Desktop or Laptop for school?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by Cloud9247, Jul 5, 2004.

  1. Cloud9247 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2004
    #1
    I am starting my first year of college and I am going to be getting a computer, but I don't know if I should get a desktop or laptop. I just don't know which is better for school. The one thing I do know is that I don't have to worry as much about someone taking my desktop as I do a laptop. I'm not going to be using it for anything special, so does it matter. If any of you have any suggestions to help me decide that would be great. Thanks a lot.
     
  2. jsw Moderator emeritus

    jsw

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    #2
    Assuming you can keep it secure (not a trivial matter), the notebook will be more useful to you, especially since it doesn't sound like you'll be placing great demands on the system.
     
  3. kirk26 macrumors 6502a

    kirk26

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    #3
    and in any case a laptop would still be good for you if you were to place great demands on it.
     
  4. Whigga Spitta macrumors 6502

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    Apr 21, 2004
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    Can you say Chi-City??
    #4
    Seeing that many schools are going wi-fi now (at least in libraries and such), there could never be a better time to own a notebook. I think with the way you will be using a computer, there will be no problem with owning a portable.
     
  5. Grimace macrumors 68040

    Grimace

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    #5
    I saw somewhere that in 1999, 40% of undergrad-owned computers were laptops, and in 2004 that number had jumped to 75%.

    No recommendation - just throwin out numbers! [I'm a stats nerd] :p
     
  6. Calvinatir macrumors 6502

    Calvinatir

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    #6
    I started college with a PC but then i got this PB...would never go back
     
  7. jtgotsjets macrumors 6502

    jtgotsjets

    Joined:
    May 20, 2004
    Location:
    Lawrence, KS
    #7
    laptop.

    Think about it this way.
    Assuming you're living in a dorm, you are going to have about 6 square feet of living space. A new desktop system would take up about one of those, effectively reducing your living space to by 1/6.

    Most laptops come with the ability to lock, if you're that worried about security.

    As someone said earlier, wi-fi is important.

    And most importantly, depending on how your typing is, you can take notes in class if you have a laptop. Not so with a desktop (unless you're majoring in bodybuilding).
     
  8. jhomayne macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2004
    #8
    right.. i just placed my order for an ibook and a bit more RAM from crucial for university..

    cue enourmous ibook price-cuts and special offers.. :rolleyes:

    :D
     
  9. jsw Moderator emeritus

    jsw

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    Mar 16, 2004
    Location:
    Andover, MA
    #9
    Hey thanks! I just noticed the "buy-an-iBook, get-an-iPod-free deal" on the Apple site - and they've cut the iBook prices by 20%!

    ;)
     
  10. flappo macrumors regular

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    Jan 8, 2003
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    in the cubicles
    #10
    my sis has a 15" Ti and my bro a 17" al and they both rule , but i'd go for the 15" myself

    the 17" is just TOO big to be comfortable
     
  11. Sabbath macrumors 6502a

    Sabbath

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    Sep 18, 2003
    Location:
    London
    #11
    I don't know how much you can afford to spend, but I find a 12" PB and a 20" cinema display just about perfect for my needs :D

    There are times I would love a 15" screen when I'm using wi-fi away from my room, and there are times I would love a G5 but it really is a pretty good setup.

    If the 12" and screen is out of your price range I would recommend a 15" PB as a great option. Notebooks are awesome if you don't need loads of power, which it sounds like you don't. With wi-fi growing and growing I just couldn't live without one.
     
  12. aptmunich macrumors member

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    May 29, 2004
    #12
    Agreed, at university there is nothing better than chilling outside with your friends and being able to open your laptopn (and have it turn on instantly ;)) and then quickly check your mails...

    ahhh now if only the planet was covered with wifi...
     
  13. Mitthrawnuruodo Moderator emeritus

    Mitthrawnuruodo

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    #13
    Get an 12" iBook with an Airport card. There is nothing like it. Small, light and durable. You can take it to class and use it for taking notes and it will give you the best battery life there is.
     
  14. sushi Moderator emeritus

    sushi

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    #14
    I have two nephews who graduated from HS 4 and 5 years ago. They both were heading to college so I wanted to get them each a computer for college. I offered to get them a laptop or desktop. Both opted for the desktop (Strawberry iMac and the other an eMac). Security was an issue for them. Plus they felt that the desktop was a better option for the money spent.

