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Laptop Buy Advice

MSV Incognito often gets question from prospective student about the hardware required to follow a programme at our studies. To streamline things we've created this short page.

Laptop required?

Having a laptop is required for the computer labs in certain courses. It also is very handy for the group projects. You'll need a laptop to write, compile and run Java, Python and C code. This will of course take longer on low end laptops.


  • No Chromebook! The laptop must run Windows, Linux or macOS. This guide only covers Windows laptops, because that is what companies sell en new Macbooks are generally powerful enough anyway.
  • AMD Ryzen or modern Intel processors are both fine. Please note that AMD Ryzen CPU's are only recently becoming available in laptops.
  • 15.6“ is the most used size. Where 14” is still fine depending on your preferences, everything smaller can give difficulties when typing a lot of code (keyboard size) and reading code (screen size and resolution). 17“ laptops are rather big to transport. However, this is down to personal preference.
  • Make sure you get a laptop with the keyboard layout you are used to. Probably Qwerty for Dutch students, Qwertz for Germans, Azerty for French and (some) Belgians.

Laptop Tiers

To be blunt: Everything that can run Windows 10 or a recent Linux variant properly should suffice. In theory you can manage your studies on a laptop with a low power Intel/AMD processor, 2GB RAM and 16GB flash memory. But that will lead to annoyances and is not something we recomment. On the other side, everything will also run on a laptop with a high end multi-core AMD/Intel processor, 32GB RAM and 1TB SSD. Depending on your budget you can even add a dedicated graphics card.

The prices here are indications. Many other factors such as the screen quality, battery life, build quality, etc influence the price. There are many websites on the internet that provide quality reviews to inform you about specific laptop models. Consider finding the right laptop for a small precursor for doing academic research for the projects during your studies ;)


This is the “it runs” category, the territory with an Intel Atom/Celeron processor, 2GB RAM and 16GB storage. We don't recommend this, but as long as it runs Windows or Linux it is technically possible to finish the tasks required for the study.


This territory is perfect for a student with a limited budget. Laptops with a recent Intel Core i3 or AMD Ryzen 3, 4GB RAM and 128GB SSD are available.


The best price/performance ratio will be around this price range. A recent Intel Core i5 or AMD Ryzen 5, 8GB RAM and 256GB SSD is a good configuration for a laptop and will run anything required for your studies with no problem.


If you have a bigger budget, a laptop with a recent Intel Core i7 or AMD Ryzen 7, 8GB RAM and 256GB SSD will give a minor speed boost over the previous tier. This is also the range where laptops get something that resembles gaming capable graphics cards.


If you want your laptop to be able to run games that aren't League of Legends or other light games, the options generally start around €900. There are laptops in that category with an AMD or Nvidia GPU capable of running most games. Medium and high-end gaming laptops are €1000-€3000. However, that is outside of the scope of this page, since it is not needed for your studies ;)

study/useful_information/pages/laptop_buy_advice.txt · Last modified: 2021/06/14 09:54 by job