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Finding the best laptop for your sysAdmin work can be a challenging task if you’re not sure what will make the best laptop for you.
In a hurry?
Here’s our Editor’s choice:
Lenovo ThinkPad T480
With hundreds of options out there, you want to make sure you go with the laptop that gives you the best bang for your buck and also fits your professional environment like a glove.
We have done a ton of research so that you don’t have to. You can simply choose a laptop from this list and carry on with what you do best.
Without any delay, let’s take a look at the best laptops for system administrators for the year 2020.
Best Laptop For System Administrator – Editor’s Choice
Our Editor’s Choice for the best laptop for system administrators is the Lenovo ThinkPad T480 model.
The ThinkPad series consists of business laptops that are excellent devices and have received well among users. The Lenovo ThinkPad T480 model follows suit and gets a similar response.
For system administrators, there are a few aspects on the laptop that are more important than then rest. Let’s take a look at them and see how this Lenovo laptop fares.
The thing you need as a system administrator is a good keyboard and a trackpad. The Lenovo ThinkPad T480 comes with an excellent keyboard that is loved all of its users. The keys are well-spaced and are easy to type on.
The layout of the keyboard is excellent and helps in maintaining your typing speed and accuracy as well. It comes with backlight which makes using this laptop possible even during complete darkness.
The trackpad on this laptop is a very good one. It has a smooth surface and you’ll enjoy using this trackpad especially when using Window gestures. Overall, the input devices on this laptop are very impressive and will present a good experience.
There is also a fingerprint reader that comes in handy. This allows you to log in to your user profile with a single tap of your finger. With this option available, you can now choose to encrypt files and folders on your laptop with the help of third-party applications.
The display we have here is a 14″ display with full HD resolution. This is a slightly smaller display when you compare it with 15.6″ laptops but brings a better pixel density to the table which is a nice addition.
For system administration tasks, this display is more than enough and you should have a fine experience. The display is also a good one for watching movies, surfing the web, doing research, and other everyday activities. The panel here is an IPS panel which is an added benefit.
The Lenovo ThinkPad T480 does well when it comes to connectivity. We have a single USB type C port, a USB 3.1 Type A port, a couple of USB 2.0 ports, an HDMI port, an Ethernet port, an SD card slot, and also a headphone jack.
The laptop also comes with support for Bluetooth 4.1 which should allow you to connect your laptop with external devices in a flash. The WiFi adapter on this laptop is the Intel Wireless 8265AC (2×2) one and it will enable you to browse the web at very high speeds which is neat.
Let’s talk about the processing power of the Lenovo ThinkPad T480 laptop. For the CPU, we have an Intel Core i5 8250U processor. This is a quad-core processor that comes with a base clock speed of 1.6GHz and a maximum clock speed of 3.4GHz.
Though this is a low voltage processor, it manages to get your excellent performance. It can handle your everyday applications without any issues whatsoever. Whether it is a command line or any specific application for system administration, this processor will run it like a well-oiled machine.
The memory department on this laptop is a good one with 16GB of DDR4 type RAM. This memory should be more than enough for pretty much all the system administrators out there. This amount of memory will be particularly useful if you plan on running virtual machines in the future.
One of the best things Lenovo has done on this laptop is including an SSD as opposed to an HDD. A solid state drive comes with great performance improvements and is the way to go. We have a 256GB solid state drive on this laptop and it helps the laptop in every way possible.
Overall, the Lenovo ThinkPad T480 is an excellent laptop that comes with all the essential hardware you need for a seamless performance. Without a doubt, this Lenovo ThinkPad T480 model is the best laptop for sysAdmin in 2020.
The runner up for the best notebook for system administrators is the HP Spectre x360.
The HP Spectre series has given us some excellent laptops in the past and this one here is another example of how good HP is in making laptops for professionals.
When combined with our editor’s choice, the HP laptop comes with even better hardware but we decided to give it the runner up title as it is a bit more expensive in comparison. If you don’t mind paying some extra money for better hardware, then, without doubt, this should be your top choice.
The first thing you’re going to notice on this HP laptop is the display. We have a 13.3-inch display that comes with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels which is popularly known as full HD resolution. The IPS panel on the display plays a crucial role in determining the final output of the display.
The pixel density of the display is very good resulting in sharper pictures and texts. If you enjoy watching movies on your laptop screen, then this laptop will be of good service to you. Typing stuff on this laptop is a nice experience as you can see the text you typed with excellent clarity.
That leads us to the keyboard. We have a chiclet-style keyboard on this laptop which comes with decent feedback. The keys have a nice metal finish to it which gives as a premium feel when working on it.
