Tech College Laptop Time (Read 1873 times)

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So my graduation gift, as it has been in the past with other members of my family, is the obligatory college laptop. I'm still really deciding between a Mac or a regular laptop, so I suppose I'll go through the rundown of what I'd use it for:

  • Digital Art (Photoshop)
  • Word Processing
  • Movie Storage
  • Some games (perhaps)
  • Programming applications (depending on my major)
  • Other basic programs
  • Lots of additional space
So it's not as if I'm saying "choose a laptop for me" or any of that; I'm really asking which ones you might suggest from you personal experience, and which ones you'd shy away from. Were there laptops you got that you regret purchasing? There are some brands that I'm definitely going to try to stay away from, most notably being Dell (which has proven to be a bad brand of laptops, from what I've experienced) and Acer (it just seems too slow and clunky). The Macs seem quite nice, but I'm a bit worried as to how my files might end up when I transferred them to a different operating program. Also, the amount of space that Macs offer seems to be rather small when compared to a regular PC.

The stories I've heard about Vista have been varied (some recommend and some condone), but the gist of what I've gathered from it is that it's high level of security can act like a double-edged sword. I tend to have a variety of programs on my computer, so has anyone run into problems running certain applications or files?

I'm also looking to purchase another external hard drive (Western Digital has worked quite well, so far) so any suggestions for that would be nice, as well.

There's really no price limit on what I can get (though under $2000 is preferable), so ...
Last Edit: June 05, 2008, 12:25:02 am by WunderBread
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My mistake when buying a laptop for school was going too cheap. With a limit like $2000 like you say, that should not be a problem at all though.

I spent about 600.
This thing barely can handle vista's madness yet they decided to have it pre-installed anyway!
fuck it all, dd is dead
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I bought an Asus laptop for uni. It has decent specs for the amount I paid and it hasn't given me much bother. As far as Vista is concerned, I wouldn't go out of my way to get it but if it comes pre-installed it'll do everything you need it to do.
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Sorry, hijacking this topic a little bit but I'm currently looking for a laptop as well (around 1300-1400 max?)

Is this one any good or are there better deals?

http://store.shopfujitsu.com/fpc/Ecommerce/buildseriesbean.do?series=A6120

Looking at the $1,149 one.
Also, would getting the extra gb of ram and "intel turbo memory" be worth it?
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Well, from the people I know, the Thinkpad series of laptops is REALLY FREAKING NICE.  They're durable, lightweight, look decent enough, and they are reasonably priced as far as I can tell, especially for their quality.
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Wow, for $2,000, you should be able to buy an incredibly nice laptop.

get a dell laptop. They're well-priced, have good battery life, and are fucking indestructable, which is an often overlooked quality in a flimsy piece of expensive hardware.

That’s right, you have the young gaming with the old(er), white people gaming with black people, men and women, Asian countries gaming with the EU, North Americans gaming with South Americans. Much like world sporting events like the Wolrd Cup, or the Olympics will bring together different nations in friendly competition, (note the recent Asian Cup; Iraq vs. Saudi Arabia, no violence there) we come together. The differences being, we are not divided by our nationalities and we do it 24-7, and on a personal level.

We are a community without borders and without colours, the spirit and diversity of the gaming community is one that should be looked up to, a spirit and diversity other groups should strive toward.
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Well, from the people I know, the Thinkpad series of laptops is REALLY FREAKING NICE.  They're durable, lightweight, look decent enough, and they are reasonably priced as far as I can tell, especially for their quality.
They look pretty cool (and hey look, the display moves!) but the list of features on the comparison section of the site seems to be all over the place with different models. I'll see if they have them in a local store, though, so I can take a look.

Wow, for $2,000, you should be able to buy an incredibly nice laptop.

get a dell laptop. They're well-priced, have good battery life, and are fucking indestructable, which is an often overlooked quality in a flimsy piece of expensive hardware.
Ugh, but I've had too many bad experiences with them. Both of my sisters have Dells, which constantly fail on them and whatnot. We've had a Dell computer that's failed after only a few years. And the vents are at the bottom so that they can't even put them on their laps because it'll burn them. I'm not sure if most of them come like this, but what's the point of a laptop if you can't put it on your lap?

Their prices and features are usually more generous, though, which constantly makes me question my decision against them. :P

On a humourous little side note, we went to Best Buy to pick up some ink today and my father, my second cousin, and some poor Best Buy employee all got into this Mac vs. PC debate that I could hear on the other side of the store. I went to the end of the strip mall to check out some stuff at Michael's, bought some candy, and mosied on back (a good twenty minute journey in total) to find that they were still arguing. It's funny how heated those discussions get. :rolleyes:
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My Dell doesn't fail on me unless I'm constantly closing and opening it with high-memory apps running, which admittedly I shouldn't be doing. It does run extremely hot however, it's possible it generates half as much heat as a desktop.

