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Old 07-21-07, 05:31 PM   #1
nmt6789
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So I'm looking to buy a laptop for college....

and I find myself asking this question; Would I rather have a bigger screen or more power?

I'm paying for the laptop myself so I want to get the most bang for the buck.

I'm definetly going to get a Core 2 Duo

2 gigs of ram

HD isn't as important but it is a factor.

So what should I do? bigger screen or more power?
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Old 07-21-07, 05:36 PM   #2
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Longer battery life over a big screen.

A 15.4 inch screen is plenty big.
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Old 07-21-07, 06:20 PM   #3
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Neither. Do you *really* want to lug a 10 pound laptop around campus? Are you *really* going to watch blu-ray porn in the library? Take your money, split it. Buy a THIN 12" laptop that you can actually carry around without it being a hassle, then buy a desktop for around $600 for the dorm. Cheap desktop will be much faster than even the biggest, chunkiest, fastest laptop (remember, laptops have slower hard drives and really crappy video cards). That way you have the power to watch blu-ray porn in the comfort of your room (plus the ability to upgrade when you need more HD space for more porn), and you'll have a laptop which will actually be useful for carrying around, taking on planes, and chillin on the quad. Plus, slim laptops are sexy.
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Old 07-21-07, 06:20 PM   #4
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Go with a 15.4", it's the most common form factor so it will be the cheapest. 17" will honestly be too big to be portable, those things are monsters.
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Old 07-21-07, 06:22 PM   #5
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Neither. Do you *really* want to lug a 10 pound laptop around campus? Are you *really* going to watch blu-ray porn in the library? Take your money, split it. Buy a THIN 12" laptop that you can actually carry around without it being a hassle, then buy a desktop for around $600 for the dorm. Cheap desktop will be much faster than even the biggest, chunkiest, fastest laptop (remember, laptops have slower hard drives and really crappy video cards). That way you have the power to watch blu-ray porn in the comfort of your room (plus the ability to upgrade when you need more HD space for more porn), and you'll have a laptop which will actually be useful for carrying around, taking on planes, and chillin on the quad. Plus, slim laptops are sexy.
That is the strategy I would advocate. When I first bought my school laptop I bought a super powerful 15.4" notebook that I could game on. I got sick of lugging it around everywhere and now have a gaming PC I built and a 14.1" notebook since anything smaller was too expensive. The smaller of a laptop you get the more expensive it will be.
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Old 07-21-07, 06:54 PM   #6
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That is the strategy I would advocate. When I first bought my school laptop I bought a super powerful 15.4" notebook that I could game on. I got sick of lugging it around everywhere and now have a gaming PC I built and a 14.1" notebook since anything smaller was too expensive. The smaller of a laptop you get the more expensive it will be.
Gaming PC, huh?
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Old 07-21-07, 09:49 PM   #7
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I have a Toshiba Satellite A105, its awesome! Only about $700!

http://www.toshibadirect.com/td/b2c/...-30599&seg=HHO
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Old 07-21-07, 11:25 PM   #8
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macbook ftw
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Old 07-22-07, 11:34 AM   #9
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the macbook is solid. give them a test drive.
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Old 07-22-07, 11:38 AM   #10
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Macbooks are pretty, but you're paying an awful lot of money for not so great hardware. You could get an equivalent machine for far less than you'd pay for Mac OS and the shiny apple logo.
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Old 07-22-07, 11:39 AM   #11
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How about a Linux Lapz0r?
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Old 07-22-07, 11:44 AM   #12
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Well pretty much every laptop (except Dells which CAN come with Ubuntu Linux) will have Windows already, might be handy to keep around and just run a dual boot system. Especially if specific software is required for school, it's usually not so happy running on Linux and sometimes it's just easier to run it in Windows that it is to get it running through Linux through a virtual machine or something...
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Old 07-22-07, 11:47 AM   #13
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I have a Toshiba Sattelite I paid around $1400 for around Christmas 06, it's my only computer. I'd do what everybody else suggested, but I don't have room for a desktop
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Old 07-22-07, 11:59 AM   #14
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Laptop? Desktop? Why choose one or the other?



