What is the best type of computer for a computer science student entering college/university?

programliftoff profile image Programming Liftoff ・1 min read

Image of someone typing on computer

This can be as general (Mac, Windows, Linux) or specific (SSD vs disk drive, RAM, etc.) as you like! A good computer can make a huge difference in how productive you are when writing code, especially over a four year time period. So what is the best computer to get?


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Saurabh Sharma

Just buy a MacBook Air or Dell XPS. if you can, else find a cheaper alternative.

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Ben Halpern

I agree. A refurbished MacBook is a good direction for pretty much anything you're looking to do. You probably want to be "mainstream" when you're a student and don't have the time to devote to the nuances of your machine.

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🦄N B🛡

Dell XPS

I did that, and it went surprisingly well. Still one of my most usable dev machines for my virtualization heavy work flow years later.

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Ben Sinclair

This is one of those questions like, "which is the best car to get? I'm studying music".

Get a laptop. Go into a shop and see what ones you like the feel of when you type, and that you like size and clarity of the screen.

For me, rather than shelling out for a Mac, I'd get a basic laptop for a tenth the price. Anything made in the last few years that has its own storage (i.e. not a Chromebook with a 2GB/32GB setup) should be fine. Dual boot it with Windows and Linux and you can do anything.

If you're a Mac fan and don't want to use anything else, get a Mac. Again, anything from the last few years is fine.

Remember that batteries in sealed laptops limit their usefulness after a few years, though.

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M. Shemayev

Assuming basic constraints, like the laptop is capable of running any apps you need it to and that you can afford it:

Best laptop is the one that is light (enough) for you to carry with you everywhere, with a reliable (enough) battery that if you can't get to an outlet ASAP you aren't screwed, with (enough) speed such that you aren't adding to your stress levels on top of everything.

I would actually encourage a smaller drive in favor of better everything else. The less you keep in one place, ie your hard drive, the better--don't make it so you can't find anything, but getting in the habit of having to have everything off and elsewhere and thus backed up in at least one manner is a really good one. Then back it up some more :P

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🦄N B🛡

Not to bias this conversation too much, but I find that I tend to work better with computers that have a working user interface.