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  • Dell XPS 15 Laptop 

    - is a nice heavy duty office work laptop that will get the work done and save you some money.

    - I don't think there is a laptop out there that can run a whole day without having to be plugged in at least once. 

    - A laptop will always run best plugged in, but of course there's always draw backs on leaving it plugged in for a long period at max charged.

    - Usually brand new laptops last 5 years before you start to see performance issue after all the updates and what not.

    - It does have a 512GB hard drive, but you can always buy a external HDD to increases the storage. 

    - Does come in with a double authentication to help with security login

    Spice (5) flagReport
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  • For that kind of cash, you should be able to get 32Gb of RAM and even more storage.  Just make sure it has an NVMe PCIeX4 SSD drive.  (I call them bubblegum drives, even though they resemble chewing gum sticks.)  I prefer a Ryzen 5 or better CPU (in a pinch Intel i5).  Make sure it has a TPM2.0 module, because if you're not running a Mac then you will need to run Windows 11 soon.

    Cheaper models will have cheaper monitors and cheaper integrated graphics cards.

    There is no guarantee that any laptop will not burn out in 5 years.  If I'm not mistaken, even the tax laws in the US only expect them to last for 3 years.  While I have 3 laptops for personal use which were all built in 2007.  You just can't ever predict electronic failure.

    If you are planning to write code for newer M2 hardware, then you may need to have M2 hardware for compiling/testing purposes.  Ultimately, your use case will drive your selection.  But 3 years from now, M2 might not be what you're coding for.  It might be more practical for you to start a Youtube channel,, create good content, get some patrons on Patreon, and let that pay for your revolving hardware needs.

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  • KeyBoard9000​ Already mentioned Dell XPS laptops. I also recommend these. These new models are pretty damn slick for the price point. Plus if your going to be coding I would personally recommend using a Windows operating system. I had many friends in college who decided to use Mac laptops for Computer Science courses but anytime they ran into issues, it was on them to fix it. Not many other people had Macs and even the professors had no clue what to do when it came to issues on them. I know this isn't the case for many other places but I know from experience it would be a lot easier to find help with issues on a Windows when compared to Mac purely because of how large the demographic is for Windows based systems. 

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  • Do you need the MAC OS, if so that is going to limit your choices. Or were you planning on trying to put Windows on it? the Dell's (what i would suggest too) wont run MAC OS.

    So what OS do you need or are looking for? 

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  • Dell XPS, Latitude, or Precision line are great laptops that can get you great performance. I personally would get the Precision of those 3, it's all about what you want in a laptop. If the Apple M2 does it for you, then go for it. If you want a great Windows laptop, they do that. It's all about what you want or need and what will do that for you.

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  • KeyBoard9000​ MacBooks with M1 and M2 CPU's can last "all day" on a single battery charge.  Not literally 24-hours, but basically all day that one would be using it, i.e. 10-12 hours, maybe 14 at most.  Depends on usage, but those are the longest-lasting laptops that are also very capable.

    HP ProBook 455 G9 laptops are packing massive performance, long battery life (largely thanks to Ryzen 3), and very aggressive pricing in a business-grade laptop:

    https://www.hp.com/us-en/shop/pdp/hp-probook-455-156-inch-g9-notebook-pc-wolf-pro-security-edition#t...

    For $779 at the time of this post, getting a Ryzen 7 (3rd gen) with 16 GB of RAM and 512 GB NVMe SSD is insane!


    If you want to go up-market a little, the EliteBook 655 G9 still packs a lot of performance for the money in a slightly more premium package:

    https://www.cdw.com/product/hp-elitebook-655-g9-notebook-15.6-ryzen-7-pro-5875u-16-gb-ram-512/684482...


    Windows likes to eat RAM, so I'd call 16 GB a minimum for any kind of CompSci student.  Comparing Apple to Windows is comparing Apples to Oranges (lol!!), but Macs would have a bit lower RAM requirements, although I still wouldn't slack and get an awesome M1/M2 MacBook with only 8 GB of RAM.  Macs don't upgrade as easily as a lot of Windows business PC's.

