Going to school next year: need a laptop

  • Thread starter undrcvrbro
  • Start date
  • #26
I have to agree with you on Acers quality... and i'll be willing to bet your friends laptop had an AMD cpu.
yeah it was an AMD
 
  • #27
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Get a mac. Reliable, which is important for class data.
 
  • #28
Mk
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A MacBook or MacBook Pro I think is a good option. Plus, you can even play real games on them now with 150 Mb of VRAM :tongue2:

You said you were majoring in chemical engineering, maybe you should check out Apple's featured Math/Science applications:
http://www.apple.com/downloads/macosx/math_science/

And "Papers" is very good:
http://mekentosj.com/papers/ [Broken]
 
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  • #29
Dell and HP have good laptops for decent prices. They will most likely drop there prices later on in the summer.

You should also check out ecost.com/ecost/shop/countdown and slickdeals.net
Check slickdeals periodically you be surprised at what you can get.

Things want out of a laptop:
- 1gb of ram or more
- wireless card
- Mac OSX, Linux, or XP
- plenty of hard drive space
- good battery life

Things you want to Avoid:
-Vista
-Price software packages

If you look around you can find a good laptop for around $500-600.
 
  • #30
Dell is terrible, I've had problems with them ditto friends

HP is great, laptops, desktops, printers, cameras they work and work and work for years and years very dependable

Acer Aspire is what I have right now for both laptop and desktop. Yup they are cheap, which is both good and bad, but I also like that their bundled software is useful instead of loads of garbage that pcs usually come preloaded with.

I have gone with amd processors because they are cheap, but mid and hi end processing power is completely dominated by Intel. AMD used to be competitive across the board, but not any more. It doesn't make a difference for bargain level processors, but after that you're better off with Intel.

This will make me enemies, but I don't think that Vista is that bad. I don't like the poor compatibility between xp and vista, and the higher footprint, but it's easy to tweak vista to be speedy enough, and it does have cool features that I like. Any new laptop that is $500 or more will have the necessary hardware to run it find after tweaking.
 
  • #31
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Im a big fan of tigerdirect.com or tigerdirect.ca if you live in Canada, I got mine from there refurbished last august and i havent had any signifact issues with it. Most of them you get off of there will be loaded with Vista however, i have had vista since it came out and i have gotten used to it. It looks way better has some cool new apps like the voice recogntion and if you can just turn the visulualizations down if your machine cant handle it.
 
  • #32
i do not suggest tiger direct i have ordered three items from them all at different times including a laptop and i have had problems every time. i do not suggest them. try New egg i highly recommend them.
 
  • #33
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Laptops are manufactured by three or four companies in China and Taiwan (if I remember correctly), so the brand name is not going to matter as much as the engineering of a particular model.

I know a lot of students like Macs, but, considering that an Apple is going to set you back approximately twice as much as an equivalent brand name PC (for instance, a $4400 Macbook Pro has features similar to that of a $2200 HP), I would steer clear of them unless you have money to burn. Granted, Macbook pros are probably some of the best engineered laptops on the market, but the quality difference in no way justifies the price difference. It is true that Apples are less prone to viruses, but the same can be said of a $450 Compaq or Dell laptop running Ubuntu.

My general advice would be to:

A) Define what you need.
B) Define how you would like to use your computer.
C) Define your budget.

Then pick out a computer that meets criteria A and C, and comes closest to meeting criteria B. If your only computer is a laptop, you should consider buying an external drive to back up your data (because laptops get damaged or stolen), buy a keyboard and a mouse, so you can spill your coffee on them instead of your $2000 laptop, and consider buying an external monitor (which will make you able to work more efficiently).
 
  • #34
It is true that Apples are less prone to viruses, but the same can be said of a $450 Compaq or Dell laptop running Ubuntu.
What is Ubuntu and where can i get it?
 
  • #36
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I strongly suggest to go with a Compaq. I use mine everyday, and I have no problems with it. AND...It's pretty cheap for what all you get. But, I haven't done all the research for the others....
 
  • #37
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Look into the dell vostro series.
You can pick up a very good spec laptop with ubuntu on it for very cheap.
There being so generous with them these days.
 
  • #38
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I couldn't recommend a Macbook Pro more highly. I just ordered myself one for college and am thoroughly impressed. Mac OS X Leopard is a pleasure to work with, but I can easily move over to the Windows partition any time I need to do something that only works on or is more convenient on Windows. Although I won't be playing games on it much, I tested out a few, and they ran very well.

I also purchased a 500 GB Time Capsule Wi-Fi external hard drive. Time Machine in Leopard makes automatic hourly back-ups to the external drive. For the heck of it I decided to restore my computer to a previous date to see how it worked, and sure enough it was a flawless experience.

The Macbook Pro has a lot of small features that make a big difference. Instead of a CD drive, it has a CD bay, so using the CD bay is easy with the laptop in your lap.

The keyboard is bigger than on most laptops, which means it's much easier to type on. The trackpad is also slightly larger and has multi-touch functionality.

Multi-touch is a small innovation, but I use it almost constantly. It makes the trackpad actually viable for use for long periods of time.

The keyboard is backlit and an ambient light sensor automatically adjusts the backlighting automatically.

At the top of the screen is a tiny camera called iSight. The video and sound recording quality are superb considering how small the thing is.

