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Recommendation for laptop for school

Discussion in 'Off The Beaten Track' started by modern_muslimah, Aug 7, 2011.

  1. modern_muslimah

    modern_muslimah Thinking of witty user title and coming up blank

    So I'm starting school in a couple of weeks and I intend on getting a new laptop (I probably needed a new one for a while now and school gives me an excuse :p). I'm doing an MLIS program and they've given some general hardware specs (at least 2GB memory, 2GHz processor, and 80 GB storage). The current computer I'm using has 1GB memory. I don't even know what the processor is and it has 250 GB storage. It was a cheap computer we got from Walmart three years ago. It's really slow, which often frustrates husband and I, and I've actually used up most of the space on it.

    Of course, the primary reason I'll be using the laptop is for school. I'll be doing some non-related school stuff like using Skype to keep in touch with family, downloading videos, streaming figure skating competitions, etc. Nothing too heavy.

    So I turn to FSU for some recommendations. :) Oh, before I end, I ask that no one recommend a Mac. I'm looking to spend at most $1,000 (and would love it if I could spend even less since I still have to pay for my textbooks). Thanks in advance for the advice!
  2. carrot

    carrot Member

  3. millyskate

    millyskate Well-Known Member

    Carrot, I hope that you were being facetious.
    Modern Muslimah, I got an HP Pavilion dv6 at christmas (after a memorable thread of people trying to bully me into buying MACs that I couldn't afford), and I'm really satisfied. The only down-side is the short battery time.
  4. Aceon6

    Aceon6 Hit ball, find ball, hit it again.

    For non Mac, I recommend Asus. They're sold at BestBuy and you can get the extended warranty and GeekSquad support and still stay under budget. For something that fits in a backpack easily, try a 15" like the K53E which has good reviews at CNET. It has 4gb memory standard and comes in two disk flavors - 320 and 640. The 320 is under $400.

    eta, battery life is decent as long as you don't watch movies or game. I get about 4 hours of internet on mine.

    One other thing, make sure they keyboard and trackpad controls suit you. I have large hands and find the Asus spacing really good.
  5. Really

    Really I need a new title

    Asus, HP -- we've used both in our school division with success...check BestBuy. I just ordered an HP from Amazon after reading reviews on CNet and Consumer Reports. I got a dm4 model for under $800 that has 4MB memory, Intel i5 processor and 650GB harddrive. You'd likely get it cheaper in the US. Some of the Asus models are being shipped without DVD drives, so if you want/need a DVD drive, make sure what you order has that. Asus tends to be more expensive, and some people report that their customer service isn't that great. However, if you do buy at a place like BestBuy, you can get their extended warranty which may save you some grief!

    Good luck!
  6. KHenry14

    KHenry14 Well-Known Member

    One thing to think about is whether or not you want the laptop to incorporate a numerical keypad or not. I can't stand punching numbers without a keypad, so that was important to me. But someone getting a MLIS wont have as much need for that I suppose, but it's worth thinking about.

    This is the one I got and I like it a lot. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16834152253

    Plus, it meets the price and specs that you seem to indicate you need.
  7. joeperryfan

    joeperryfan Well-Known Member

    I've had both a Toshiba and a Fujitsu Siemens, both worked very well for me. Regardless of the brand, when you set your eyes on a particular model I recommend checking the reviews for it around the web, all brands have faulty models that overheat or under perform, so it's never wise to trust the brand per se.
  8. skateycat

    skateycat Minecraft Widow

    Congratulations from one MLIS in progress to another!

    My expertise is in Mac only, so I will not trouble you with my opinion :), but I will ask the program manager of my scholarship what they bought for the PC users in our program.

    Is there a technology person in your program you can talk to?
  9. *Jen*

    *Jen* Well-Known Member

    I have an ASUS, and it's been generally very reliable :) It's 3 years old now and the dvd player had to be replaced just before the end of the (two year) warranty, but since then it's been fine. It came with vista but I upgraded it to Win 7 without issue.

    Totally recommend :)
  10. altai_rose

    altai_rose Well-Known Member

    I've had a Sony Vaio for 3.5 years, and I love it. Reliable and haven't had a problem with it--even though I bang it around and carry it in my backpack to lab every day.

    Plus, on a purely superficial note, it's so pretty!
  11. Prancer

    Prancer Cursed for all time Staff Member

    Are you planning to get a laptop and carry it back and forth, or will you be leaving your laptop at home and using it there?

