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Good affordable laptop for college student?

  1. Jul 5, 2014 #1
    Can anyone out there recommend an affordable laptop for a college student. Going in as a physics/math major so needs to be able run mathematica and similar programs decently.

    This is the one I was thinking about going with. Thoughts?


    Seems to be the cheapest decent laptop I could find, but seems almost too cheap.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 5, 2014 #2


    Staff: Mentor

    I recently bought an ASUS X200MA at Best Buy for $230 and replaced the WIndows with Ubuntu Linux and it works quite well. It comes 500GB disk space and a multi-touch screen. Battery life is its weakest area but not a problem for me as I leave it plugged in all the time.

    Your choice looks good and comes with a DVD which mine does not.

    One thing though is its refurbished, is that okay with you? ie it broke once right...
  4. Jul 6, 2014 #3


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    'Refurbished equipment' doesn't necessarily mean 'equipment that broke but was repaired'. The computer may have been returned after someone purchased it previously, or a business purchased a bunch of the same computers but no longer need all of them for whatever reason.

    However, as part of his due diligence, the OP should read the reviews at Newegg and other sites to make sure this particular model will be useful for his intended purpose.
  5. Jul 6, 2014 #4
    I tried looking around for reviews on Google and couldn't find any for the exact model. That's why I posted here I didn't want to pass up what might be a good deal based off of one bad review on the newegg website.
  6. Jul 6, 2014 #5


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    Dealing with one review doesn't give a good perspective on the machine: that one reviewer may be disgruntled for undisclosed reasons.

    However, if you Google "HP 2000 2d60DX notebook", you get over 10,000 hits, including prices for similar models thru other distribution channels. Others are asking questions like you: Is this a good machine for doing X?
  7. Jul 6, 2014 #6
    I found some reviews after a lot of digging around seems to be decent from the reviews. The only other question I have is would a quad-core at a higher GHz processor be better than a dual core at a lower speed processor? After browsing around it seems that mathematica cannot utilize all four cores so a dual core would give better speed would it not?
  8. Jul 6, 2014 #7
    What is your budget? Are you sure you're going to need to use Mathematica?
  9. Jul 6, 2014 #8
    My budget is around $300 possibly closer to $400 and yes I'm positive I'll be using mathematica in my math classes and labs. I found a thinkpad t410 2.53 GHz for 299 but would prefer to not buy a refurbished laptop for any potential problems they may have.
  10. Jul 6, 2014 #9


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    It depends which operating system you will be using. Windows XP, 7 and 8 appear to support multiple logical cores, the maximum number depending on the flavor of Windows installed:



  11. Jul 6, 2014 #10
    With that tight of a budget, a refurbished laptop is going to be the best you can do.

    Here's two that would be on the high end of your budget; the specs are great for the price:


    Here's one just inside your budget, specs are still great for the price.

    This one is well within your budget, but it is a bit lacking, you get what you pay for:

    Alternatively, you could always consider building a desktop computer, you'll get more bang for your buck, but obviously you won't have the freedom of a laptop.

    I don't know that I would recommend the laptop that you mentioned, its already quite old, I see a cnet review of it from 2010.
  12. Jul 7, 2014 #11
    I'm about to finish college, and I can honestly say that, school work aside, I've used my computer for atleast 90% of my entertainment. Understandably, a budget is a budget, but something like this would be great.. and is well worth the price.


    Something that would be great for watching movies, and even a little gaming here and there.
  13. Jul 7, 2014 #12
    That's exactly what i was looking for thank you. If my budget allows it i'd love to get the first laptop you linked and the fact that it actually has decent reviews is always a plus.

    That's mostly what I use my computers for as well. If I didn't think the flexibility of a laptop would be invaluable I'd just save myself a coupe hundred bucks as I have a HP Touchsmart 300 desktop that could run mathematica.
  14. Jul 7, 2014 #13
    Honestly I would go with the second on I linked over the first one. Its got a dedicated graphics card, which is a very low end card, its still better than integrated graphics. Which means 3d graphing on Mathematica should work better. And you'll be able to multitask a bit better with certain things using the video card rather than your processor.

    And on a side note, with whatever you get, first thing you need to as soon as you can afford it, is buy an SSD drive and replace the stock HDD. It will make a world of difference.
  15. Jul 7, 2014 #14
    That's true I didn't think about that. Thanks for all your help I had no idea what kind of laptop I was supposed to be looking for honestly.
  16. Jul 7, 2014 #15


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    Latest issue of Consumer Reorts has an article on this question. Also for pre-k, elem., and Hi.
  17. Jul 27, 2014 #16
    Sorry this is a bit late and off topic after reading everythign you guys posted and browsing around I decided to hold off for now on buying a laptop in the hopes of finding a good deal on a higher end model. With that being said i found the laptop ive been looking at for awhile as a discounted refurb. However ive never had any purchase experience with a site called Woot and have seen some bad reviews for it. Can anyone here vouch for it? With the option to add a square trade warranty it doesnt look to be that bad of a risk and a pretty good deal assuming the laptop is in good working order. The laptop in question is http://computers.woot.com/offers/hp-envy-15-6-intel-i7-quad-core-laptop?ref=ref%3Dcnt_wp_0_8
  18. Jul 27, 2014 #17
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