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Buying a computer for college....

Posted on 2002-03-25
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Last Modified: 2012-05-04
I go away to college next year, and as a gift, my parents have agreed to buy me a computer. The problem is, I don't really know where to start. What are the benefits of having a laptop computer as opposed to a PC? And which model should I buy, and why? And also, which accessories should I buy?? Cost isn't really an issue, but if possible, I don't it want to be outrageously expensive. Thank you so much for your help!
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Question by:vwjen27
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by:trekie1
ID: 6895419
you can certainly get more expensive but heres a great deal
http://www.dell.com/us/en/dhs/offers/specials_3x_special62.htm

dude....your gettin ah Dell :>)
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by:trekie1
ID: 6895426
oh yea you wanted to know why......because Dell is the best
benefits....lots easyer than lugging around a desktop model
which accessories?....hey they are paying...get everything offered :>)
 
just kidding...this is the one I would buy others may have different oppinions
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mikecr earned 35 total points
ID: 6895431
Personally, I would get a laptop. The laptop would allow you to take your work with you when needed so that you could either do things on the road work on some things while your home visiting. Laptops have become a lot cheaper nowadays compared to what they were a couple years ago. I would highly suggest either a Compaq Evo N160 or N180 model or an E500. In the past I have used Toshiba's, Dell's, and even Sony's, but I have become partial to the Compaqs. If you get the N160 series you will need to make sure that you get a floppy drive with it while the others come with it. I would recommend getting a CD burner in yours if at all possible, but if not, get the DVD play, this way your parents don't have to spring for one for your dorm and you can watch DVD movies on your TV. Since I work for a Compaq reseller, I've seen their computers come and go for repair and the models that I recommend are the ones that you don't see come across the repair line, if at all. They have a good reputation for stability and Compaq is normally on the ball when it comes time to put out drivers to fix problems. I would also suggest getting the 14.1 inch display also so that it's not so hard on your eyes. I currently use the Compaq Evo N160 and it is thin compared to the others and weighs in about a pound or so less. However the drawback is removing the DVD or CDRW drive and replacing it with the floppy. The other two come with both built in.
I've seen laptops come and go, but I'm hard pressed to put down the the Compaq laptops as I only have good words for them. Oh, and while I'm thinking about it, you can purchase a port replicator so that you can mimic a desktop. This will allow you to plug a monitor, keyboard, and a mouse into it and it will give you the freedom of having a regular computer also.

Good luck in whatever you purchase!
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by:Wakeup
ID: 6895440
wwjen27, Hmm...Dells are nice, but to answer wwjen27's question a little further:

The benefits of a laptop:

Portability, you can take it anywhere and you have access to it anywhere.  If you need to study in the libraray and need a computer you can take it with you.  It's small and portable is the biggest benefits.  I personally think that if you dont need the portability, do not get a laptop.  It is not worth it.  You pay about almost twice as much for either the same or lesser equipment as far as speed and drive space and ram goes.  Another negative is upgradeability.  There are usually only a few things you can upgrade:  Ram, HDD, and sometimes CPU (But is rare since the CPU's can be a little bit smaller than standard PC CPU's or made differently, so you just can't go to a Comp store and buy a new one and play with jumpers inside the laptop to adjust clock settings and bus speed.  

Now which model and what should you buy.  If you buy a laptop, there are many models out there.  Toshiba seems to make a real decent laptop but is one of the higher priced models out there.  I like them but they cost a pretty penny or two or even three.  
A suggestion is to go to a computer store like CompUsa, or Fry's Electronics or, some store that has several models and brands and see what you like...  Alot of it is preference.  My suggestion tho is if you are going to be using this for homework or typing alot of papers or browsing the web is to either buy the Largest LCD Screen for the laptop as possible, or get a secondary monitor to plug into it.  For the monitors can be really small and hard on the eyes if you have to stare at it for a while.
Accessories for laptops extra batteries, Laptop case maybe a keyboard and mouse to plug into the laptop so you can type on a regular keyboard and use a regular mouse.  Not necessary if you like to type on a smaller keyboard and use whatever is provided as an alternatie to mice on the laptop.

If you were to buy a desktop Pc, I think that you get more bang for your buck.  You lose the portability, but you gain more as far as how much you will spend.  This is the route I always point people to go to first.  It is easier for most people to trouble shoot and work with if you have problems.  Easier to get service.  And alot less likely to get broken or stolen.  Laptops are small and the parts are small, you carry it around in a bag or case or something it gets bumped around or knocked over or even stolen.  Desktops are not that likely to have those issues.
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by:Wakeup
ID: 6895453
It's all about the preference thing.  Ask yourself do you need the portability.  I had a laptop and used it for work but I hated carrying the thing around.  It's small and light but it becomes a burden, cuz you have to watch it and take more care of it.  So preference is up to you.  
If you dont mind those things and you think it is worth it.  Then go for it.  If it is just a toy and something to watch DVD's or movies, then thats cool too, but you are paying more money for something that you can do on your Desktop PC for less.
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by:stevenlewis
ID: 6895463
In addition to the great advice above, ask your parents what the budget is, and then get the best bang for the bucks. In other words, set a price limit, and then get the best you can, instead of just looking for a brand name. You should also determine what you are going to be doing with it
a gaming/video/graphics machine needs a lot more hardware (better video, processor, RAM etc.) than an application (word processing, email) machine.
Sort of like, do you need a SUV, minivan, pickup, or passenger car
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by:Wakeup
ID: 6895533
I am assuming since you are a college student you may like to play video games...that is also another factor... Some laptops dont have the video capability to play some of the top of the line games, however newer laptops and higher end laptops have better video capability.  Where as on a Desktop PC the video card you throw in there will help you with that.
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by:guzu
ID: 6895730
after all that is said already i don't wanna bore you much.
i personally prefere laptops and also i don't see the problem in upgrading since computers are progressing much too fast to worth an upgrade. you certainly MUST have: a big display, a CDROM drive (preferabily CDRW drive), a network connection, and a lot of RAM. I also recommend a netowrk and privacy oriented operating system, and COMPAQ and IBM can provide you one. of course it's true, if portability and living space is not an issue, you will get much more buying an desktop machine than buying an laptop. good luck!
guzu
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by:Wakeup
ID: 6895738
Quzu?  I missunderstand your statement.  Do you prefer laptops or desktops?  And no problems upgrading laptops?
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by:sandra_8309
ID: 6898663
say frankly i not good in computer stuff

