Building web and mobile apps go beyond knowing how to code. It also involves penetration testing, which involves testing how vulnerable an application is.
At the very least, you’ll need two things to succeed in this area: deep knowledge in penetration testing, and the best laptop for pentesting.
In this post, we’ll look at some of the best laptops that students and professional security specialists can use to access data and resources without conventional means. In short, if you’re in the market for a laptop that you can use for ethical Pentesting, you’ll love the following recommendations.
These are our top picks:
Apple MacBook Pro– Best Value
Acer Predator Helios 300–Most popular
Dell XPS 15– Best Budget
What is Pentesting?
Penetration testing involves using ethical hackers against your computer system to find exploitable vulnerabilities that developers may have missed out on. It is part of a web application security strategy that helps find security vulnerabilities that should be fixed.
Simply put, penetration testing is similar to a homeowner dressing an outsider as a burglar and letting them break into their home and exploit the security systems. If the burglar manages to enter the home undetected, it can help the homeowner re-evaluate the home security systems
A penetration test can help determine if your system is robust enough to lock out potential attacks from unauthorized users and eliminate security flaws.
Some of the insights you can gain include:
- Reveal vulnerabilities
- Show actual security flaws
- Get a third party third opinion
- Check compliance with regulations and certifications
If you are a pen tester, you need a stable laptop to perform the required tests. A good laptop for pentesting should have a powerful processor, long battery, enough storage, and be compatible with the Kali Linux Operating System.
Best Laptop for Pentesting Reviews [Top Picks]
Apple MacBook Pro
Apple MacBook Pros aren’t for DJing alone. Even app developers now use these laptops for their professional work. Thanks to its premiums, from a slim design and HD display to robust processing power, you can get this one for penetration testing.
Its 3.3GHz dual-core i7 processor and 16GB RAM speed up data processing. So on the days when you’re under pressure to complete an urgent analysis, or you simply need a smooth flow of tasks, this MacBook will perform.
You also get a 512GB hard drive, which is more than enough to store your project’s data.
- Excellent processor speed
- Fast, high-performance machine for serious pen testers
Acer Predator Helios 300
Predator Helios 300 is an example that shows how Acer takes penetration testers seriously. It features a strong plastic design with a metal finished lid. At 15.6 inches, the display is big enough for this kind of job. But it is heavy, and at 5.95 pounds, some testers may find it rather heavy to carry.
To guarantee better performance, Acer equips this device with the latest Windows 10 OS, which gets its processing power from the 7th Generation 2.4GHz Intel Core i7 processor. Add the 16GB RAM to these specs, and what you get for the price is a laptop you can use for security analysis without worrying about performance lags.
Thanks to its processing power, the gizmo can run applications like Kali Linux and VMware without a hitch.
Also see: Asus Vivobook F501UA Review
- A powerful laptop with a high-speed processor
- You can upgrade the RAM to 32 GB
- Doesn’t have the best battery life; offers only 4 hours of runtime on a single charge
- It’s heavy
Dell XPS 15
Dell XPS 15 isn’t just a laptop for general use. We’ve seen serious developers use it for mobile and web app development. And it also fits entry-level and experienced penetration testers alike.
To begin with, this laptop features a 4K IPS touch-sensitive display, which makes it one of the best options for people that love content displayed in 2160p resolution.
Dell equips this laptop with the latest Intel Core i7 7700HQ processor and 16GB RAM. Together, these specs ensure that you work smoothly and that you never experience performance lags no matter how big the data you need to handle is.
Also, you get a 1TB hard drive, which is more than enough to store all the penetration testing software solutions that you need to get the job done.
This Windows 10 laptop weighs about 4.41 pounds, so it’s lighter than Acer Predator Helios 300 by at least an inch. Because it includes GTX 1050 NVIDIA graphics, this laptop can run programs smoothly, so you don’t have to worry about screen tearing or input lags.
Furthermore, it has a battery runtime of 7 hours on a single charge, so you don’t have to keep plugging it into a power outlet every time.
- Impressive performance thanks to the fast processor and 16 GB RAM
- Stylish in design
- Insanely priced
See also: How to turn on laptop without power button
Lenovo Idea Pad Y700
If you’re a developer and penetration tester who loves big screens, Lenovo Idea Pad Y700 may be the right laptop for you. This 17-inch, 1080p model weighs about 7.72 pounds, and it’s, therefore, one of the heaviest laptops out there.
