14 Best Laptops for Data Science (September 2022)

Choosing the right laptop as a data scientist is an important step. From accessing and hosting databases to running queries and code, you will need a laptop that’s powerful, durable, reliable, and portable. In this guide, I ranked and reviewed the 14 best laptops for data science, along with our top 5 choices, so you can pick the best one for you.

Best Overall

Lenovo Legion 5 Pro

The Lenovo Legion 5 Pro is my top pick because it packs power, speed, image quality, a full stack of common ports (USB, HDMI, etc.), and a full keyboard (with number pad), all in the mid-tier $1,500 price point.

Read Review →

Most Powerful for AI & ML

Razer Blade 17 Gaming Laptop

An extremely powerful machine with 1TB of hard disk size, 16GB of RAM, a 12th Gen Intel i7 processor, and an RTX 3070 Ti graphics card that will carry the weight of any database or code execution. It also has a 17.3 inch screen for easy viewing.

Read Review →

Best Graphics Display (+Touchscreen)

Dell XPS 17

With a display resolution of 3840×2400, the Dell XPS 17 is in a class of its own for crisp images while you work. With 32GB RAM and an Intel i7 processor, it packs 8 cores and 16 threads of processing power so your beautiful screen is also fast.

Read Review →

Best Price

HP Pavilion Gaming Laptop

HP challenges the powerful-computer space with this affordable model that’s perfect for beginners or those who need slightly less processing power. It has a reasonable 16GB RAM and 512GB of hard drive but runs a slightly weaker Ryzen 5 CPU than its more expensive counterparts.

Read Review →

Best Mac

MacBook Pro 14-Inch (2021)

There really is no better than the MacBook pro for data scientists. The 2021 models have upgraded to M1 CPUs and boast 16GB of RAM and 512GB hard drive space. If you’re connected to the Apple ecosystem, we recommend this one.

Read Review →

Are you looking for a new laptop that can handle your work as a data scientist

When it comes to data, things aren’t as simple as using a basic laptop to host heavy data, servers, and clients, as well as run advanced queries and code. You’ll run slow (and maybe damage a weaker computer, depending on what you process).

You need something more powerful: a laptop built for handling these system-demanding processes.

This guide covers the best options based on 25 criteria: price, screen resolution, screen size, screen refresh speed, operating system, SSD Storage, RAM, CPU (speed, cores, threads, and cache), GPU (cores and memory), weight, battery life, keyboard size (partial of full), and ports (ethernet, USB-C/USB-A, headphone/mic, HDMI), and Webcam.

Data Science Laptop Requirements

Laptops have a number of specifications that drive performance and price. Here are the things you need to consider (and we review for each recommended laptop in this article).

Required specs for data science laptop (where choice is available):

  • Screen Size (inch): 15 – 17 inches
  • Screen Refresh Speed (Hz): 120Hz minimum
  • Screen Resolution: 1920×1080 minimum
  • Operating System: Windows 10 minimum or macOS
  • SSD Storage (TB): 1TB (512GB is ok for those who won’t store large volumes of data locally) minimum
  • RAM (GB): 16GB minimum
  • CPU: Intel i7 11th Gen minimum, or AMD Ryzen 7 minimum
  • CPU Speed (GHz): 4.6GHz (less is ok on budget laptops as long as you know they’ll run slow) minimum
  • CPU Cores: 8 (except for budget laptops) minimum
  • CPU Threads: 16 (except for budget laptops) minimum
  • CPU Cache (MB): 16MB minimum
  • GPU: NVIDIA 3050 (1650 acceptable for budget laptops) minimum
  • GPU Cores: 2300 (except for budget laptops) minimum
  • CPU Memory (GB): 8GB minimum
  • Weight (pounds): 10 pounds maximum
  • Battery Life (avg hours): 5 hours minimum
  • Battery Life (performance hours): 2 hours minimum
  • Keyboard: Full (partial is acceptable for top-tier laptops since the space is used for high quality speakers)
  • Ethernet port: RJ45
  • USB-A Ports: 1 (except for Top-Tier machines ) minimum
  • USB-C Ports: 1 minimum
  • Headphone port: 1 minimum
  • HDMI port: 1 minimum
  • Webcam: 1 minimum

Now that you know what to look for, let’s get started.

What is the best laptop for data science?

Here are my top picks for best laptop for data scientists:

  1. Lenovo Legion 5 Pro
  2. Razer Blade 17 Gaming Laptop
  3. Dell XPS 17
  4. HP Pavilion Gaming Laptop
  5. MacBook Pro 14-Inch (2021)
  6. Acer Nitro 5
  7. Acer Predator Helios 300
  8. MSI GE76 Raider
  9. Asus ROG Strix G15
  10. Asus ROG Zephyrus G15
  11. MacBook Pro 16-Inch (2021)
  12. Alienware M15 R6
  13. Dell G15
  14. Lenovo IdeaPad 3i

Lenovo Legion 5 Pro

Best Overall Laptop for Data Science

My Take

The Lenovo Legion 5 Pro is an underestimated laptop in the powerful PC space. It’s powered by AMD’s Ryzen 7 CPU and a NVIDIA 3060 GPU, making it rare in the $1,500 price point. It’s 16 inch size makes it portable but doesn’t sacrifice resolution (2560×1600) nor refresh speed (165Hz). If you’re looking for a laptop to handle data science work that will last and provides upgradability for a reasonable price, I recommend this Lenovo. What’s more, Lenovo’s customer service is decent, which can’t be said for many other brands.

Overall rating: 9.6/10

Best ForBest Overall Laptop
Price$1,500 – $1,550
CPU RatingVery Strong (Ryzen 7 5800h – 4.6GHz, 8 Cores, 16 Threads)
RAM RatingStrong (16GB)
GPU RatingVery Strong (NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060, 3584 cores)

The Legion 5 Pro is essentially a hard copy of the IdeaPad i3, but with more power and increased image quality. It inherits a user-friendly ports system, and Lenovo’s support is usually good. You can think of it as a step-up from the Acer Nitro 5, though it comes at an increase in price of appx. $230, making it a good candidate for data scientists who are just past the beginner phase.