i think you should choose desktop computer because desktop computer is more cheaper than laptop computer.beside that you can choose what hardware you want.it better you go to a computer store and ask the them to help you to choose the hardware.regarding accessories,it depends to you.whether the computer is use for playing internet,work or playing games.ask the the computer store to help assist you to choose the accessories
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by:guzu
ID: 6898801
well, let's try to say it clear: do you expect ever to upgrade any computer? i will certainly not. in six months the technology will be so far that it will be wiser to buy a new computer (btw, upgrading will NOT put your computer among the best computers on market...). anyway, i prefer laptops but, you don't wanna buy ME a computer, wakeup? (and sorry, my english isn't always as i want it to be..)
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by:Wakeup
ID: 6898945
Sokay Quzu...I just didn't understand your statement.  
But I however do upgrade my PC's quite often.  A new computer is roughly say 600-700 dollars for a decent almost top of the line system.  I spent that much for mine anyway.  And in the recent months/years I have upgraded the ram.  Cpu from Duron 1 ghz to Athlon XP 1800 Proc.  And upgraded my video card from ATI Radeon 64 DDR VIVO to ATI 8500 64Mb DDR.  And managed to save my self 300 dollars or so on the upgrade.  And also sold most of those parts to gain about 150 dollars back...so in essence I spent maybe 150 bux to 200 dollars to double my ram from 256 to 512.  Get a better video card.  Annnnndd a better CPU.  For 200 bux.  The Video Card alone is 150 bux.  so 50 dollars for a better processor and more ram?!  not a bad deal.  But then again, who knows what you like to do with your computer.  I like to play games....so sometimes upgrading is more frequent for me.  Again as I have said it is always a preference thing.  Also not everyone wants to dump a 2 or 3 year old computer that works fine.  Or at least not all of it.  You buy a top of the line laptop right now at say 1500 bux where you can get a desktop for 700 bux.  half the price.  the laptop doesnt do as much as the desktop, and in 6 months the laptop is old...and you can only add more ram...and a bigger hard drive.  hmmmm.....I can upgrade the PC throw in a new video card More peripherals.  But now with USB and firewire on laptops that helps them out a bit, but what do you do when you decked it out and it just doesnt cut it anymore....use it for a doorstop?  Laptop's are at least small enough for that.  But my desktop keeps kickin....and I can upgrade in small amounts.  And not have to go out and buy a laptop every six months because the technology is ever so changing.  Anyway my two cents worth.  I like laptops but shoot the bang for the buck doesnt justify me spending double the money.  
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by:guzu
ID: 6898962
thanks wakeup. now maybe its time to wish vwjen27 a good decision....
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by:Wakeup
ID: 6898969
yup! hehe...Man it's late here....4am....time to sleep!
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by:guzu
ID: 6898975
but you're still wakeup, aren't you?
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by:Wakeup
ID: 6898979
Yes! hehe that would be me.
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by:trekie1
ID: 6914725
vwjen27    do you need more input on this or is this done ?
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by:ITsheresomewhere
ID: 7102808
  ***Request for Closing Action and Input *****  

Hi vwjen27 and participating Experts

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EXPERTS - Please monitor this question in the event that additional information or
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by:ITsheresomewhere
ID: 7130545
Hello vwjen27,

It appears that you have abandoned this question. I will ask Community Support to close it unless you finalize it within 7 days. If there is no objection or further activity, I will suggest to:

    Abandoned - No Refund  0 point PAQ.

EXPERTS: This is an opinion question without Asker participation and therefore no clear solution.  Thank you all for your participation.  This is the most equitable resolve available.

Please do not accept this comment as an answer!
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by:Wakeup
ID: 7131117
ITsheresomewhere,

I think that the user had not responded.  Our answers(comments) are legitimate and pertain to the question.
I believe a split of points may be in order.  Trekie posted first, however Mike and I gave some good reasons as to why buy desktops over laptops etc.
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by:vwjen27
ID: 7133302
Thank you so much for your wonderful (and extremely helpful! ) information, I'm actually going out later this week and getting a compaq laptop:-) , so your advice really, really helped! And to the moderators, once again, I'm sorry for the delay, I really am unsure of this point system thing, I hope you guys aren't too mad at me :-D
~Jennifer
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by:Netminder
ID: 7133882
Jennifer,

Welcome to Experts Exchange! I hope you'll take the time to read through some of the questions in some of the Topic Areas in which you're interested, and you'll see how the site works.

If you need more information, read here:
http://www.experts-exchange.com/jsp/cmtyHelpDesk.jsp
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And feel free to ask 0-point questions for assistance at:
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by:mikecr
ID: 7137426
Good choice with the Compaq Jennifer, I think you'll be pleased.
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