The layout of the keyboard is very impressive and you can see that the keys are well spaced so that your typing speed does not take a hit in any way. The keys are backlit which means you can use his laptop even in dimly lit rooms without any issues.
The trackpad on this laptop is quite big and works as advertised. Though this trackpad comes with all the essential features you need, it does not match up to that of the MacBook’s.
The HP Spectre laptop comes with good connectivity options as well. You get high-speed USB type C port as well as a USB 3.0 port thereby giving users an option on the ports they can use. You also have a MicroSD slot which will come in handy for many. There is also a headphone jack.
One of the best things about this laptop is that you can completely fold it into a tablet. On the tablet mode, you can use the touchscreen to browse this laptop with your fingers which gives you a wholesome Windows experience. It is very responsive and also supports styluses if you were wondering.
The hinges on the laptop are super smooth and the translation does not feel artificial in any way. You can see that this laptop is built to last purely from looking at the hinges.
The processor that powers the HP Spectre laptop is an Intel Core i7 chip. This process is from the 10th generation of internships and comes with a base clock speed of 1.3 GHz and a top speed of 3.9 GHz. It has four physical cores and eight threads making it one of the most powerful processors from the 10th generation.
The processor does well when it comes to benchmarks and it has a CPU Mark score of 9068 which is very good. The laptop will handle all your everyday applications without any issues. You can also throw pretty much any software at it and it will take care of it like a boss.
The memory department on this laptop comes with eight gigs of RAM which should be more than enough for a lot of system administrators. If you’re running virtual machines, you might need a bit more but you should be able to push on with this memory.
The storage on this laptop is made up of two components. We have a 512 GB solid-state drive and a 32 GB Optane memory. The Optane memory is a form of disk caching that allows you to access data fast and is very similar to SSDs. Both components play a big role in improving the performance of this laptop which is great for the end-user experience.
Overall, the HP Spectre x360 is an excellent laptop that also doubles up as a tablet. With a decent price tag, this laptop brings excellent performance to the table and that is why it is one of the best laptops for sysAdmin.
Best Budget Laptop For System Administrator
The Acer Aspire 5 is the best budget laptop for those who work on system administration.
This is the laptop that comes with all the essential features and does not cost you a lot of money. It may not have the bells and whistles that other laptops in this list have, but it guarantees you a solid performance which is well worth the affordable price tag.
The input devices on the Acer Aspire 5 are pretty neat. The keyboard, though plasticky, gives you good feedback and is a pleasure to type on. It has good travel and doesn’t do anything that reduces your speed or your accuracy of typing.
Even though this is a budget laptop, the keyboard comes with backlighting which is very impressive for the price you’re paying. Another nice touch his inclusion of a dedicated number pad which will come in handy for a lot of people.
The trackpad on this laptop is a pretty good one. It gives you a smooth surface to play with and supports Windows gestures. If you want to fan of the Windows gestures, then you will enjoy working on this trackpad.
On the top left corner of the trackpad, you can see a fingerprint reader. We are really surprised by the fact that Acer has decided to include a fingerprint reader on a budget laptop like this one. It works as it should and gives you an option to encrypt your files which is awesome.
There are a lot of connectivity options on the Acer Aspire five model. You get a couple of USB 3.1 gen 1 ports, A USB 3.1 type C port, are USB 2.2 port, an HDMI port, an ethernet port, and also a headphone jack. You do not get an SD card reader which might disappoint some people.
The laptop also does well in supporting wireless connectivity standards as well. We have 802.11ac Wi-Fi which gives you access to high-speed internet. You also get Bluetooth 4.0 which is pretty good when it comes to external connectivity.
The battery life of this Acer laptop is astounding. With light use, you should be able to push this laptop to about 9.5 hours which is crazy, in our opinion. Even with intensive use, the laptop manages to stay alive for about 5 to 7 hours depending upon the user habits.
The laptop comes with an Intel Core i5 processor that has four cores. This processor belongs to the eighth generation of Intel chips and has a maximum processing speed of 3.9 GHz. Though this process as a low-voltage processor, you can see it can handle your daily applications very well.
There are eight gigs of RAM in the memory department and that should be enough for system administrators, in most cases. This memory is fine if you don’t travel in virtual machines or any other kind of virtualization. But if you are into virtual machines, then you need at least 12 GB of RAM to make the process as seamless as possible.
Storage, we have a 256 GB solid state drive. This solid state drive is much faster when compared with a hard drive disk. Hard drives can be spacious but they are very slow which in turn will hurt the performance of your laptop. SSDs eliminate that and positively improve the overall performance of the laptop.
The display we have here is a 15.6 inch one with full HD resolution. We have an IPS panel underneath which gives us excellent colors and brilliant viewing angles to live with. You will enjoy working on this display as it is a white screen that gives you a crisp picture output.
In addition to regular work, this display is perfect for video consumption, surfing the web, social media, and other everyday activities. This display is not a touchscreen which can be disappointing to some, but as a budget laptop, we understand their decision.
Overall, the Acer Aspire 5 is a budget laptop that gives you a lot more. If you are on a budget and if you are looking for an excellent system admin experience, then this is the laptop to go far.
What To Look For In the Best Laptop For sysAdmin?
There are certain hardware components you should be particular about when it comes to selecting laptops for system administrators.
First of all, you’re not going to need a lot of power when it comes to handling system administration. This doesn’t mean you can go with an Intel Core i3 or an equivalent AMD processor.
As a minimum, we would suggest going with an Intel Core i5 processor that comes with at least 4 cores. While dual-core processors are okay as they produce less heat, quad-core processors will stand the test of time better.
If you can afford it, we recommend going for an i7 processor with 4 or 6 cores only if you need it. Upgrading to an i7 chip simply because you can, will produce unnecessary heat and will also impact the battery life of your laptop negatively.
Having a decent base frequency is always a good thing to have. This way the CPU will be performing a base speed and you won’t have to hear the fans running even when doing simple tasks. At the same time, make sure your laptops can turbo boost to higher clock speeds as well.
Memory is another important component of a laptop for system administration.
Most system admins will do well with 8 gigs of DDR4 RAM. Since you will only be dealing with assets and not working on things directly, this memory should serve you well.
However, if you are going to run virtual machines and similar software, then we recommend going for 16 gigs of DDR4 RAM as this will guarantee you a better performance.
The display on your laptop is totally your personal preference.
Running sysAdmin tasks doesn’t have anything to do with the display. If you want, you can go with a display that comes with full HD resolution as it is pretty much the standard these days.
Getting a laptop purely because it has a QHD or a UHD display is just a waste of money, in our opinion.
If you want better viewing angles, then go for laptops that come with an IPS panel. You do not need bells and whistles like touchscreen and anti-reflective coating.
Having a good keyboard on your laptop will make or break your experience as a system administrator.
The keyboard should come with a good layout and the keys on it should be well-spaced. When you’re typing, you should get good feedback from the keys which will improve your accuracy and also your typing speed.
Having a backlit keyboard will be of great use. You will end up in places where there is not much light. In these scenarios, a backlit keyboard will make your life so much easier.
When it comes to the trackpad, make sure your laptop comes with a Windows Precision trackpad. It will support all the Windows gestures without any issues and you will have a smooth experience with it.
Most mid-range laptops come with a keyboard that has a dedicated number pad. You will not find this in high-end laptops. If having one is important to you, then be sure to pick a laptop that has a dedicated number pad.
The amount of storage you need depends on the user’s needs.
As a thumb rule, we recommend getting a laptop that comes with 256GB of solid state storage. This gives you ample storage to play with and also brings excellent performance to the table.
Do not go with hard disk drives as they can be much cheaper than SSDs. HDDs usually have more space and are cheaper, but you get what you pay for. The performance is too slow and you’ll regret the decision very soon.
Battery life is very important to your sysAdmin laptop.
Whether you are working in a controlled environment or if you’re working in a client’s place, having good battery life will come in handy more time than you can think of.
Get a laptop that gives you a minimum of 6 to 8 hours of battery life. It is ideal if you can bring home a laptop with all-day battery life but that will raise the overall cost of the device.
Having good connectivity options on your laptop is crucial to your everyday use.
For system administration, your laptop needs to have the ability to connect with various devices instantly. This means the laptop must have a decent selection of ports on it.
Some important ports that are necessary are USB 3.0 port, USB 3.1 Type C port, an HDMI port, RJ-45 (Ethernet) port, SD card reader, mini Display Port, and also a headphone jack.
The laptop also needs to have built-in Wi-Fi. When it comes to Wi-Fi, you need to have a recent version. Both 802.11ac and 802.11ax are great for high-speed internet browsing. We would avoid laptops that only come with 802.11n WiFi. Also, the laptop should have built-in Bluetooth for external connectivity.
That brings us to the end of this useful post.
We hope you were able to find the best laptop for your sysAdmin needs.
If not, don’t worry. Just shoot us a message through our contact page, and we’ll get in touch with you to find the right laptop for you. Please do not hesitate.
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