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You are here because you would like to buy a laptop for hacking or cyber security. If you’re in a hurry, check out our favorite model, the Acer Nitro 5. However, comparing different models will help you choose the best that meets the hacking requirements.
To help you find the best laptop for hacking, we’ve reviewed the 5 top picks you can find for cyber security. We’ve also included a buying guide to ensure you don’t miss out on any essential features when you get your laptop.
It’s not a long article, and you should be done in a few minutes. So, come along!
15.6″ FHD IPS display screen with 144Hz refresh rate
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 GPU
8GB DDR4 RAM
256GB NVMe SSD storage
The 15-inch Nitro 5 is a small laptop, so to speak, with a big brain that will be perfect for hacking. The graphics card is a GeForce RTX 3050 one, and the machine includes 8 GB of DDR4 in RAM and 256 GB of SSD hard disk storage. The RAM and hard disk storages are, however, upgradeable.
The 144 Hz Full-HD screen and RTX 3050 push the computer to the pinnacle in terms of performance. It’s difficult to ask for more for an under $1,000 device. The small Intel AX201 chip comes with Wi-Fi 6, which lets you control your network online.
However, the construction of the laptop is not of high quality. It feels too plastic and classic, but the RGB keyboard makes up for it.
This is a gaming laptop, but since most gaming laptops will work well as a hacking laptop, the Nitro 5 is commonly chosen by cybersecurity professionals and hackers.
The battery life isn’t usually a vital feature in Acer Nitro 5 laptops. But the AN515-55-53E5 Gaming Laptop comes with a big 11-hour capacity battery. And if you travel quite a lot, the machine comes with one year of International Travel Warranty.
MSI presents here a powerful but low-budget laptop. Nonetheless, it is a 17-inch gaming laptop equipped with the latest advanced CPU and GPU technologies.
It’s powered by Intel i7, RTX 3060, 16 GB of RAM, and in addition, a Full HD LED IPS 144Hz thin-edge screen. All this will be accessible to you at the price of an office PC. So what more could you ask for?
It comes with Windows 10 Home operating system, an OS you would be able to use right after unpacking and charging without buying and installing Windows yourself. However, you can upgrade Windows to 11, the latest OS from Microsoft. This computer will also be able to run hacking and pentesting OS like Kali Linux and BlackArch.
The design is neat, the battery life is excellent, and you can even upgrade the storage. A slight downside with the laptop is the GeForce RTX 3060, which is less strong in calculation than others bearing the same name. Its TGP barely exceeds 60-75W, while the most powerful 3060 models can reach 170! Therefore, it must be understood that an RTX 3060 can be 3 times less powerful than others.
Also, the fan makes constant noise as it tries to cool off the machine. However, the MSI GF75 is perhaps the best value for money for a 17-inch laptop capable of running an OS like Kali Linux in Full HD.
The design of the Asus ROG Strix G15 G5 is sleek, and the presence of the GeForce RTX 3050 makes it an ultimate hacking machine. All the technologies incorporated are the latest available: 3 USB 3.2 ports, 1 USB-C port, Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.1, 4-cell 56 Wh battery, and the octa-core Ryzen 7 5800H that needs no introduction.
This is indeed the laptop, with a 15-inch screen with a 144 Hz refresh rate. It is perfect for hacking and tough applications such as gaming. But for other applications, it may not be ideal; no SD reader, no webcam, or fingerprint reader.
Also, the battery doesn’t hold up. And contrary to the 90wh battery advertised by the brand, you’ll be surprised to find a 56wh battery. You can’t always have everything, and you have to appreciate the effort made by the Taiwanese manufacturer to maintain a reasonable weight of 4.63 pounds with such a high-end machine.
However, it has a more massive 1TB SSD than the usual 512 GB that comes with other ROG Strix G15s. So, in this aspect, it looks like a steal of the century considering the price it’s sold for.
The owners and testers of the G15 report very good audio quality from the internal speaker system. It has a round and warm bass without the use of your headphones.
The MSI GS66 Stealth brings together all the best features needed for ethical hacking. No compromise has been made; even the 512 GB storage is entirely SSD!
You have 16 GB of RAM (expandable to 64GB), an i7 10750H processor, and the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060. The screen is a 15.6-inch Full-HD 240 Hz screen. To top it off, the 4-cell battery is 99 Wh and lasts 10 hours! The GS66 has no weak points, and even if its price is high, it is not stratospheric.
Its size of 14.2 x 9.7 x 0.7 inches and its featherweight of 4.63 pounds surpass the competing models. As with the other laptops in the GS66 range, the keyboard is a SteelSeries with RGB per key. We could go on for a long time with the rest because each component was carefully selected. To conclude: you have one of the best there is, more than the best machine for hacking but also gaming, video editing, video conferencing, and other productive applications.