That’s right, you have the young gaming with the old(er), white people gaming with black people, men and women, Asian countries gaming with the EU, North Americans gaming with South Americans. Much like world sporting events like the Wolrd Cup, or the Olympics will bring together different nations in friendly competition, (note the recent Asian Cup; Iraq vs. Saudi Arabia, no violence there) we come together. The differences being, we are not divided by our nationalities and we do it 24-7, and on a personal level.

We are a community without borders and without colours, the spirit and diversity of the gaming community is one that should be looked up to, a spirit and diversity other groups should strive toward.
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Well, my brother had a Dell for a while (I don't remember the name, but it was like the first 12.1" one they put out), but about a year or so ago he bought a MacBook Pro, and he says he infinitely prefers the Mac.  Dells are sort of well-priced if you can find the deals they seem to constantly have going on, but my experience with looking into buying them is a lot of the time they come with lackluster base settings, and the upgrades are ridiculously overpriced.  With stuff like RAM you can do it yourself, but that's not always the case.  I don't know much about the current line of Dells, but MacBook Pros have pretty speedy processors, GPUs that are significantly better than what you typically find in a notebook (maybe the XPS laptops are like this too, idk), they by default come with a pretty good amount of RAM, and obviously large hard drives is a given.  I'm positive you can get one under $2000, especially if you can work a student discount in there.

Plus, it's really nice to have the screen size of a 15.4" without having to deal with the weight that usually comes with it, as the MBP's surprisingly light, and even though it's bigger than a 12 or 13" laptop, its dimensions aren't substantially larger, especially its thickness or depth or whatever.  Also MAYBE of note is the fact that it's easily got the best keyboard I've ever used on a notebook and the keys light up in the dark, which is actually pretty handy sometimes, and it's one of those things you don't realize you appreciate so much until you've had it.  The screen's pretty nice, too.  His old Dell and some other ones I've seen have that reflective coating shit on them, and idk if they're still doing that, but it's really annoying outside or in bright rooms.  We're both fans of OSX, and in fact I'd probably opt for it over Windows if I had the cash around to buy a decent Mac, and I'm pretty sure it can easily do all of the things you're talking about doing (there's Bootcamp or whatever it's called for partitioning your drive and running Windows on one of the partitions, if gaming is really your thing.  From what I saw just playing a few, it worked at what seemed to be full speed, and it was definitely better than whatever inter-OSX Windows emulation people had to use before).

So yeah, maybe consider one of those.
Last Edit: June 05, 2008, 04:41:28 am by headphonics
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And the vents are at the bottom so that they can't even put them on their laps because it'll burn them. I'm not sure if most of them come like this, but what's the point of a laptop if you can't put it on your lap?

A good number of people use laptops on desks and other surfaces since craning down to use it on your lap is horrible posture. You could even throw a tshirt or towel or even it's own case underneath it if it's uncomfortable on your lap.
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Well, my brother had a Dell for a while (I don't remember the name, but it was like the first 12.1" one they put out), but about a year or so ago he bought a MacBook Pro, and he says he infinitely prefers the Mac.  Dells are sort of well-priced if you can find the deals they seem to constantly have going on, but my experience with looking into buying them is a lot of the time they come with lackluster base settings, and the upgrades are ridiculously overpriced.  With stuff like RAM you can do it yourself, but that's not always the case.  I don't know much about the current line of Dells, but MacBook Pros have pretty speedy processors, GPUs that are significantly better than what you typically find in a notebook (maybe the XPS laptops are like this too, idk), they by default come with a pretty good amount of RAM, and obviously large hard drives is a given.  I'm positive you can get one under $2000, especially if you can work a student discount in there.

Plus, it's really nice to have the screen size of a 15.4" without having to deal with the weight that usually comes with it, as the MBP's surprisingly light, and even though it's bigger than a 12 or 13" laptop, its dimensions aren't substantially larger, especially its thickness or depth or whatever.  Also MAYBE of note is the fact that it's easily got the best keyboard I've ever used on a notebook and the keys light up in the dark, which is actually pretty handy sometimes, and it's one of those things you don't realize you appreciate so much until you've had it.  The screen's pretty nice, too.  His old Dell and some other ones I've seen have that reflective coating shit on them, and idk if they're still doing that, but it's really annoying outside or in bright rooms.  We're both fans of OSX, and in fact I'd probably opt for it over Windows if I had the cash around to buy a decent Mac, and I'm pretty sure it can easily do all of the things you're talking about doing (there's Bootcamp or whatever it's called for partitioning your drive and running Windows on one of the partitions, if gaming is really your thing.  From what I saw just playing a few, it worked at what seemed to be full speed, and it was definitely better than whatever inter-OSX Windows emulation people had to use before).

