College Needs/Wants

Laptops, PDAs, Cell Phones, and all other tech that you carry with you.

Moderators: mac_h8r1, Nelliesboo, David

College Needs/Wants

Postposted on Wed Aug 10, 2011 10:31 pm

I am looking to buy a laptop for college for under $1,200.

There are a few laptops I have had my eyes on for awhile now,

- 13" MacBook Pro, refurbished or tax-free at the exchange: http://store.apple.com/us/browse/home/s ... KPRO-INDEX
- HP ENVY 14 with $150 coupon: http://www.shopping.hp.com/webapp/shopp ... catLevel=2
- ASUS G53SW-XN1 from Newegg with $100 rebate: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6834230027
- Alienware M14x with 1600x900 screen upgrade and military discount: http://www.dell.com/us/p/alienware-m14x/pd.aspx

My question is this: I really don't know what exactly I'll be using it for yet, but I know I'd like to take my computing on the go; which do you think would best fit my needs?

I have a pretty nice gaming desktop already so it doesn't NEED to be a blazing fast desktop replacement; however, I still might want to use it for gaming and LAN parties (assuming people still do this in college).
I am rather picky about laptops and I must say I'm really unimpressed with what is offered. If the Envy 14 had a 1600x900 option and a similar GPU to the M14x it would be a no-brainer.
I really prefer something that looks more professional than the ASUS or Alienware, but those two offer better gaming performance. Does anyone know if this is an issue for a PC gamer in college?
In fact the ASUS has the best performance for the price than anything else I've seen, but the M14x might be a better option for carrying around campus and to coffee shops and libraries.
Why the MBP? Because if I don't really need any gaming performance, it really is the best of the lot IMO. I could just boot Windows 7 and play SC2 at low settings if I really wanted to do any gaming on one.
Intel Core i7-875K, Asus P7P55D-E Pro, Win 7 Home Premium
MSI GTX 560 Ti OC, Mushkin 2x2GB DDR3-1333, Corsair TX650
Cooler Master Hyper 212+, Logitech Z-2300, ASUS Xonar DX
Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB, Dell Ultrasharp U2410, Antec P183
DeadOfKnight
Gerbil Elite
Gold subscriber
 
 
Posts: 636
Joined: Tue May 18, 2010 1:20 pm

Re: College Needs/Wants

Postposted on Thu Aug 11, 2011 7:42 am

So do you want to game, or don't you?

If not, get something 13.3" and 3lb, and call it a day.
Krogoth wrote:Care to enlightenment me?
grantmeaname
Gerbil Jedi
 
Posts: 1693
Joined: Fri Jan 18, 2008 7:49 pm
Location: Columbus, OH

Re: College Needs/Wants

Postposted on Thu Aug 11, 2011 8:14 am

"Why the MBP? Because if I don't really need any gaming performance, it really is the best of the lot IMO. I could just boot Windows 7 and play SC2 at low settings if I really wanted to do any gaming on one."

So you're going to buy a MBP, load Win7 on it, and play SC2?

...And you want a Mac why again?

If you want gaming performance, go with the Asus or maybe a mid range Toshiba laptop.

If you DONT need gaming performance, why not just go with some cheapo laptop and spend your savings on a new TV instead of dumping it into a Mac....
EsotericLord
Gerbil First Class
 
Posts: 135
Joined: Mon Jan 11, 2010 1:23 pm

Re: College Needs/Wants

Postposted on Thu Aug 11, 2011 8:32 am

I'm pretty sure that SC2 runs natively on OS X. No need for Win 7. All other previous Blizzard games do.
cjcerny
Gerbil First Class
 
Posts: 146
Joined: Thu Aug 26, 2010 2:58 pm

Re: College Needs/Wants

Postposted on Thu Aug 11, 2011 9:13 am

Personally, I wouldn't buy any of those laptops if you plan on using them often. They're all too heavy in my opinion. Ideally I like a laptop that weighs under 4lbs if you plan on having it with you all day, every day. By itself the laptop isn't much in a back pack, but with books and other things you'll need to carry it quickly adds up and a pound here or there makes a difference.

But, any laptop will really work. Just depends on how you want to use it. I've seen numerous people who have made 8lbs 17" laptops work for 4 years, they always express some regret with their purchase in my experience. But, generally classes and libraries have a liberal amount of places to plug in. You'll just be tied down and hate relocating.

