I'm planning on buying a new laptop. Any recommendations of what kind of computer would be most useful in grad school? My undergrad courses have not been very computer-heavy, so I'm not really knowledgeable about which computers work well with math software (or even which software I will be using in grad school). General advice that people can offer would be helpful.

What are you studying?

p-adic wrote:What are you studying?

I haven't decided what I'll be studying yet. I'm not starting grad school until 2016, but I want to buy the laptop now because my old laptop doesn't work anymore. I guess I'm looking for a computer that would work with a variety of commonly used math software. I will be doing pure math rather than applied, but I know that doesn't narrow it down much.

It sounds to me like a pencil and a piece of paper would be what you need. Pretty much any modern PC will be powerful enough to run Mathematica, etc. There will also be computers in your office.

I agree with earlier comments, it depends on what area you are studying.

If you plan on studying numerical analysis or other areas that require computation, then YES, you will definitely need a very sturdy and reliable computer. As an undergrad I invested in a Lenovo laptop to handle heavy computations for courses and research, it has lasted four years.

If you just need a laptop for everyday use, using LaTeX to type papers or assignments, etc. then I don't think a heavy duty laptop is that important. A MacBook would probably be fine...but I wonder if a MacBook can handle the occasional Mathematica? MacBook Airs definitely won't be able to.

You will also have access to computers in grad school, you may have one in your office or have a computer lab. I never take my laptop with me anymore, I just email assignments to myself and print off what I need. So in that case you may just need a "normal" laptop or even a desktop to keep at your home/apartment/dorm.

If you plan on studying numerical analysis or other areas that require computation, then YES, you will definitely need a very sturdy and reliable computer. As an undergrad I invested in a Lenovo laptop to handle heavy computations for courses and research, it has lasted four years.

If you just need a laptop for everyday use, using LaTeX to type papers or assignments, etc. then I don't think a heavy duty laptop is that important. A MacBook would probably be fine...but I wonder if a MacBook can handle the occasional Mathematica? MacBook Airs definitely won't be able to.

You will also have access to computers in grad school, you may have one in your office or have a computer lab. I never take my laptop with me anymore, I just email assignments to myself and print off what I need. So in that case you may just need a "normal" laptop or even a desktop to keep at your home/apartment/dorm.

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