?

As a computer science student, you will need to have certain software programs installed on your computer as you begin your computer science program. You will be instructed how to download and use these by your instructors when the time comes, but we thought we’d provide a short list for you as a starter.

  • Code editor: Sublime Text, Atom, or Notepad++
  • Integrated development environment (IDE): Microsoft Visual Studio, JetBrains PyCharm, Eclipse
  • Debugger: GDB, LLDB
  • Version control software: Git, Mercurial
  • Command line interface: Bash, Powershell

Besides these software development-oriented programs, you will need standard office software like Microsoft Office or Google Docs, and a web browser like Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox. You should install the rest of the software as you need.

What other things will I need as a computer science student?

So, we have finished our review of the best laptops for computer science students and have hopefully given you an idea of the type of laptop that fits your needs as a computer science student. But what other pieces of equipment and tools will you need as a CS student? Let’s take a look.

  • Laptop backpack – As a computer science student, you will be carrying your laptop with you to and from lectures, the library, and maybe even to your internship or part-time job. So it’s important to have a good quality laptop backpack that can protect your machine while you’re on the go, as well as carry other items such as books, notebooks, and other.
  • Noise-cancelling headphones – When you’re trying to concentrate on your work in a busy environment, noise-cancelling headphones can be a lifesaver. They will help you focus on your work and block out any distractions.
  • External hard drive – An external hard drive is a great way to back up your files and have an extra copy in case your computer crashes or you lose your laptop, although storing your files in the cloud is another convenient option.
  • Notebook(s) – A good quality notebook is essential for taking notes in lectures and tutorials, as well as working on projects.Highlighters and pens – You’ll need these for taking notes and marking up textbooks.

Can I use a tablet for my computer science classes?

A tablet is also a great option for computer science students who favor portability. While we recommend that every computer science student owns a laptop for most of the coding, tablets are becoming increasingly popular as coding on-the-go tools.

There are plenty of software programs on the mobile app stores these days that let you edit and run code from your tablet. We provide our review of the best tablets for programming here. Notably, you can also use a tablet as an external monitor for your primary computer.

Conclusion

In this blog article, we have talked about what specifications make a great computer science laptop and presented you with a list of the 8 best laptops for computer science students. We hope you have enjoyed the read and have found it useful in picking the right laptop for you. After all, you won’t find better suggestions anywhere on the internet!

Ready to order your new laptop and get started on your college career? Go back to our list and click order!