Our rating: 9.6

Key Features

  • Nahimic 3D audio provides nice listening
  • First-ever 16 inch QHD laptop with 165Hz refresh (this means 2560 x 1440 pixels and has a 16:9 aspect ratio)
  • Ryzen 7 + NVIDIA 3060 combination

Specifications (Specs)

  • Screen Size: 16 inch
  • Screen Refresh Speed: 165 Hz
  • Screen Resolution: 2560×1600
  • Operating System: Windows 11
  • Hard Disk Drive/Storage/SSD: 1TB
  • RAM: 16GB
  • Computer Processing Unit (CPU):  Ryzen 7 5800h
    • Speed: 4.4GHz
    • Cores: 8
    • Threads: 16
    • Cache: 16MB
  • Graphics Processing Unit (GPU): ‎‎‎NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060
    • Cores: 3584
    • Memory size: 12GB
  • Weight: 9.78 lbs
  • Battery life: 6 hours average, 2 hours under high performance
  • Keyboard: Full (with number pad)
  • Ethernet: Yes, RJ45
  • USB Ports: 3 USB-A, 1 USB-C
  • Headphone Jack: Yes
  • HDMI Jack: Yes
  • Webcam: Yes

Brand Concerns

  • Dell Customer Service score: 70/100
  • Upgradability: Easy, can replace almost any part, though this may void your warranty

User Experience

With Windows 11 bugs fixed, the Lenovo Legion 5 Pro has a quality user experience. Though not styled as “sexy” as its Acer Nitro and Predator counterparts, the Legion 5 Pro has better visuals, runs faster, and has all the legacy ports you need. At 16 inches, it’s easy to transport but nevertheless packs 2560×1600 resolution and 165Hz refresh speed, making it the best user experience for the size. What’s more, it has a full keyboard built in, so you won’t need to purchase an external keyboard or number pad when hooking up to a larger monitor.

Pricing

The Lenovo Legion 5 Pro 16 inch is priced at $1,500 – $1,550 on Amazon (tip: add each laptop to you shopping cart to easily compare later).

What I like & Dislike

Like

  • Often considered among the best customer service in the industry
  • Rare blend of power and image quality for the price

Dislike

  • Very weak battery life under high performance
  • Not very stylish

It’s rare to find a powerful laptop in the $1,500 range with so much power, image quality, and decent customer service. I recommend the Lenovo Legion 5 Pro for beginners and experienced data scientists alike.

Razer Blade 17 Gaming Laptop

Most Powerful Laptop for AI & ML

My Take

The Razer Blade 17 is the most powerful machine on our list. It will handle even the most advanced evolutionary programming, fuzzy logic, artificial intelligence, and machine learning programming with ease. And with 2560×1440 resolution backed by 144Hz refresh speed, the hardware is capable of fully levering NVIDIA’s 3070 Ti GPU, delivering a beautiful image quality.

Overall rating: 9.4/10

Best ForMost Powerful for AI & ML
Price$3,100 – $3,200
CPU RatingStrong (Intel i7 – 12800H (4.8GHz, 14 Cores, 20 Threads)
RAM RatingStrong (16GB)
GPU RatingStrong (NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 Ti, 6144 cores)

If money is no object, the Razer Blade 17 is the best machine on our list. The specs speak for themselves — it’s loaded from start to finish with 144Hz refresh and 2560×1440 resolution, 1TB storage, 12th Gen i7 CPU and a NVIDIA 3070 Ti PLUS a coprocessor. The only way to make this machine better is more storage and upgrading to an i9 processor… but in truth, you won’t need to.

Our rating: 9.4/10

Key Features

  • Cinema-quality speakers
  • Full HD display
  • Easy-strike keys that make working fast more enjoyable
  • Red-Green-Blue backlit keys

Specifications (Specs)

  • Screen Size: 17.3 inch
  • Screen Refresh Speed: 144Hz
  • Screen Resolution: ‎2560×1440
  • Operating System: Windows 11
  • Hard Disk Drive/Storage/SSD: 1TB
  • RAM: 16GB
  • Computer Processing Unit (CPU): i7 – 12800H
    • Speed: 4.8 (highest on the list)
    • Cores: 14
    • Threads: 20
    • Cache: 24MB
  • Graphics Processing Unit (GPU): NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 Ti
    • Cores: 6144
    • Memory size: 8GB
  • Weight: 10.33 lbs
  • Battery life: 6 hours average, 3 hours under high performance
  • Keyboard: partial
  • Ethernet: Yes
  • USB Ports: 2 USB-C, 2 USB-A
  • Headphone Jack: Yes
  • HDMI Jack: Yes
  • Webcam: Yes, 1080P

Brand Concerns

  • Razer Customer Service score: 90/100 — they’re excellent
  • Upgradability: Easy, but rarely needed as this machine comes with the best

User Experience

With the exception of a full keyboard with number pad, the Razer Blade 17 is a powerful machine that delivers high-quality imagery, allows for easy connectability through its multiple ports, and runs fast and smooth. They’re called Razers for a reason!

Pricing

All its power comes at a price – the Razer Blade 17 comes in at $3,100 – $3,200 on Amazon.

What I like & Dislike

Like

  • The Razer not only has the NVIDIA 3070i GPU, but also a coprocessor for impeccable graphic performance.
  • Near-flawless user experience (except for the partial keyboard)

Dislike

  • At 10 lbs, the Razer is heavy and not ideal for data scientists on the move.
  • Partial keyboard (excludes number pad)
  • RAM could be 32GB

All in all, the Razer is the highest performing machine on the list. Like most computers in this article, the Razer is originally built for gaming. It’s top-tier technology is needed for that kind of intensive load, and many data science tasks have demand on image quality, making this a great choice for analysts looking at machine learning and artificial intelligence programming (Python, R, SQL, etc.)

Dell XPS 17

Best Data Science Laptop for Graphics (+ Touchscreen)

My Take

If you want the best display quality and interaction, then Dell’s XPS17 is the right machine for you. It has a large 17 inch display with 4k ultra HD screen with 3840×2400 resolution that produces an unmatched image quality, powered by a NVIDIA 3050 graphics processing unit. Plus, it’s touchscreen. Definitely consider this machine if your goal is image quality and you can forfeit some power. Just make sure you get this one with 1TB SSD and Windows 10 (Windows 11 performs less well).

Overall rating: 9/10

Best ForVisual Performance & Graphics
Price$1,500 – $1,600
CPU RatingStrong (Intel i7-11800H (4.6GHz, 8 Cores, 16 Threads)
RAM RatingSuper Strong (32GB)
GPU RatingStrong (NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050, 2304 cores)

The touchscreen technology on the Dell XPS17 takes some getting used to, but it’s easier to scroll and improved overall interaction with the screen. The image quality on the XPS17 is by far the best on our list. I like this one for data scientists who need to work long hours but don’t need to host databases or servers themselves (so it’s not recommended for freelancers).

Overall rating: 9/10

Key Features

  • Touchscreen
  • 4K Ultra HD Screen
  • 3840×2400 resolution (best in class)
  • 30FPS Webcam

Specifications (Specs)

  • Screen Size: 17 inches
  • Screen Refresh Speed: 120Hz
  • Screen Resolution: 3840×2400
  • Operating System: Windows 10 (avoid Windows 11)
  • Hard Disk Drive/Storage/SSD: 1TB
  • RAM: 32GB
  • Computer Processing Unit (CPU): Intel i7-11800H
    • Speed: 4.6GHz
    • Cores: 8
    • Threads: 16
    • Cache: 24 MB
  • Graphics Processing Unit (GPU): NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050
    • Cores: 2304
    • Memory size: 8GB
  • Weight: 5.53 lbs
  • Battery life: 9 hours average
  • Keyboard: Partial
  • Ethernet: No
  • USB Ports: 4 USB-C, no USB-A
  • Headphone Jack: Yes, double as microphone jack
  • HDMI Jack: Adaptor sold separately
  • Webcam: 30FPS Webcam

Brand Concerns

  • Dell Customer Service score: 40/100
  • Upgradability: Easy, can replace almost any part, though this may void your warranty

User Experience

The Dell XPS 17 user experience is best on our list. Given the best-in-class resolution and 4k UHD screen, the experience is comparable to Apple (see here for more information). That said, the computer will run slightly slower than other powerful Windows-based computers because of the i7 processor and NVIDIA 3050 GPU. For freelancers who need to do back-end hosting work, the tradeoff may not be worth it.

