Laptop for college

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Lwheeler4 Offline
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Laptop for college

Posted: Fri Jul 08, 2011 8:50 pm



So this fall I'm going to be starting at sdsu and I've been looking around for a laptop to buy
I'm going to be majoring in mechanical engineering and I have a basic knowledge of computers. I have windows xp on my computer at home and am very comfortable with it but I've used windows 7 on other people's computers and find it pretty easy to navigate too.
Basically I've been shopping around and can't find a specific laptop that would be better than others in terms of their specs.
I want a good sized hard drive, at least 300 GB or around there. Also i'm looking for it to have a good video and audio card so I can watch high quality movies and listen to music.
Whenever I go out shopping for laptops though I end up trying to pick one basically on their appearance and I know this is a mistake. I was hoping I could get some advice on which brand or specific type of laptop would benefit me the most in college. My price range is around $500. Anything more than that and I may as well go for one of the $700 ones and get a free Xbox from microsoft but I'm really not that interested in that.

Any advice is very much appreciated! :o
Lawrence Wheeler

Oxnard High School
C/O 2011 - Snare
San Diego State University
Fall '11 - Snare


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Re: Laptop for college

Posted: Fri Jul 08, 2011 11:54 pm



The laptop i purchased was the HP dv6t Select Edition. I bought it online through HP's academic discount site. I paid around $740 and I got a FREE Xbox 360 with it as part of Windows' college promotion. The following link that i am providing DOES NOT have the education discount that will be applied when you apply for HP Academy.
http://www.shopping.hp.com/webapp/shopp ... tse_series" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

I am using Microsoft Office 2010, Sibelius 6, iTunes, and Chrome as my main programs and they run smoothly on my machine and I haven't had any problems with it. The Dr. Dre Beats audio is simply AMAZING, especially when you plug in headphones into the laptop. The speakers work perfectly well.

My Specs
2nd Gen Intel i5 2.3 GHz
1GB GDDR5 Radeon HD Graphics*
6GB RAM*
640GB 5400RPM Hard Drive
FREE 15 months of Norton Internet Security
15.6" High Def display (1366x768)
HD Web Cam
Beats Audio
Full island style keypad with numeric pad

*FREE upgrades i had at the time I ordered my laptop (May 31, 2011) they vary time to time

I highly suggest checking if your college has some sort of laptop and software discount deal.

If you got any questions on this laptop or any other questions just let me know.
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Lwheeler4 Offline
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Re: Laptop for college

Posted: Wed Jul 20, 2011 7:11 pm



I never got to thank you for your post man, it helped me so much in my search for a laptop.
I've basically narrowed it down to 3 choices that are all very similar.

1
2
3

The first one has an Intel i7 processor and under the specs it says the processor speed is 2.0GHz (with Turbo Boost up to 2.9GHz).
However the other two have an Intel i5 processor and it says the processor speed is 2.3GHz (with Turbo Boost up to 2.9GHz).
This seems strange because I assumed the i7 would be better for some reason. And it is especially strange because the first one is about $150 more and the only difference seems to be the processor. Can you please shed some light on this strange situation? Haha

Also another thing I was wondering about is if I will notice a difference between 6gb and 8gb of RAM? It's not much more expensive but it seems like that is just a massive amount of memory that I will never use, but it's only $20 more.
I will probably go with the 3rd one unless you have some advice on why to get a different one.

Thanks for your help! :o
Lawrence Wheeler

Oxnard High School
C/O 2011 - Snare
San Diego State University
Fall '11 - Snare


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Re: Laptop for college

Posted: Wed Jul 20, 2011 7:46 pm



An i7 processor has 4 physical processor cores and 8 virtual cores. An i5 processor has 3 physical processors and 6 virtual cores. The obvious upshot is that the i7, while it may have lesser processor speed, has another entire core to operate on.

A word about HP's: They tend to overheat, a lot. As a comparison, I've had my new Sony VAIO on pretty much all day, and it's still cool.
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Lwheeler4 Offline
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Re: Laptop for college

Posted: Wed Jul 20, 2011 7:51 pm



So what exactly does it mean if it has another core to operate on?
Sorry if this is has an obvious answer but I really don't know much about how computers work internally.

