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Looking 4 programming laptop for £300/$400 budget

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Posted · Original PosterOP

I'm going to be studying computor science at college and I'll need a decent laptop to be able to practice programming, do course work, take notes and all that stuff. I could use the computers at the college for practicing programming and doing homework but the college is a 20-30 minute drive away, if traffic is decent,  and I dont drive myself (my parents cant always drop me off and bus travel is expensive as frick and takes even longer). I can upgrade eventually as I work towards my career when I really need to but for now I need somthing that will get the job done without brutally abusing what's left of my wallet

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I won't be giving you a direct recommendation but definitely look for a used/refurbished laptop.


For programming, I'd concentrate on having a decent CPU and enough RAM. Since you will be taking your laptop with you a lot, I'd go for a thin and light with at least an Intel Core i5 or AMD Ryzen 5 CPUs. With Intel, don't get anything older than Skylake (Coffe Lake would be great because of increased core counts, but that is too new probably). A slower CPU won't prevent you from accomplishing your tasks but you will get slower compile times and if you decide to run some VMs, that could be painful (you need to allocate whole cores to a VM). If you are not gaming, stick with an integrated GPU.


With a laptop, you will often find ones with a decent CPU and features but disappointing RAM and storage. Don't let that stop you. Look for maintenance manuals to see if RAM and storage can be upgraded. Ideally look for a laptop with an M.2 slot and a 2.5 inch drive cage, usually the M.2 slot will be empty and you should be able to get a cheap 120GB boot SSD (this is a must today). RAM is cheap, so get at least 8 or 12GB ideally (you might get lucky enough to find a laptop with one 4GB stick and one empty slot) - I find myself with many browser tabs with stackoverflow, standards or language references while coding.


So make a list of laptops with good CPUs and then see if they can be upgraded. For useful features, I wouldn't be able to survive without a backlit keyboard and an IPS display, but that is not really that important, you still need to hit your price point. Good luck :)

My heart belongs to AMD but that doesn't mean I furiously hate Intel or NVIDIA :)


COMPUTER AMD Ryzen 7 1700 | ASRock Fatal1ty X370 Gaming-ITX/ac | MSI HD7950 OC 3GB | G.Skill Ripjaws V 2x8GB @ 3200MHz (Samsung D-Die) | ADATA SX8200 480GB NVMe SSD & WD Black 500GB | Antec ISK600


NOTEBOOK Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga S1 (a.k.a. Yoga 12) - Intel Core i5 4200U | Intel HD4400 | 8GB RAM | Samsung 850 EVO 500GB | 1080p display w/ Wacom Digitizer

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