Pricing

The Dell XPS 17 with these specs is priced at $1,500 – $1,600 on Amazon, or get it directly from Dell.

What I like & Dislike

Like

  • Best screen quality on the list
  • Nice built-in webcam that’s largely unavailable on other list laptops
  • Touchscreen technology for nice ease of use

Dislike

  • No USB Ports, only Thunderbolt, which requires external
  • No HDMI
  • No Ethernet plug
  • Slightly weaker CPU and GPU
  • Not a full keyboard

All in all, the best way to decide on the XPS 17 is to ask yourself how important a high-quality screen is to you. If it’s not critical, you can get an equally-powerful machine with many more ports and functionalities, including a full keyboard (very important for me using data), in the Lenovo Legion 5 Pro.

HP Pavilion Gaming Laptop

Most Cost Effective Laptop for Data Science

My Take

At roughly $860, the HP Pavilion is our budget-friendly pick on the list. If you plan to work primarily at the office with limited local storage and host only partial local data, then this laptop may be the write choice for you. Just note that you may need an upgrade. Even basic laptops use the i7 processor because the i5 is simply too weak to handle big data. If you’re truly a beginner and just want to get your feet wet with data science, then I highly recommend going with the HP Pavilion if you don’t want to fork out a few more hundred for the Acer Nitro 5.

Overall rating: 7.5/10

Best ForBudget Laptop
Price$850 – $900
CPU RatingMediocre (Intel i5-9300h (4.1GHz, 4 Cores, 8 Threads)
RAM RatingMediocre (12GB)
GPU RatingMediocre (NVIDIA GeForce RTX 1650, 896 cores)

I like the HP Pavilion for starters who are in the discovery phase of data science. However, I don’t recommend it for professionals who want a home computer for practice.

Our rating: 7.5/10

Key Features

  • Full keyboard
  • Friendly legacy USB and HDMI ports

Specifications (Specs)

  • Screen Size: 15.6 inch
  • Screen Refresh Speed: 60 Hz
  • Screen Resolution: 1920×1080
  • Operating System: Windows 10
  • Hard Disk Drive/Storage/SSD: 512GB
  • RAM: 12GB
  • Computer Processing Unit (CPU): Intel i5-9300h
    • Speed: 4.1GHz
    • Cores: 4
    • Threads: 8
    • Cache: 8MB
  • Graphics Processing Unit (GPU): NVIDIA GeForce RTX 1650
    • Cores: 897
    • Memory size: 4GB
  • Weight: 4.92 lbs
  • Battery life: 8 hours average, 6-7 hours under high performance
  • Keyboard: full keyboard
  • Ethernet: Yes, RJ45
  • USB Ports: 3 USB-A, 1 USB-C
  • Headphone Jack: Yes
  • HDMI Jack: Yes
  • Webcam: Yes

Brand Concerns

  • Dell Customer Service score: 30/100
  • Upgradability: Easy, can replace almost any part, though this may void your warranty

User Experience

The pavilion is a user friendly laptop. It has an industry-standard 1920×1080 display resolution, a number of USB ports, HDMI, Ethernet, and a full size keyboard. However, the 60Hz refresh speed is notoriously low, which will hurt the image quality. And it’s i5 Intel processor and combined with the NVIDIA 16 series will run slow in high-performance scenarios.

Pricing

The HP Pavilion is affordably priced at about $860 on Amazon.

What I like & Dislike

Like

  • Complete set of high-demand USB ports
  • Full keyboard
  • Has Ethernet and HDMI outlets unlike some more powerful laptops on the list

Dislike

  • Very low screen refresh rate at 60Hz, low image performance
  • Lowe performance CPU
  • Low performance GPU
  • Small RAM

The HP Pavilion is a great choice for beginners who want a budget PC to explore data science at home.

MacBook Pro 14-Inch (2021)

Best Mac Laptop for Data Science

My Take

If you’re looking for an Apple product, there are really only two choices: the MacBook Pro 14 inch or 16 inch. While most Window laptops on the list are 15.6 to 17 inches, I feel this is a bit excessive. The 14 inch Pro is an ideal size for comfort working and traveling. It makes the 2021 Pro not only my top pick for Mac, but also for size-to-value. If you like smaller laptops, I definitely recommend the 14 inch MB Pro. That said, MacBooks come at a price!

Overall rating: 9.4/10

Best ForApple Product & Size-for-Value
Price$2,200 – $2,300
CPU RatingSuper Strong (M1, 10 Cores)
RAM RatingStrong (16GB)
GPU RatingSuper Strong (M1, 32 Cores)

Unlike Windows computers, the CPU and GPU on Apple products are so-called “integrated,” which means the M1 Max Chip processes system demand and graphics demand at the same time, producing a superior performance. It’s no secret that Mac products are one of the few machines on which you don’t sacrifice much. The 14 inch MacBook Pro has retina graphics, a super strong processor, beautiful display, and excellent storage (up to 8TB — yes, you read that right).

Overall rating: 9.4/10

Key Features

  • Liquid retina XDR display
  • 10-Core M1 CPU
  • 16-Core M1 GPU

Specifications (Specs)

  • Screen Size: 14.2 inch
  • Screen Refresh Speed: 120 Hz
  • Screen Resolution: 3024×1964
  • Operating System: macOS
  • Hard Disk Drive/Storage/SSD: 1TB
  • RAM: 16GB (64GB unified memory)
  • Computer Processing Unit (CPU): M1
    • Cores: 10
  • Graphics Processing Unit (GPU): M1
    • Cores: 16
  • Weight: 3.52 lbs
  • Battery life: 17 hours
  • Keyboard: partial (no number pad)
  • Ethernet: No, adapter sold separately
  • USB Ports: 3 Thunderbolt 4 (compatible with USB-C), 1 USB-A
  • Headphone Jack: Yes
  • HDMI Jack: Yes
  • Webcam: Yes

Brand Concerns

  • Dell Customer Service score: 75/100
  • Upgradability: No, Apple products are not modifiable

User Experience

The MacBook Pro, and all Apple products for that matter, have the best user experience on the market. From image quality to performance, they are the best machines.

Pricing

The 14 inch MacBook Pro is priced at $2,200 – $2,300 on Amazon.

