PC Laptop Recommendations

ECN's User Services group is frequently asked to provide specifications and Purdue pricing for new Windows- and Linux-based laptop (notebook) computers which will be purchased with Purdue account numbers. Our Mac laptop recommendations are typically a MacBookPro, and sometimes a MacBookAir. If you are looking for personal laptops (not paid for with a Purdue account number), please see http://eng.purdue.edu/jump/a75fc5 instead. 

In departments supported by ECN, laptops are often used to provide remote access to ECN-Domain desktop PCs;  rather than as one's primary computer. (Please read about our laptop support scheme.)

Should you consider an Apple iPad as a substitute for (or in addition to) a traditional laptop? See our iPad recommendations.

To determine the approximate age of an existing Dell laptop, see our Dell model years page.

Recommended Laptops (Faculty and Staff)

*** Note: Due to multiple issues outside of the manufacturer's control, we are seeing extended delivery times for IT equipment. ***

Please note that prices shown below are approximate and subject to frequent change. Faculty, staff, and graduate staff placing orders with Purdue funds should contact ECN for up-to-date pricing and to place all orders. Note that battery warranties only last 3 years, irrespective of how long the system warranty is.

15-inch, 3.5-pound model: The Dell "Latitude 5520" (NEW Spring 2021 - replaces the 5510) has a large screen (1920 x 1080 pixels 15.6-inch FHD non-touch widescreen display w/ camera) and commensurate starting weight (about 3.5 pounds). The 5520 includes 16.0 GB memory, a 512GB M.2 SSD drive, an Intel Core i7-1165G7, 4 Core, 2.8Ghz up to 4.7GHz processor, and a keyboard with numeric keypad (see the photo illustration on this page, below).  ECN options include a 4 year "CompleteCare" (accidental damage protection) warranty and keep your hard drive.  Total cost is approximately $1280. 

This model also offers discrete graphics options. Contact ECN for build-to-order pricing if you need to change these specifications. 

14-inch, "not too heavy" 3-pound model: This is our "most frequently purchased" laptop. The Dell "Latitude 5420" (NEW Spring 2021 - replaces the 5410) relies on solid state drives for storage. It has our environment's most-requested mix of size (1920 x 1080 pixels 14-inch FHD non-touch widescreen display w/ camera and starting weight (about 3 pounds, not too heavy). ECN options includes 16.0 GB memory, a 512GB M.2 SSD drive, an Intel Core i7-1165G7, 4 Core, 2.8Ghz up to 4.7GHz processor. ECN includes a 4 year "CompleteCare" (accidental damage protection) warranty and keep your hard drive - 4 years, is about $1130. 

13-inch, 2.6-pound model:  The Dell "Latitude 5320" (NEW Spring 2021 - replaces the 5310) has a 1920 x 1080 pixels 13.3-inch FHD non-touch widescreen display w/ camera and a starting weight of about 2.6 pounds. Base model includes 16.0 GB memory, a 512GB M.2 SSD drive, an Intel Core i7-1185G7, 4 Core, 3.0Ghz up to 4.8GHz processor, integrated HD webcam and microphone. ECN options include 4 year "CompleteCare" (accidental damage protection) warranty, and keep your hard drive - 4 years.  Total cost is approximately $1252. 

The 5320 is also available as a 2in1 model. The "Latitude 5320 2in1", (NEW Spring 2021 - replaces 5310 2in1) with similar configuration as above, but also includes a Touch Screen* and a 360 degree hinge at a cost of around $1333.

*: Not everyone likes the touchscreen.

Tablet/Slate with detachable keyboard and active pen:  The Dell "Latitude 7320 Detachable" (NEW Spring 2021 - replaces the 7210 2in1) has a 1920 x 1280 pixels 13-inch FHD+ touch widescreen display w/ camera and a starting weight of about 1.7 pounds. Base model includes 16.0 GB memory, a 512GB M.2 SSD drive, an Intel Core i7-1180G7, 4 Core, 2.2Ghz up to 4.6GHz processor, integrated HD webcam and microphone. ECN options include 4 year "CompleteCare" (accidental damage protection) warranty, and keep your hard drive - 4 years.  The keyboard and pen are optional but included in our standard configuration. Total cost is approximately $1750.

Tablet model: We are recommending the Dell "Latitude 7320 Detachable" (resembles the Surface Pro) Note that Microsoft Surface Pros have some drawbacks: 1) only available with 1 or 3 year warranty vs 4 and 5 years on the Dell version; 2) only provides mail to depot hardware service vs on site for the Dell version; 3) requires a $50 deductible for accidental damage repairs vs no deductible for the Dell version.  Additionally, due to a change in the processor, the Surface Pro X (available December 2019) will NOT run most programs beyond the most basic software.  We strongly recommend against purchasing this specific Surface Pro X model.

Also available are the Latitude 7320, 7420, 7520, 7320 2in1 and 7420 2in1 models. Contact ECN for up-to-date pricing and options.


