Getting a Computer

Advice on purchasing laptop for your research.

Purchasing a new computer is budgeted for when hiring long-term appointments (graduate student, postdoc, staff). Short-term appointments (undergraduate students, internships, etc.) will not involve a computer purchase unless otherwise stated as a computer can be borrowed from the group’s inventory instead.

It typically takes >2 weeks (and in Fall 2022, it took 6 weeks) for a computer to arrive so it is recommended to prioritize placing an order either before your arrival or as soon as possible after you start.

If you are planning to purchase a computer through LBNL, please find the estimated timeline and some general guidelines here. You do not need to use this computer request form. See below on purchasing the laptop.

Why Purchase a Macbook Pro?

Note: The points in this section come mainly from the Hacking Materials Group handbook.

Buying a high end Macbook Pro is highly advised although not mandatory. In our experience, Macs offer the best systems for our work and having the same operating system within our group makes it easier to troubleshoot and share code. Using computers with similar hardware can also make it easier to share and pass down computer accessories and equipment. While we want to be conscious of cost and avoid wastefulness, the value of using well performing equipment that better supports our productivity, collaborative group culture, and reduces wasted time adds value which greatly outweighs the initial financial cost. If you would like to get anything other than a Macbook Pro, please consult more senior group members first.

You can use the Apple website to browse details and see what is available in through the supplier, Anacapa, in Ebuy and Bearbuy. Many group members use a 14” or 16" Macbook Pro with an M1 Pro or M2 Pro chip. The 14" is as powerful as the 16" and has improved mobility. However, the battery life of the 16'' laptop is slightly longer.

Making the Purchase

If you are ordering a computer before your arrival, you will need to coordinate with Muzhgan Ali ( to handle the purchase. Please send an email with the details of your selections. You may also need to ask Kristin for a project funding source.

Otherwise, if you are ordering a computer after you have started, you can make arrangements yourself. See purchasing for more information.

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