What I like & Dislike

Like

  • High-quality liquid retina display
  • M1 CPU and 16-core GPU deliver top-tier performance
  • 14 inches is a comfortable compromise to the normal 16 – 17 inch screen size

Dislike

  • Limited flexibility to modify the laptop
  • Difficult to “leave” the Apple ecosystem once you’re deeply involved

The 14 inch 2021 MacBook Pro is my top pick as the best Apple laptop for data science. If you’re already involved in the ecosystem, I definitely recommend it. Though expensive, MacBooks last for several years, and are an investment you won’tneed to replace for years to come.

Acer Nitro 5

A Great 17 inch Mid-Tier Laptop with Style

The Acer Nitro 5 is a top pick for many reasons.

Acer invested more than $70 million on user experience and sold over $1 billion worth of performance machines in 2020, so they’re a trusted brand that you can count on to evolve in the future. The design is simple, with a backlit full keyboard and 144Hz (which means the page refreshes 144 times/second) HD display. And you have the choice of NVIDIA GPUs (I recommend the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050Ti) and either Intel’s i5 or i7 CPU (I recommend i7 — the i5 is not for people doing data science work).

The Acer Nitro 5 is VERY competitively priced for the power it delivers. Most power laptops in the $1000 – $1500 range give in on GPU or CPU to keep the price down, or they use a special operating system like the HP Pavilion that can’t keep up with Windows or macOS. The Acer Nitro hits a nice position of power, user experience, and price.

Our rating: 9.5/10

Key Features

  • The NitroSense key from Acer allows you to monitor your CPU and GPU temperatures, which is an advantage for those who plan to process a large amount of data.
  • The Nitro 5 also has a Power-Off USB charging port, which is useful for traveling data scientists.
  • Acer’s CoolBoost tech will also automatically increase fan speed to help the CPU handle advanced queries.

Specifications (Specs)

  • Screen Size: 17.3 inch
  • Screen Refresh Speed: 144Hz
  • Screen Resolution: 1920×1080
  • Operating System: Windows 10 (I don’t recommend Windows 11 because it has trouble handling data-heavy operations)
  • Hard Disk Drive/Storage/SSD: 1TB
  • RAM: 16GB
  • Computer Processing Unit (CPU): Intel i7 11800H
    • Speed: 4.6GHz
    • Cores: 8
    • Threads: 16
    • Cache: 24MB
  • Graphics Processing Unit (GPU): NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 Ti
    • Cores: 2560
    • Memory size: 8GB
  • Weight: 4.85 lbs
  • Battery life: 8 hours average, 3-5 under high performance
  • Keyboard: full (includes number pad), red backlight
  • Ethernet: Yes, RJ-45
  • USB Ports: 3
  • Headphone Jack: Yes
  • HDMI Jack: Yes
  • Webcam: Yes
  • Power-off USB Port: Yes (this allows you to charge your phone or other device using the computer battery even when it’s turned off)
  • NitroSense Key: Yes, allows you to easily monitor GPU and CPU temperatures

Brand Concerns

  • Acer customer service score: 20/100
  • Upgradability: Easy, can replace almost any part, though this may void your warranty

User Experience

With Windows 10, you’re using some of the best operating system tech available. The full-size keyboard means you don’t need to buy an external keyboard, and you can connect to a larger monitor while using the built-in keyboard. The 17.3 inch screen size is industry standard, and I like the Nitro 5’s “cut” edges because it helps pack the laptop into backpacks and suitcases when moving between work and home or traveling.

Pricing

The Nitro 5 with i7 processor, Nvidia 3050 Ti GPU, Windows 10 is priced in the $1,000 – $1,500 range on Amazon, and you can also get it brand-new from Acer directly with full-service support and different combinations of specs.

What I like & dislike about the Acer Nitro 5

Like:

  • Power for price, making it great for those on a budget
  • Trusted brand
  • Long-term investment in a brand ecosystem with high investments in R&D
  • Nice user experience

Dislike:

  • Charger is hard to plug in — can be frustrating when you don’t know, so be sure to push hard to plug in.
  • Headset sound quality has to be set differently than headphones to get the same result, and the only mic available with headset setting in the built-in mic, which can be frustrating for users working in busy areas.
  • Often considered worst customer service in teh industry

Product Updates

  • Newer versions are downsizing to 15.6 inch displays while maintaining the full-size keyboard, cutting off extra space for easire portability
  • Newer versions are moving to Windows 11 as Microsoft improves performance with OS updates
  • It is possible to get the Nitro 5 with a powerful AMD Ryzen 7 CPU and a smaller disk size (256GB) for those who are moving to cloud-storage

Ultimately, the Nitro 5 is an all around powerful laptop in a reasonable price range, beat by the Lenovo Legion 5 Pro, which has slightly better power and screen quality. That said, if you want a cool-looking laptop in the same space, the Nitro 5 is recommended.

Acer Predator Helios 300

A Great 15.6 Inch Laptop with Style

In many ways the Predator Helios 300 is similar to the Nitro 5 (both made by Acer). The key differences are that the Nitro 5 has 1TB of SSD while the Predator has only 512GB, the Nitro has a NVIDIA 3050 GPU while the Predator has a NVIDIA 3060 GPU, the Nitro uses Windows 10 while Predator uses Windows 11 — and of course, the Predator is 1.4 inches smaller.

Overall, this means the Nitro is more powerful while the Predator delivers better visuals and is easier to pack, but just slightly. Most people choose Nitro because they like the red backlight and the Predator because they like the multi-color backlight and the Predator Sense app, which gives you deep analysis on the machine.

Our rating: 9.5

Key Features

  • Predator Sense Key allows you to monitor your system, overclock, create macros, customize RGB preferences and more
  • USB Power-Off Charging allows you to power devices even when the laptop is turned off
  • AeroBlade 3D Fan Technology that allows you to cool under high performance

Specifications (Specs)

  • Screen Size: 15.6 inch
  • Screen Refresh Speed: 144Hz
  • Screen Resolution: 1920×1080
  • Operating System: Windows 11
  • Hard Disk Drive/Storage/SSD: 512GB
  • RAM: 16GB
  • Computer Processing Unit (CPU): i7-11800H
    • Speed: 4.6GHz
    • Cores: 8
    • Threads: 16
    • Cache: 24MB
  • Graphics Processing Unit (GPU): NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060
    • Cores: 3584
    • Memory size: 12GB
  • Weight: 5.07 lbs
  • Battery life: 7 hours average, under 5 hours under high performance
  • Keyboard: full keyboard
  • Ethernet: Yes, RJ45
  • USB Ports: 3 USB-A, 1 USB-C
  • Headphone Jack: Yes
  • HDMI Jack: Yes
  • Webcam: Yes

Brand Concerns

  • Dell Customer Service score: 20/100
  • Upgradability: Easy, can replace almost any part, though this may void your warranty

User Experience

With Windows 11, you’re using the best operating system tech available. However, the Predator has been reported to struggle to maintain its battery life. Other than that, the full-size keyboard is practical, and allows you to connect to a monitor without the need to for an external keyboard. The 15.6 inch screen size is on the high-end of industry standards, and I like the Predator’s “cut” edges because it helps to transport, as with the Nitro 5.