    Both seemed very happy with their choice and didn't seem to regret not getting an laptop.

    If I were to go back to college today, I think it would be a hard decision. A laptop is convenient. However, a laptop is easy to steal and has a short battery life.

    I think that I would opt for a device like the Dana to take notes in class, then transfer my notes to my desktop Mac:

    http://www.alphasmart.com/products/dana.html

    Another option, would be a simple Palm OS device with a keybard. However, as a touch typist, I prefer a fixed keyboard vice a portable one.

    Good luck in your decision.

    Sushi
     
  15. sushi Moderator emeritus

    sushi

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    #15
    They also have a wireless solution that is convenient as well.

    Then again, maybe a laptop would be fine as long as you can secure it.

    Sushi
     
  16. jsulens macrumors member

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    Jun 29, 2004
    #16
    i dont think laptops are always easier to steal. if i go home on xmas break i could easily take my laptop home, but i might keep my desktop at school. if someone breaks into my room my new desktop is gone, while my laptop is home safe with me. you can also hide ur laptop in your dorm room or where ever while u are not there as well. unless you are really careless and your roommate leaves your dormroom open all the time i cant see your laptop being stolen that easliy if you are cautious. but if you just laying it down in public and walking away, you might as well just hand it to someone.
     
  17. puckhead193 macrumors G3

    puckhead193

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    May 25, 2004
    Location:
    NY
    #17
    I'm going off to college too! What school you going to? Due to the size of my doorm in school, i getting a laptop. I'm unsure if i want to get a 12" or 15" Powerbook...but i know i want a laptop because i need it for class notes cause i can't write to save my life :eek: If i had the doorm my brother was living in i would opt for a dual 2.5 G5 w/ a 23" monitor and a 12" ibook for class but i don't.... :mad: So a laptop for me

    *on a side note instead of getting a really great $3,000 laptop, maybe you could slit it down and get an emac and an ibook, this way you have the best of both worlds. I say this because your only going to be doing basic things like IMing and email, not video editing. Just a thought
     
  18. jsulens macrumors member

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    Jun 29, 2004
    #18
    i am going to ohio state next year. hopefully i enjoy it.
     
  19. Butler Trumpet macrumors 6502

    Butler Trumpet

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    #19

    What??? where is this free iPod thing???!!!!??? I'm not seeing it :eek:
     
  20. Thanatoast macrumors 6502a

    Thanatoast

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    Denver
    #20
    I found that if I stayed in my room, I couldn't get any work done. I would've loved a laptop to drag to the library to work on. Since you're not doing any heavy computing, that's what I'd suggest.
     
  21. stevietheb macrumors 6502a

    stevietheb

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    Jan 15, 2004
    Location:
    Houston
    #21
    Started college with a 600 mHz P2 from Compaq...bought an iBook for the last semester of my senior year--wished I'd made that decision earlier!

    Of course, the campus of the University of Texas is almost completely WiFi (there are very few buildings that don't have it)--so that was awesome. Writing a thesis IN the library, with ALL the books/journals/etc right there at my disposal: PRICELESS.

    Also PRICELESS: surfing the net while Professor So-So drones on...

    Security? Wherever I go, the iBook goes. Someone would have to pry it from my cold, dead hands.

    Good news, my iBook is completely adequate and has totally replaced my desktop and is grad school ready!
     
  22. sushi Moderator emeritus

    sushi

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    #22
    You may be right.

    However, some folks are worried about this happening. I guess it boils down to what you are comfortable with.

    I do like my PB15 that I use everywhere these days it seems. Then again, I live in my own place and don't have to worry about dorm/communal life issues.

    Sushi
     
  23. HardHatMac9 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2004
    #23
    No Brainer

    I think this is a no brainer, to be honost. Definately get a Powerbook (or iBook). You're not always going to be in your (dorm) room, nor are you (probably) going to have that much space. If you are like most college students you will probably move in and out of various apartaments/homes in the next few years, so you're not going to want to lug a desktop around everytime.

    Also, you might enjoy being able to go to a cafe, park, or the library for a change of scenery once in a while; the powerbook will always be there for you. You might want to consider getting a wireless keyboard and mouse for your laptop and a stand to elevate your laptop to eye-level when you are working from home.

    ...Advice from a career student working on his masters.
     

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