I usually use math and engineering sections so sorry if I missed section.

I decided that I want to buy new laptop. Let me say that I am not considering Macbook pro, it's just too expensive.I don't need extreme laptop for gaming(it would be nice if it could run something like FIFA, CS:GO) and the maximum price I am willing to pay is 800€. I don't really know specifications that much, I only look at the processor, and that is why I need your help. The laptop MUST be able to run Autocad, Matlab, Mathematica and other engineering softwares.

I looked over some rankings on the internet and everybody seems to point out that Dell Xps 13 is the best. I can understand this if we consider one with settings including i7 processor. But why would one with i3 cost 800€ and there are many other laptops including Dell's that have i7 and other better specs that cost much less than that?

What laptop should I buy? Also I care about the look of laptop a lot and I think Dell and Apple are unbeatable here.

Thank you.

  • Would you be running multiple applications at a time? What about the web browser? About how many tabs do you tend to keep open at a time?
    – Cfinley
    Jun 29, 2017 at 17:47
  • Nothing spectacular really, I might turn on music on youtube, facebook, while I am working some mathematical simulations in Matlab, or something in Autocad. I am not sure about OS. I never tried Linux but could accept it.
    – user6501
    Jun 29, 2017 at 17:51
  • Note that laptop CPUs have three different TDPs: 15, 28 and 45W. If you have an U suffix and a particularly round number like 6700U you are looking at 15W. Why am I explaining this? Because you need CPU power and a low TDP means lower clock, less cores and less turbo time.
    – SEJPM
    Jun 30, 2017 at 13:00

2 Answers 2


I think your budget is relatively low considering you will run computationally intensive tasks on it. So I would ignore battery life or portability constraints and just buy whatever gives you the most power both in terms of CPU and GPU for your money. This is also likely the reason you are seeing "strange" prices, for example those Microsoft Surfaces thingies often aren't powerful at all, but they are small, light and have long battery life.

Where I study there is a possibility to buy high-end laptops at a discount biannually, make sure you check out whether your uni has something like this.

Just as a random example a Lenovo Legion Y520 seems to be roughly in your budget depending on the exact model. It has a i7-7700HQ, GTX 1050 and up to 16GB of RAM. No 'business'/'workstation' quality, battery won't last too long, but probably as much power as you can get for that kind of money. There are similar offers from other manufacturers.


Processor and memory are certainly very important for you, no two ways about it. My own experience with a grand sample size of 3 very diverse CPUs (Core 2 Duo E8400, Core i7-920XM, Core i7-5820K) is that the PassMark numbers give a good relative guide to performance on the kinds of software development and photography work that's important to me.

At least based on the PassMark numbers, there hasn't been a great deal of improvement per-core since the 4th generation, including both laptop and desktop. The top mobile CPUs (45W) all top out around 10,000 since then; some of the Xeon 6th and 7th generation CPUs are a bit faster (up to about 11,000). You may be able to get more bang for your euro with a high end used laptop, such as a Dell Precision M4800 with a top-end CPU (I should note that all of my laptops, since 2001, have been used high-end Dells). This is built to a much higher standard of quality than their (or anyone's) consumer-grade system. I've had mine (which I bought used) since 2011; other than the CPU being poky by contemporary standards, I have no complaints. I've upgraded quite a few things and replaced the keyboard multiple times (I'm rather rough on that).

If you go that route, do pay very close attention to the components used. There are many available configurations, with a wide range of processors; don't get one, for instance, with an i5 or lower-end i7.

Otherwise, you haven't given a lot to go on as far as storage, screen, and such; the machine I mentioned does offer multiple screen options, and it's an easy matter to upgrade storage and memory.

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