ECN Standard Options on all models: - 5320, 5420, 5520, 5320 2in1, 7320, 7420, 7520, 7320 Detachable, 7320 2in1, 7420 2in1:

11th Generation Intel® Core™ i7-1165G7 Processor (4 Core, 12MB Cache,2.8GHz, up to 4.7Ghz, 15W)
Intel Ireis Xe Graphics with Thunderbolt 4
*16GB, 2x8GB, DDR4 Non-ECC
*512GB PCIe NVMe M.2 Class 40 Solid State Drive
Qualcomm® QCA61x4A 802.11ac Dual Band (2x2) Wireless Adapter+ Bluetooth 5.0
4 Cell 63Whr Long Life Battery - includes 3 year limited hardware warranty (except 7320 detachable models)
13"/14"/15" FHD (1920 x 1080) Anti-Glare Non-Touch screen,Camera & Microphone (touch option included on 2in1 models)
65W Type-C Power Adapter
4 Years Hardware Warranty with Onsite Service after Remote Diagnosis
2 Years Extended Battery Service for Years 2 and 3 of System Life
Accidental Damage Service, 4 Years
Keep Your Hard Drive, 4 Years


Possible Upgrades from ECN Standard:

11th Generation Intel® Core™ i7-1185G7 Processor (4 Core, 12M cache, base 3.0GHz, up to 4.8GHz, 15W)    +$100
*32GB, 2x16GB, DDR4 Non-ECC    +$195
*1TB PCIe NVMe M.2 Class 40 Solid State Drive   +$100
NVIDIA GeForce GPU +$200 and only available with the i7-1185G7 cpu  +$70 and only on the Latitude 5520  (+$270 total)
13"/14"/15" FHD (1920 x 1080) Anti-Glare with Embedded Touch Screen, Camera & Microphone    +$40
5 Years Hardware Warranty with Onsite Service after Remote Diagnosis   +$35
Dell Briefcase 14/15  +$35

*One might consider upgrading the memory or storage options depending on the use case.


Dell USB-C Mobile Adapter - DA310  +$61

Dell Thunderbolt Dock - WD19TBS  +$170

Logitech c920 Webcam: +$60
Sennheiser PC8 USB Headset: +$30

Soundbar: +$28

Dell 23" Monitor - P2319H  +$184
Dell 24" Monitor - P2422H  +$190
Dell 27" Monitor - P2722H  +$221

Dell 24" Monitor - P2421HE +$264 (1080p, with usb-c hub/rj45/dock)
Dell 27" Monitor - U2721DE +$391 (1440p, with usb-c hub/rj45/dock)


Ordering. When you're ready to order, please contact ECN. We'll confirm the order details and ask you to provide the Purdue account number to be charged (working as needed with your business office). ECN will also handle placing the order.

You may consider the info above to be ECN's official quotation for a standard new laptop PC, but please note that pricing and specifications are subject to change. If the actual cost varies by more than a few dollars or if hardware specs have changed significantly, ECN will alert you and await your approval before proceeding with your order.


Consumer models, netbooks, and/or other brands

Consumer models: Faculty and staff occasionally ask us about cheaper mass-marketed laptop models. Attractive advertised prices on Dell Inspiron, XPS, and Alienware model lines are achieved via short warranties, the possibility of long waits in a telephone queue when you need to obtain service, and mail-in hardware repair service only (no on-site service). Because these model lines are targeted toward home use, ECN does not recommend or purchase them.

Other brands: ECN's preference for Dell over other laptop brands (e.g. HP, Sony, Acer, Lenovo) is based on Purdue's geographic location. Dell's service technicians for business customers in this region are based in Frankfort, Indiana, and they visit West Lafayette to provide on-site service on a daily basis. Most other brands have service centers at least 60 miles away. As with Dell's consumer models (described above), the other brands offer mail-in service only, scheduled via long waits in a telephone queue. Although we understand you might prefer more brand choices, ECN believes convenient, timely serviceability should be of paramount importance when purchasing a laptop. 

These are some of the reasons ECN recommends specific Dell Latitude and Dell Precision Mobile Workstation models and recommends against netbooks, other model lines such as the Dell Vostro, consumer models, and other brands. Faculty and staff who opt to purchase these models should note that such laptops will be entirely self-supported; ECN won't provide ordering, software installation, or troubleshooting services for them.

The Dell Latitude line of laptops, on the other hand, are designed for business. ECN recommends the specific Dell Latitude models listed on this page; we also recommend various Dell Precision Mobile Workstation models. For a Dell Latitude or Precision Mobile Workstation, we have direct on-line access to Dell Support, and on-site service is provided when necessary.

For the lightest-weight PC laptop, we suggest the Dell Latitude 13 inch model described above.

Justification: Campus-wide processes are now in place designed to keep Purdue's acquisition and ownership costs in check. If you opt to purchase an alternate brand or model, please note that the procurement process might require that you provide justification for your selections.

Please contact ECN to discuss your specific needs.



The 15-inch Dell Latitude model described above is the only recommended model large enough to include a keyboard with a numeric keypad. The other recommended models have standard keyboards without numeric keypads.


Keyboards with & without numeric keypad

Top: 15-inch Dell Latitude model with its included numeric keypad.
Bottom: Typical keyboard on the smaller recommended Dell Latitude models.


Future Models

To determine the age of legacy models, see our Dell model years page.


See also:



Last modified: 2022/04/25 15:26:0.494552 GMT-4 by michelle.r.arthur.1
Created: 2010/04/02 08:44:22.135000 GMT-4 by john.a.omalley.1.


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