Do PhD Students Get Laptops? [Answered]

Do PhD students get laptops? Here’s what to do if your university doesn’t provide you with a laptop.

Do PhD Students Get Laptops?

No, laptops are never given out to PhD students. You are required to bring your own laptop or access the common desktops provided by the university. 

Which Laptop Is Best for PhD Students?

We have put together a list of the best PhD laptops you can read. But, for the details, here’s what to look out for in getting a solid laptop for a PhD.

CPU

The faster the CPU the faster the laptop. CPUs with high clock speeds and numerous cores make it easy to multitask, open several browser tabs, run demanding applications, and more.

As a PhD student, you need all the processing power you can get. Because a slow laptop will leave you frustrated. You might experience freezes and crashes under heavy loads.

CPUs recommended are Intel Core i5, AMD Ryzen 5 or higher. These processors have enough clock speed and cores.

Each processor has different types and to better inform yourself about Intel and AMD CPUs read the Intel naming CPU and AMD Ryzen naming schemes to know the differences.

For MacBooks, you should go with the MacBook Pro for the best computing performance. 

GPU

If you run demanding programs that require dedicated GPUs like CAD, SolidWorks, machine learning, etc.

Then a laptop with a powerful GPU is highly recommended. For CAD software, we recommended the NVIDIA Quadro and AMD Radeon Pro cards.

You will find these graphic cards on workstation laptops. They are much better suited to handling professional graphic software.

Anything else, the NVIDIA GTX, RTX, and AMD Radeon cards will suffice.

RAM

More RAM means a faster system, able to run several and demanding applications. A minimum of 8GB RAM is a good start.

However, for the best performance, 16GB RAM or higher is highly recommended.

Display

As a PhD student, you will be starting at the laptop’s display. Display resolution and type are important. The higher the resolution the sharper the display.

1080p resolutions are the best because they provide the perfect balance between sharpness and battery drain followed by 1440p and 4K displays.

4K displays look good but your eye can’t tell the difference between 1080p and 4K resolution. Plus, it has a greater battery drain.

4K displays are fantastic options if you plan to work in software that benefits from the resolution e.g., video editing, CAD, etc. For MacBooks, you have retina displays which are high-resolution displays.

Then there is the case of matte and glossy displays. Laptops with matte displays are highly recommended because they don’t have much eye strain making them perfect if you stare at the screen 8+ hours a day.

Glossy displays look brighter, sharper, and better but cause more eye strain than matte displays. These types of displays are better when you work with colours.

Battery Life

Battery life is what makes or breaks a laptop when it comes to choosing a laptop for PhD. 8+ battery life or more is highly recommended.

This allows you to work without worrying about the power supply. There are three ways of determining the battery life of a laptop:

The last two are the best options because the first requires you to purchase the laptop and it doesn’t meet your requirements.

You have to send it back resulting in wasted time and effort. But with the last two options, you can make an informed decision preventing buyer’s remorse.  

Final Thoughts

Universities don’t provide PhD students with laptops. However, with this guide we have provided finding a laptop won’t be difficult anymore.