Suggestions For A New Laptop? Help!

Jan 6, 2017 9:00AM PST

Hi guys,

I will be attending grad school in the fall of 2017 and there is a computer requirement that I must meet in order to be able to download various programs and complete assignments. I currently have a 2012 MacBook Pro and have been having issues with it that need to be fixed. My grad school also says that Macs can be probably be used although they are not officially supported. The combination of these two aspects just makes me want to buy a PC and fix my Mac in my free time for personal use. So, to sum everything up, I am looking for suggestions for some PC laptops that I will simply be using for school and that meet the following spec requirements. I would generally like to stay under 600 dollars and have a 13" screen since all I will be using it for is school work. Thank you for your suggestions. NO NETBOOKS OR TABLETS ARE ALLOWED.

Windows 7 32 or 64 bit Home Premium or higher is recommended (Mac OSX 10.6 or higher will likely work but is not officially supported)

Browser: PC - Microsoft Internet Explorer version 8

Mac - Safari version 3.2.1 or higher

Do not use beta versions of these browsers

Computer cannot be more than 2 years old

Minimum 4-year service plan

Minimum dual core processor

Minimum 2 GB of RAM

Minimum screen resolution 1024 x 768

Wireless card that supports 802.11 b/g/n

Microsoft Office 2010 Standard Edition or Higher

A CD/DVD Drive

External Storage device for data backup

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Clarification Request
So few come with or have a 4 year service plan.
Jan 6, 2017 10:38AM PST

That alone may drive you to Dell. They still have 4 year plans.

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Jan 6, 2017 10:42AM PST

Yea, I'm not sure why that is a requirement. Don't really think everyone going to school is going to have a laptop that is less than two years old with a service plan.

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The "requirements' look outdated to me.
Jan 6, 2017 10:54AM PST

It's hard to find machines that run IE8 today. Microsoft ended that years ago. From memory, Internet Explorer versions 8, 9, and 10 will no longer be supported on Windows 7, Windows 8.1 and Windows 10 desktop operating systems.

That happened last year.

Unless more is told, you can check out the CNET best laptops or Amazon's best sellers links. I'd avoid Chromebooks and HP (they walked on the warranty at 3 months and failed to clear that up over 9 months!)

Try models at

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Makes Sense
Jan 6, 2017 12:22PM PST

Im sure the requirements are a couple of years old. So are you saying that basically any laptop on the market today will easily meet/exceed these specs? Also, do you know anything about the Asus VivoBook? Seems like a pretty good laptop for the price.

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No one I know owns one.
Jan 6, 2017 12:38PM PST

So checking out I find 4 and more stars. That's pretty nice.

I would hope you're not looking at the 11.6 inch 200 buck model. Unless that works for you. I own the Asus x202e but only use it for travel. If I were to use it again I would upgrade the HDD to SSD (something we do a lot at the office.)

There are so many Vivobooks so I did a google and the first hit was

"With the VivoBook X556UQ, Asus delivers a 15.6-inch multimedia all-rounder that has enough computing power for all common application scenarios. The GeForce graphics unit allows playing computer games. The laptop runs quietly during routine use and hardly heats up in total. A quick solid state drive ensures a fast-running system."

This sort of laptop is your jack of all trades.

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Im looking at the 14 inch model
Jan 6, 2017 12:41PM PST

The 14 inch model is $430 and looks really good. My only concern is that it has the 128GB of eMMC storage instead of a SSD. Is this a big concern for someone who will be using it for basic student functions like me?

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For me, 128GB is too tight.
Jan 6, 2017 12:46PM PST

While it's OK for working documents, I write code, apps and would tap out too soon.

As to the eMMC SSD debate, that's done in other discussions. It's usually faster than a HDD but at less cost than the SSD. With 128GB nano USB drives, storage space may not be a big deal.

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Just talking about speed
Jan 6, 2017 12:48PM PST

Not too worried about the storage due to your point about USB drives, just concerned about speed. I have a HDD in my MacBook right now so as long as the eMMC would be faster than that, I would be happy.

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That speed is a well done subject.
Jan 6, 2017 1:18PM PST
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Thank you
Jan 6, 2017 1:30PM PST

Ok, thank you for all your help. I will continue to do some laptop shopping with these things in mind.

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