And thanks for the comment about heating, I will definitely take that into consideration.
I saw some nice Sony VAIOs when I was looking but most weren't aesthetically pleasing to me. I'll check them out again though.
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San Diego State University
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Re: Laptop for college

Posted: Wed Jul 20, 2011 9:31 pm



Each core has its own certain specifications of processing power. Each one can be utilized independently of the others. What it boils down to is that 4 2.0GHz cores is more processing power than 3 2.3GHz cores.
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Re: Laptop for college

Posted: Wed Jul 20, 2011 9:34 pm



Oh, okay. That makes a lot of sense. Thanks for clearing that up for me.
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Re: Laptop for college

Posted: Thu Jul 28, 2011 7:20 pm



mac
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Re: Laptop for college

Posted: Fri Jul 29, 2011 12:33 pm



cthefisch wrote:mac
I would hate to have a Mac. I hear some good things about Toshiba.
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Re: Laptop for college

Posted: Fri Jul 29, 2011 4:39 pm



cthefisch wrote:mac
Overpriced, fragile, closed-source piece of garbage.
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Re: Laptop for college

Posted: Fri Jul 29, 2011 7:55 pm



I've been using only my Lenovo since I got it last October, practically every day, and I have yet to have a problem with it. It's running Windows 7 64-Bit, 4gb RAM, 320gb hard drive, Intel 2.00 GHz. 15.6" HD display, so it looks pretty nice, and it runs all my sound software on it pretty well.

Oh, and it cost me maybe half of what a MacBook costs, too. :P

I want to say that the programs you'll be using will probably be PC-based (don't quote me on that 100%), so you might want to stay on that side.
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Re: Laptop for college

Posted: Fri Jul 29, 2011 10:01 pm



I ended up getting this HP.
It was on sale in the store and I really liked all the specs, except now that I bring it home I think it's slightly too big.
I'm trying to decide if I should keep it or return it and get something a little smaller.

For all you college students out there, how often would you say you take your laptop to your classes? Or do you usually just not take one?
Lawrence Wheeler

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San Diego State University
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Randall112 Offline
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Re: Laptop for college

Posted: Fri Jul 29, 2011 10:09 pm



AWA wrote:
cthefisch wrote:mac
Overpriced, fragile, closed-source piece of garbage.
I have a Mac. I like it. End of story.
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Re: Laptop for college

Posted: Fri Jul 29, 2011 10:23 pm



Lwheeler4 wrote:I ended up getting this HP.
It was on sale in the store and I really liked all the specs, except now that I bring it home I think it's slightly too big.
I'm trying to decide if I should keep it or return it and get something a little smaller.

For all you college students out there, how often would you say you take your laptop to your classes? Or do you usually just not take one?
8GB of RAM on a i5, with HP's heatsinks... best to buy a cooling pad to go with it or it WILL overheat.
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Lwheeler4 Offline
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Re: Laptop for college

Posted: Fri Jul 29, 2011 11:41 pm



AWA wrote:
Lwheeler4 wrote:I ended up getting this HP.
It was on sale in the store and I really liked all the specs, except now that I bring it home I think it's slightly too big.
I'm trying to decide if I should keep it or return it and get something a little smaller.

For all you college students out there, how often would you say you take your laptop to your classes? Or do you usually just not take one?
8GB of RAM on a i5, with HP's heatsinks... best to buy a cooling pad to go with it or it WILL overheat.
Actually it's really cool because the battery kind of bulges out giving the bottom some distance from whatever surface it is on.
But I will probably invest in a cooling pad as well.
Lawrence Wheeler

Oxnard High School
C/O 2011 - Snare
San Diego State University
Fall '11 - Snare


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Re: Laptop for college

Posted: Sun Aug 07, 2011 11:03 pm



AWA wrote:
cthefisch wrote:mac
Overpriced, fragile, closed-source piece of garbage.
umadbro?

Macs are much better for everyday use, hands down. I have both windows and mac, and I enjoy it quite a lot. I use my mac for everyday things, like browsing the internet, watching videos/movies, etc. and I use my laptop for writing papers (because I don't have office on my mac). Macs are just far easier to navigate, much more user friendly, easy to use. Perfect for basically 99% of your average college needs.
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Re: Laptop for college

Posted: Tue Aug 09, 2011 12:18 pm



And if you do happen to be in a situation where you need to run a lot of Windows programs, you can always buy Parallels or something and a copy of windows and bam - you now have windows as well.
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Re: Laptop for college

Posted: Tue Aug 09, 2011 1:11 pm



Lwheeler4 wrote:I ended up getting this HP.
It was on sale in the store and I really liked all the specs, except now that I bring it home I think it's slightly too big.
I'm trying to decide if I should keep it or return it and get something a little smaller.

For all you college students out there, how often would you say you take your laptop to your classes? Or do you usually just not take one?
I have a friend who is studying to be a bio-engineer, and he said since he entered college, he hasn't touched pen to paper in class at all. He takes all of his written notes on his computer, and in math classes, they have a program where you log in when you get into class, and the notes that are up on the board show up on your computer screen, and before the prof. changes slides, he gives everyone a couple seconds to screen cap, so you get all of your math notes without taking any. But then again, it all comes down to personal preference. I know several people that don't even take books to class because you can pull up your books online or in pdf form on his computer, but personally, I would rather have the book. It all just depends on what works best for you.
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Re: Laptop for college

Posted: Mon Aug 15, 2011 3:28 am



I also have same thoughts.