Just depends on how you want to use it and that will likely change once you've started.
Skrying
Gerbil Jedi
 
Posts: 1792
Joined: Wed Jul 09, 2008 1:37 am
Location: Missouri

Re: College Needs/Wants

Postposted on Thu Aug 11, 2011 11:24 am

If the gaming notebook market is where you're shopping, I've had your laptop for sale in the Bargain Basement for the past three weeks:

viewtopic.php?f=11&t=77302

If you can stretch your budget farther, JDL just posted an even better one:

viewtopic.php?f=11&t=77563

But frankly, if you're content with what your desktop can do on the gaming side, I think your specifications are too high on the laptop side. Carrying around a heavy brick gets real tiresome after a while, as does hunting madly for outlets because oops, your ninety minutes are up. Portability and battery life will benefit you more in the long run, IMO, and you can get those in the 13" range, without sacrificing reasonable horsepower, for around $800.
He who laughs last, laughs first next time.
ludi
Gerbil Elder
 
Posts: 5489
Joined: Fri Jun 21, 2002 10:47 pm
Location: Sunny Colorado front range

Re: College Needs/Wants

Postposted on Thu Aug 11, 2011 5:37 pm

Since you already have the high power desktop, look at a thin and light. If you like OSX/can stand Apple's corporate policy, look at the new MBA. If not, look at the ultra-portable offerings from Asus (or Toshiba; Engadget always has positive reviews of the 14-inch Porteges). There really isn't a need for a high powered laptop since you have the desktop already and you'll be kicking yourself for getting a heavy, hot, battery sucking laptop that still can't hold a candle to your desktop.
If you don't want to go the ultra-portable route, look at Lenovo too. ThinkPads can be had on the cheap through student discounts and frequent sales, plus the graphics in the T and W series laptops are decent for gaming, while the battery options allow for awesome battery life and Lenovo is pretty good about providing high resolution screens.

Note: not all DTRs (basically what you seem to want) suck batteries dry in an instant. My Lenovo W520 (specs in signature) is a beast that can give me 7 hours of heavy flash browsing and 10+ of reading on light webpages. I imagine the T420 might fit your bill if you upgraded the screen, especially with the student discount.
Lenovo W520
IBM dx340
Nokia Lumia 928
Sony a7 with far too many lenses to list or even count
lonleyppl
Gerbil XP
 
Posts: 362
Joined: Wed Jan 26, 2011 2:59 pm

Re: College Needs/Wants

Postposted on Thu Aug 11, 2011 7:00 pm

I was in your position three years ago and I would recommend that you buy the cheapest laptop you can find, if you even buy one at all. I only used my laptop three or four times a year, and it was never truly necessary in any of those cases. I had my gaming desktop at home, which I would use before my laptop. At my school (University of Michigan) there are computer labs in every building, so I always had access to a computer at school as well.

From what I could tell, most people that carried laptops with them all day use them solely for checking Facebook during lectures. Laptops are only a necessity at college if you don't have a desktop. It's nice to be able to take a computer somewhere every once and a while, but spending $1000 on a laptop that you will hardly ever use is downright silly.
"TORTURIS EXUVIAS EUNT"
Phenom X6 1090T @ 3.2 GHz
Sapphire Radeon 6950
TurtlePerson2
Graphmaster Gerbil
 
Posts: 1097
Joined: Sat May 26, 2007 9:08 am
Location: Plano, Texas

Re: College Needs/Wants

Postposted on Thu Aug 11, 2011 9:28 pm

Thank you, this is exactly the kind of information I was looking for.
I still want one, but I will now likely go the ultraportable route.

So what do you guys think? Dm1z, perhaps?
Intel Core i7-875K, Asus P7P55D-E Pro, Win 7 Home Premium
MSI GTX 560 Ti OC, Mushkin 2x2GB DDR3-1333, Corsair TX650
Cooler Master Hyper 212+, Logitech Z-2300, ASUS Xonar DX
Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB, Dell Ultrasharp U2410, Antec P183
DeadOfKnight
Gerbil Elite
Gold subscriber
 
 
Posts: 636
Joined: Tue May 18, 2010 1:20 pm

Re: College Needs/Wants

Postposted on Thu Aug 11, 2011 10:45 pm

TurtlePerson2 wrote:I was in your position three years ago and I would recommend that you buy the cheapest laptop you can find, if you even buy one at all. I only used my laptop three or four times a year, and it was never truly necessary in any of those cases. I had my gaming desktop at home, which I would use before my laptop. At my school (University of Michigan) there are computer labs in every building, so I always had access to a computer at school as well.

From what I could tell, most people that carried laptops with them all day use them solely for checking Facebook during lectures. Laptops are only a necessity at college if you don't have a desktop. It's nice to be able to take a computer somewhere every once and a while, but spending $1000 on a laptop that you will hardly ever use is downright silly.


