student needs you help

Discussion in 'other software & services' started by student, Nov 27, 2004.

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  1. student

    student Guest

    I’m a middle age man; knows nothing (only the basics) about computers and my budget is really tight. Need a lap top to help me in my studies (involves Maths, Physics, and Engineering). I need it to handle things like Matlab7, AutoCAD 2005, and the like. Any recommendations Please
     
  2. bigbuck

    bigbuck Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2004
    Posts:
    4,877
    Location:
    Qld, Aus
    Where are you??
    http://compreviews.about.com/cs/laptops/tp/aabudgetnote.htm
    & don't forget your friend Google....
     
  3. student

    student Guest

    Thanks
    Where was I?
    didn't want to bother you with my story but for short I can say
    "from war to war and from refugee camp to another". I guess you know now who am I. Thanks
     
  4. bigbuck

    bigbuck Registered Member

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Qld, Aus
    I meant....USA? GB? AUS? Or other?
    Er? NO!
     
  5. BlueZannetti

    BlueZannetti Administrator

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2003
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    Just a suggestion here - in many cases the instructors/University will have prepackaged suggestions for given course concentrations - check those out. Their selection are usually intellegently made and the school may have a prepackaged deal at significantly lower cost due to a volume based price cut.

    I do use Matlab - for a laptop, I'd go with a reasonably fast Pentium M processor vs a Celeron or a P4 (don't have experience with AMD offerings). A P4 is a little faster, but will drain the battery a lot faster generally. You'll get equivalent performance at a lower clock speed with a Pentium M (vs. P4). I'm impressed with the design tradeoffs Intel made in coming up with the Pentium M. Get a fast graphics subsystem - I generally go with ATI based ones. For both Matlab and AutoCAD, the one place not to skimp on is RAM - go with 512MB if possible. I'd pay the small premium generally incurred to go with 1 512 MB DIMM vs 2 256 MB DIMM's - long term the cost is lower if you ever need to upgrade (that's the one mistake I made in my own purchases - at some point I'll be tossing the original 256 MB sticks due to limited slots).

    If your budget is really tight - specific suggestions really depend on location. My basic approach, in general, is to look at the current high performance specification systems and step back one or two levels in performance. You'll generally see significant savings and the performance loss is often not that great. Also, decide what's most critical to you - raw performance or battery-only operating time - they are mutually exclusive in laptops.

    If possible - go with a 7200 rpm hard disk drive. I'd probably sacrifice some hard drive space to bump from the standard 5400 rpm to 7200 rpm on a budget - this is an often overlooked performance bottleneck, especially in laptops.

    In the great budgetary struggle, I guess the sacrifices that I'd make are, in order: hard drive speed, CPU clock speed, front side bus speed (generally not a lot of options in laptops), RAM speed, CPU type, hard disk size, and finally net RAM available. With that in mind - I'd look for 512 MB RAM, 30-60 GB HDD, see where you are in cost and work your way up the rest of the list. Don't worry too much about going with configurations that look a few years old. My work based laptop is a ~3 year old Dell Latitude Pentium III (850 MHz as I recall, 256 MB RAM, 30 GB HDD/5400 rpm, Win2K Pro OS) and I do run nearly the latest Matlab version (release 13SP2 level right now - need to load 14) just fine. It can be a little slow at times, but that's the ongong tradeoff.

    Blue
     
  6. mccarob

    mccarob Registered Member

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    Hello!

    For a laptop I would go with the Intel Pentium M (moblie aka Centrino) for your processor. This will offer you better power managment and has been built specificlly for laptops, so it will handle some task much better then what the Celeron will. If you don't want the Pentium M, and choose to go with a cheaper processor, try to get the Intel Pentium 4 M (just like the P4's that go in computers, but shurnk a bit to fit in laptops). You wouln't get anywhere close the the uptime on a battery as witht he Pentium M, but it will run better then the Celerons.

    Try to get 512 MB of ram. You'll probably be needed it, even more so since the laptop will probably have what we called "shared ram" or in other words, yoru graphic card will use part of the system's RAM as its own. So its best to cover all your bases on that end.

    As far as the OS goes, it deepends if you will need/want the abilty to tie your laptop into a big network (perhaps your schools), if so, get Windows XP Pro. If not, then Home would be okay. No sense wasting the money.

    Also, if you are a student, and in the US.. do NOT get any application software with the machine. Rather, to help save money, go over to Walmart and but Microsoft Office 2003 Student & Teacher edition. You will be able to get the following programs:
    MS Word
    MS Excel
    MS Outlook
    MS Powerpoint

    I think you may also get either Publisher, or Acess in that package, but I don't remember off the top of my head. You will save money, cause it will be only a $150ish dollars. However, you must currently be a student and or teacher. If your not, then I'm sorry you'll need to but a Retail or OEM copy with the system.

    As far as brands, I prefer Gateway laptops over Dell. However, Toshiba and Sony make some very fine laptops, that are high quality. IBM's aren't to bad either (people just seem to forget about anyone who isn't Gateway or Dell). Avoid any laptop that is for around $999. Most of these laptops will not come close to have the same stuff in them that you will need. And they carry typically a 1 year or 90 day warranty. If you want this laptop to last, yet the 3 year warranty. Trust me, you will probably need it.

    I know as a student you'll be short on cash, but to get just a system as described as above, its going to be around $1400+, last time I looked. If you really want to save money, you can get just a tower just as powerfull for around $950+ (if you don't need a moniter).

    Good Luck!
     
  7. nod32_9

    nod32_9 Guest

    You needed all of that for a BS in Science? The HP 41 programmable calculator was big league when I attended college. Not much has changed in terms of math, science, and engineering (assuming you're not an EE). Jobs that require massive number crunching can be off-loaded to the campus' computers.

    Most new graduates don't think like a good engineer cause they rely too much on PCs as undergrads.

    Virtually all mid-priced notebooks ($1000-$1200) will do the job. Make sure the PC runs quietly under heavy CPU load (test in a quiet environment). Heat and noise are the biggest complaints. A poorly designed PC runs HOT. Avoid HPs and Compaqs. Look for designs with side vent ports. Cheaper design uses bottom-mounted vents leading thermal overload as the computer ages. Shy away from bells and whistles. You don't need a big screen.

    I'd checkout the Toshibas and IBMs with 512MB RAM. I'm not sure if you need to bring a PC to class. A desktop PC will provide the price, performance, and reliability. A $650 desktop would be my choice.
     
  8. BlueZannetti

    BlueZannetti Administrator

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    Very true. Money well spent. Recently outfitted my wife with a laptop - she's a Community College level instruction and the school is slowly migrating to electronic presentation and posting of basic class materials. For her, this was a convenience issue - the school issued desktop was the work PC.

    Anyway, shortly after she received it, it was dropped. A little while later, wireless connectivity was lost. Since the antenna was integrated into the motherboard, the standard fix for this was a motherboard replacement (sure - we could have gone with another style of wireless card - but you get the idea), and since we had the warranty service, it was a 6:30 AM at home installation 2 days later by a contracted service person. Lots of stuff can break if the unit gets a lot of handling. Worthwhile insurance in my book.

    Blue
     
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