College PC Choice? Laptop or Desktop?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by bobber205, Mar 8, 2006.


Laptop or Desktop?

  1. Laptop

    93 vote(s)
  2. Desktop

    12 vote(s)
  1. bobber205 macrumors 68020


    Nov 15, 2005
    Here's my setup.
    I am going for a degree in Software Engineering this fall.

    I currently have a mac mini I am very happy with.

    But I was told/decided myself I should also have a PC.

    Should I get a notebook or a desktop PC?

    Notebook thoughts:
    Take anywhere.
    Watching DVD's very important.
    Code in class?
    --more expensive

    Desktop thoughts:
    I could hook it up next to my mini mac and have a "monitor" switcher thing. (I think they're like 50 bucks.)
    Buy a portable DVD player for like 100 bucks.

    Hmm. I'm at a stalemate?

    Any recommendations?

    I know I can get a desktop PC for pretty cheap if all I want is a basic one.

    Thanks for any advice.
    Edit/Delete Message
  2. Unorthodox macrumors 65816


    Mar 3, 2006
    Not at the beach...
    Portability or power
    What do you need more.
    Nobody here can answer that question. Only YOU can help prevent forrest fires! I mean choose.
    Portability or power.......

    Your asking this on a Mac message board, you know that, right?
  3. yankeefan24 macrumors 65816


    Dec 24, 2005
    I am a laptop guy all around. I personally don't use desktops for anything except high power needs. That's not you. If you are in college, you SHOULD get a laptop. Being able to take your data home is important. Just my opinion though.
  4. mustard macrumors 6502a


    Dec 28, 2005
    I would say desktop for the reason of price and functionality. Regarding laptops you either pay an extreme premium or go for the bottom of the barrel last years technology. There is little to no point in purchasing a laptop that will be dated by the time you graduate, where a desktop will grow with you cheaply through college as well as giving you a platform to build on that will offer some usability after graduation.

    Save the money - get a mac mini? (as I type this on my new MBP)
  5. macOSX-tastic macrumors 6502a


    Jan 9, 2005
    At the Airport. UK
    you already have a desktop. why not get the laptop?

    best of both worlds then i guess.

    if you need the PC for software engineering (im assuming that that is not mac based) then i would go for a reasonably powerful desktop. darnet i cant decide myself!

    i would always go for a laptop in college/uni i think....if i had to get a PC, i would get a vaio laptop or something, and leave the powerful stuff the the Lab PC's. you usually have to have a icence for any software you use anyway; im just glad im on a degree where the OS doesnt really matter too much.

    not helpful, but my view nonetheless.

  6. Airforce macrumors 6502a


    Jan 12, 2006
    If you end up getting a laptop, make it a Tablet. You won't regret it.
  7. virus1 macrumors 65816


    Jun 24, 2004
    dude.. thats like having a bmw and asking what type of volkswagon to get.
  8. Ryan1524 macrumors 68000


    Apr 9, 2003
    Canada GTA
    the portability and flexibility of being able to take my computer where i need them has been invaluable. definitely get a laptop. :)
  9. Earendil macrumors 68000


    Oct 27, 2003
    As a Mac using CS major, I can tell you that not only is codin in your own room not a necessity, but working in the CS labs with fellow students is incredibly benaficial. There are a few people that code in their own rooms, but most WIndows using people prefr to work in the labs, it's just a fun enviroment, great for learning, and part of the major. Granted we have a smaller department here, but I am quite familiar with the upper classmen becuase of this enviroment, and can get help when I need it. I also (as a sophomore) grant help to incoming freshmen when I can.

    That said, A laptop is incredibly helpful for note taking in SOME classes. I use my powerbook in Philosophy all the time, as well as some other high note taking (but none graphic) classes.

    Cheers, and hope that helps!

  10. After G macrumors 68000

    After G

    Aug 27, 2003
    A laptop will be more useful.

    It will help you out immensely when you need to:

    * do presentations
    * take your data with you
    * work with others in group projects
    * entertain yourself in classes with boring professors
    * pretend you are doing work when you really aren't
    * get out of your apartment to get work done when there's parties going on
  11. nutmac macrumors 68040

    Mar 30, 2004
    Um, this is a Mac forum.
  12. bobber205 thread starter macrumors 68020


    Nov 15, 2005
  13. Airforce macrumors 6502a


    Jan 12, 2006
    You're kidding me? No way? Honest to god, this is a Mac forum? Well piss me a river son! I had no idea :p
  14. Unorthodox macrumors 65816


    Mar 3, 2006
    Not at the beach...
    Here... I improved the link.
    Dell Laptop
  15. Seasought macrumors 65816


    Nov 3, 2005

    You can take everything you need with you any where you want to go. Plus you don't have to worry about someone ripping you off while you're in class (at least not the laptop) as you can take your machine with you.