I know a lot of students like Macs, but, considering that an Apple is going to set you back approximately twice as much as an equivalent brand name PC (for instance, a $4400 Macbook Pro has features similar to that of a $2200 HP), I would steer clear of them unless you have money to burn. Granted, Macbook pros are probably some of the best engineered laptops on the market, but the quality difference in no way justifies the price difference. It is true that Apples are less prone to viruses, but the same can be said of a $450 Compaq or Dell laptop running Ubuntu.
Do you realize it's not even possible to build a $4400 Macbook Pro? I maxed out the specs on a Macbook Pro (not including any additional software, hardware, or AppleCare) and the price was $3,424. It's expensive, but it's nowhere near $4400.

Also, Apple does mark up their price somewhat for the design of the product and the brand name, but the markup is certainly not $2000. If you can find a laptop with equivalent specs that is $2000 cheaper, the manufacturer of that laptop is making a compromise somewhere, probably in build quality. In short, you get what you pay for.
 
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  • #39
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Actually, after doing a little searching(googling) I found that Dell actually now owns Alienware, so that many of the issues with customer support may be alleviated slightly.
I wouldn't be so sure. I've heard plenty of horror stories about Dell's customer service.
 
  • #40
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I couldn't recommend a Macbook Pro more highly. I just ordered myself one for college and am thoroughly impressed. Mac OS X Leopard is a pleasure to work with, but I can easily move over to the Windows partition any time I need to do something that only works on or is more convenient on Windows. Although I won't be playing games on it much, I tested out a few, and they ran very well.

I also purchased a 500 GB Time Capsule Wi-Fi external hard drive. Time Machine in Leopard makes automatic hourly back-ups to the external drive. For the heck of it I decided to restore my computer to a previous date to see how it worked, and sure enough it was a flawless experience.

The Macbook Pro has a lot of small features that make a big difference. Instead of a CD drive, it has a CD bay, so using the CD bay is easy with the laptop in your lap.

The keyboard is bigger than on most laptops, which means it's much easier to type on. The trackpad is also slightly larger and has multi-touch functionality.

Multi-touch is a small innovation, but I use it almost constantly. It makes the trackpad actually viable for use for long periods of time.

The keyboard is backlit and an ambient light sensor automatically adjusts the backlighting automatically.

At the top of the screen is a tiny camera called iSight. The video and sound recording quality are superb considering how small the thing is.



Do you realize it's not even possible to build a $4400 Macbook Pro? I maxed out the specs on a Macbook Pro (not including any additional software, hardware, or AppleCare) and the price was $3,424. It's expensive, but it's nowhere near $4400.

Also, Apple does mark up their price somewhat for the design of the product and the brand name, but the markup is certainly not $2000. If you can find a laptop with equivalent specs that is $2000 cheaper, the manufacturer of that laptop is making a compromise somewhere, probably in build quality. In short, you get what you pay for.

I looked at their website, and apparently Apple has lowered their prices (they were about $4400 when I looked at them last year), but, the rest of my argument stands. For over $1000 less, you can buy a HP notebook with much better specs than the Macbook Pro. The same notebook, with the same specs from HP is about half the price.

There is absolutely no valid excuse for Apple to charge twice as much for a computer with similar specs, other than they can find enough schmucks who have money to burn and care more about their perception that the Mac has more cachet than the fact that they can buy a similar notebook with superior features and save over $1000.

Just like, a Rolex Submariner is a nice watch, but it really is not Superior to an Omega Sea Dweller, which costs thousands less. When you buy a Mac you get a lot less computer and a lot more cachet than if you had used the money on an HP, Dell, or Toshiba.
 
  • #41
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I'm not going to get into some debate over whether Apple products are overpriced or not. All I can say is that I tried a lot of laptops before making my purchase and that the Macbook Pro was my final decision because I found it significantly more convenient to use for my purposes.

I certainly am not a "schmuck who has money to burn," which I found fairly insulting.
 
  • #42
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And besides, being a student I got a $200 discount on the laptop, a $300 iPod Touch for free, and a $100 printer for free. Taking that discount into account, my Macbook Pro was $300 cheaper than the nearly equivalent Satellite X205-SLi6 from Toshiba.
 
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  • #43
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I did not mean to appear rude; I was just pointing out that, if your only consideration is price versus features, Apple products fair pretty poorly. As a one-time purchase, an extra $1000 for an Apple might not make a big difference, but if you are buying a new computer every few years, it can really start adding up to a lot of money.

The one thing I will give Apple is that the Macbook Pro is well-engineered, and one of the best looking notebooks on the market, but I do not think that it really justifies the price difference.
 
  • #44
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I did not mean to appear rude
It's quite all right.

As a one-time purchase, an extra $1000 for an Apple might not make a big difference, but if you are buying a new computer every few years, it can really start adding up to a lot of money.

The one thing I will give Apple is that the Macbook Pro is well-engineered, and one of the best looking notebooks on the market, but I do not think that it really justifies the price difference.
This was indeed a one-time purchase, and I needed it to last for at least four years, so build quality and durability were pretty important for me.
 
  • #45
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I wouldn't be so sure. I've heard plenty of horror stories about Dell's customer service.
I've only every owned dell computers. I have only ran into a few problems before, mostly relating a printer that came with my desktop, and I have to say they were the most helpful people I've talked to. They sent me a new printer straight away. I also know that their customer care services are good as well because my grandmother (who is computer illiterate) was able to call for help and sort out what was wrong.
This is just my opinion, maybe you haven't been as lucky as I have with them.
 
  • #46
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Well, I very well could be wrong about Dell. I was just basing that statement off of some of my friends' experiences with Dell. I actually once owned a Dell laptop, but I can't comment on whether they treated me well in terms of customer service because I didn't have any problems with the laptop until it was out of warranty. :D
 

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