Laptop for Analytics

thinkpad-x1-carbonLaptop for Analytics: a reader asks…

I’m going to start Graduate school in the fall, working on a Masters in Business Analytics, so I imagine I will be working with large sets of data. I spoke with someone who did the program this past year and he used the school issued Thinkpad (I have an X1 carbon with an i5 now) and he said that the laptop specs weren’t really necessary. He said that the only issue he faced was “not having enough RAM and running stuff on large data sets” but that it only happened twice during the year. I have the option of buying my current thinkpad for $160.13 so I just wanted to get your opinion on keeping the current one for the value. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

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I’m going to concur with your research in that you almost can’t have enough RAM. It sounds like buying your current Thinkpad for $160 is going to save you a ton of money. The X1 Carbon already has a fast processor (the i5), and already comes with a solid-state hard drive (SSD). Assuming that laptop isn’t more than a few years old, it’s still plenty serviceable. So the only potential need is for additional RAM.

crucial-scanner-screenshotYou can check online to see if you can upgrade your RAM, such as using Crucial.com’s online scanner that will diagnose your system and let you know exactly what RAM modules you have and what you need to buy to upgrade. The scanner is at http://www.crucial.com/usa/en/systemscanner?cm_re=us-top-nav-_-us-flyout-upgrades-_-us-upgrades-scanner and I think you’ll find that upgrading RAM is relatively cheap. Compared to buying a whole new computer (with lots of RAM, a speedy processor and SSD) you are spending a lot less.

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That said, if your Carbon X1 laptop is a 4th gen or older, then it might be worth buying a new 5th or 6th generation Carbon X1. Or, if there are other things wrong with your current laptop (like broken or missing keys, a loose charger connector, scratches on the screen, etc.). It all comes down to money though, and as a student, I would think you are keenly aware of all your education costs and are motivated to keep those costs low.

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