    I used a desktop for several years and since going to a laptop I'm never going back.
  16. mwpeters8182 macrumors 6502

    Apr 16, 2003
    Boston, MA
    If you've already got the Mac Mini, a PC laptop wouldn't be a bad idea. I find it beneficial to have both systems (though I prefer the combination of a Mac laptop and PC desktop). I've had a laptop since sophomore year in college, and I'll probably always have one from here on out. If you need to get away, and don't feel like sitting in the lab, you can take your laptop somewhere and get some work done, or just surf the internet.

    I've used a tablet, but I still prefer pencil and paper, for two reasons. The first being that I bear down too hard when I write, and the second being that I don't like staring at a screen all the time.

    And yes, this is a Mac forum, but really - Windows/Linux PCs are still viable options, especially if he already has a Mac.
  17. blackstone macrumors regular

    Dec 12, 2005
    Washington, DC
    I realize that you already have the Mini, but it makes a lot more sense to have a Mac laptop and a PC desktop than vice versa. The advantages of Apple's hardware-software integration are the greatest for laptops, which have to do all kinds of wacky power management stuff, switching between different networks, etc. that a desktop never needs to do. PC laptops have improved in recent years but the ability of a Mac laptop to wake from sleep reliably, reconnect to a wireless network, and not foul up currently-running programs is still light years ahead of PC laptops.

    If you have extra cash on hand, maybe you should sell the Mini, buy a cheap PC desktop, and get a MacBook Pro?
  18. treblah macrumors 65816


    Oct 28, 2003

    If you are going to live in a dorm with roommates you NEED a laptop.
    Like when your mates decide to play 'Edward 40-hands' at midnight when you are up studying/researching.

    You could lug the desktop down to the library, but you'd look pretty silly. :)
  19. Play Ultimate macrumors 6502

    Oct 13, 2005

    The ability to migrate to the library, coffee house, friends, etc. is huge. Doing programming or writing anywhere counts for alot.
    For your purposes, a MacBook, when released, or possibly a iBook G4. In neither would it be "cutting edge" but for your purposes, you won't need it.

    Now, if you were in film school....
  20. dpaanlka macrumors 601


    Nov 16, 2004
    If you NEED to have a PC and want to have a Mac, then save money by buying a cheap PC laptop (they're like around $500 now) so you can

    • not waste money buying another display and peripherals.
    • have the ability to hide it's ugliness away somewhere when you aren't using it.
    • not waste valuable desk space with it's ugliness.
    • take it to those clases that need it.
  21. WillMac4Food macrumors newbie

    Jan 13, 2006
    Personally, I would and have chosen a Laptop. Given the fact that it is going to be at school it is best to be able to take it with you or at least know that it is secured at all times. Nothing would be worse then to make a large investment on it and then have it taken away. Plus conserving on the limited space while at school would be helpful.
    There are also the other factors that you need to look at besides the machine. Being in college you might just feel cooped up in your room and want to get away but at the same time need to finish some important work. Having a laptop would fit the case.
    My thoughts are stating to wander and I'm sure that I could say more, but my vote is for the laptop. Thats my 2 cents.

    Anyway you choose will be another step in your learning experience.
  22. iKwick7 macrumors 65816


    Dec 29, 2004
    The Wood of Spots, NJ

    I would definately go the laptop route. I had just my desktop the first few years of college, which was nice, but it was a lot nice when I got my laptop. Besides the fact that you can go anywhere with a laptop, especially if your campus is all wireless, it really helps for projects and such. I would always pull all nighters on the laptop in the lounge as opposed to my dorm room- more room and the sound of typing wouldn't wake up my roomate, and the ability to take notes (or, more importantly, slack off) in class on a laptop is a definite plus.
  23. bobber205 thread starter macrumors 68020


    Nov 15, 2005
    Exactly my thoughts.

    I think I go for the one step below the lowest of the dell lines of notebooks.

    Would 512 megs of RAM be enough for development?
  24. nutmac macrumors 68040

    Mar 30, 2004
    Yeah now you know. So go back to ActiveWin to proclaim the virtues of Windows OS.

    In any case, TabletPCs do not add to software development, which is what the original poster was talking about. Personally, I much prefer notebook route for college, and desktop like iMac for home office setting (complemented by additional 12/13" iBook/MacBook for on-the-go situation).
  25. bobber205 thread starter macrumors 68020


    Nov 15, 2005
    What's wrong with that link?

    And what's wrong with the laptop I linked to? ;)

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