Pricing

The Predator is available on Amazon with the recommend specs here for $1,200 – $1,300.

What I like & Dislike

Like

  • Very strong price-quality ratio
  • Strong combination of power and ports (USB, HDMI, Ethernet)
  • Cool look and feel with multi-color backlighting

Dislike

  • Very short battery life (under 5 hours tested in the field)
  • Acer has notoriously poor customer service

While there were some problems with Windows 11, Microsoft seems to have fixed the bugs on the Predator.

All in all, the Acer Predator Helios 300 is a great choice for those not looking for cutting-edge tech. It’s also a good for data scientists who don’t need terabytes of data to store locally (only 512GB SSD), and provides a strong alternative to the Acer Nitro 5 for those who want slightly stronger visual performance and a more portable size.

MSI GE76 Raider

A Great 17 Inch Mid-tier Laptop with a Little Extra Graphics Processing Power

The MSI GE76 Raider is a good mid-tier candidate for data scientists who like a colorful, stylish machine that sticks out from the Acer Nitro 5 & Predator with a slightly more powerful GPU, and for data scientist who like good customer service (MSI is much better than Acer).

Our rating: 9.4

Key Features

  • Cool look with colors bar on bottom pane
  • Relatively light for the power
  • Green-Purple backlit keyboard

Specifications (Specs)

  • Screen Size: 17.3 inch
  • Screen Refresh Speed: 144Hz
  • Screen Resolution: 1920×1080
  • Operating System: Windows 10
  • Hard Disk Drive/Storage/SSD: 1TB
  • RAM: 16GB
  • Computer Processing Unit (CPU): Intel i7-11800H 
    • Speed: 4.6GHz
    • Cores: 8
    • Threads: 16
    • Cache: 24MB
  • Graphics Processing Unit (GPU): NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060
    • Cores: 3584
    • Memory size: 12GB
  • Weight: 6.5 lbs
  • Battery life: 6 hours average, 1.5 hours under high performance
  • Keyboard: Full (with number pad)
  • Ethernet: Yes
  • USB Ports: 3 USB-A, 1 USB-C, 1 Thunderbolt 4
  • Headphone Jack: Yes
  • HDMI Jack: Yes
  • Webcam: Yes

Brand Concerns

  • MSI Customer Service score: 65/100
  • Upgradability: Easy, can replace almost any part, though this may void your warranty

User Experience

Using Windows 10, the MSI GE76 Raider is on the more advanced OSs from Microsoft (which is as good or better than Windows 11 for performance operations). It has a cool color bar spanning the front of the lower plane, and it competes with the industry standards in terms of resolution and performance. The full stack of ports (USB, Ethernet, HDMI) and full keyboard make it easy to use. Plus, it looks really cool.

Pricing

The MSI GE76 Raider is prices at $1,540 – $1,550 on Amazon.

What I like & Dislike

Like

  • Very stylish
  • Relatively light (6.5 lbs) for the power

Dislike

  • Difficult to justify weaker performance against the Lenovo Legion 5 Pro since the two are in the same price range
  • Key added value to this laptop is colors, which is less important for data science
  • Decent customer service

The MSI GE76 Raider is a good mid-tier laptop for data scientists who want a cool looking machine. My take is that the Lenovo Legion 5 Pro is a better performing machine, and it’s typically slightly less expensive.

Asus ROG Strix G15

A Well-Priced Top-Tier Laptop that’s Good for Entry into the Powerful Laptop Space

The Asus ROG Strix 15 is a strong candidate for ML & AI because it has a strong combination of processors, memory, and cache of all laptops on the list, for a reasonable price. Against the obvious competitor in this level — the Acer Predator Triton 500 (not on our list) — the Asus ROG Strix 15 comes in 33% less expensive (~$1000).

Our rating: 9.3/10

Specifications (Specs)

  • Screen Size: 15.6 inch
  • Screen Refresh Speed: 165Hz
  • Screen Resolution: 1920×1080
  • Operating System: Windows 10
  • Hard Disk Drive/Storage/SSD: 1TB
  • RAM: 32GB
  • Computer Processing Unit (CPU): Ryzen 9-5900HX
    • Speed: 4.6GHz
    • Cores: 8 cores
    • Threads: 16 threads
    • Cache: 16MB
  • Graphics Processing Unit (GPU): NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070
    • Cores: 5888
    • Memory size: 8GB
  • Weight: 5.07 lbs
  • Battery life: 8 hours average (2nd best on the list as rated in the field by real users)
  • Keyboard: partial
  • Ethernet: RJ45
  • USB Ports: 3 type A, 1 type C
  • Headphone Jack: Yes
  • HDMI Jack: Yes
  • Webcam: No

Brand Concerns

  • ASUS Customer Service score: 65/100
  • Upgradability: Easy, can replace almost any part, though this may void your warranty

User Experience

With great power comes a lot of heat. The Asus’s cooling system uses 4 fan outlets to keep cooling noise down while youprocess large amounts of data. While it doesn’t have a full keyboard or webcam, the laptop has 4 USB ports (2 on the back) so you can connect devices at your home and workspace without much interference. As with most powerful laptops, it’s a bit clonky, but this is counteracted by the standard 5 lbs weight. At 15.6 inches, the ROG Strix G15 is on the low end of industry standard sizes, and the 165Hz screen refresh speed makes it one of the more enjoyable user experiences.

Pricing

The ROG Strix G15 with Ryzen 9 CPU, NVIDIA 3070 GPU, and 32GB ram is priced in the $2,000 – $2,200 range on Amazon.

What I like & Dislike

Like:

  • Best battery life on the list, as rated in the field by users
  • Excellent price for power, competitive in the $2000 range

Dislike:

  • Partial keyboard
  • No built-in webcam
  • WiFi card can be buggy at times and requires strong connection

In the end, the ROG Strix G15 is a great laptop for those who need a powerful laptop for a slightly higher price. Comparable alternatives like the Acer Predator Triton 500 are often priced 50% more.

Asus ROG Zephyrus G15

A Good Top-Tier Laptop with Strong Battery Life

One of the few items on this list with both an AMD Ryzen 9 CPU and NVIDIA 3080 GPU, the ASUS ROG Zephyrus G15 is second only to the Razer Blade 17 in terms of processing power. It’s a good choice for those who already have standalone keyboards and webcams, because those are not built in.