Okay, my Compaq Presario is a bit newer and smaller than that. 14" widescreen, 1.8GHz AMD Turion 64, DVD±RW DL drive, etc. I got it for $700 or so refurbished a year-ish ago. I've never used Windows on it (threw an Ubuntu install disc in and nuked away XP Pro without ever booting into it), so I don't know how that experience is, but I've been happy enough with it. Nothing special, but it hasn't completely fallen to pieces as I expected.
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Old 07-22-07, 12:15 PM   #15
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I do recommend refurbished laptops if possible. I have a refurb'ed Sony r505 series thats about 5 years old and still running strong. Found a new (generic) battery on ebay, and thats really all I've done to it. Still advocate the desktop, though, ESPECIALLY if you're getting a macbook.
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Old 07-22-07, 12:30 PM   #16
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MAC, but if you must stay with a PC, then keyboard/mouse are more important.
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Old 07-22-07, 12:33 PM   #17
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Consider what you are using the laptop for. Are you intending to use it as a desktop replacement for gaming, where you sling it out at LAN parties, or are you going to haul it everywhere?

If you have the cash, consider having a decent desktop machine for a gaming rig, and go small for a laptop.

As for model recommendations, Macbook Pros are decent if you have the cash for them, but if you go with HP's business line or Dell's Latitude line, you should be decently served. Make sure to go Latitude instead of Inspiron if going with Dells, because in general, Latitudes are intended for businesses where stability is more of what is needed than cutting-edge features.

In any case, try to get at least 2 gigs of RAM, four gigs preferably, and try to get as big an internal hard disk as you can. Also, consider an extended warranty (preferably with accident protection), because laptop parts and repairs almost always cost more than a replacement. Normally, extended warranties are not needed, but with laptops, its something to seriously consider in case of a LCD screen breaking.

Lastly, and I recommend this for every laptop. Buy a whole disk encryption program, like PGP, Jetico's BestCrypt, or WinMagic MySecureDoc. If your laptop gets stolen, with a good WDE program, its "just" a hardware theft, rather than a hardware, data, and possibly an identity theft.

Last edited by mlts22; 07-22-07 at 12:36 PM. Reason: clarity
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Old 07-22-07, 01:26 PM   #18
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Alienware Notebooks are awesome.
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Old 07-22-07, 01:33 PM   #19
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I'm in the same spot, and I got a Toshiba A205-S4617

Highly rated by Consumer Reports and Toms Hardware guide. I have one in front of me right now, good screen (15.4"), good size keys, plenty of USB ports, draft-N wireless (will be handy in the future), plenty fast with plenty of memory (2 gigs), HUGE hard drive. The only down-side is that the battery is only good for a little over two hours, but they do have bigger batteries if thats a problem.

Vista premium, which I'm neither here nor there on.

Gaming is not good at all, but a laptop isn't good for that sort of thing anyways.

Edit: This is probably true for all laptops, but it's mega quiet. No sound at all when the HDD spools down and the fan isn't going. Also, it cost me about $1300 (after taxes).

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Old 07-22-07, 03:52 PM   #20
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+1 on the Toshiba Satellite. I've had mine for over two years, and have had virtually no problems with it. I'll likely get another one when I sell this one.
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Old 07-22-07, 03:55 PM   #21
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Get the smallest most long-battery-iest one you can afford.

I love that i can take my 12inch Dell everywhere and have it run for 7 hours (all day essentially), meanwhile my friends "Wicked cool" 17 inch laptop sits on their desks...

If you need a big screened powerful computer, buy a desktop.
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Old 07-22-07, 05:31 PM   #22
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Macbooks are pretty, but you're paying an awful lot of money for not so great hardware. You could get an equivalent machine for far less than you'd pay for Mac OS and the shiny apple logo.

+1
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Old 07-22-07, 05:36 PM   #23
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I would seriously suggest testing out typing on any laptop before you purchase it. Atleast for me there are many laptop keyboards that I really dont like, and I love having the eraser mouse thing (has anyoe else heard of this refered to as a clit mouse?). As you will probably be spending a very large amount of time typing, these considerations are pretty important.
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Old 07-22-07, 06:28 PM   #24
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I do recommend refurbished laptops if possible. I have a refurb'ed Sony r505 series thats about 5 years old and still running strong. Found a new (generic) battery on ebay, and thats really all I've done to it. Still advocate the desktop, though, ESPECIALLY if you're getting a macbook.
+1. My hypothesis is that in many cases refurbs are more reliable, being that they have been looked at once more post-production, and any bugs have presumptively been troubleshooted. Plus, refurb is much cheaper and whether or not the plastic housing just came off the assembly line or was previously touched has no bearing on the performance of the computer (used computers don't slow down or run out of memory any faster). Also, can get a killer deal on a Dell Outlet refurb desktop -- technology has advanced so far that the cheapest boxes from 6 months ago are more than fast enough for my computing needs.
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Old 07-23-07, 08:24 AM   #25
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Alienware Notebooks are awesome.
Alienware is never "awesome."

Unless you enjoy spending 25% more than you should be spending on hardware.
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