QFT (Even down to the school; Go Blue!)

I will add this much though. If you're like normal college kids and are always on/near campus, as stated above the portability and battery is the best route since all you'll ever need it for is Facebook, looking up something the professor said for more details, paper-writing, e-textbooks, etc. I, however, did now have that luxury the past two years and ended up having to commute into school long-distance due to extremely unfortunate circumstances that landed me in a housing bind. Because of that, I would have to stay on campus for long periods of time between classes without anything to do, and gaming isn't exactly an option on school computers. Having a desktop replacement in those situations would have done me very well, but due to another bought of horrendous luck, I would up stuck with a generic 15.6" laptop. Its not powerful enough to do any gaming, and it comes with none of the portability, battery life, or cost savings of a smaller one. Needless to say I spent a lot of time bored out of my mind the last few years.

Again, I don't think many people end up getting screwed quite as hard as I have in college, so if you're in a dorm or close to campus for housing, just go home and use your desktop when you have free time and want to game. If you can somehow foresee having to drive 40 miles to school every day and can't afford the gas and/or time to make multiple trips/day, then go big or find a place to nap when you run out of things to do on the internet.
Mr. Robot
Gerbil In Training
 
Posts: 5
Joined: Sun Aug 29, 2010 7:41 pm

Re: College Needs/Wants

Postposted on Fri Aug 12, 2011 5:38 pm

DeadOfKnight wrote:Thank you, this is exactly the kind of information I was looking for.
I still want one, but I will now likely go the ultraportable route.

So what do you guys think? Dm1z, perhaps?

If you want a boatload of features and great battery life with the small risk that it might take three weeks or more to process an RMA via carrier pigeons, the Acer Timeline series is excellent. Otherwise, I would lean toward the Thinkpads for durability.
He who laughs last, laughs first next time.
ludi
Gerbil Elder
 
Posts: 5489
Joined: Fri Jun 21, 2002 10:47 pm
Location: Sunny Colorado front range

Re: College Needs/Wants

Postposted on Fri Aug 12, 2011 9:56 pm

ludi wrote:
DeadOfKnight wrote:Thank you, this is exactly the kind of information I was looking for.
I still want one, but I will now likely go the ultraportable route.

So what do you guys think? Dm1z, perhaps?

If you want a boatload of features and great battery life with the small risk that it might take three weeks or more to process an RMA via carrier pigeons, the Acer Timeline series is excellent. Otherwise, I would lean toward the Thinkpads for durability.

Which would you recommend? Anyone have experience with these in a college setting? The T420 looks like the best laptop for typing and the higher trim satisfies my desire for discrete graphics.
Intel Core i7-875K, Asus P7P55D-E Pro, Win 7 Home Premium
MSI GTX 560 Ti OC, Mushkin 2x2GB DDR3-1333, Corsair TX650
Cooler Master Hyper 212+, Logitech Z-2300, ASUS Xonar DX
Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB, Dell Ultrasharp U2410, Antec P183
DeadOfKnight
Gerbil Elite
Gold subscriber
 
 
Posts: 636
Joined: Tue May 18, 2010 1:20 pm

Re: College Needs/Wants

Postposted on Mon Aug 15, 2011 11:08 am

You can't really go wrong with a ThinkPad. Just spend the extra couple of dollars for an Intel wireless NIC, and strip off some of the extra helper applications Lenovo adds. You're going to spend a lot of time typing stuff for college, at least for the first two years maybe more depending on your major, so take that into account.

DeadOfKnight wrote:Anyone have experience with these in a college setting?


I'm not sure what you're asking about on this one. Windows is the de facto standard for operating systems, and it's going to work well with whatever systems a college uses. OS X is around, and Linux can work, especially if your CS and the CS department uses Linux a lot.
Flatland_Spider
Gerbil Elite
 
Posts: 877
Joined: Mon Sep 13, 2004 8:33 pm
Location: The 918/539

Re: College Needs/Wants

Postposted on Mon Aug 15, 2011 5:38 pm

Flatland_Spider wrote:You can't really go wrong with a ThinkPad. Just spend the extra couple of dollars for an Intel wireless NIC, and strip off some of the extra helper applications Lenovo adds. You're going to spend a lot of time typing stuff for college, at least for the first two years maybe more depending on your major, so take that into account.


I completely agree with this. I got my ThinkPad with the default Realtek wireless chipset which isn't (or wasn't at the time) Linux compatible. Since Lenovo has a whitelist of allowed wireless NICs after BIOS, but after any booting, my attempts to upgrade with a $25 Intel NIC from Amazon failed. The same card from IBM, which worked, was $100, including shipping and tax. I'm not happy about that, but it works.