    That makes a big difference, IMO. I leave my laptop at home, so I got one with a big screen, because I rarely haul it around and I wanted that feature; I really hate small screens. If you are going to haul it around, you would probably want something smaller and lighter.

    If speed is an issue, look for a gaming laptop. I never play games but I have a gamer's laptop because they are built for speed. They tend to be more expensive, but the one I have sells for less than $1000 now. Gamer systems also tend to get really hot, so again--I use mine mostly at home and have a cooling pad that works just fine, but if I hauled it around all the time, I wouldn't like that.

    You should also see if your school has some sort of computer purchase program. Ours does; everyone gets a discount at HP. We bought a niece a laptop for Christmas and with my discount and the sale price, we got her a laptop that normally sells for $1500 or so for about $800. Most places are having back-to-school sales right now, so you might be able to get a really good deal if your school has a program like that. Also, some schools will loan you money to buy a computer; I believe you can get up to $1500 here. It's treated like a student loan; you have to pay it back after you graduate. As always, be cautious with loans, but might be an option if buying a computer will be a financial hardship.

    I would also advise against buying by brand name; ITA with joeperryfan there. I'd look for reviews on http://www.cnet.com/, which has reviews for almost everything technical.

    Good luck with your MLIS. I am very tempted to do the KSU program myself. :).
  12. oleada

    oleada Well-Known Member

    Do not get a Sony; mine is 6 months old and needs a new motherboard and the customer service has been absolutely horrid (I'm in NY).
  13. jlai

    jlai Title-less

    There are still MLIS programs around? I thought many of them now call themselves info. science instead. ;)
  14. star_gazer11

    star_gazer11 practising choreo

    Another Asus owner here, but only since January of this year, so I can't speak for longevity.

    Just be careful of buying Asus from Best Buy, as they seem to carry slightly dumbed down models, which do not carry the same manufacturer warranty/guarantee/service versus buying from other retailers. Why, I don't know.

    It's something I didn't discover until after my return window had closed. Just something to be aware of. From the above link:

    If you're going to be toting it around campus a lot, maybe consider the 11-13 inch screen range for portability.
  15. pamela95

    pamela95 Selling seashells by the seashore

    Do not get an HP. My HP laptop (can't remember the name of it, Pavilion?) was a lemon. I was annoyed, but it happens with computers. So as things went wrong continuously over the first year I had it, I called the company.

    HP the company was a nightmare to deal with. They lied to me, took my money and did not end up fixing my computer. And when I talked to costumer service.... well, first off, they did not speak English well enough to do their job. They couldn't understand what I was trying to say when I described my computer problems (these were common problems, nothing head scratching).

    In the end, I cut my loses, junked my computer and bought a new one. A Sony, because my sister loved hers. I've had my Vaio for over a year without a single issue. My sister has had hers for three years without issue. My next computer will probably be a Sony or a Toshiba. And I'm never getting another extended warranty from the computer company. If you get a warranty, go for the store warranty.

    Run away fast from anything HP company related. They are just awful. I could go on about how HP has screwed me over, but that would be a really long post.
  16. jlai

    jlai Title-less

    I have a Vaio that someone passed down to me (he bought a new Vaio and didn't need the old one). It works very well so far.
  17. lmarie086

    lmarie086 missing my cat :(

    I have an HP pavilion dv5, got it two years ago. For the most part I've been pretty pleased, but as someone else upthread said, the battery life isn't the best. If I leave my laptop unplugged these days, it dies within a half hour. And because it's considered an older model now, most stores don't carry the battery, so I have to pay $119 for a new one that will still only last five hours.

    So I do recommend the HP, but I really like Toshiba these days, one of my best friends has one and it works wonderfully for her.
  18. venja

    venja New Member

    Ahhhh the laptop thread - signs that it's back to school time! :) I am looking for a laptop as well. I currently have an HP, and I swore that I would never go HP again. However, when I visited a computer shop the sales rep says that HP has made vast improvements to their computers (e.g. overheating). I tried an HP for a week, and although I returned it I kind of regret doing so. My dilemma right now is whether I should buy a Mac or PC (money being an issue).

    The new standard for computers are the i3, i5, or i7 second generation intel processors (second generation have four digits following processor, e.g. i3 2401), and most likely 6 or 8 GB RAM (some will say 4GB will do). Just doing internet and school related work? Probably an i3 or i5 will do. An i7 or 8GB RAM may be overkill (and your computer may be a bit warm), but if you want your computer to last longer and have the money, then go for it. You can even get some with these specs for $1000 or less. AMD processors are slightly slower, because of this the prices for these computers are lower. If you're not picky, these processors will get the job done.

    One brand that lots of sales reps have recommended was Samsung. I don't have any experiences with it, so I can't really comment on it. Does anyone have a Samsung computer?
  19. OlieRow

    OlieRow Well-Known Member

    I have an HP Pavilion DM4 from Best Buy and it's been great. Got it about 6 mo. ago.
  20. skateycat

    skateycat Minecraft Widow

    One of my schoolmates wrote,

    "I got a lenovo thinkpad t520. I think it is 2GB, 2GHz and something like 200 GB storage. It wasn't under a $K though. But so far I am happy with it. especially since I had a wreck on my scooter and the laptop came through unscathed! (I am also mostly unscathed as well. A little sore, but all things considered fine.) So it seems like a pretty durable machine."
  21. modern_muslimah

    modern_muslimah Thinking of witty user title and coming up blank

    Thanks for all the recommendations! Thanks to Really and Prancer for suggesting the CNET reviews. That site is great! Not only do they have reviews but they have a feature where you can punch in the features you want in a laptop too. I'm seeing a lot of the laptops mentioned in this thread (HP Pavilion, ThinkPad, Toshiba, Asus, etc).
    Really and (deleted member) like this.
  22. Sarah

    Sarah Well-Known Member

    Good luck with your MLIS. I finished mine just about 2 years ago.
  23. vesperholly

    vesperholly Well-Known Member

    I've been lusting after this HP laptop: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16834157822

    Only $484 (I've seen it as low as $454), fantastic specs (320GB hard drive, 2.1 GHz, FOUR GB RAM!) and great reviews, too.

    I can't personally speak to HP laptop quality, but I have an HP desktop computer from 2003 still running strong, just a few memory upgrades and a secondary HD. If my computer died tomorrow (knock on wood), I'd buy this laptop immediately.
  24. dots

    dots Well-Known Member

    Lenovos have a reputation for being durable so that might be an option. I had an Asus U50f with an i3, which I bought from Best Buy, and what a piece of crap it was. One day it just stop working altogether and my warranty was useless :confused: The darn thing only lasted like a good 8-9 months :lol:

    I'm just going to save a little and switch to mac !
  25. BigB08822

    BigB08822 Well-Known Member

    Once you go Mac you NEVER go back! I got a Mac when I went back to school and I will NEVER EVER own another PC in my life.
    PDilemma and (deleted member) like this.
  26. modern_muslimah

    modern_muslimah Thinking of witty user title and coming up blank

    :lol: They are nice machines but they're so expensive! I was looking at a review for a MacBook Air the other day and it was a little over $1,000 which I thought wasn't too bad then I realized it was an 11 inch! :eek:

    I have a friend who has a older Mac laptop (I think it's about four or five years old-it's the all white one) and it still runs strong. It was also really fast, much fast than the PC desktop I have. She also said that she never had a virus the entire time she has owned it. So I admit that they are built well and they are very aesthetically pleasing but the price! Apple why!? :lol:
  27. Lara

    Lara It's JJ style!

    It sure would have been nice for Apple to either upgrade the white Macbook as usual or lower the price to say $800 rather than eliminate it completely. They were good entry-level machines, I have mine from 2007 and while no speed demon it's still running well. I lurve the 11 inch Air but it's NOT an equal substitute at that screen size (plus you'd need an external DVD drive etc).

    That said, is there a Microcenter store nearby to you? They have the Macbook Pro for $999 which is a pretty decent deal.

    Otherwise, Windows 7 is a perfectly fine system and I'm sure you'll find something good! I second what Prancer said though, you have to decide whether you prefer power or portability and go from there.
  28. NancyNC

    NancyNC Well-Known Member

    I love mine too - had very good luck with it, almost 2 years old. And I love the red color. :cool:
  29. galaxygirl

    galaxygirl Rain City Bitch Pigeon

    I've been using PCs for almost 20 years and have never had a virus.
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2011
  30. aka_gerbil

    aka_gerbil Rooting for the Underdogs

    Every single time I've ever had to use a Mac, I've always wanted to strangle it. I think I'm an anomaly. Also, they're not perfect either. My friend and I bought new laptops at the same time 5 years ago. I bought a Dell and my friend bought a Mac. My Dell is still, knock on wood, going strong and running well. I watched my friend's die twice within 6 months of purchase. I think my friend is now on Mac #3...