CSE Simplified EP04 - Choosing your laptop
Laptop plays a very crucial role in a CSE student's life. Just after taking admission in the B.Tech CSE program, students are often in a hurry to buy a laptop. We have seen juniors making mistakes while buying a new laptop. They ask for help and people would just send a link for the sake of formality, without doing any research based on the requirements. Please beware of such things because you may regret such a decision in the near future.
The first and foremost thing you should think of before buying a laptop is The budget. At the time of shooting this video, you must have at least Rs. 65k-70k budget to buy a good laptop. If you are running low on budget, you can delay your purchase up to the start of second year! Here's why:
Following is the transcript of the episode. You may like to watch the video here
It's perfectly fine not to have a laptop in the first year!
(If you have enough budget, you can skip to the next section.)
The moment you take admission, you should not be in a hurry to buy a laptop. Because there is no hard and fast need, at least in first year. As we have already discussed in the "B.Tech journey" episode (watch here) that you should focus only on programming in 1st year. And you can easily do programming from your smartphone! How?? Well here are some hacks:
Use Quoda Code Editor
This is a simple yet powerful code editor for Android. It has a very useful programmer keyboard to fastly type your code. It lacks a compiler BUT you can save your code in a file and then upload it on online compilers to run. Using this app, you can even do competitive programming by writing code in Quoda and then uploading it to online platforms.
Dcoder is an online compiler app where you can write and run programs in almost any language that you use. Here is an interesting fact : Dcoder is developed by Alumni of JECRC!
Well, these two are the apps we use. In case you don't like it, just surf the play store / app store and you will find tons of free applications to learn programming as well as do programming. Go explore!
Use Physical Keyboard
Now the question arises how to type code on a smartphone? I mean on that small virtual keyboard of yours. Well, you can use OTG cable and plug in your physical keyboard and even mouse to easily type the way you want!
Buying a laptop
You yourself have to do a good amount of research before buying a laptop. We are ruling out Apple MacBooks and Microsoft Surface series because it's an expensive choice which you may regret in future. Well, after B.Tech you can buy but please keep it aside for now.
So, our focus is only on Intel CPU based laptops.
Now we will share various important factors you must keep in mind while brainstorming which laptop to buy.
Note that the factors are sorted in decreasing order of their priorities.
- Processor :- Your laptop must have a high performance CPU. Because on low performance you yourself won't like working on it. We prefer only Intel i7 8gen or i5 8gen and higher.
- Graphics Card :- Apart from Intel UHD Graphics, your laptop must have Nvidia graphics processor. The benchmark of GPU must be equivalent to or higher than that of GTX 1050. Also, it should be at least 4GB in size.
- Memory :- Coming to RAM or memory, at least 8GB RAM is a must. No compromise with RAM else it will hurt the performance of your laptop.
Storage :- Your budget decides whether you are able to buy SSD or HDD. SSDs are way faster but costlier as compared to HDD.If you are unable to afford an SSD then you may go with HDD, because nowadays most laptops give you the power to replace HDD with SSD in future. So, it's your responsibility to ensure that your laptop has this capability or not. If you have enough budget you can also pick Hybrid storage options like
- 256 SSD + 1 TB HDD
- 256 SSD + 512 HDD
- 512 SSD Only
- 128 SSD + 1 TB HDD
Low storage options are perfectly fine because you can always buy external HDD for movies and other stuff.
Screen :- You are going to spend a lot of time on the screen. So the screen must be good. Otherwise it will have an adverse effect on your eyesight.
- You should check that your Laptop has any kind of protection like related to UV rays.
- Some laptops come with a screen filter feature giving you the ability to switch between display modes as per the need like Office mode, theatre mode, Gaming Mode etc.
- We prefer Anti-glare screens i.e. the one in which your mirror image is not visible on the screen. Or you can understand Anti-glare as opposed to the displays you see in smartphones.
- Also there are a variety of technologies when it comes to display types. You may see confusing buzz words all around like IPS, LED, LCD, OLED etc. You must Google about such keywords and understand which one is better. We prefer AMOLED, OLED and TFT displays with IPS technology as they are power efficient and have good picture quality. Above all, they are less harmful for eyes.
Well in the long run, harm to eyes is inevitable if you don't adopt small habits in favour of your eyes. Google about such habits and bring them in your everyday life. Anyways, do some research for screen type as it is important.
- Ports :- Ports are also important but still optional. If you don't have all types of port then you can use a converter like Mac users do. Still try to get at least 2 USB 3.0 ports.
- Speaker :- In laptops, don't expect too much in terms of speakers. Every laptop has basic sound quality and somewhat unique audio output. Although having speakers of the same watt (W) audio quality may differ. In short, don't focus too much on this.
- Battery :- Don't expect great battery life from laptops. Anyway they will degrade after some time! If you have heavy Graphics then you have to compromise with Battery. But you will get at least 1.5 - 2 hours of backup. Don't worry about backup, you will get plugs almost everywhere these days. Laptops usually show avg. battery life but that is in ideal condition and this does not happen in real life. It always depends upon what tasks you are doing.
- OS :- Pick among Linux distributions, Windows or even DOS because you can always change it if required. So hakuna matata!
So, these were some important factors you have to keep in mind while planning to buy a laptop.
Don't compromise with Processor and Graphics. Bad speakers, battery life, display etc. are bearable but bad performance is not bearable at all! Due to low processor and graphics, your laptop won't be capable of running heavy applications. Which will eventually lead to frustration. Memory, Storage, CPU and GPU play a very big role in performance and Speed. All must be of good quality or else performance will be poor.
- Don't be in a hurry.
- Wait if required.
- Do some research and then only buy your weapon.