New laptop for College student

Discussion in 'hardware' started by LenC, Sep 4, 2009.

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  1. LenC

    LenC Registered Member

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    My question -is a separate video card necessary,or is integrated graphics okay? This would be for a laptop used primarily for standard MS office applications, internet and email. Nothing special and no gaming.

    Thanks,
    Len
     
  2. JRViejo

    JRViejo Global Moderator

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    Len, for the programs you are describing, Integrated Graphics should be OK, however, look at the IG specs to see how much RAM will be utilized from the system's total RAM, before making a final decision.
     
  3. LenC

    LenC Registered Member

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    I don't fully understand that concept. What order of magnitude am I looking for? A big number or a small number?

    Thanks,
    Len
     
  4. JRViejo

    JRViejo Global Moderator

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    Len, the higher the number on the IG, the better the graphics will be. Say your laptop has 3 GB of total RAM, but the IG is only 128MB, graphics will suffer at that low video memory.

    If the laptop has an IG of 512MB or 1GB, the graphics would be a lot better. And usually the higher total RAM is, the more video memory is shared via the IG. Try to settle for a laptop that has a higher IG is what I'm saying.
     
  5. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    Len,

    Instead of a laptop, consider a netbook. I bought one a few months ago and I don't think I'll buy a laptop again. You get used to the 10" screen in a day and portability is their best feature. As well as longer battery life. Much cheaper than laptops and almost as fast. I have ten operating systems in a multi-boot on my netbook and it can do anything my laptop can do.
     
  6. lodore

    lodore Registered Member

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    I wouldnt advice a netbook tbh, I find the keyboards to cramp and the screen to small. Ive setup one up for a client who brought it before they rung me up.
     
  7. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    lodore,

    You must have bigger hands than me. I find the 90% keyboard size OK. It is obviously personal preference.
     
  8. LenC

    LenC Registered Member

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    I can't see a netbook working well for a student if it is his/her sole computer. These kids spend a lot of time in front of that computer and I don't think a 10in screen is advisable.

    I wouldn't want to be writing reports or formatting powerpoints on a netbook even if it has sufficient power. As I think about it, a great setup might be a desktop or fullsize laptop supplemented by a netbook.
     
  9. TechOutsider

    TechOutsider Registered Member

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    If your going to be productive on a netbook or a laptop in general, you need a mouse. Helps greatly, especially on netbooks with small screens.
     
  10. BlueZannetti

    BlueZannetti Administrator

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    Since I've had and used a netbook for a while, I'd have to agree.

    They are great as a high mobility device, can be used as a primary PC for extended periods, but would not recommend it as the single primary PC for a student user. In addition, depending on the major, a netbook simply might not have enough raw computing power.

    However, I do think that a netbook is an excellent addition to any students computing toolset and very highly recommended.

    Blue
     
  11. tipstir

    tipstir Registered Member

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    Any laptop would do for you. If you where going for gaming then get those with ATI or Nivida onboard graphics. Most Intel MOBO (motherboards) use Intel Graphics not the best but since you're not doing gaming you can get one of those.

    Netbooks are tiny and if you wear glasses you might want to by-pass these models as the screen is tiny, they're limited. They still use XP, word out they're suppose to do Windows 7. I wait and see it this is going to happen? For $348 to $648 at Walmart you can get a regular size laptop that is good enough. If you want web cam, larger wide screen up to 18.5 you'll pay for it. Those laptops are huge and come with all sorts of gizmos, you may or may not use.

    Brand to buy: Stick with HP/Compaq, avoid ACER and Toshiba well some of them seem to break too quickly or use cheap plastic parts for connectors. In my deals with them. DELL is okay if you can get a good deal.
     
  12. LenC

    LenC Registered Member

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    Thanks everyone for your advice. This is what we've decided on...

    - laptop with 13 or 14 in screen that will be reasonably portable on campus (whole place is wireless).

    - either integrated graphics (following JRViejo's advice concerning memory), or an inexpensive graphics card

    - maybe a 17 or 19 in monitor for the dorm room
     
  13. tipstir

    tipstir Registered Member

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    Don't worry video memory. All that memory on your system is shared up to whatever the system can use for video memory. I set mine to 8MB to 32MB depends what I am doing on the system. I have 2GB for RAM so I can go upto 128MB for Video which would be more suited for gaming, but I don't do gaming on this laptop I travel with.

    Make sure you get a wireless laptop with 802.11g/n and wired connection with 10/100/1000mbps. Don't settle for less. All these laptops can connect to external monitors or HDTVs with PC Link connections.

    Make sure you get no less than 320GB HDD and 2GB of RAM.
     
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