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  • Before making any decisions, ask the computer science course organisers if they have any recommendations for the operating system. It is not just MacOS and Windows as versions of Linux could also be appropriate depending on the course. I suspect that most on the course will use Windows OS and it is better to work with the herd. You can dual boot Windows and Linux and of course with the amount of RAM you are thinking of using then you can boot both with one in a VM.

    You may also consider getting a good laptop plus a cheaper light weight one to carry around as it does not matter as much if you drop it or it is stolen.

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  • Dell Precision Workstations are likely a far better choice. 

    For starters, I would tend to stay away from ANY system in the Dell XPS line without very intense research. I'd also never recommend ANY Mac or Lenovo to anyone purely because of their design issues. The Dell XPS/Mac (Air)/Lenovo/anything 'slim' kind of computers are typically a nightmare in the hardware department for innumerable reasons. They'll have integrated hard drives, overheating issues, performance issues, poor construction of hinges, frail cases, tiny, strange parts that break and take the entire computer with them, over-priced components...the list goes on.

    Dell Latitude systems are always an excellent budget laptop but they might not meet your "demanding performance needs". Systems in this line are typically build like a tank and if you do end up doing something horrible to them like dropping them out a window or dumping your milkshake in the keyboard they're typically still salvageable. It should also be noted that Dell will generally offer an "accidental drop" warranty on them for ~$200 so...I'd highly recommend that since you can do it once a year to replace your ripped off keys or cracked screen.

    If you want something that will give you ultra high performance the Precision Workstation line is where it's at. If you're trying to spend $2k on a system you can probably get into a low end Precision that would have an above average GPU, high end CPU, a lot of memory, and room for upgrades like extra nvme bays and room for a lot more memory. This might be relevant to you if you need to run Hyper-V or something so you can use multiple OSes to program or even for Cyber-type activities like malware analysis etc.

    As far as brands go, I'd absolutely back Dell 100% (and I'm in no way paid by Dell or anything). They have great support and even w/o it they at least have parts and drivers available. Avoid HP like the plague. They don't honor their warranties half the time and when they do they'll end up keeping your laptop for a month or not even fixing everything. Plus parts are just...a nightmare. Also, don't be tempted by the 'el cheapo' brands like Asus/MSI/'chinatech'. They'll have pretty much a 30 day warranty, no driver support of any kind, some part that will fail over and over and over and only be available from China (like the keyboard or hinges or something) but somehow have a price/performance ratio that is 4x better than any of the above systems.

    TL;DR: The best Dell Latitude or Dell Precision that you can afford with the longest warranty you can afford (5-years recommended) and accidental drop.

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  • I wouldn't call Asus or MSI "el cheapo".  Those are premium Taiwanese brands.  Asus has been known for making great laptops for years -- even thru times when Dell laptops have turned to crap (perhaps moreso on the consumer market side, but nevertheless).

    I don't think we need to get super brand-loyal in this thread, though.  He's asking about Mac M1/M2 vs. the world, which very fortunately the Windows and Linux PC world is very diverse and with some great value options. 

    What to look for:  AMD Ryzen 5000-series and Intel 12th-gen laptops with decent batteries as these will provide your best performance-per-watt.  Core i5 and Ryzen 5 are strong, well-balanced and affordable contenders, even with M2 being technically superior.  As others have said, OS ecoysystem is important -- definitely check with your institution if at all possible.  I'd definitely plan for running other operating systems as VM's either way.  Oh and probably best to get Windows 10 Pro as opposed to Home, so another reason to aim for business PC's as opposed to consumer models.

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  • This is what 1900 Canadian gets you right now

    https://www.hp.com/ca-en/shop/product.aspx?id=38B50UT&opt=ABA&sel=WKS&utm_source=google&...

    I have had excellent success with Z series laptops. I also hear complaints about every vendor being the worst. Ask 100 people and get 75 different responses. 

    Absolutely avoid any retail grade products

    Spice (2) flagReport
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  • Heh, I love Spiceworks, but Pandora's Box is *nothing* compared to asking a computer geek community for computer recommendations! HA!

    OP, assuming that you're only familiar with Apple computers, you have an entire ecosystem of Windows PCs to examine before making your purchase. This is way too much for this thread, but you absolutely can get a beefier and more capable computer than that M1 or M2 Mac for that much money. Just be sure the switchover to using Windows won't be a problem, and you will be surprised at how much money you can save.

