Martina6865
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Hi, I'm starting computer science at the University of Lincoln in September and was wondering what the best laptop will be to buy as I have a budget of around £300 but I want to make sure the laptop i get will be the most efficient for the course. Please may I have some suggestions of laptops I can buy, many thanks
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kurro
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I am honestly not sure £200 will be sufficient enough for a decent laptop.
But if you plan to not do much and complete all the demanding tasks on library/lab computers then I think £200 is okay.

what about this?
https://www.pcworld.co.uk/gbuk/compu...84705-pdt.html
£230

or
https://www.pcworld.co.uk/gbuk/compu...90335-pdt.html
£280

and
https://www.pcworld.co.uk/gbuk/compu...56147-pdt.html
£200 - OK NVM don't go for this one yea
Last edited by kurro; 1 year ago
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spotify95
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(Original post by Martina6865)
Hi, I'm starting computer science at the University of Lincoln in September and was wondering what the best laptop will be to buy as I have a budget of around £200 but I want to make sure the laptop i get will be the most efficient for the course. Please may I have some suggestions of laptops I can buy, many thanks
The only way of getting anything decent for £200 is to have a look on the used market and hope for the best.

Most new laptops around the £200 price point tend to be glorified netbooks with very low end Celeron processors, small amounts of RAM (e.g. 2GB or 4GB) and very low levels of storage (e.g. 32GB or 64GB) which will complain about lack of storage as soon as you try and store any meaningful amount of documents for your course/install any programs/try to do Windows updates etc etc.

Do NOT purchase the £200 Chromebook in post #2 as that will be unsuitable for anything but the bare basics. 2GB of RAM and 32GB eMMC will struggle at best.

If you want to go new then the ASUS i3 laptop mentioned here: https://www.pcworld.co.uk/gbuk/compu...90335-pdt.html will likely be your best bet. A core i3 system is the minimum I'd recommend to anyone, regardless of their requirements (anything less will struggle) and whilst 4GB RAM will be a limiting factor, it should be upgradable if you need to in the future. The 1TB HDD will be plenty of storage for what you need, and whilst it isn't a fast SSD, it will be sufficient (I have used HDDs on all of my computers and never experienced any problems). The CPU is also a couple of generations older than you'd like, but it will still be fine at that price point for most things.

So, to recap: look for any decent Core i3 system or above. 4GB RAM is the absolute minimum I'd take, though 8GB is preferable. Get a laptop with at least 256GB of storage (or ideally a 1TB+ HDD). Needs to run Windows - not a Chromebook.
If there are no laptops meeting the above, that are brand new, and within your price range, then look on eBay and Gumtree for a decent used laptop - as you should be able to get a Core i5 laptop with 8GB RAM and 1TB HDD+/256GB SSD+ for about £200. Though bear in mind that a used machine may have signs of wear and tear (depending on how much/where it was previously used) and the battery may need replacing.

Hope that helps!

kurro
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kurro
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I am also going to do CS this September, do you think a graphics card would be beneficial for programming? (I don't intend to game)
I found a decent laptop for £550 with i5, 4 cores, 256gb ssd (never tried ssd, all my laptops before have been hdd kinda excited LMAO), 2.5ghz, 8gb ram, intel HD 630 graphics
(Original post by spotify95)
The only way of getting anything decent for £200 is to have a look on the used market and hope for the best.

Most new laptops around the £200 price point tend to be glorified netbooks with very low end Celeron processors, small amounts of RAM (e.g. 2GB or 4GB) and very low levels of storage (e.g. 32GB or 64GB) which will complain about lack of storage as soon as you try and store any meaningful amount of documents for your course/install any programs/try to do Windows updates etc etc.

Do NOT purchase the £200 Chromebook in post #2 as that will be unsuitable for anything but the bare basics. 2GB of RAM and 32GB eMMC will struggle at best.

If you want to go new then the ASUS i3 laptop mentioned here: https://www.pcworld.co.uk/gbuk/compu...90335-pdt.html will likely be your best bet. A core i3 system is the minimum I'd recommend to anyone, regardless of their requirements (anything less will struggle) and whilst 4GB RAM will be a limiting factor, it should be upgradable if you need to in the future. The 1TB HDD will be plenty of storage for what you need, and whilst it isn't a fast SSD, it will be sufficient (I have used HDDs on all of my computers and never experienced any problems). The CPU is also a couple of generations older than you'd like, but it will still be fine at that price point for most things.

