My Answer to the question on Quora:
As a B.Tech computer science student, your main applications will be programming in Java, C#/C++, Python, cloud computing (maybe with AWS), some version of SQL, applications and the usual stuff like MS Office, etc. Considering this, I feel an Intel-based laptop with an i5 (preferably i7 processor), with 1 TB hard disk, and as much RAM as is possible. Go for 15.6 inch anti-glare screen – smaller ones will be impossible to use with modern IDEs like Visual Studio, PyCharm, Spyder, etc. Avoid i3 processor based laptops as these will crawl with most modern software, especially with Chrome.
Since you are buying a laptop in 2020/2021, it is advisable to go for i7 processor (10th Gen) instead of i5. Please ensure to take an extended warranty on the laptop – it costs a little but gives peace of mind as most laptops have just a 1 year warranty. Go for a 2 year extended warranty so you will get 1 year manufacturer warranty + 2 years dealer’s warranty.
Intel or AMD – this is a question that has been asked since decades. AMD has launched the AMD Ryzen and this processor has more processing power and is almost the default processor used by DIY- PC assemblers. However AMD support is still same as Intel and that is the reason why laptops and professional computer users prefer Intel. With Intel, updating a PC is just swapping out the old processor and putting in a new compatible processor and updating the BIOS settings; that is not so simple with AMD processors.
In addition, following are highly recommended for reasons mentioned:
- Display: a large monitor that can be connected to your laptop – about 20 inch. It will make it easier to work with IDEs and Google at same time. It should have at least the resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels
- Input Devices: Wireless keyboard and mouse. Working long hours on laptop keyboard is injurious to health.
- Storage: If your budget permits, add a 512 GB SSD. Put the operating system and most commonly used software on the SSD for faster access. To have faster bootup speeds, go for 256GB SSD drive where the operating system and other main applications like MS Office are installed. You may reduce the hard Disk size from 1 TB to 500 GB in order to accommodate the SSD. Anyway, most of our files we store on the cloud like Google Drive.
- Memory: Go for at least 8 GB, preferably 16 GB DDR4 RAM.
- Graphics Card: A separate graphics card NVIDIA GeForce MX250/MX350, 2GB DDR5 will be very useful.
- Operating System: You should get the official Windows 10 Home edition and also Microsoft Office suite in some models. Are Linux based laptops cheaper? Check this article for more on this.
- Ports: Other commonly found specifications are : USB 3 and USB 2 ports, HDMI port, support for external card, 3.5mm – Headphone/Microphone Combo Port, built-in speakers and microphone and 720p HD web Camera (preferably with Privacy Shutter but this is something you can do on your own).
- Audio: Checkout the audio quality in a quiet space in the store if you are buying the laptop offline. Your laptop should have the 3.5mm audio port.
Hope this helps.
Let me know what you feel about this.