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  • Like peterw2300 said: check with your school's program as to what they recommend for OS usage.  My daughter is starting college this fall and her program requires Windows so that the laptop is able to run the required programs needed for her classes.  They post on their website that Apple's can be used, but you are on your own if you have issues. It would require either a VM of windows like Wine or dual booting of the laptop.

    Either path with the Apple would come with some initial work to setup plus deal with any issues down the road you may run across all so you can say you have an Apple?!? My daughter tried to argue for a Macbook, but I convinced her to go with the Dell XPS which is what I would recommend like most have on this thread.

    Good luck with your classes!

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  • The M2 Air is going to blow everything else out of the water. Be sure to upgrade to 16Gb (or better yet, 24GB) of RAM since it can't be upgraded in the future.

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  • Hello, I am a Data professional and use a gaming laptop MSI75 it has a 17 screen full size keyboard and number pad. It has 8 GB Ram and a 500 GB ssd. On it I have SQL SERVER, PYTHON, R and VS. Never had any problems with performance. About to install Spark. It weighs about 2 lbs because of the screen size.

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  • toddtaylor4 wrote:

    Hello, I am a Data professional and use a gaming laptop MSI75 it has a 17 screen full size keyboard and number pad. It has 8 GB Ram and a 500 GB ssd. On it I have SQL SERVER, PYTHON, R and VS. Never had any problems with performance. About to install Spark. It weighs about 2 lbs because of the screen size.

    All that on Windows 10?  What's your secret to keeping RAM utilization so low?  Heck, Chrome with 10 tabs open can eat almost 2GB of RAM like it's nothing.

    I still prescribe to the old saying:  "You can't have too much RAM."   ;)  This, especially in laptops that can't take RAM upgrades.

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  • I know what you mean, the Ram can be expanded. Very rarely do I have all the tools open and running at the same time. Usually I am using PyCharm, RStudio or both SSMS and VS. Never had a problem with memory but it can be expanded. I use the laptop for study and mobility. Also assembled a deck top with a I9 8 core processor with 124 Ram and 2TB ssd same software. I have never been able to push either to where I would notice a problem.

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  • The first thing you should consider is if the course you're entering has any requirements or if the instructors have recommendations/preferences. The M2 Mac's have better battery life in general than almost any Windows laptop I've seen, but given that they are Arm based, rather than x86, you ought to be very careful of any potential compatibility issues. When I started college I splurged a bit on a XPS 15, this was back in 2017, and it's still going strong today so I would absolutely recommend a new XPS 15. You'll get 8-10 hours of light usage out of it, just make sure to get the 1080p class display as the 4k will really eat into the battery life.

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  • Hi,

    My recommendation. if you want a MacBook is the MacBook Pro 14" base model. By the time you upgrade the M1 or M2 to 16GB of ram and a 512K drive you are flirting with the price of a MacBook Pro 14" especially now that it's on sale at most US Retailers. 

    Here is a link for the model I'm thinking of at B&H which ships internationally.

    https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1668197-REG/apple_mkgp3ll_a_14_2_macbook_pro_with.html

    Happy Hunting.

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  • We have seen significant reliability problems with the XPS product line over the last 3 years and stopped buying them for our employees, returning to Latitude, which we had been buying from 2005-2018 for our people.  We found the XPSes had a much higher incidence of RAM failure, SSD failure, and motherboard failure than the Latitudes do. The big problem is, in the case of a RAM failure, on an XPS the entire mobo has to be replaced because the RAM is soldered to the mobo. With the Latitudes, you can pop out the bad modules and pop new ones in. 

    I think the XPS's main enemy is heat. They're so thin that they just can't get the airflow they need in order to keep sufficiently cool. And when they get hot, the CPU gets throttled in order to help it cool off, so performance suffers. We just don't see that happen with the Latitude line.  

    For the money you could get a nice Dell Outlet Latitude 14" machine with 512gb/16gb, and maybe even an i7 processor and touchscreen, and even adding on a 3-year on-site warranty, and still have money left over for a bluetooth keyboard and mouse and even an external monitor.

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