Our rating: 9.3

Key Features

  • Powerful AMD Ryzen 9 5900HS
  • Powerful NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080

Specifications (Specs)

  • Screen Size: 15.6 inch
  • Screen Refresh Speed: 165Hz
  • Screen Resolution: 2560×1440
  • Operating System: Windows 10
  • Hard Disk Drive/Storage/SSD: 1TB
  • RAM: 16GB
  • Computer Processing Unit (CPU): AMD Ryzen 9 5900HS
    • Speed: 4.6GHz
    • Cores: 8
    • Threads: 16
    • Cache:16MB
  • Graphics Processing Unit (GPU): NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080
    • Cores: 8704
    • Memory size: 10GB
  • Weight: 4.3 lbs
  • Battery life: 8.5 hours average
  • Keyboard: Partial (no number pad)
  • Ethernet: No
  • USB Ports: 2 USB-C
  • Headphone Jack: Yes
  • HDMI Jack: Yes
  • Webcam: No webcam

Brand Concerns

  • ASUS Customer Service score: 65/100
  • Upgradability: Easy, can replace almost any part, though this may void your warranty

User Experience

The ASUS ROG Zephyrus G15 packs a lot of power, so it won’t run slow or glitch. The HD 2560×1440 screen is a pleasure to use. However, since this is a top-tier machine, the ports are lacking. It has no USB-A type slots, no ethernet, and no webcam. For those who don’t already have these adaptors and external devices, this means you’ll need to purchase them separately. That’s why we rank this machine lower than the Razer Blade 17.

Pricing

Power comes at a price. The ASUS ROG Zephyris G15 is priced at ~$2,250 on Amazon.

What I like & Dislike

Like

  • Very powerful machine with top-tier CPU and GPU
  • Great display quality

Dislike

  • Lack of built-in ports and legacy options such as USB-A
  • No webcam built-in
  • No ethernet socket
  • Tendency to have key issues

Like the Razer Blade 17, the ASUS ROG Zephyrus G15 is built for gaming. The NVIDIA 3080 GPU really isn’t necessary for data science unless you plan to run self-developed visualization software or host a company’s database locally. Otherwise, a more user-friendly alternative is the Razer Blade 17 (though it is ~$1,000 more expensive).

MacBook Pro 16-Inch (2021)

Super Powerful Machine with Great User Experience for Those Who Like a Big-Screen MacBook

While larger screens are normal for Windows machines, this is a BIG screen for Apple. It’s the only reason why we pick the 14 inch over the 16 inch, but if you’re into the larger size and feel comfortable transporting 1 more pound of Mac, then you won’t find better than the 16 inch.

Our rating: 9.3

Key Features

  • Integrated CPU and GPU M1 chip for super fast performance
  • Liquid retina XDR display
  • 21 hours battery life (yes, you read that right)

Specifications (Specs)

  • Screen Size: 16.2 inches
  • Screen Refresh Speed: 120Hz
  • Screen Resolution: 3456×2234
  • Operating System: macOS
  • Hard Disk Drive/Storage/SSD: 512Gb
  • RAM: 16GB
  • Computer Processing Unit (CPU): M1
    • Cores: 10
  • Graphics Processing Unit (GPU): M1
    • Cores: 16
  • Weight: 4.62 lbs
  • Battery life: 21 hours
  • Keyboard: Partial (no number pad)
  • Ethernet: No, adaptor sold separately
  • USB Ports: Thunderbolt (compatible with USB-C)
  • Headphone Jack: Yes
  • HDMI Jack: Yes
  • Webcam: Yes, 1080p

Brand Concerns

  • Dell Customer Service score: 75/100
  • Upgradability: No, Apple products are not modifiable

User Experience

Just like the 14 inch, the MacBook Pro 16 inch has the best user experience on the market. From image quality to performance, they are the best machines. In our take, the 16 inch is quite large, so be sure you’re want a big screen.

Pricing

The 16 inch 2021 MacBook Pro is available on Amazon for $2,200 – $2,300.

What I like & Dislike

Like

  • High-quality retina display
  • Super fast M1 CPU/GPU
  • Awesome customer service

Dislike

  • Limited flexibility to modify laptop
  • The 16 inch screen is a bit large for our taste

If you’re in the market for an Apple computer and like the big screen, this one is for you.

Alienware M15 R6

Great Top-Tier Laptop for Those Who Want Market Leading Refresh Speed (360Hz)

The Alienware M15 R6 is another powerful laptop at a reasonable price that’s known for its command center technology that provide additional controls over the hardware. With 360Hz refresh speed, you won’t find other laptops to compete with the HD image quality for streaming or gaming. However, this is less important for data science work, so we don’t rank it in our top 5.

Our rating: 9.2

Key Features

  • Alienware command center allows you to control power, thermal management, sound, lighting, macros
  • Ability to control cooling modes
  • Dynamic lighting controls with 16.98 million colors and shades

Specifications (Specs)

  • Screen Size: 15.6 inches
  • Screen Refresh Speed: 360Hz
  • Screen Resolution: 1920×1080
  • Operating System: Windows 11
  • Hard Disk Drive/Storage/SSD: 1TB
  • RAM: 32GB
  • Computer Processing Unit (CPU): Intel i7-11800H
    • Speed: 4.6GHz
    • Cores: 8
    • Threads: 16
    • Cache: 24MB
  • Graphics Processing Unit (GPU): NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070
    • Cores: 5888
    • Memory size: 8GB
  • Weight: 5.93 lbs
  • Battery life: 4 hours average, 2 hours high performance
  • Keyboard: Partial (no number pad)
  • Ethernet: Yes, RJ45
  • USB Ports: 3 USB-A, 1 USB-C/Thunderbolt 4
  • Headphone Jack: Yes
  • HDMI Jack: Yes
  • Webcam: Yes

Brand Concerns

  • Alienware Customer Service score: 75/100
  • Upgradability: Easy, can replace almost any part, though this may void your warranty

User Experience

At 360Hz, the Alienware M15 R6 has the fastest screen refresh rates on the list, making it enjoyable to use. The keys are highly responsive and make for a durable interface with heavy-operations you’ll perform as a data scientist. The light blue backlighting and backside circle give the laptop a stylish look and feel. The only downside on user experience is the absence of a number pad.

Pricing

The Alienware M15 R6 Gaming Laptop with 32GB RAM and NVIDIA 3070 GPU is priced at $1,940 – $1,950 on Amazon.

What I like & Dislike

Like

  • Reliable brand
  • Light blue backlighting creates nice look and feel
  • Smaller 15.6 inch screen is convenient and uncommon for top-tier laptops like this one
  • One of the lighter power laptops at less than 6 lbs

Dislike

  • We typically like to see a more powerful processor in top-tier laptops (though the i7 help keep the price down)
  • Partial keyboard (doesn’t include number pad)

The Alienware G15 R6 is a great laptop for those who want a portable, powerful machine for data science and would like to use it for streaming and other video-intensive operations. It’s 360Hz refresh speed is unmatched by competitors, and if you choose to upgrade the i7 processor to an i9, it’s arguably one of the best laptops for data science on the market.