Lenovo understands that pentesters spend hours on computer screens trying to find loopholes in computer programs. As such, they add an anti-glare feature to the display so that you can use the laptop for long hours without worrying about eyestrains.
Idea Pad Y700 runs on a 6th generation Intel Core i7-6700HQ processor, and it includes 16GB RAM. It uses NVDIA GeForce GXT 960 M 4GB graphic card for the best display result. What’s more, you get a 1TB HDD plus a 128GB SSD, so you have more than enough storage space for your files.
- Excellent performance thanks to the high-speed processor and RAM
- Mid-range price; consider this if you’re on a budget
- This laptop is somewhat heavy
Alienware 17 R4
Alienware always wants its laptops to look classic, and they’ll stop at nothing to make sure every model they come up with features their legendary creativity. Their 17 R4 is one of the best models yet. And it’s powerful enough to use for deep penetration testing.
For starters, Alienware 17 R4 features a metal body, and its QHD display is about 17.3 inches. This machine runs on Intel’s Core i7 processor, and it has 16GB RAM that enhances faster performance.
It doesn’t have a long battery life like Dell XP 15 but its 4 hours runtime isn’t that bad for penetration testing.
We love how much storage Alienware offers with this model. In fact, if storage space alone were enough to justify the price of this laptop, it would be the credit for it.
At the very least, you get a 1TB hard drive and a 256 GB SSD. That’s more than you even need. So you can even install more files and applications like music and games in your free time.
If you’re an aggressive penetration tester who would rather work even at night when the lights are out, you’ll find the backlit keyboard useful. Thanks to the thermal design, this laptop won’t heat up even under an immense workload.
- A laptop with a strong build
- Very responsive trackpad
- Excellent processing speed
- This laptop is quite heavy
- It’s expensive, so it may not be suitable for you if you’re on a tight budget
How to Conduct Penetration Testing Like a Pro (Video)
Factors to Consider When Buying a Laptop For Pentesting
The laptop processor is the main part that determines whether or not a laptop will handle the tasks you need to perform with it. The clock speed of the processor, the quad cores, and the generation of the processor are important.
Pentesting is a serious laptop task that demands an intel processor, at least an intel core i7 7th gen to run the pentesting software without any lags.
If a laptop has a powerful processor with sufficient RAM, it becomes reliable even for high-end software. If you want to do pentesting without experiencing sluggish laptop speeds, your laptop RAM should not fall below 16GB.
If you want to experience great speeds for future applications, I would recommend going for a future-proof RAM, like 32GB RAM. Remember, if you are a multitasker, you need a big laptop RAM.
A good, long battery life saves you the urgency to keep plugging in the laptop in the middle of pentesting. Also, if your laptop is your travel companion, you need sufficient battery life, especially when working outdoors where there is no power. Your laptop battery should be at least 6 hours to give you ample time for pentesting before you have to plug it in.
Running demanding software on the laptop can do a number on a laptop’s heat. This is why you need a good cooling system for your pentesting laptop. This prevents overheating issues which could make your laptop slower.
Also, invest in additional cooling laptop accessories such as a laptop stand or a laptop cooling pad.
You need sufficient storage for your data, files, and media. Although the SSD is more expensive than HDD, it is also faster and more power efficient, which makes it the most preferred for pentesting laptops.
How Much RAM is Required For Pentesting?
There is no rule about the minimum RAM you need for pentesting but I would recommend 16 GB RAM or more for effective multitasking. A high amount of RAM also helps with the processing speeds of the laptop.
What Are the Best Laptop Specs For Cyber Security?
Your laptop should have at least 16GB RAM, a good AMD or intel processor, 500GB HDD or 256GB SSD, an HD webcam, a discrete graphics card, Wifi capability, and USB ports.
Is There a Laptop For Pentesting Under $1000?
There are a variety of laptops for pentesting under $1000 that meet all the specs requirements for the job.
It is easier to get the best laptop for pentesting when you know what to look for. Have the minimum requirements for a pentesting laptop with you when going to the laptop store or when shopping online.
If you want a laptop that won’t require any RAM upgrades or upgrades in the features, it is best not to settle, but to get the most powerful laptop your budget allows. This means considering the laptop specs instead of buying just a brand name.