So, to recap: look for any decent Core i3 system or above. 4GB RAM is the absolute minimum I'd take, though 8GB is preferable. Get a laptop with at least 256GB of storage (or ideally a 1TB+ HDD). Needs to run Windows - not a Chromebook.
If there are no laptops meeting the above, that are brand new, and within your price range, then look on eBay and Gumtree for a decent used laptop - as you should be able to get a Core i5 laptop with 8GB RAM and 1TB HDD+/256GB SSD+ for about £200. Though bear in mind that a used machine may have signs of wear and tear (depending on how much/where it was previously used) and the battery may need replacing.

Hope that helps!

kurro
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Martina6865
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Hey, thanks for all the help, I accidentally wrote it wrong in the original post and I have a budget of around £300 and have been looking at laptops that fit the requirements you’ve suggested and found this which is a higher price but do you think this would be appropriate for my course? I will still be able to use the university computers for more demanding tasks that may not be as suitable with the laptop

https://www.amazon.co.uk/HP-250-G6-1.../dp/B07BJ3944W

(Original post by spotify95)
The only way of getting anything decent for £200 is to have a look on the used market and hope for the best.

Most new laptops around the £200 price point tend to be glorified netbooks with very low end Celeron processors, small amounts of RAM (e.g. 2GB or 4GB) and very low levels of storage (e.g. 32GB or 64GB) which will complain about lack of storage as soon as you try and store any meaningful amount of documents for your course/install any programs/try to do Windows updates etc etc.

Do NOT purchase the £200 Chromebook in post #2 as that will be unsuitable for anything but the bare basics. 2GB of RAM and 32GB eMMC will struggle at best.

If you want to go new then the ASUS i3 laptop mentioned here: https://www.pcworld.co.uk/gbuk/compu...90335-pdt.html will likely be your best bet. A core i3 system is the minimum I'd recommend to anyone, regardless of their requirements (anything less will struggle) and whilst 4GB RAM will be a limiting factor, it should be upgradable if you need to in the future. The 1TB HDD will be plenty of storage for what you need, and whilst it isn't a fast SSD, it will be sufficient (I have used HDDs on all of my computers and never experienced any problems). The CPU is also a couple of generations older than you'd like, but it will still be fine at that price point for most things.

So, to recap: look for any decent Core i3 system or above. 4GB RAM is the absolute minimum I'd take, though 8GB is preferable. Get a laptop with at least 256GB of storage (or ideally a 1TB+ HDD). Needs to run Windows - not a Chromebook.
If there are no laptops meeting the above, that are brand new, and within your price range, then look on eBay and Gumtree for a decent used laptop - as you should be able to get a Core i5 laptop with 8GB RAM and 1TB HDD+/256GB SSD+ for about £200. Though bear in mind that a used machine may have signs of wear and tear (depending on how much/where it was previously used) and the battery may need replacing.

Hope that helps!

kurro
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spotify95
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(Original post by Martina6865)
Hey, thanks for all the help, I accidentally wrote it wrong in the original post and I have a budget of around £300 and have been looking at laptops that fit the requirements you’ve suggested and found this which is a higher price but do you think this would be appropriate for my course? I will still be able to use the university computers for more demanding tasks that may not be as suitable with the laptop

https://www.amazon.co.uk/HP-250-G6-1.../dp/B07BJ3944W



M
That's a better option for a new purchase, in my opinion. You're getting a 7th generation Core i5 CPU, which although not as good as the more modern 8th gen CPUs, is still perfectly good for the vast majority of tasks you'll need to do on a laptop. You're also getting 8GB of RAM, which can be upgraded at some point in the future, because I own a HP very similar to this and have upgraded the RAM when required.
1TB of storage space is also ideal and is what I would recommend as a primary device. Sure, it isn't an SSD, but unless you want blisteringly fast boot times, there's no real reason to get an SSD (especially when you lose out considerably on storage).
It also has fast wi-fi and looks to be a good screen resolution as well.