JLbluefan09 wrote:
cthefisch wrote:mac
I would hate to have a Mac. I hear some good things about Toshiba.


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Re: Laptop for college

Posted: Thu Sep 01, 2011 3:00 pm



I'm late to the thread, but I'll offer some help for others who may be late getting their college laptop. I will assume if you are getting a mac, you can figure which of the 3 or 4 models you want for yourself (in other words, I will be ignoring them completely).

First, I recommended that you skip Best Buy and other big box stores. Usually the highest performing laptops aren't even available there, and the best deals on bargain laptops aren't either. I would encourage everyone to start their shopping by considering a business laptop.

Dell, HP and Lenovo make some great laptops, but you won't find their business lines at Best Buy. A business laptop is usually going to be more conservative in styling, but far superior in build quality and can't be touched in support. Dell and HP give you a 3y on-site warranty included in the purchase price of their workstations (Dell Precision and HP Elitebook "w"). Lenovo offers the same level of service, but they separate the cost out as an optional upgrade. Note that you can't get Apple to sell you a comparable warranty. Also, a business notebook is going to be supported for 5-7 yrs by the manufacturer, ensuring you have BIOS and driver updates to get you all the way through college. Buy a consumer pc, and your lucky if the manufacturer even remembers your model existed 2 years from now. Finally, a business laptop will be user upgradeable. Not only can you change your own battery, you have easy access to RAM, HD, keybaord, optical drive, and wireless card.

If you are willing to consider a business laptop, the best deals come from Dell's Business Outlet. usually their Precision line workstations go fast, but they sometimes get a bunch at once. But the very best deals typically are found on the Latitude models. I haven't looked for a long time, but at one time you could get their 14" Latitude with SSD and 3yr on-site warranty for about $700.

If you are going into architecture or engineering, you should really consider getting a workstation. This is a laptop with a professional grade GPU (AMD Firepro or Nvidia Quadro). Your options are limited though.
Dell M6600 <-- get this one with Firepro GPU for best performance for your money...also great for gaming
Dell M4600
HP Elitebook 8760w <--skip this unless you can afford (and have use for) the Nvidia GPU
HP Elitebook 8560w
HP Elitebook 8460w<--(don't get this one, the gpu is a rip)
Lenovo Thinkpad W520

If you are a gamer, and you don't want everyone to know you have a gaming laptop (due to the glowing alien heads) go for Sager, customizable from many resellers such XoticPC.

If you aren't sold on getting a durable, well supported business laptop because you want something nicer looking, there are some decent laptops out there, maybe even available at your local Best Buy. Samasung just released their reasonably priced Series 7 laptops. Let's be honest, they made a MBP clone.

If you want small (13") there's the Samsung Series 9 and Sony Vaio Z. Or, getting back to business laptops, the Lenovo X220 offers an IPS screen (your screen is probably TN, which is why you can't move your head more than a few cm before colors start shifting...IPS screens only lose a little brightness with off-axis viewing, the colors don't shift).

Anyway, good luck with whatever you get.


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Re: Laptop for college

Posted: Thu Sep 01, 2011 6:36 pm



knight427 wrote: If you are a gamer, and you don't want everyone to know you have a gaming laptop (due to the glowing alien heads) go for Sager, customizable from many resellers such XoticPC.
I lol'd hard while I modestly type this sentence out on my M11x.
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Re: Laptop for college

Posted: Thu Sep 08, 2011 5:44 pm



AWA wrote:
cthefisch wrote:mac
Overpriced, fragile, closed-source piece of garbage.
Not the least bit true.
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Re: Laptop for college

Posted: Thu Sep 08, 2011 7:41 pm



wturner901 wrote:
AWA wrote:
cthefisch wrote:mac
Overpriced, fragile, closed-source piece of garbage.
Not the least bit true.
Overpriced: Check.
Closed-source: Check.
Fragile: Debateable.

He's definitely 2 for 3 though. From a strictly hardware based viewpoint, you are NOT getting your money's worth out of a Mac. The hardware that they use to make their machines these days are years behind what PCs are being made with.

To be fair, the Apple OSs (which are, yes, closed source, as is Windows) optimize their hardware a lot better than Windows does, which is why it's impossible to self-upgrade a Mac - the OS is written specifically to optimize a very limited amount of supported hardware, which makes upgrading neigh impossible. That being said, you're still paying THOUSANDS for very old technology.
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Re: Laptop for college

Posted: Thu Sep 08, 2011 7:55 pm



Macs-For music majors or other Fine Arts majors, Fantastic.

Anyone else- $2000 Facebook machines


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Re: Laptop for college

Posted: Thu Sep 08, 2011 8:03 pm



DiddledGinger wrote:Macs-For music majors or other Fine Arts majors, Fantastic.

Anyone else- $2000 Facebook machines
YEP.
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