View Full Version : laptop vs. desktop at college
07-24-2003, 10:48 PM
I have been tossing this idea around for a while. Now, assume for a moment price isnt a concern, but durability is a concern as well as reliability is a huge concern. Computing power is insignificant because I am only going to research with the alptop - no games and no p2p - i need to focus on real life relationships in college rather than my hard disk size. I was considering and inspiron, but was concerned about the eventual damage caused by lugging it all around. The only advantage to a laptop would be using it in the library. I have a single so i wont need to worry about a room-mate and i am going to an ivy league school so i am going to study a lot. I also hope that the dorms will be more tame. Please give me all the advice you can offer because i dont want my money on a laptop that will break down quickly and offer me no advantage.
Thanks a lot for any advice you have to shedon this situation of mine
07-25-2003, 02:41 AM
if you're gonna study at the library a lot or if you go home a weekend and need to study, get a laptop.
other than that, get a desktop - harder to steal if you accidentally leave your door unlocked, or if you plan on studying in your room more.
that's pretty much it, i would say desktops are more reliable, just because you're not moving them around at all
07-25-2003, 04:15 AM
If cost is not a big concern, go with a laptop. Spring for the 3 year warranty with CompleteCare from Dell, and then even if you DO accidentally drop it down the stairs or spill coffee on it, it's covered & they'll repair or replace it.
Although you can certainly get more bang for the buck with a desktop, you'll find that the portability makes a huge difference when you're in study groups, going home for the weekend, etc.
07-25-2003, 06:38 AM
five years ago, i would have advised you to go with a desktop. laptop technology was so far behind desktop technology, and was at such a high price point, that IMO laptops were a bad choice at that time.
now, i'd say go for a laptop. while laptops are still at a far higher price point than desktops, you can get a well-equipped laptop for around $1000. of course, the need for additional options can quickly push that price up.
in addition, things are so much more mobile now on college campuses than they were 5 years ago. more and more schools have wireless networks that cover at least part of campus (and if you're at an ivy, it's highly likely that at least part of the campus will have a wireless net). also, people increasingly expect others to have a laptop to bring to study groups, etc.
finally, there is the issue of space. even if you have a single, i would imagine you won't have *tons* of desk space, and a desktop, even with a flat-panel monitor, devours space quickly.
whatever you decide, good luck at college in the fall :thumb:
07-25-2003, 06:49 AM
I'd get a laptop unless you care about gaming, or upgrades. If you get a laptop, get the best one you can afford, since you cant upgrade.
I would recommend AT LEAST a 2.8ghz cpu, r9600 mobile graphics, and at minimum 512 megs of ram and 30gb hard drive.
If you have a fairly large budget (I know most incoming freshman will spend up around $1600-$2400 because they don't bother to search for deals :P), get a powerhouse like Canta recommended, so it can handle all of your needs. However, if you're not a big gamer and have that huge budget, you might consider springing for both. You can get a decent desktop from Dell for $550 after the dust settles, and get an ultra-thin, ultra-light laptop from Dell for about $1250.
I have a powerhouse desktop right now, and it's been the right decision the past two years since I lived on campus, but now that I'm farther away from things, I really wish I had a light, functional laptop that I could drop in my bookbag (have a 7-8 lb Dell Latitude CP from 1997) and could surf the wireless or wired ethernet while I'm on campus after/in between classes. But only consider going both if you have enough money, definitely get one that won't frustrate you with it's performance.
07-25-2003, 09:04 AM
Laptop is more convenient for college students.
07-25-2003, 09:29 AM
Then i would say get a desktop... Then you will go to the library and have to use the computer lab with other people.. and you wont go isolate with your lap top up on the roof.... Also, the problem i see with people who carry lap tops around, is that they put little games or other things on there.. pictures of there dogs and such.. and whenever some says nice computer.. they always stop to show them the computer and dog pics... and it turns into a lot of wasted time..
working in a computer lab, everyone has the same computer so there is no reason to show it off... I personally am a bit of a desk top fan because my friends with lap tops had errors here and there and had to get things replaced. Now they had warantees... but it still took up to 8 weeks for parts to be replaced, and when you have midterms or finals... being without a computer is a real pain... desktop parts however, well i had spares of things and my firends had spares, so we can always use a hold together computer until we made it to break and could go get the real parts from dell or where ever...
Just a thought... good luck at school :cheers:
07-25-2003, 09:38 AM
If you do get a laptop, I recommend a monitor, keyboard, and mouse in your dorm room. Much nicer to work on these. If you have the budget, a docking station is also very useful.
07-25-2003, 11:23 PM
Heh, new laptops are supposedly going to be upgradeable. Atleast the video cards are going to be. Manufactures have streamlined the form factor for the video cards so it's possible to upgrade video cards in the future.
07-26-2003, 09:01 AM
Dude - go with the laptop...no question about it. You'll be able to take your work with you and do all the other cool things you can do with a portable computer like work on your bed and what not. Plus, if your school is hooked up with wireless internet, it's always cool to be able to hop on aim during lectures ;)
07-26-2003, 09:01 PM
I'm gonna have to jump on the laptop bandwagon myself. I used a desktop my first two years of college and hated it, because I was in programming classes and other classes that I'd rather have typed notes in (I type faster than I write). Also, I served as part tech support for our dorm, and I hated having to come back to the room to get a CD or some files off my computer. I'm entering my junior year now, and I have a Dell Inspiron 8200. I had worked at Dell last year and became friends with one of the guys in the Demo Lab, where your job consists of showing new hirees how to use the products you sell, and he told me that after being at Dell since they opened in Round Rock, the 8200 is the most solid machine they've built, as well as the most versatile (albeit one of the heaviest with 2 batteries in it).
But yeah, I'd definitely get a laptop, especially if you have wireless internet (most of our campus is). Good luck with your purchase, and if you go the Dell route, DEFINITELY get CompleteCare -- it's a bit of a hassle when you call and tell them you spilled something and need them to replace half your system, but if you have the on-site coverage (another one I recommend; it's more expensive than mail-in, but if you use your laptop, it's great -- next business day service [in most cases] as opposed to two week mail-in turnaround time), they'll come out and fix it at your dorm.
07-26-2003, 09:25 PM
wow thanks for the advise, It sounds like a laptop with completecare for 3 years is the way to go. I will also defianetly splurge for the overnight option just in case it happens at an inopportune time. I think I will try and build or atleast keep a desktop in my closet for an emergency. thanks for the advice, I really appreciate all the help :)
looks like i cannot get completecare in my state. o well, I will simply get the at-home service and be careful, i never had a problem with spills before and dont plan on starting now
07-26-2003, 11:42 PM
Laptop is the only way to go, the portablity factor is really the deciding factor, without my laptop I wouldn't be half as productive at school as I am now. Just be very carefull with your AC adapter, I've gone through 2 of them. One repaired like five times, and these suckers cost like 100 bucks apiece. They are pretty much (besides lack of upgradeablity) the only weak link.
07-28-2003, 05:44 AM
I am using a 8200 right now, I'm not in college yet but this is a solid machine, i would say go for the laptop just for the pure reason that its portable. Just make sure you get a lock so you can lock it to your desk in your room incase you leave the door unlocked. Doesn't really matter if its an ivy leauge school, people steal things everywhere.
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