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How impt is a lappy to you during your undergrad years?

  1. May 26, 2008 #1
    question as above, entering this fall, I wouldnt really want to buy one if I didnt really have the need to, btw, im not staying on campus, i have my own place.
  2. jcsd
  3. May 26, 2008 #2
    Usually it's not necessary. It depends on how you like to do things and what you're studying, for example it would be reasonably useful for Computer Science majors.
  4. May 26, 2008 #3
    i went without my first two years, as I was more keen on keeping a powerful desktop (for work and more importantly gaming) but I got a laptop as a gift after my second year and I couldn't imagine my life without it. I loaded it with MatLab, Maple, Origin, etc and use it for all my research now. I am typing on it at the moment from my research lab. I don't think its necessary but it is so nice and convenient to have.
  5. May 26, 2008 #4
    I was thinking about getting a tablet PC (most probably a Lenovo one), so that I wouldn't have to keep multiple binders and notebooks, but merely write my notes on my laptop, and store it on my laptop.

    Would it be worth getting a tablet PC for this reason?
  6. May 26, 2008 #5


    laptop = source of all distractions

    I am 10% more productive when I work without laptop
  7. May 26, 2008 #6
    I liked logging on to the campus network and downloading off the DC++ network at lighting speeds. I had to lug that big desktop back and forth for four years, but every gig of tv shows and movies and games was worth it.

    More importantly, if the computer labs or the library computers are always full at the times you need to use the computer the most, then it helps to have a laptop with you. And if I could buy a new laptop, I would pick the lightest and most thinnest laptop I could get because it gets annoying to carry one around with your textbooks and papers.
  8. May 26, 2008 #7


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    It might be... I use mine for notes and calculations.
    Here is my contribution to the PF blog (although my username is missing):
    https://www.physicsforums.com/blog/2006/05/20/tabletpcs-for-science-and-science-teaching/ [Broken]

    Admittedly, I'm not a student any more... (my undergrad days were a while back)... but I am a faculty member.

    I think the bottom line is that you should arm yourself with whatever makes you personally more productive. The TabletPC works well for me.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 3, 2017
  9. May 27, 2008 #8
    Nice! Some of those programs you've put down in that link look really useful (especially the physics simulator from Microsoft, and the math programs).

    I've got to show it to my parents, and try and convince them that a tablet my actually be a good idea for university!

    However, I too am concerned that it will end up being somewhat of a distraction for me...but that's really up to me I guess: will I be weak willed and squander a useful tool and hurt my productivity, or take advantage of it?
    Last edited by a moderator: May 3, 2017
  10. May 27, 2008 #9
    I use a Tablet PC to take all of my notes. As long as you can resist the temptation to turn on the wireless or whatever you should be fine. I really like having all my notes organized and in one place. There is also the trouble of sometimes forgetting to charge your battery.

    It really depends on what kind of person you are. If you are going to let yourself be distracted then it might not be a great idea. I do my work surrounded by distractions 90% of the time (i.e. I do most of my homework in the living room of my fraternity), but the other 10% of the time I'll go some place quiet to do it. If your school likes to put homework online (like MasteringPhysics) then having a laptop is very convienient because then you aren't stuck in front of your desktop to do it.
  11. May 27, 2008 #10

    Is it the Laptop or the internet? All people I know that get distracted is from internet, learn enough self-control to turn that off and you are good to go.
  12. May 27, 2008 #11
  13. May 27, 2008 #12
    Those games they get from DC++ ...
    I know so many people who play games like world of warcraft during lecture time.
  14. May 27, 2008 #13


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    I own laptops only. Desktops are a waste.

    My laptop is equipped with everything I need. I can bring it to my desk at home and easily hook it up to surround sound, my mouse and anything else I need. Plus, I can take it anywhere.
  15. May 27, 2008 #14
    You can make an argument to this end for many students, especially dorm dwellers. OTOH I tend to have 3-4 "desktop" systems at home at any given time, in addition to a laptop or two...it depends a lot on the individual, and what you want to be doing.

    The most important thing is to make sure you have the workspace and tools necessary such that you don't lose time because of them. It works both ways. But when you're spending craptons of money directly or indirectly on your education, something like a $500 computer is cheap if it makes you more efficient.
  16. May 27, 2008 #15


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    I built my own desktop and I like the ability to upgrade it and interchange parts without having to buy a whole new computer. Not to mention it's several hundred dollars cheaper for the same amount of computer power, and I never have to worry about my desktop overheating or making me sterile from having it on my lap.
  17. May 27, 2008 #16
    I like having both the laptop and the desktop to work on.

    I usually take my tablet pc and pda with me. The tablet pc is great for taking notes or working away from home, and since I do not use it as my main pc, I do not see the need to constantly upgrade to the latest and greatest. I have an 30 month old Toshiba running XP 2005 that is more than sufficient.

    But, I use my desktop workstation at home. Having large, multiple monitors, RAID, and a fast processor makes it much more suited to serious work. I just use synctoy to keep my laptop and desktop up to date.

    If your space or budget is limited you may be better off with a desktop-replacement style of laptop.
  18. May 27, 2008 #17


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    That's a bit of an extreme comment. One of the main advantages of a laptop is obviously easy portability - a very strong advantage. What can forum readers say about the long term stability of their desktops compared to their laptops? I have dealt with 3 different desktops which I used somewhat sequentially since about 10 years ago. One of them is still in use from time to time, about 8 years old, which I used almost everyday for 3 years, very little trouble. I also have a laptop computer which I used almost daily for a year and now its hard disk drive is too sick for any practical use. Why the desktops remained in better working condition for a few years but the laptop became "too sick to work" after just over 1 year of use?

    My impression is that desktops may last longer. Main problem is that they are not as easily transportable.
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