Overall, a good choice for a new machine and will certainly last you through your course
Then you can use the university computers for any specialist software that you might need for courseworks etc.
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spotify95
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(Original post by kurro)
I am also going to do CS this September, do you think a graphics card would be beneficial for programming? (I don't intend to game)
I found a decent laptop for £550 with i5, 4 cores, 256gb ssd (never tried ssd, all my laptops before have been hdd kinda excited LMAO), 2.5ghz, 8gb ram, intel HD 630 graphics
I haven't had any experience of using a computer purely for programming, but integrated graphics should be fine for most tasks.
It's only when you start into gaming that you need a dedicated graphics card (and the modern iGPUs are decent anyway).

That must be an 8th gen i5, since the 8th generation of i5 processors brought quad core CPUs to laptops where previously they were just dual core. The i5 will be fine for your requirements.
8GB RAM is also fine and should suffice quite nicely.
SSDs are good for if you need fast storage. You'll be able to tell the difference between an SSD and a HDD - for example, my first use of an SSD was with a Surface Pro 3, and it was quite nippy, booting up to Windows in 15 seconds.
Though if you're transferring from a more spacious (e.g. 500GB+) hard drive, you'll need to consider storage requirements (of course, you can always buy an external hard drive if required, at the expense of portability). What were your storage requirements previously, and do you think you'll need more than 256GB?

For most people, 256GB should be fine (and use an external hard drive for backups). I certainly wouldn't want to go under 250GB on my main device though.

Overall, sounds like a good machine, and many others on these forums also tend to recommend the same sort of specs (8th gen i5, 8GB, 256GB SSD). If you need more storage, you can buy an external hard drive - though bear in mind that repeatedly plugging and unplugging an external hard drive could add wear & tear to the USB ports, so if you think you'll need a lot more than 256GB, bear this in mind.
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kurro
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Thank you for your advice and help!
(Original post by spotify95)
I haven't had any experience of using a computer purely for programming, but integrated graphics should be fine for most tasks.
It's only when you start into gaming that you need a dedicated graphics card (and the modern iGPUs are decent anyway).

That must be an 8th gen i5, since the 8th generation of i5 processors brought quad core CPUs to laptops where previously they were just dual core. The i5 will be fine for your requirements.
8GB RAM is also fine and should suffice quite nicely.
SSDs are good for if you need fast storage. You'll be able to tell the difference between an SSD and a HDD - for example, my first use of an SSD was with a Surface Pro 3, and it was quite nippy, booting up to Windows in 15 seconds.
Though if you're transferring from a more spacious (e.g. 500GB+) hard drive, you'll need to consider storage requirements (of course, you can always buy an external hard drive if required, at the expense of portability). What were your storage requirements previously, and do you think you'll need more than 256GB?

For most people, 256GB should be fine (and use an external hard drive for backups). I certainly wouldn't want to go under 250GB on my main device though.

Overall, sounds like a good machine, and many others on these forums also tend to recommend the same sort of specs (8th gen i5, 8GB, 256GB SSD). If you need more storage, you can buy an external hard drive - though bear in mind that repeatedly plugging and unplugging an external hard drive could add wear & tear to the USB ports, so if you think you'll need a lot more than 256GB, bear this in mind.
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Dunnig Kruger
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(Original post by Martina6865)
Hey, thanks for all the help, I accidentally wrote it wrong in the original post and I have a budget of around £300 and have been looking at laptops that fit the requirements you’ve suggested and found this which is a higher price but do you think this would be appropriate for my course? I will still be able to use the university computers for more demanding tasks that may not be as suitable with the laptop

https://www.amazon.co.uk/HP-250-G6-1.../dp/B07BJ3944W



M
As is, that HP 250 laptop would be slower than my HP 8440p laptop that I bought used for £80 a few years ago. Why? Because mine has an SSD whilst that 250 G6 has a mechanical hard drive.

As a computer science undergraduate, ideally you'd get yourself a couple of laptops for free. And then spend maybe £0 to £100 on bits to get them working very nicely.

You'd have a Windows build on one of them and a Linux build on the other.
Each of them would back up the data automatically stored on the other.

For your needs you don't need anything at all fancy when it comes to the hardware.
As a computer science student you should be confident in doing software rebuilds as well as doing easy hardware replacements or upgrades.

Actually paying money for a laptop doesn't make a lot of sense for someone with your knowledge and skills. Or soon to be learnt knowledge and skills - and contacts.
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