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What is the best laptop to buy a physics major?

  1. Oct 20, 2012 #1


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    Currently I am in Grade 10 (Math and Physics 11) and next year my mother will be purchasing me a laptop for school purposes. I plan on majoring in physics in university, so I was wondering what sort of laptop I should get. The only reason I am worrying about this right now is because I don't want to have to buy a new laptop when I am in university and I discover that the one I have might not be the best. Thank you.
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 20, 2012 #2


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    Gold Member

    Get one that has a wireless card. Done! Nothing else is necessary.
  4. Oct 20, 2012 #3


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    Thanks, but if you don't mind me asking, why?
    (sorry, I don't know a lot about computers)
  5. Oct 21, 2012 #4
    Any laptop will work. RAM is probably the first thing that will give you trouble over time, so don't skimp on that. More important that what computer you get is what OS and software you use. If you end up doing anything that requires computer models, you will probably be using a UNIX/Linux server. For this it is easiest if you are running Linux or Mac OS on your computer, but there are programs that will allow a Windows OS to run a bash shell (my friend uses putty I think?).

    My friends that are doing more experimental work often use Windows. I think most experimental software runs on Linux and Mac as well, but their prof. uses Windows. I can only speak from my experience, but most of my professors were Linux people until the university bought them Apples!

    I think Pengwuino's point is that any computer that goes online will do what you need it to do. Until this year, 75% of what I did on my computer was read articles online and look up terms that I didn't understand from my text books. The other 25% of my school computer use was using a graphing program to see complicated functions, using a spreadsheet, and [itex]\LaTeX[/itex].
  6. Oct 21, 2012 #5


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    Thanks, I will take this into consideration when purchasing a laptop.
  7. Oct 21, 2012 #6


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    oh and one more thing, is there any specific laptop anyone would recommend?
  8. Oct 21, 2012 #7


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    Staff: Mentor

    He's referring to being able to access the internet remotely, I believe all new laptops will allow you to connect to WiFi, but beware of buying a laptop that has some cellular company's broadband card pre-installed (not the same as accessing WiFi). It may be hard to avoid, it's become common for cell phone companies and laptop makers to strike deals. You may not want to use the cell phone company's card that is pre-installed, they could have poor coverage in your area and have very expensive rates. You can still purchase a broadband card from your preferred carrier, but you'll have to disable the imbedded card to avoid conflicts that will prevent your card from working.
  9. Oct 21, 2012 #8


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    Science Advisor
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    So are you asking about the brand ? This is a tricky question and there are thousands of pages on the internet about 1 laptop versus another, especially on the computer dedicated forums. The budget / price range should be a factor limiting the essentially endless possibilities.

    P.S. I'm quite satisfied with mine, which is made by the world's biggest selling electronics manufacturer, even though in the notebook/laptop segment they are very new on the market.
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