Laptop for Masters Program in Cybersecurity

Discussion in 'What Notebook Should I Buy?' started by Paul_H, Jun 24, 2021.

  1. Paul_H

    Paul_H Notebook Enthusiast

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    General Questions

    1) What is your budget?
    $4000 or less

    2) What size notebook would you prefer?
    c. Thin and Light; 13" - 14" screen

    3) Which country will you buying this notebook?
    USA

    4) Are there any brands that you prefer or any you really don't like?
    a. Like: Dell, Lenovo, HP, Apple
    b. Dislike: None
    5) Would you consider laptops that are refurbished/redistributed?
    Looking for new this time around.

    6) What are the primary tasks will you be performing with this notebook?
    Master's degree work. Lots of document reading, website browsing, and paper writing. Looking for awesome keyboard and excellent screen. Will also need to run multiple VMs when I travel (Have desktop for home use).

    Looking for 4+ cores and 32+GB RAM. CAN NOT use Apple M1 due to compatibility issues with virtualization software that I need to run.

    7) Will you be taking the notebook with you to different places, leaving it on your desk or both?
    Yes, will use at home and primarily when I travel for work.

    8) Will you be playing games on your notebook? (If so, please state which games or types of games?)
    No games

    9) How many hours of battery life do you need?
    4 hours minimum.

    10) Would you prefer to see the notebooks you're considering before purchasing it or buying a notebook on-line without seeing it is OK?
    Don't need to see.

    11) What OS do you prefer? Windows, Mac OS, Linux, Chrome OS, etc.
    Windows or Mac OS, will be running VMs too.

    Screen Specifics

    12) What screen resolution(s) would you prefer? (See further below for explanations.)
    High or ultra resolutions.

    13) Do you want a glossy/reflective screen or a matte/non-glossy screen? (See further below for explanations.)
    Must be matte screen and no need for touch.

    Build Quality and Design

    14) Are the notebook's looks and stylishness important to you?
    No. Build quality (aka business class) is most important.

    Notebook Components

    15) How much hard drive space do you need?
    1TB minimum.

    Timing, Warranty and Longevity

    16) When are you buying this laptop?
    1-2 months.

    17) How long do you expect to use this laptop?
    2 years.

    18) How long could you afford to do without your laptop if it were to fail?
    1 day. Looking for business class with next day onsite support, and willing to pay for it.

    19) Would you be willing to pay significantly extra for on-site warranty, or would it be acceptable to you to have to ship the laptop to the vendor for repair with perhaps a week or more outage?
    YES.
     
  2. saturnotaku

    saturnotaku Notebook Nobel Laureate

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    I would go with a Dell XPS 15. For around $2,500, you can get one with an 8-core CPU (ideal for VM use), 32 GB of RAM, 1920x1200 anti-glare display and a 1 TB SSD. Add in a couple hundred extra for next-business day on-site warranty service, and you'd be golden. The overall form factor is not much larger than a 14-inch laptop, and the AC adapter is quite slim so it'll be easy to carry around.
     
  3. ZaZ

    ZaZ Super Model Super Moderator

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    If you want to go more budget friendly, the Acer Swift 3, which you can get with the better Ryzen CPUs, might be worth a look. You'll have to upgrade the memory yourself, but it looked pretty doable. Most manufacturers are going to way overcharge for 32GB of memory.
     
  4. saturnotaku

    saturnotaku Notebook Nobel Laureate

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    Acer doesn't offer on-site/NBD support so I don't think that's going to be a viable option.
     
  5. win32asmguy

    win32asmguy Moderator Moderator

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    Maybe a Dell Latitude 5421? The 8-core 11850H should do decent I would imagine if there is no dedicated GPU generating additional heat. Those can take up to 64GB ram. Sadly they only have a single M.2 Slot and a hinge on the ethernet port.
     
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  6. Paul_H

    Paul_H Notebook Enthusiast

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    That Dell looks like a solid contender. I have no need for a dedicate GPU in my travel machine, and the 8-cores + 64GB would be sweet travel setup for running multiple VMs. I've had great luck with Latitudes in the past and they offer the NBD service I'm looking for.

    Thanks for the other suggestions, I'll take a look at those also.
     
  7. RhyStar

    RhyStar Notebook Consultant

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    Just some quick comments from my perspective.

    A 16:10 screen is really good for coding, since you have more vertical space. I am not sure why you would need high res. 1080p will keep the price down and battery life up.

    I would also get matte finish, and 15 inch if the size and weight are acceptable.

    You will also need a good set of ports, HDMI and type c with thunderbolt if possible.

    16gb is fine, but make sure the ram slots are not soldered in. 512 nvme is fine, again replaceable, 1tb is ideal if you need VMs.

    I also advise that the usb-c should be power delivery capable so you can get just about any power adapter with enough wattage.

    Aside from those points, I am not sure you can go wrong with any of the major manufacturers… quad core is sufficient for anything you are going to do.

    I am in a MS cybersec program as well. Personally, I am going to buy the Legion 5 pro when it becomes available since I also game… and I work out at the gym so weight is not a problem.

    R
     
  8. Paul_H

    Paul_H Notebook Enthusiast

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    Thanks, RhyStar.

    I've been rethinking about laptop size and thinking that I'm going to go with a 15" model. I'll only need it when traveling for work, and then once I get to my hotel it will stay in the room. Not like I'll be lugging it around anywhere except in transit. And, I think the larger screen to work on will be worth the extra size and weight.

    Paul
     
  9. win32asmguy

    win32asmguy Moderator Moderator

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    The equivalent Dell would be the Precision 7560. Has access to an i9, dGPU is still optional, 500nit wide gamut FHD display, and much more memory and storage support.
     
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  10. JRE84

    JRE84 Notebook Virtuoso

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    this and if its going to be on your lap ever then @saturnotaku sugestion is king
     
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