Light and thin
16 GB of Ram and SSD storage
Long battery life
Solid CPU and GPU
It heats up a bit and gets noisy as the fans try to cool it
Make no mistake about it, there’s an ethical and legal question in the hacking profession, and it’s finding a brand designing or naming a laptop specifically for hacking. But one tip is that a good gaming laptop will also be efficient for cyber security professionals. And that is what the Lenovo IdeaPad is all about.
When it comes to high-performance laptops, the Lenovo IdeaPad Y700 is one of the best laptops for hackers. It comes equipped with the most powerful Intel Core i7-6700HQ processor and is supported by an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M graphics card. Also, this laptop is available in a very affordable price range.
The laptop has a classic design that looks very aesthetically pleasing to the eye. It has a 15.6″ Full HD display with a screen resolution of 1920x1080p.
The dual-storage option of 1TB HDD and 128GB SSD gives you more options for saving and working on large files. It also gives the laptop the speed needed to multitask, making it an ideal choice for cyber security. However, the system comes with a 5400 RPM hard drive rotational speed.
Has an IPS anti-glare display
Great sound quality
The RAM is upgradeable
A hybrid hard drive ensures fast booting
The rotational speed of the hard drive could be higher
Buying a laptop for hacking is not as simple as you think. A few laptops are adequate for dedicated programming and other purposes.
Still, they include poor battery life, and some $300 machines are a bit slow to hack, but they have good battery life. Here are the essential features your laptop must have to qualify as a hacking laptop.
Looking at the internal component processor of the laptop is essential for a cyber security professional or student. You will need to have a core i5, core i7, or AMD Ryzen chip for virtualization, faster data compilation, and other database tasks.
If you know about Intel processors, those ending with ‘U’ are less powerful than those ending with ‘H’ or ‘HQ.’
The Intel Atom chips, which you can see in really cheap laptops, are only for the most basic tasks, and as a cyber security professional, you should never buy a laptop with those chips.
Memory and storage
To hit the right spot between price and performance, mainstream computing laptops should have at least 8GB of RAM.
But you’ll need at least twice that if you’re a hacking professional or a full-stack developer. You should also choose an SSD instead of a normal hard drive. At least 512 GB of storage would be sufficient. But a 1TB of hard drive would be better.
If you are a serious gamer or a dedicated user, your laptop must have a dedicated graphics card like NVidia GeForce GTX 10, 20, or 30 GPUs.
But remember that if you have a powerful graphics card and a powerful CPU, the battery life will be affected, and because of that, high-performance laptops often have short battery life.
Choosing the best laptop for hacking is a challenging task. Due to its use in black hat hacking applications, you wouldn’t find computer systems like this in the mainstream market. However, most people don’t know that ethical hackers with cyber security applications also use these types of computers to protect a system or network from any online threats.
In addition, they monitor and eliminate any security breach from a system or a network.
Therefore, the best laptop for ethical hacking or other cyber security should be powerful and have solid hardware to handle large amounts of data processing. If you check around or know how to choose, you’d find out that these types of laptops are available on the market. Some are gaming laptops, and some have high central processing units.
The best laptops which we can confirm are ideal for hacking are the following:
Yes, you’d need a high-performance laptop designed for cyber security professions. Ordinary laptops are for basic applications such as office use, business, and sometimes gaming. Hacking laptops need high-performing processors and larger internal storage. A regular laptop doesn’t need this type of configuration.
Can I use a gaming laptop for hacking?
Gaming laptops can also be used for hacking as they have high random access memory, great graphic cards, and a fast CPU. All these make the gaming laptop perfect for hacking activities.
Most of the laptops reviewed in the article are gaming laptops in design. But they are also ideal for use by cyber security professionals.
Is a 4GB RAM enough for a hacking laptop?
No, hacking laptops need at least 8GB of RAM. However, 16 GB is a more realistic RAM, and 32 GB RAM is perfect, especially if you want to run a couple of virtual machines. So, the best hacking laptops are models with SSD hard disks of around 512 GB to 1TB and a random access memory of around 8 GB to 32 GB.
Is SSD or HDD the best drive system for a hacking laptop?
There is a big difference between HDD and SSD laptops. SSD means solid-state drive, and the drive is flash-based. It’s faster than traditional HDD laptops, which have mechanical hard disks. SDD laptops offer more efficient storage and performance for maximum productivity. SDD laptops store and retrieve data up to 5 times faster than any HDD laptop. HDD models have moving parts that need to be powered by the battery. So, they are not energy efficient.