Question What budget laptop would be best for a computer science student?

Jan 2, 2021
I am going to college soon, and I am looking for a laptop I can take with me. I am going into a computer science major, and the laptop will need:
  • To be a Windows laptop, good/fast enough to handle programming. Not sure what this means specs-wise, but I think something with 4GB of ram would definitely suffice
  • Don't plan to play games on it, just plan to program and compile/run my programs.
  • Must be portable for classes, lightweight is only a bonus
  • Although it doesn't need a huge amount of storage (I can always get an external hard drive or something like that), I would prefer that it has enough for 4 years of programs or at least 1 year of programs that I can then offload to an external drive. Maybe 256-500 GB would work.
  • A long enough battery life to last through classes (preferably ~2-3 hrs at high performance, but 6 or more at power saving settings)
  • Screen size of 15" or more, screen resolution of at least 1366 x 768, preferably more, no need to be over 1920 x 1080
  • Will last for more than 4 years
  • No optical drive needed
  • Not a Chromebook, they won't support the programs I need for my classes
  • In the US
  • And preferably with a budget of $500 or less, the cheaper the better.
If you know of any good options for this, please let me know. I would prefer to know about laptops that meet the bare minimum requirements as well as those which are close to the top of my budget. If the specifications are too much for my budget, please let me know that also. Thank you!
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