Dell G15

Best for Those Who Want a Dell Laptop for Data Science and General Home Use

Our choice of the Dell G15 is the only one of two mid-tier laptop with less than 1TB SSD. This laptop is rare in that it has the standard Intel i7 processor, a powerful NVIDIA 3060 GPU, and Windows 11, all on a hard disk of only 512GB. It’s a great data science laptop for those who are into Dell and don’t require heavy solid state storage because they’re on the cloud. However, it won’t be a great choice for those who want to host a lot of data locally.

Our rating: 9.1/10

Key Features

  • Anti-glare screen
  • Alienware-inspired cooling system with 4 air intake slots
  • Incorporates Alienware Command Center for performance control

Specifications (Specs)

  • Screen Size: 15.6 inches
  • Screen Refresh Speed: 120Hz
  • Screen Resolution: 1920×1080
  • Operating System: Windows 11
  • Hard Disk Drive/Storage/SSD: 512GB
  • RAM: 16GB
  • Computer Processing Unit (CPU): Intel i7-11800H
    • Speed: 4.6GHz
    • Cores: 8
    • Threads: 16
    • Cache: 24MB
  • Graphics Processing Unit (GPU): NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060
    • Cores: 3584
    • Memory size: 12GB
  • Weight: 5.37 lbs
  • Battery life: 8 hours average, 2-3 hours under high-performance
  • Keyboard: Partial (no number pad)
  • Ethernet: Yes, RJ45
  • USB Ports: 3 USB-A, 1 USB-C
  • Headphone Jack: Yes, doubles as mic socket
  • HDMI Jack: Yes
  • Webcam: Yes

Brand Concerns

  • Dell Customer Service score: 40/100
  • Upgradability: Easy, can replace almost any part, though this may void your warranty

User Experience

The Dell G15 is a standard, mid-tier gaming laptop with Windows 11 that provides a basic 1920×1080 resolution and 120Hz refresh speed, so the interface will be industry-standard. It’s NVIDIA 3060 GPU carries a strong 3584 cores that delivery. It provides a full laptop and USB-A & USB-C ports, which means you can plugin older and newer devices.

Pricing

The G15 is priced at ~$1,300 on Amazon.

What I like & Dislike

Like

  • Alienware ventilation and command controls on an affordable Dell laptop
  • Trusted brand
  • Standard ports available

Dislike

  • Limited local storage with only 512GB SSD
  • At 5.37 lbs, it’s a little clunky for a mid-tier machine

If you like dell and are looking for a strong, standard laptop that you can use for data science and as a home computer, the Dell G15 is a solid choice.

Lenovo IdeaPad 3i

Best for Those Who Want a Budget Laptop that Packs 1TB Storage

The Lenovo IdealPad 3i is a budget laptop similar to the HP Pavilion. At $880, it’s an accessible laptop for data science. I rank the HP Pavilion higher for one reason: it’s Intel i5 processor is slightly more advanced and delivers better speed. It’s a nuance, but why not take more speed at a comparable price? Both have full keyboards, HDMI, Ethernet, and the same USB ports. There is one caveat: at 120Hz refresh speed, this Lenovo outperforms the HP Pavilion’s 60Hz, making the image quality slightly superior. For data science, I recommend speed over image quality.

Our rating: 7.4

Key Features

  • Full keyboard
  • Good customer service
  • Anti-glare display

Specifications (Specs)

  • Screen Size: 15.6 inch
  • Screen Refresh Speed: 120 Hz
  • Screen Resolution: 1920×1080
  • Operating System: Windows 11
  • Hard Disk Drive/Storage/SSD: 1TB
  • RAM: 16GB
  • Computer Processing Unit (CPU): Intel Core i5-11300H
    • Speed: 3.1 GHz
    • Cores: 4
    • Threads: 8
    • Cache: 8MB
  • Graphics Processing Unit (GPU): NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650
    • Cores: 896
    • Memory size: 4GB
  • Weight: 4.96 lbs
  • Battery life: 9 hours average, 7 – 8 hours under high performance
  • Keyboard: full keyboard
  • Ethernet: Yes, RJ45
  • USB Ports: 1 USB-C, 2 USB-A
  • Headphone Jack: Yes
  • HDMI Jack: Yes
  • Webcam: Yes

Brand Concerns

  • Lenovo Customer Service score: 70/100
  • Upgradability: Easy, can replace almost any part, though this may void your warranty

User Experience

As far as budget laptops go, the Lenovo IdeaPad has a standard user experience. With Windows 11, you have a familiar operating system, and the full keyboard makes data input easier. However, because of the weaker i5 processor, you will move slower on heavy data science analyses.

Pricing

The Lenovo IdeaPad is priced at $880 on Amazon.

What I like & Dislike

Like

  • Standard Ports (USB-A, USB-C, HDMI, Ethernet)
  • Webcam is available, while on some of the more powerful machines you have to purchase separately
  • 120Hz refresh speed is storng for a budget laptop

Dislike

  • Weak i5 CPU that will cause slower analysis
  • Weak NVIDIA GPU that won’t perform well for visually-intense operations

All in all, the Lenovo IdeaPad is a strong candidate for beginners who want a budget data science laptop. However, like the HP Pavilion, you should be prepared to upgrade when you start performing advanced operations because the CPU and GPU will run slow.

Specs Comparison Table

This table provides a side-by-side comparison of each model on the list so you can easily see which is best for you. Scroll right to see all, or download the Excel here.

SpecLenovo Legion 5 ProRazer Blade 17 Gaming LaptopDell XPS 17HP Pavilion Gaming LaptopMacBook Pro 14-Inch (2021)Acer Nitro 5Acer Predator Helios 300MSI GE76 RaiderAsus ROG Strix G15Asus ROG Zephyrus G15MacBook Pro 16-Inch (2021)Alienware M15 R6Dell G15Lenovo IdeaPad 3i
Leader categoryBest OverallMost PowerfulBest DisplayMost AffordableBest Mac
Rating (out of 10)9.69.49.07.59.49.59.59.49.39.39.39.29.17.4
TierMid-tierTop-tierMid-tierBudgetTop-tierMid-tierMid-tierMid-tierTop-tierTop-tierTop-tierTop-tierMid-tierBudget
Price (USD, $) $       1,529 $       3,199 $       1,665 $          858 $       2,299 $       1,340 $       1,170 $       1,549 $       2,099 $       2,249 $       2,299 $       1,949 $       1,299 $          879
Screen Size (inch)1617.31715.614.217.315.617.315.615.616.215.615.615.6
Screen Refresh Speed (Hz)16514412060120144144144165165120360120120
Screen Resolution2560×16002560×14403840×24001920×10803024×19641920×10801920×10801920×10801920×10802560×14403456×22341920×10801920×10801920×1080
Operating SystemWindows 11Windows 11Windows 10Windows 10macOSWindows 10Windows 11Windows 10Windows 10Windows 10macOSWindows 11Windows 11Windows 11
SSD Storage (TB)1110.512110.5121110.51210.5121
RAM (GB)1616321216161616321616321616
CPU Ryzen 7 5800hi7 – 12800HIntel i7-11800HIntel i5-9300hM1Intel i7 11800Hi7-11800HIntel i7-11800H Ryzen 9-5900HXAMD Ryzen 9 5900HSM1Intel i7-11800HIntel i7-11800HIntel i5-11300H
CPU Speed (GHz)4.44.84.64.1n/a for mac4.64.64.64.64.6n/a for mac4.64.63.1
CPU Cores81484108888810884
CPU Threads162168n/a for mac1616161616n/a for mac16168
CPU Cache (MB)1624248n/a for mac2424241616n/a for mac24248
GPU‎‎‎NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 TiNVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050NVIDIA GeForce RTX 1650M1NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 TiNVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080M1NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650
GPU Cores35846144230489716256035843584588887041658883584896
CPU Memory (GB)12884n/a for mac81212810n/a for mac8124
Weight (pounds)9.7810.335.534.923.524.855.076.55.074.34.625.935.374.96
Battery Life (avg hours)66981787688.521489
Battery Life (performance hours)2396.517451.588.52122.58
KeyboardFullPartialPartialFullPartialFullFullFullPartialPartialPartialPartialPartialFull
Ethernet portYes, RJ45Yes, RJ45NoYes, RJ45NoYes, RJ45Yes, RJ45Yes, RJ45Yes, RJ45NoNoYes, RJ45Yes, RJ45Yes, RJ45
USB-A Ports32030333300332
USB-C Ports12414112124111
Headphone portYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYes
HDMI portYesYesNoYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYes
WebcamYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesNoNoYesYesYesYes
Best Laptops for Data Science Specs Comparison Table