So yeah, maybe consider one of those.

MBPs do come with the same GPU as the XPS M1530 (8600GT DDR3).   Just as a clarification, bootcamp (making a partition for windows) "seems" to run at full speed because it does.  Since Apple switched over to intel chipsets (the MBP has a C2D processor), it runs windows natively as it would on a PC. 

I own a MBP and they are quite excellent machines.  The only thing I would mention is that they are often targets of theft though, (as is any laptop, but it seems the MBPs and the Macbooks moreso) so invest in a good lock or something.
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If your going to play games some of the time, and only the really popular games and your doing arty stuff, get a mac. No competition, if i didn't play so many games that are unavalable to MAC i would install MAC OSX 64bit or whatever one works. MAC OSX is far better stuff built in for free like a music making and managing software, good art software, move software and it look amazinf too. like i say, i would update in a heart beat if what i did wasn't so dependong in vista "screw you for more money" 64bit.
Last Edit: June 05, 2008, 06:01:52 pm by Swordfish
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i hope by "music managing" you don't mean itunes because itunes is one the biggest loads of bullshit i've ever touched

I'm not sure if you can really say that OSX is better for art and movie stuff, but based from the proprietary stuff, it is more inclined towards it than windows is
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I haven't had much good experience with notebooks, but as a prospective laptop purchaser I would look into the new HP laptops. They have a really sexy design to them. With $2000 to spend I'm sure any PC or Mac you get will deliver jaw-droppingly awesome performance.

Also Macbooks do kind of suck for running Windows if for no other reason than that they do not have a right mouse button. Easily fixed with the addition of a mouse, but worth noting.

Also Swordfish what are you talking about. This isn't 1992, all Adobe shit runs exactly the same on Windows as it does on Mac. Finder has some quirks but it is more-or-less the same as Explorer. Garageband is really noob software and I guarentee no pro would use it (but it is admittedly pretty fun to monkey around with, it's just not serious).
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I'm a big Mac fan and think you should get one. You'll like it. When in doubt, ask rami (everybody knows rami's the one you should LOOK AT for advice)!
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You guys are really awesome for these suggestions.  :) While I'm still looking openly at all the stuff in the stores, I'm leaning a bit more toward the MacBook Pro (although the price might be a bit of a gamble with my dad). Seems like they offer a $200 discount and a free iPod if I buy a notebook (student discount). Even then, though, the other laptops are a lot cheaper... so if the price is a bit too crazy for the parents, I'll probably look at some other brands.
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i hope by "music managing" you don't mean itunes because itunes is one the biggest loads of bullshit i've ever touched

I'm not sure if you can really say that OSX is better for art and movie stuff, but based from the proprietary stuff, it is more inclined towards it than windows is
wrong kind of music managing :P i wasn't talking about itunes, theres software that helps to manage your tracks and addeffects when your making music like say for a band.

i wasn't talking about Adobe stuff, i was talking about in genreral, like say for example the 3D software i use would infact run way better in a MAC os enviroment.
Last Edit: June 05, 2008, 10:05:11 pm by Swordfish
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wrong kind of music managing :P i wasn't talking about itunes, theres software that helps to manage your tracks and addeffects when your making music like say for a band.

i wasn't talking about Adobe stuff, i was talking about in genreral, like say for example the 3D software i use would infact run way better in a MAC os enviroment.

i've never heard multi-tracking referred to as managing before but okay
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i wasn't talking about Adobe stuff, i was talking about in genreral, like say for example the 3D software i use would infact run way better in a MAC os enviroment.
Proof?
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there's absolutely no reason to use a mac laptop other than it's mostly idiot-proof for the average user... and effective marketing.

That’s right, you have the young gaming with the old(er), white people gaming with black people, men and women, Asian countries gaming with the EU, North Americans gaming with South Americans. Much like world sporting events like the Wolrd Cup, or the Olympics will bring together different nations in friendly competition, (note the recent Asian Cup; Iraq vs. Saudi Arabia, no violence there) we come together. The differences being, we are not divided by our nationalities and we do it 24-7, and on a personal level.

We are a community without borders and without colours, the spirit and diversity of the gaming community is one that should be looked up to, a spirit and diversity other groups should strive toward.