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So I'm looking for a budget laptop for programming. I will be going abroad to finish my computer engineering degree and I'll need to have a good tool to do my work.

I'd need it to be light and smaller than 15" since I'll have to carry it around in my pack. Also, the battery should last more than 3 hours. My current laptop is the Toshiba Satellite A500-1EJ, which I bought 5-6 years ago, and I'd like the new laptop to be an improvement over it. Also, I would like to avoid brands like Toshiba and HP, which I've had bad experiences with (e.g. I had to change my actual computer 4 times because of the cooling system). I want a reliable laptop that I can use for a long time. Finally, I do not need the computer to come with an OS, but it must be linux compatible since I will install linux, and I don't want to spend $80 for a Windows license which I won't use.

My budget is 500-600$.

Thanks!

Edit: I can't say which language program I use because I use more than 10, depending on the situation (c ,python, java, c++, c#, node,...). The only thing I can say is that I don't mind having the integrated graphics card if it can allow me to code other things that games (I won't code games, just basic GUIs and that's all), also I won't code anything for IOS so apple is totally discarded. I do want a ssd but this would be out of budget and I can always put one in some years. The storage doesn't really matter, I won't have any 'big' software more than Visual Studio, everything else should be under 2GB, so I think I'd do with 250-500GB. It would be nice if I could run 1-2 virtual machines at once.

http://shop.lenovo.com/us/en/laptops/ideapad/300-series/300s-14-inch/ Could someone give me an opinion about this one "Ideapad 300S-14 - 80Q4000KUS"

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    Welcome to Hardware Recommendations. If possible, please add the specific language and software you plan on using, as well as any other software you want on the system. Do you want a solid state drive? How much storage do you need? The more details you give us, the better we can help. – timuzhti Dec 15 '15 at 0:26
  • Okey, I already answered the questions. I didn't want to give much specifications because the more I give the more the price will increase. – deuseux12 Dec 15 '15 at 10:11
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    You could always divide your requirements into necessary and nice-to-haves. Many other questions do this (example) – timuzhti Dec 15 '15 at 11:55
  • I don't find anything to put on my "nice-to-have" list, it's all important but I know it's impossible to find a laptop like that for 500-600€, so I don't mind of something of it fails. – deuseux12 Dec 15 '15 at 14:09
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For programming the most botlenecking happens, when the content of RAM gets dumped to pagefile. So the priority should be at least 8 GB of RAM (especially with VMs - if you ran two, 16GB would be better), next the SSD - in my experience, the processor does not bottleneck while programming as much as IO operations.

I would consider Lenovo B50-80 family of products: they can be found under the budget, having an ssd drive and magnetic one and 8 GB of RAM. It has 15.6 screen which matters, unless you plug to external monitor, and you can choose to have either i3-4030U, i5-5200U, or i7-5500U processor depending on your budget.

Hovewer, if you do not need DVD and like 13 inch display, the best fitting laptop would be Dell Latitude 3340 13.3" i3 4005U 8GB RAM 128GB SSD Windows 8. It has SSD drive, no bloat DVD or graphics card, is much thicker and a bit lighter (1.8 kg due to huge 5800 mAh battery I guess), can handle up to 16GB of RAM and it's Dell, so it'll live for years. The downside is 41$ + shipping above the budget.

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  • thanks for the answer. I saw this one but I didn't really like it, 15'6", more than 2kg, out of my budget with 8gb and impossible to find in my country. Also I will be formatting my computer quite often and having an SSD just will shorten its life. – deuseux12 Dec 15 '15 at 14:59
  • I'll edit my answer when I stumble upon something neater. Indeed B50-80 is hard to find on nevegg alone. What is your preffered screen size? 13 inches? Also, do you need DVD or rather not have one? – Piotr Falkowski Dec 15 '15 at 15:01
  • Yes, I'd like it to be around 13". And since I'll be using bootable usbs for installing the different OS I don't think I need any dvd, unless I have to install some drivers (which I can put in a usb also). I feel like all this known brands come with a lot of unnecessary things such as the dvd, os,... and I can't find one in which I pay just for what I need – deuseux12 Dec 15 '15 at 15:08
  • Yeah, the bloat is a bloat, DVDs collect dust nowadays. Now I get the idea and ammended my response. – Piotr Falkowski Dec 15 '15 at 19:58
  • Regarding SSD drives and formatting - unless you do it daily and do deep-format, it does not matter for SSD. I'm formating my 2-year old SSD every 2-3 months, and it's still 99%. The format does not perform extensive IO, it just deletes the boundries (start & end) of disk. – Piotr Falkowski Dec 15 '15 at 20:04
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So far I haven't found anything that beats my Thinkpads X201s and a 14" T61 (4:3 aspect ratio) for my own needs (mostly programming as well), so I'd recommend that. They're pretty cheap nowadays on ebay.

Anything more recent will have a ridiculously short screen (they call them "wide" for the gullibles) which means you need to get a bigger and heavier machine in order to keep the same number of code lines on screen.

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  • Impossible to find it where I'm from, I couldn't even find a website which used to sell them, so I couldn't even check the price "it would have" – deuseux12 Dec 17 '15 at 12:54
  • As mentioned, you can find some on ebay. Of course, many ebay sellers limit themselves to the US (that was the case when I bought my T61 which I had to send to a friend), but you might try other second hand sites. – Stefan Dec 17 '15 at 13:57
  • yes, I've been searching with no luck – deuseux12 Dec 17 '15 at 21:42

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