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I'd like to have a laptop for mainly programming, office work, LaTeX and browsing the Internet. I will primarily be coding in Java and Scala using IntelliJ, so that requires a decent amount of CPU power, RAM and a fast SSD.

Requirements

  • Price: < 1000$

    In the course of writing this answer, I realized this price requirement might be too harsh to allow for the other requirements.

  • Weight: light, possibly < 1.5kg (= 3.3 pounds)
  • Planned (personal) years of usage: at least 3-4 years.
    Hence, it should be a reasonable work machine even in 3-4 years, and should have a decent processing.
  • Hardware

    • Good single-thread CPU power (for fast LaTeX compilation apparently)
    • >= 8 GB RAM
    • No disk drive
    • At least 512 GB SSD
    • At least two USB type-A ports
    • Battery does not have to be good

      I use external power supply almost always anyway.

  • Software

    • No OS, only free OS or only clean Windows 10 Pro

      (I suppose you only get a clean Windows with Microsoft products.)

I don't have a clear opinion on "touch vs no touch" and "convertible vs ordinary laptop" yet. The price is probably the limiting factor in both points.

Bonus

I'd accept secondhand and second-class laptops, given that they match the requirements, of course.

Research

On this site:

External:

2

LG gram 14z980

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07B32P1PJ/ref=emc_b_5_t

Actually I use LG gram 15z980 to write this answer. I recommend the 15'' version since it has number pad, convenient when entering a lot numbers.

  • Price: $959.98 (I didn't check other sites)
  • Weight: 2.2 lbs = 0.997 kg
    Very very very light
  • CPU: 8th Gen. Intel Core i5
    Enough for latex, I also use TeXStudio every day.
  • 8 GB RAM
    You could add your own, much cheaper.
  • No disk drive
  • 256 GB SSD
    That's due to your price requirement, but you could add your own SSD and RAM to it, too! I also bought the cheapest version and added another 500 GB SSD and 8 GB of RAM.
  • 1 USB C, 2 USB 3.0. So at least two USB type-A ports.
  • Battery is very very good: 21.5 hours according to the page.
    I bring it to school everyday without charger.
  • It has Windows 10 Home. Now I use Ubuntu 18.04 on it for better coding, the only drawback is the fingerprint sensor which doesn't work under it. All other things are fine.
  • It's light and without a dedicated GPU, so you could foucs on office work, LaTex, Java coding (for me it's Python) etc.

Note that the Lg gram 2019 version is on its way (CPU+10% approximately, all with Thunderbolt), but it depends on you. From my perspective the 2018 version is enough. It may save some money to buy the 2018 version when the 2019 version gets released, though. I'm not sure about that.

  • +1 Spec-wise this looks like a really good fit! Unfortunately, the LG gram is apparently not available in Europe apart from Spain (German source). But that's more of a personal problem due to my location. – ComFreek Feb 22 at 10:39
1

I noticed in your profile you've marked your location as Germany. This is going to make things a little harder.


MSI GL63 8RC-076 | €829,42 (VAT-Inclusive) + €18,91 International Shipping

MSI GL63

This is the best Laptop I can fit under your price constraint. I've tried my best to minimize performance/usability impact for software engineering.

  • i7-8750H
  • 8 GB RAM
  • 128 GB M.2 NVMe SATA SSD
  • 1 TB HDD
  • 3 x USB 3.1 Gen 1
  • 2.18 kg

CPU

The i7-8750H is in the top 95th percentile for S-Core points, which makes it unusually fast for single core performance form a statistical standpoint. I currently use a i7-6700K with Visual Studio, C#, and Resharper smoothly, all of which are orders of magnitude heavier than your Java setup. I also like to compile executable's to my RAM disk and still don't max out my CPU.

Disk Space

You'll have a 128 GB NVMe SSD, and a 1 TB hard drive. If you're only using this for office work you probably won't have too many games on it, so you should be good on that front. As an MSI owener I can tell you the hard drives are pretty decent, at least faster than the HDD that are shipped with U series Intel processors that grind laptops to a halt.

If you completely fill your SSD and find your HDD to be a bottleneck, you can turn on NTFS compression to try and shift more of the load onto your CPU and RAM. Just make sure you format as NTFS right away, as I've found windows laptop externals to be typically formatted as exFAT.


You may still want to try and search German based online stores for variants of this laptop to match your specs more closely. I hope this can serve as a good starting point if this is the case.

  • Also if you're wondering why the laptop has a Nvidia 1050 TI, this wasn't intentional this just happened to be inside the cheapest laptop that matched your specs closest. – Bennett Yeo Feb 4 at 2:39
  • Thank you for your effort! Unfortunately, the weight of 2.18kg is a no-go. I'll have a look at variants, maybe they are lighter ones. – ComFreek Feb 21 at 14:34

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