The keyboard on a ThinkPad is absolutely fantastic though. Mine is easily the best keyboard in my house and with the exception of the keyboard that came on older ThinkPads (R52 especially) the best keyboard I've ever used. It's changed slightly with time, and isn't quite as good as it used to be IMO.
Lenovo W520
IBM dx340
Nokia Lumia 928
Sony a7 with far too many lenses to list or even count
lonleyppl
Gerbil XP
 
Posts: 362
Joined: Wed Jan 26, 2011 2:59 pm

Re: College Needs/Wants

Postposted on Mon Aug 15, 2011 11:37 pm

been using the thinkpad T61 for almost 3 years... it's priceless, sure the T400's are nice and now the newer T420's.. And those X lines are crazy small! But I tell ya, the IBM line of laptops are top notch.
thegleek
Darth Gerbil
Gold subscriber
 
 
Posts: 7367
Joined: Tue Jun 10, 2003 11:06 am
Location: Detroit, MI

Re: College Needs/Wants

Postposted on Mon Aug 15, 2011 11:51 pm

DeadOfKnight wrote:Thank you, this is exactly the kind of information I was looking for.
I still want one, but I will now likely go the ultraportable route.

So what do you guys think? Dm1z, perhaps?


I have a dm1z and love it, but would really prefer a 13.3" screen. Have also used a Lenovo T420s, and it is quite nice, but you're up at 14" and 4.4lbs.
C2D E7300 | ASUS P5Q Pro | 4GB OCZ Fatal1ty DDR2-800 | ASUS Radeon HD 4850 TOP | 500W OCZ ModXStream | WD10EADS | WD6400AAKS | Win7 64bit | Antec P182
swampfox
Gerbil First Class
 
Posts: 161
Joined: Wed Jun 18, 2008 3:15 pm
Location: Alaska

Re: College Needs/Wants

Postposted on Tue Aug 16, 2011 7:12 pm

http://www.techreviewsource.com/noteboo ... s-u31sd-a1
From this morning's shortbread. If I could go back all of 4 months in time and get a new laptop for college, I'd definitely get this if I already had a powerful desktop. I don't, but would still consider getting the Asus and then putting what I saved into a decent desktop. Fairly thin-and-light, but has awesome battery life and is decently powerful.
Lenovo W520
IBM dx340
Nokia Lumia 928
Sony a7 with far too many lenses to list or even count
lonleyppl
Gerbil XP
 
Posts: 362
Joined: Wed Jan 26, 2011 2:59 pm

Re: College Needs/Wants

Postposted on Tue Aug 16, 2011 8:07 pm

DeadOfKnight wrote:Thank you, this is exactly the kind of information I was looking for.
I still want one, but I will now likely go the ultraportable route.

So what do you guys think? Dm1z, perhaps?


Dm1z all the way. I'm typing on such a machine right now. It's neat, light and plenty fast for everything up to light gaming. (In fact, I have Visual Studio and perform a Ubuntu installation in VirtualBox right now). It's definitely a netbook-class CPU performance-wise, but the GPU is solid (DX11/GL4) and it does everything I need (browsing, 3d development, writing). I've added a 80GB solid-state drive and I get 5:30-8:30 hours on battery. Not to mention it's light enough to carry everywhere without fatigue.

If you are looking for something bigger, a heartfelt recommendation for the W- or T420 (w/ upgraded screen). A friend bought one of those and it's screaming.
BlackStar
Gerbil
 
Posts: 92
Joined: Fri May 11, 2007 3:38 am

Re: College Needs/Wants

Postposted on Tue Aug 16, 2011 10:09 pm

I'm with TurtlePerson2; if you're a "desktop person" you might find yourself not using a laptop very much. I didn't have one during undergrad and didn't really need one because there were plenty of computer labs on campus. I have an X-series ThinkPad now and while it's nice, I'm definitely feeling some netbook envy, since I never do anything more taxing than small compiles. So I would go with something small and light.
E3-1230v2 | GA-6UASL3 | 16 GB ECC | Seagate 600 240GB | WD Black + Red | GTX 660 | Silverstone TJ08-E | Seasonic X650 | Win Server 2012 | Dell U2713HM || Zotac CI320
mako
Gerbil
Gold subscriber
 
 
Posts: 95
Joined: Sat Oct 30, 2004 6:09 pm
Location: North Bay


Return to Mobile Tech

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests