Skip to main content

Digital Trends may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site. Why trust us?

The 4 best laptops for data science and data modeling

A person typing on a MacBook Pro while sat on a wooden bench.
Bram Naus / Unsplash

So much of the world today is driven by data, so there’s a lot of need for data science and data modeling out there. That also means that there are more and more people getting into it, and if you want a laptop that’s well suited for these sorts of data-crunching tasks, well, then only certain things are going to work. That’s why we’ve collected our favorite picks for the best laptops for data science, ranging across various price points and spec configurations, so you can get something that really fits your needs.

The Best Laptops for Data Science

  • Buy the if you want the best overall laptop for data science and data modeling
  • Buy the if you want the best MacBook for data science and data modeling
  • Buy the if you want a budget laptop for data science and modeling
  • Buy the  if you want the best performance for data science and modeling

Dell XPS 15 Laptop

Best overall laptop for data science and data modeling

A Dell XPS 15 laptop on a white background.
Dell
Pros Cons
Excellent performance Can be a bit pricey
Sold build quality Entry-level GPU
Lots of RAM

Being the best overall doesn’t mean that you have the best specs, but rather something that does a good job of balancing cost vs performance, and the Dell XPS 15 does an excellent job of it. Under the hood, it has an Intel Core i7-13700H, which is a mid-to-high-end CPU that’s well-balanced for crunching numbers and relatively large datasets. It can also handle various types of machine learning, so if you use that a lot in your work, then this is a perfect option. Also, while not as important, it does come with an Intel Arc A370M GPU, which can help with some simulation and machine learning tasks, although it is an entry-level GPU, so don’t expect much.

Besides the solid CPU, you get 32GB of DDR5 RAM, which would be a lot for normal productivity work, but with large databases and datasets, having a lot of RAM means less slow-down when loading things in and using apps as you work. Also, since it’s the faster and newer DDR5 RAM, the overall process will be smoother, although not by a ton, but it’s a nice additional bit of performance to have. The 512GB of storage using an SSD also means faster overall performance, although the storage might be an issue if you run a lot of different large sets, so that’s something to consider.

As for the screen, it’s a 15.6-inch panel that runs an FHD+ resolution, so it’s perfectly fine for viewing over large periods. It can also hit 500 nits of peak brightness, so you’ll be able to use it in most environments, even with direct lighting, which is very useful in certain environments. Overall build is rather excellent, and you’ll probably also be happy to know that it comes loaded in with Windows 11 Pro, so you won’t have to deal with upgrading it to get any extra features out of it.

Specifications
Screen Size
15.6-inches
Processor Intel Core i7-13700H
RAM 32 GB DDR5
Storage 512GB SSD
Weight
4.21lbs pounds

MacBook Pro 14

Best MacBook for data science and data modeling

The Apple 16-inch MacBook Pro M3 against a white background.
Apple
Pros Cons
The best keyboard on a Mac Only supports one external display
Excellent performance overall performance Very expensive
Very portable

If you’re a fan of the Apple ecosystem, then the obvious choice you should go for is the M3 Pro MacBook Pro 14. The main reason for that is that it runs Apple’s newest M3 Chip under the hood, and this configuration especially runs the M3 Pro, which is the second post powerful chip that Apple currently offers. As such, it’s excellent for data science and modeling tasks, given how much power it has, and it will also handle machine learning pretty well, especially compared to some Intel or AMD processors.

What’s even better is that you get 18GB of RAM, and while that may not seem like much compared to some laptops that can hit 32GB, it’s pretty good for Apple, which tends to aim for the 8GB or 16GB capacities. Either way, it’s still enough to handle most applications just fine unless you know that you have a specific need for more than 18GB. We also certainly appreciate the internal SSD for faster speeds, and the 512GB of storage should be more than enough for most folks.

One thing that is a bit of a downside is that the screen is only 14 inches, which can be a bit annoying when having to look over hundreds or thousands of bits of data on a smaller screen. You can absolutely connect to another monitor that’s bigger, but the MacBook Pro 14 only supports one extra one, so you only get the 14-inch laptop screen and whatever other single monitor you can connect. There’s also the option of upgrading to the larger screen, a 16-inch MacBook Pro, but it easily adds another $500 to the price tag. That said, with the MacBook Pro 16, there are options for 32GB of RAM, so that might potentially be an option if you need more of it.

Specifications
Screen Size
16-inches
Processor M3 Pro
RAM 18GB
Storage 512 GB
Weight
3.5 pounds

Acer Swift 3

Best budget laptop for data science and data modeling

Acer Swift 3 OLED front angled view showing display and keyboard deck.
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends / Mark Coppock/Digital Trends
Pros Cons
Excellent productivity performance Small touchpad
Bright display with deep contrast Display is old-school 16:9
Solid battery life

Having a relatively good data science and modeling laptop doesn’t necessarily mean you have to pay thousands of dollars, and there are some solid budget-friendly options out there. One example is the Acer Swift 3, which does a good job of giving you some powerful specs at a very reasonable price. For example, you get 16GB of RAM, and while it’s only DDR4, it’s still powerful enough for most data applications you’re likely to run, especially because the disparity between DDR5 and DDR4 isn’t that massive quite yet.

As for processing power, you get the AMD Ryzen 5 5625U, a mid-range CPU that’s quite efficient and good enough for most data science and modeling tasks. It isn’t as powerful as something like the Intel i7 or the Ryzen R7, but it’s an excellent budget option, although we wouldn’t stress it too much. Luckily, you do get an SSD for fast application and data loading, and it is 512GB, which is a good amount to have on a laptop with this price tag, and the same goes for the keyboard, which is surprisingly good.

That said, the touchpad is on the smaller side, and you’ll likely want to add a mouse to it instead of using it since it can be finicky. The screen is also slightly smaller at 14 inches, but that’s just part of the price compromise, and it does run a 1920 x 1080 resolution, which isn’t bad at all. As for battery life, it’s excellent, and you can expect around eight to ten hours when working and around 14 hours if you’re just watching content, so you can expect the battery life to sit somewhere between those numbers.

Specifications
Screen Size
14-inches
Processor AMD Ryzen 5 5625U
RAM 16 GB DDR4
Storage 512 GB
Weight
2.76 pounds

ASUS ROG Strix G17

Best performance laptop for data science and data modeling

Asus ROG Strix G17 sitting on a table.
Jacob Roach / Digital Trends
Pros Cons
Fantastic keyboard Low battery life
Excellent performance Doesn’t look subtle

Now, we’ll just get it out of the way that we know this is a gaming laptop, but the truth is, there’s a lot of overlap between high-end gaming laptops and laptops that work really well for data science and modeling. For example, under the hood, you have an AMD Ryzen 9 7945HX, which is one of the most powerful CPUs on the market. This will easily handle most data science tasks you throw at it, and if it doesn’t, then you really have no place to go except for professional-grade CPUs like Threadripper or Intel’s Xeon, both of which are expensive and rare to find in most commercially-available laptops.

Besides that, you also get a much bigger screen at 17.3 inches, which is really great when having to spend hours looking at a screen, especially since it runs at a QHD resolution. You’ll also be happy to know that it can hit 240Hz refresh rate, which may not mean much, but keep in mind that most flagship phones run at 120Hz, so it’s a much smoother overall experience, and you don’t really need to pump the refresh rate that high anyway. There is also an RTX 4070 in there, so if you have machine learning that needs a strong GPU, or graphical simulations, this will help with that quite a bit.

As for RAM, you get 32GB of DDR5, so it’s both fast and plentiful, at least for the majority of data science and modeling applications. You get a larger 1TB SSD to work with, which is also nice, especially if you plan on doing other things on the Strix G17, such as gaming. One thing to keep in mind, though, is that the battery life isn’t that great, and the overall aesthetic screams “gamer.” If you want something more subtle that will work in an office, this might be problematic, and while you can absolutely turn the RGB off, it’s sort of obvious that it’s a gaming laptop anyway.

Specifications
Screen Size
17.3-inches
Processor AMD Ryzen 9 7945HX
RAM 32 GB DDR5
Storage 1 TB
Weight
5.9 pounds

How We Chose These Laptops for Data Science

Processor

Easily, one of the most important things in a laptop made for data science and data modeling is the sort of CPU that you have. All the apps tend to rely quite heavily on the CPU to crunch the numbers, so having something that’s powerful is the starting point from which all other specs should be based. Another thing to keep in mind is that higher clock speeds and more threads and cores are always better, so if you’re comparing one model of CPU to another, those are the stats we’re looking for.

To that end, we’ve set a lower limit for mid-range CPUs such as the Intel i5 or the Ryzen R5, but ideally, you’ll want something more powerful such as the Intel i7 and Ryzen R7 processors. There is also the next level up, which is the Intel i9 and Ryzen R9, both of which are easily some of the most powerful CPUs on the market, but they do cost quite a bit of money, so be sure you need that much power if you’re going for one of those.

RAM

When dealing with large data sets and numbers being loaded into and out of a program, having a lot of RAM can be a big help, especially as the data gets larger and larger. Now, realistically, you don’t need to go to some extreme like 128GB, but having a minimum of 8GB is really the limit. Ideally, 16GB is more favorable, and so we’ve aimed to have all our picks at or above that limit. Having 32GB is also nice, especially in terms of being able to multi-task and what not, but it’s not necessary if you don’t want to increase the price, 16GB should suffice for most use-cases.

GPU & Storage

For the most part, GPUs don’t play a big part in data science numbers crunching unless you’re going to do some form of machine learning, which can rely heavily on a GPU to run simulations or train it with data. Ultimately, whether you need one or not, and how powerful it is, comes down to the sort of data science and modeling you’re going to be doing, so check whether your apps and work are CPU or GPU reliant, or both, and base your decisions on that. For the most part, we’ve not put GPUs high in consideration, with only a couple of options with a GPU on the list.

Similarly, storage doesn’t play as large a part in data science and modeling as CPU and RAM, but it is always nice to be able to load your apps faster and have your data more quickly accessed. As such, it’s best to go with something that has an SSD, and since most modern laptops have one, this isn’t likely something you should keep an eye out for unless it’s something that’s unrealistically cheap.

This article is managed and created separately from the Digital Trends Editorial team.

Editors' Recommendations

Albert Bassili
Deals Writer
Albert’s been a tech and gaming writer for almost a decade now, writing across websites such as GameGavel, How-To-Geek, and…
Normally $2039, this Lenovo laptop just had its price slashed to $599
The Lenovo ThinkPad L14 on a white background.

Lenovo frequently has some of the best laptop deals around providing you don’t mind the company’s estimated value system making original prices look overly high. Look past that though and you’ll love being able to buy a Lenovo ThinkPad L14 laptop for $599. According to Lenovo, that’s a huge reduction of $1,440 from $2,039. Whatever the true discount, what we do know is that $599 is a pretty great price for a productive laptop. Here’s what you need to know about it before you buy.

Why you should buy the Lenovo ThinkPad L14
The Lenovo ThinkPad L14 laptop offers some decent hardware for the price. That includes an AMD Ryzen 5 Pro 5675U processor along with 16GB of memory. For storage, a 512GB SSD means you can easily store all your files safely without having to rely on cloud storage. There’s also a 14-inch full HD screen with 1920 x 1080 resolution, 300 nits of brightness, 45% NTSC and anti-glare properties.

Read more
Dell XPS 17 with an RTX 4060 is $700 off right now
Dell XPS 17 9370 front view showing display and keyboard deck.

The Dell XPS 17 will soon be replaced with the Dell XPS 16 due to the Dell XPS lineup reset, so you're running out of time to buy this stylish and powerful laptop. Dell is currently selling the Dell XPS 17 with the Nvidia GeForce RTX 4060 graphics card with a $700 discount that slashes its price to $1,699 from $2,399, and once the offer ends, we're not sure if you'll ever get another chance at it. You need to hurry if you want to buy the dependable machine while it's still available from the outgoing Dell XPS deals.

Why you should buy the Dell XPS 17
Dell is replacing the Dell XPS 17 with the Dell XPS 16 to reduce weight, thickness, and overall footprint, but if you don't mind the slightly more space that it will take, the Dell XPS 17 is an amazing laptop. It actually reigns over our roundup of the best 17-inch laptops, starting with its gorgeous 17.3-inch display with Full HD+ resolution. It's one of the largest screens that you can get on a laptop, and while it may be cumbersome to carry with you, you're going to appreciate the extra pixels when you're working on presentations, managing spreadsheets, watching streaming shows, and playing PC games.

Read more
The 23 best Alienware Presidents Day deals on gaming PCs and more
An Alienware m16 gaming laptop in use on a desk, playing Baldur's Gate III.

If you’re planning to take on some of this year's best PC games you’re going to need a good gaming setup for it. Alienware is Dell’s gaming brand, and it has a lineup that includes some of the best gaming PCs, some of the best gaming laptops, and some of the best monitors to pair with each. All of these are seeing some major discounts for Presidents Day, and we’ve done the heavy lifting of tracking down some of the best. Reading onward you’ll find some of the best Alienware Presidents Day deals when it comes to gaming PCs, gaming laptops, gaming monitors, and accessories.
Best Alienware gaming PC deals

A gaming PC is one of the best options for gamers looking to really get invested in a setup, as a computer made for stationary gaming is the best option for expandability. Alienware makes some of the most popular gaming PCs on the market, with models like the Aurora R16 and Aurora R15 offering sleek designs and premium hardware.

Read more