Laptop on a budget for BSc Comp Sci Student

Amy N

New Member
Joined
Sep 7, 2019
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8
Hey guys

Can you please suggest good laptops (on a budget) that will get me through 3/4 years studying BSc Comp Sci (at UNISA) beginning next year.

Maybe you know of good sites to purchase online?

Do you suggest I wait for Black Friday deals?
 

newby_investor

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Aug 8, 2018
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2,223
I've said this to pretty much anyone that asks.

Unless you're a gamer or graphic designer, literally any laptop will work just fine. Computers are mature. Yes, you get better or worse ones but even the entry-level ones are capable of doing anything you need for your degree and for lasting the required length of time.

My suggestion is, go to a place that sells computers physically. (You don't need to buy there if the price is excessive, make note of the model and order it online if you like.) Check out the screen and the keyboard and make sure you like them. Browse a few websites, load up some documents or especially text / code files. Pretend that you're working on a few documents / spreadsheets. Is it clear and easy to read? Are you able to type accurately without annoying things happening with the keyboard? Make a note that USB ports are in a decent place so that when you plug a mouse in, it won't interfere with your hand movements for example. That sort of thing.

If this process is physically comfortable for you - that's the laptop to buy.

If you would like to query a specific model or retailer - come back then and ask about that, I'm sure the forumites will have some experience with these.
 

|tera|

Master of Messengers
Joined
Mar 31, 2006
Messages
22,130
I've said this to pretty much anyone that asks.

Unless you're a gamer or graphic designer, literally any laptop will work just fine. Computers are mature. Yes, you get better or worse ones but even the entry-level ones are capable of doing anything you need for your degree and for lasting the required length of time.

My suggestion is, go to a place that sells computers physically. (You don't need to buy there if the price is excessive, make note of the model and order it online if you like.) Check out the screen and the keyboard and make sure you like them. Browse a few websites, load up some documents or especially text / code files. Pretend that you're working on a few documents / spreadsheets. Is it clear and easy to read? Are you able to type accurately without annoying things happening with the keyboard? Make a note that USB ports are in a decent place so that when you plug a mouse in, it won't interfere with your hand movements for example. That sort of thing.

If this process is physically comfortable for you - that's the laptop to buy.

If you would like to query a specific model or retailer - come back then and ask about that, I'm sure the forumites will have some experience with these.
Great advice

Being a daily laptop user myself. Work and home. I have been glad to have my i5 Dell Inspiron.

I bought it in 2013 and it hasn't failed me yet.
Even with a few drinks in my back pack and other components causing friction and force it is still working flawlessly.
 

krycor

Honorary Master
Joined
Aug 4, 2005
Messages
16,191
Just make sure it has
1. SSD (makes life easier, speeds up even slow machines). You can buy one with HDD (1TB), buy a SSD (1/2 TB) and a external case and do the switch.
2. 8-16GB ram or able to be upgraded.
3. CPU & motherboard supports virtualization.. learn to use virtual machines so you can play around with different O/S types and play with various things on separate vms.
4. Make sure you don’t buy a dud motherboard.. yes I mention it twice but nothing worse than a sucky one.

If cost wasn’t an issue and you have parents or someone you know at workplace that uses MacBooks you might pick up a 3yr old one for a good price. Tax benefit for notebooks runs out after 3yrs so some will try and get 40-50% of value back via sale and then buy another.

We use ours till they expire from support ie 6yrs.. but many companies refresh every 3yrs. Fintech sector can only send them to the stone chipper though. (But many don’t despite rules).
 

taheera

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Sep 23, 2016
Messages
113
hi, can anyone who is an engineer electrical/chemcial/computer- or studying engineering-please advise on specs for buying a laptop for studying this degree? thanks
 

phiber

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Dec 7, 2005
Messages
4,270
hi, can anyone who is an engineer electrical/chemcial/computer- or studying engineering-please advise on specs for buying a laptop for studying this degree? thanks
Writing papers and some coding usually isn't too machine intensive. Universities usually have labs to offload high workloads onto (if they dont you can always scale processing to the cloud).

What else do you? Any gaming? The new Ryzen laptops look great, well priced and come with a decent GPU.

If not, good quad core i5 + 16GB + SSD hasn't ever let anyone down. (I'd stay away from the Macbook Air).
 
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taheera

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Joined
Sep 23, 2016
Messages
113
Writing papers and some coding usually isn't too machine intensive. Universities usually have labs to offload high workloads onto (if they dont you can always scale processing to the cloud).

What else do you? Any gaming? The new Ryzen laptops look great, well priced and come with a decent GPU.

If not, good quad core i5 + 16GB + SSD hasn't ever let anyone down. (I'd stay away from the Macbook Air).
hi, thats good information, thanks, regarding processing to the cloud, what effect does that have on what i need to buy in a laptop, where do i save in other words?
what kind of engineer are you, and do you mind advising what laptop you currently use?
a few people have responded to say i must go for a dedicated graphics card also, thus a gaming computer.... not sure if its valid in the type of engineering i want to do?....

i have narrowed down a few options, if you have some time, your input would be invaluable as to which to pick or which to drop ?
budget at around 20 K, they all seem to be very similar, the reviews are very confusing and dont help me make a decision, hoping you can help? or suggest something specific, thanks again
DELL G5 - 5590DELL G3-3590ASUS TUF GAMING FX 505ACER NITRO 5 I7-9750
 

phiber

Expert Member
Joined
Dec 7, 2005
Messages
4,270
As nice as a gaming laptop is, if you don't game I wouldn't get a gaming laptop. You pay too much money for a refresh rate and graphics that you dont make use of. Would rather look for something with strong CPU and Memory specs + decent onboard gfx. Core i5 quad + min 16 gig is perfect, 32 if you can get it for future proofing.

I Personally do most of my work on a 13" latitude (corporate spec) with 32GB memory and quad core i7. It is always hooked up to a 27" screen. At home I have a desktop (core i. In the market for a laptop, but looking at the 13/16 Macbook Pro or Dell XPS 13/15. These are probably budget breakers in ZA, but well priced where I stay.

I'll take a look at the 20k range this weekend and let you know.
 
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