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Help with decision making in buying a graphing calculator

  1. May 16, 2008 #1
    Hi
    For higher mathematics i need the highest featured calculator and since graphing calculators are generally expensive (at least for me) so that's why I'm investing some time in researching Online b4 I buy so that i can shell money only once to buy a graphing calculator which is so powerful in the built-in functions and other features:

    I am interested in one of the following models but confused to which one i should go with:

    1) Casio Algebra FX 2.0 PLUS
    2) Casio FX-9860G
    3) HP 50g

    ------------------------------------------

    Questions:
    1) Regarding 1) and 2). Which of these are more up to date (regarding functionality) than the other?

    2) On the Algebra FX 2.0 Plus page, they say that there is a Backup-One lithium battery(CR2032) so does that mean its role is just to protect the memory while I'm swapping the 4 AAA sized batteries or it's role is to supply power with the 4 AAA batteries ?

    3) What's the role of the SD card in the SD model of Casio FX-9860G

    Waiting for any feedback and Thanks in advance
     
  2. jcsd
  3. May 16, 2008 #2
    Have you looked at the Texas Instruments line? I have a TI200 graphing calculator and its awesome...at least for my work.
     
  4. May 16, 2008 #3
    did u mean the voyager calculator (with the qwerty keyboard)?
     
  5. May 16, 2008 #4
  6. May 16, 2008 #5
    Where are you at in your mathematics sequence?
    I just finished Calculus II along with Linear Algebra, and used a TI-84+ because symbolic calculators that perform indefinite integrals (eg. TI-89) are not permitted on exams.

    I did pick up a TI-89 Titanium this year though, along with the accompanying Dummy's manual to learn all it's little tricks for Multivariate and Diff-EQ this upcoming year.
     
  7. May 16, 2008 #6
    I like my TI-89 Titanium.
     
  8. May 16, 2008 #7
    TI-89 Titanium is where it's at. But, of course, it all depends on what you're using it for. As an engineer... it'll be your best friend.

    But now that I've switched to pure math, I find that I never really use it anymore. None of the math courses I've taken in university have allowed any type of calculators (Calc III, Linear Algebra, Differential Equations, Modern Algebra, Representation Theory)

    Take care
     
  9. May 16, 2008 #8
    I recently got the hp50g and it is awesome! I've already solved differential equations numerically and analytically, derivatives, integrals, prime factorization, dimensional analysis... and I've only had it for a couple of weeks! Well I'm a bit excited, I haven't had a graphing calculator since the ti-85 since high school, and both companies have definitely been making improvements since then.

    Compared to the ti (89) the hp might be weak on the statistics programs. Anyway one thing I can say is that the debate between calculators has nothing to do with algebraic versus rpn anymore. HP has both modes, and you can get a program to be able to use rpn on the ti. So you can use your favorite mode on either calculator.

    Also want to address the allegedly steep learning curve that the hp supposedly has-- everytime I want to do something it logically falls in the appropriate menu (if it's calculus related for example, look under CALC) and I just have to look up the syntax for calling the function in the manual. I really don't find it that difficult, and I don't understand why it has such a reputation for being difficult.
     
  10. May 16, 2008 #9

    f95toli

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    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    You do know that you won't be allowed to use a calculator in most math exams?
    Not that it would be of much help anyway, you are almost never asked to actually calculate anything in "higher math" anyway (I don't think I ever used my calculator at university).
    My point is that you are not likely to ever NEED a high spec calculator; although occasionally it is useful (or at least fun).
     
  11. May 16, 2008 #10
    Sorry guys i forgot to mention that i am a brand new Math. teacher so i don't have the same restriction which students have on exams and stuff. I just need the most advanced, yet easy to use machine to give me a hand whenever i need it in most of the branches i deal with (differentiation and integration both symbolically and numerically, graphing in 2D and 3D, Algebra...etc)
    Thank u once again for all yr suggestions. I am still analyzing yr inputs though

    EXCUSE ME but i don't know what "RPN" stand for ?!
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2008
  12. May 16, 2008 #11
    I use a combination of a TI-84, a scientific calculator, and a lightweight laptop with a CAS program installed. If you're a math teacher, hopefully you developed a similar comfortable tool set during your undergrad years? For the most part, keep using what you're comfortable with.

    It is a little weird that you're asking a question usually raised by and in terms usually used by high school students and undergrads with a minimal undergraduate background. I'm guessing education major, not math major?

    It hurts to see a math teacher using that sort of English, BTW. >_<
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2008
  13. May 16, 2008 #12
  14. May 16, 2008 #13
    Well, the battery life and processing power might be better with something a little larger. Maybe in the 3-4 lb range? But the Eee is certainly nice if appropriate for your intended usage pattern.
     
  15. May 16, 2008 #14
    Either ti-89 or hp-50g will do what you want. Texas Instruments is very teacher friendly, and if you're going to be sharing programs, tutorials etc with your students, they will have ti calculators anyway.

    RPN=Reverse Polish Notation. It uses a stack for entering in numbers and retaining intermediate expressions. You have to focus on figuring out the order of operations yourself and working your way outwards. The nice thing is that it's faster and you get to see the intermediate expressions as you go along-- which means that you'll catch your mistakes quicker!

    If that doesn't make sense just google for an rpn simulator and you can play around with it yourself.
     
  16. May 17, 2008 #15
    Yes.

    RPN stands for Reverse Polish Notation.
     
  17. May 17, 2008 #16
    I'm not sure what's funny in here?!. My aim was to have almost all the features needed if i am teaching whatever branch (whether it's calculus or geometry or Algebra and sometimes i have some free readings in Statistics although i can't teach it coz i am not specialized in it). So choosing a good up-to-date model is cost effective for me coz i'll be sure that I can check the solutions of almost whatever problems that i likely to meet on this machine without the need to upgrade it if i discovered that my current calculator misses some functionality which i really need. That's all

    And thanks 4 all yr inputs guys, I think i am settled with the HP50g and yeah, this is my nature (to investigate the stuff which i need to buy very carefully before i go and buy it blindly and then discover that it wasn't the smartest choice)
     
  18. May 17, 2008 #17
    Well, I am kind of a fresh graduate (2 years in teaching) and my major was Math not education and I'm not sure what's wrong with my English ?! It's not my mother language so you can expect some tiny mistakes here and there! Or are you complaining because I'm using too much abbreviations ? (e.g. "u" instead "you" and "4" instead of "for"...etc)
     
  19. May 17, 2008 #18
    If you don't plan on teaching at any level higher than Calculus I or II, then go with a TI-84+ as this is the standard calculator (along with the previous generation TI-83) that is used in most courses from Algebra through Calculus II. It also has very nice regression functions for Statistics.

    The TI-89 will solve indefinite integrals and derivatives, and is not allowed on Calculus exams in most schools.
     
  20. May 17, 2008 #19
    I agree with this, all of my students have either an 83 or an 84, and they got them when they started in Algebra I. Also those calculators are allowed on the ACT and the 89 and 50g are not.
     
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