IST Recommendations for Buying a Laptop/Notebook

Last updated November 7th, 2008 


As more people on campus require the portability of a laptop IST has gained more experience with what features one should be looking for. Below are the features one should be insisting on and others you may appreciate knowing about in advance. As with desktops, laptops come in several classes. Please be sure to purchase a “business-class” machine over a “home-class” model from whatever vendor you purchase from. They cost more but will better withstand the rigours of everyday use. (NOTE: Although much of what is covered does apply to the Apple OS machines, the focus here is on Windows-based notebooks.)

Minimum Requirements

Personalized Requirements

Two separate purchases of laptops may have very different requirements. Here are some points to consider:

Options to Consider


IST has experience with Lenovo, Dell and Toshiba laptops. We have no reason to believe that HP or other well-known manufacturers won’t have acceptable models as all seem to have fairly standardized features. Aside from drivers all types we’ve tried meet the minimum requirements outlined above and accepted our IST Windows XP image. We strongly encourage one department to stick with one vendor so experience is easily shared.



Once purchased don’t forget about security: Many steps were taken to harden the operating system in the IST Windows XP image. Please make sure yours is too. You may also be well advised to have a contact name and number etc. prominently etched in some visible part of the laptop to discourage theft. The security number should be recorded as part of your inventory.


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Last updated by: Manfred Grisebach, IST – Systems, November 7th, 2008