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Laptop Recomendations

  1. Feb 10, 2015 #1
    I'm looking to purchase a laptop. I'll be using it as a portable means of using MatLab and doing some projects with Python and C and any other language I feel like learning at the time. Budget is 500 dollars. If I can get away with less I'd do it though. Less than 15 inches is preferred, I'm from the USA, and OS doesn't matter because I'll be putting Ubuntu on it anyways.

    Recommendations, gives them to me!
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 10, 2015 #2


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    Unfortunately, any recommendations you get will be purely anecdotal information. Give me any laptop model that has been out for more than a couple of weeks and I'm sure you can find on-line reviews that say it is crap and others that say it is terrific. I've tried to research this kind of question a couple of times and always end up with a headache and then just buy some brand name that happens to be the deal of the week.

    The important thing is to understand what features are important for you. In any case, this should start with putting in as much memory as your budget can possibly afford but beyond that it's up to your needs.
  4. Feb 11, 2015 #3
    If you want to put Ubuntu on your machine I advise you to buy one that uses a graphic card by intel, as they are supported with open source drivers. I especially advise NOT to use a hybrid solution like Nvidia Optimus, it still gives me problems on my notebook.
  5. Feb 11, 2015 #4
    In all the cases that I've deployed MatLab, it's always been on a heavy duty computer because of the computational requirements. $500 isn't going to fetch you a powerful processor so if you have plans to do any significant computations, this will not do.

    If you can give us more specific details on requirements, as phinds requested, we can make a better suggestion.
  6. Feb 12, 2015 #5
    I need something mobile to work on learning programming when I'm at school and not just be limited to school computers or my home desktop. I'll be using MatLab in my Differential Equations class next semester and I just want to familiarize myself with it now. So in the meantime my use of MatLab won't be rigorous, and even if it was I have a 6 core processor in my bedroom that can deal with heavy problems. The laptop is purely for experimentation in learning programming.
  7. Feb 12, 2015 #6
    Yeah, if it's just class work, then they won't assign you anything big to do anyways. a $500 system should be enough.
    Look at maybe Dell/HP/Lenovo.

    You preferably want the following in reducing degree of importance
    Intel i5 processor (i3 will do in a pinch but i5 is a good step up in performance)
    6-8GB RAM
    Solid state HDD

    Whoever gives you the best deal, take that.
  8. Feb 13, 2015 #7
  9. Feb 25, 2015 #8


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    I would try the Best Buy website. The systems on the verge of being discontinued typically sell for under $500--and you won't find those models in the store. Also, I tell people to avoid HP because their drivers, and driver support, is not so good. But this may or may not matter for Linux--I run Windows.

    Good luck! It would be nice to hear what you end up with and how it works out for you.
  10. Mar 17, 2015 #9
    I think the hardware specifications of that Dell insperion can cause some annoyance over time, the processor isn't the fastest.
    I'm currently running an Intel Celeron N2830 for similar means. And I'm occasionally annoyed by the processor speed.
  11. Mar 17, 2015 #10


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    I had a very similar laptop, and I finally upgraded the RAM to 8 Gb--it works much more smoothly now. More memory might well make it appear to run faster, because there will be less paging of things on and off of the disk.
  12. Mar 17, 2015 #11
    RAM is definetly part of my problem, I only have 4GB's of it.
    Although a faster CPU will boost your preformance too.
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