Data Science Laptop FAQ

Frequently Asked Question about Laptops for Data Science

How much RAM do data scientists need?

To perform advanced operations in python, SQL, and advanced Excel, data scientists need a minimum RAM of 16GB, but 32GB would be better. All the the laptops we recommend have 16GB or more, even the budget HP Pavilion.

Is 8GB RAM MacBook air enough for data science?

Some MacBooks before the 2021 MacBook Pros have less than 16GBs of RAM, including the MacBook air. This is not enough to perform advanced data science tasks. We recommend buying the MacBook Pro 14 inch (2021) or later.

Do you need a powerful laptop for data science?

In short, you need a powerful laptop for data science if you’re running advanced queries and code in SQL and Python, building AI & ML models, or hosting other data clients such as Tableau for visualization or R for statistical analysis. Advanced CPUs and GPUs are import for tactics like neural networks, fuzzy logic, decision tress, and evolutionary programming, and only powerful gaming-style laptops will have what you need.

Which processor (CPU) is best for data science?

The most powerful CPU for a data science laptop (not PC) is the AMD Ryzen™ 9 6980HX. However, very few data professionals need as much power as it provides. The best CPUs in machines we recommend are the AMD Ryzen™ 9 5900HS and the AMD Ryzen™ 9 5900HX. We recommend these in some of the laptops on our list.

Is Intel or AMD better for Data Science?

Generally speaking, AMDs processors are better. If you’re look for top-tier performance, we recommend you choose a laptop with the AMD Ryzen 9 (such as the ASUS ROG Strix or the ASUS ROG Zephyrus). However, Intel’s i7 processors are also a strong option.

Is Intel i5 enough for data science?

No, the Intel i5 is not a powerful enough CPU to handle data science work.

Is Intel i3 enough for data science?

No, the Intel i3 is not a powerful enough CPU to handle data science work.

Is a graphics card necessary for data science?

Yes, a graphics card is necessary in data science because you will need one to accompany a powerful CPU. That said, CPUs are more important than GPUs (graphics cards).

What’s the best GPU for data science?

The most powerful GPU for a data science laptop (not PC) is the NVIDIA GEFORCE RTX 3090 Ti. However, most data professionals will not need the power it delivers. The best GPU for laptops we recommend is the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080, which is found only in the ASUS ROG Zephyrus on our list.

What’s the best operating system for data science laptops?

The best operating system for a data science laptop is Windows 10. Windows 11 has had early problems handling high-performance operations, though these will likely be resolved with update rollouts.

If you’re in the Apple ecosystem, then the newest macOS is your best bet. This is the case for me, since I have all my data wrapped up in the Apple cloud and store all files on my computer and phone at the same time.

Best Windows Laptop for Data Science

Our top pick for the best overall laptop for data science is the Lenovo Legion 5 Pro.

Is an Apple Laptop Good for Data Science?

The newer Apple laptops (from 2021) have stepped ip processing and graphics power with their M1 units, making them strong candidates fro data science laptops, particularly if you’re already involved with the Apple ecosystem and store data on the Apple cloud.

What’s the best Mac laptop for data science?

We recommend the 2021 14 inch MacBook Pro. You will want to avoid older models because they don’t pack the processing power found in Apple’sM1 CPU and M1 GPU. While the MacBook Air can seem attractive because of its small size, it won’t perform on advanced functions in python, visualization software like Tableau and PowerBI, SQL, and overall AI & ML operations.

Best Budget Laptop for Data Science

Our pick as the best budget laptop for data science is the HP Pavilion.

Best Laptop for Data Science Machine Learning & Artificial Intelligence

The most powerful laptop on our list is the Razer Blade 17, making it the best laptop for ML & AI. However, the ASUS ROG Zephyrus is a close runner up with a slightly slower CPU but almost half the price. If price is not a major factor for you, then the Razer Blade 17 is your best bet; otherwise, we recommend the ASUS Zephyrus.

What are the best data science laptop brands?

Beyond specs and price, you should always consider brand when buying a laptop, especially when it will be used for heavy operations like AI & ML, or even just data visualization with big apps like Tableau or Power BI. The key brand-concerns are customer service, and upgradability.

Customer Service

Customer service is important at the time of purchase. If there is a problem with the computer or it was damaged during shipping, you’ll want to be able to discuss with the customer service to fix the problem. The good news is Amazon typically handles these complaints well. That said, when you’re buying brand-new products directly from the source, make sure to check customer service.

We provide a customer service score for recommended laptops in our guide.

Upgradability

How easy is it to upgrade components in your laptop, such as the CPU or GPU? How easy is it to transfer data from one computer to a newer version. Each laptop has a degree of installation difficulty, so if you plan to do manual upgrades, keep this in mind. When upgrading to a new computer, is there anything preventing a cloud data transfer or external hard drive transfer?

We review upgradability for all recommended laptops in this article.

Summary

Buying a laptop for data science is a big decision. You need to find the right balance of power, style, and price. For data science, the most important elements are functionality. The best way to approach your purchase is to first determine your price cap, then think about whether you will host data locally on your machine. Finally, think about how you will be using your laptop (traveling often, leaving it at home). Once you have an idea, it will be much easier to choose the best one for you. One thing is sure, your standard home laptop probably can’t handle the data-heavy processes required in data science — so you can rely on this review to get your upgrade.

Happy data wrangling!

Conclusion

If you’re learning about data and want to understand what data analysts do, you can get our free Intro to Data Analysis eBook.