January 3, 2021

So I finally decided to take my first step in CS and I was wondering if there’s a recommended laptop under $2k to run programs and dip my feet into the water. Thanks in advanced!

Edit: CS as in Cyber Security. Sorry.



Quick note – CS generally refers to Computer Science. People will be very confused if you refer to cybersecurity as CS. :P

Anything that can run Minecraft on moderate detail settings can run anything you’d want for security. Honestly, my biggest resource consumer is Chrome tabs. Most any modern laptop in the $700-800 range with ~16GB RAM is *more than enough.* My on the go laptop still has 8GB RAM and I think a third gen i5 – upgrade for specific needs, not assumed needs.

To get ahead of what some “specific needs” might look like, here are a couple situations where you may run into some “nice to have”s. 32GB RAM is nice if you want to run a lot of virtual machines. I wouldn’t necessarily do that on a laptop though since 32GB laptops get very expensive, desktops (or servers) are much cheaper to stuff that much RAM in. Same rule if you want to do any password cracking (it’s not actually that common, I haven’t fired up a password cracker in years).


Starting out, I wouldn’t pay more than $7-800 USD for a Windows laptop. Go for 16 GB RAM so you can run Linux and other Windows OSes in virtual machines (Hyper-V is free). Get Windows Pro, a USB drive or better yet a one bay Synology NAS for backup and a cloud backup account.


Get a used thinkpad and don’t waste your money getting into the hobby

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