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Old 01-06-2013, 07:57 PM   #1
LisaR
 
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Laptop/Ultrabook suggestions for college student?

DD won't be heading off to college until August, but her laptop is starting to have some issues. While we don't have to run out and buy one today, she will definitely need one before she leaves. She won't be majoring in anything that requires a computer. She may or may not take it to class for note taking purposes. She will definitely use it for writing papers, searching the internet, and probably watching Netflix. She doesn't game.

Her only requirement is that it is lightweight. Her current laptop is 17" and heavy. She said she can see herself sitting outside doing homework or taking her computer to the library so she wants it portable.

We looked at some Ultrabooks today. They are certainly lightweight. Are they any good? Some of the reviews suggest that they aren't the best.

No Mac recommendations. We had a bad Apple (pun intended) and won't go that route again, and I really don't see the need for one with what she will be using it for.

I never really know what processor to get, or how much memory and hard drive. I am computer challenged. Any suggestions on specs or specific computers would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 01-06-2013, 08:04 PM   #2
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Well, you said no Macs and that is what I would recommend. We are not an Apple family (I have a Toshiba laptop and an HP laptop), but my DD got a Macbook before going off to college in 2009 and that thing has been a workhorse. Also, she herself is not good at keeping up with virus software and with the Mac you have no worries. She hasn't had ONE problem with it. I can't say the same for my other laptops. Not that they've been a problem but I do have to periodically work on them, clean them up, keep the virus software updated, etc.

Anyway, if you are going to go with a non-Mac laptop, get the fastest processor you can get when you purchase it. Get an Intel processer. The highest right now is i7. I have an i5 and and i3 and there is a noticeable speed difference betwen the two. If you want a laptop to last awhile get the best you can buy. Not saying to go full out for a gaming computer or anything--not necessary--but get the best processor.

My DD never thought she would want to use her laptop in class and she didn't for the first year but ever since, she uses it all the time in class. Says it's great for notes. She'd love an iPad for this purpose but I"m not buying one. The only downside is hauling it around. She has a basic Jansport backpack and she said her laptop doesn't fit well with her books and the straps dig into her. She said that lots of kids on campus have the North Face backpacks that have a laptop slot (other brands have this also). North Face makes one for women (straps closer together) and they are padded. She said that has been a great thing (it was only about $60 too).
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Old 01-06-2013, 08:05 PM   #3
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well, lets start out with how much hard drive space does she have in her 17" Laptop. How much does she use?

SSD drives and the thin ness of the laptop are what makes ultrabooks good. SSD drives are more expensive than standard drives($.70-$1 per GB) so make sure she has enough space to run. If its like over 120GB, you may want to consider an external to just file with everything... Great for a backup. You should shop online, there many great deals out there... i think i saw an i7 ultrabook for $700, 13.3"
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Old 01-06-2013, 08:16 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Christine View Post
Well, you said no Macs and that is what I would recommend. We are not an Apple family (I have a Toshiba laptop and an HP laptop), but my DD got a Macbook before going off to college in 2009 and that thing has been a workhorse. Also, she herself is not good at keeping up with virus software and with the Mac you have no worries. She hasn't had ONE problem with it. I can't say the same for my other laptops. Not that they've been a problem but I do have to periodically work on them, clean them up, keep the virus software updated, etc.
Thanks for the info! I'm sure she will use it all the time. I put the no Mac caveat in there because I know there are a lot of Mac fans. For us, it just wasn't worth the extra expense and ours really was one of those problem Macs that most people insist don't exist. Ours was a nightmare. Worse than any PC we have ever owned, unfortunately.


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well, lets start out with how much hard drive space does she have in her 17" Laptop. How much does she use?

SSD drives and the thin ness of the laptop are what makes ultrabooks good. SSD drives are more expensive than standard drives($.70-$1 per GB) so make sure she has enough space to run. If its like over 120GB, you may want to consider an external to just file with everything... Great for a backup. You should shop online, there many great deals out there... i think i saw an i7 ultrabook for $700, 13.3"
She currently has a 500 gb HD of which 315 is being used. So based on that, 500gb should be more than enough, no?
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Old 01-06-2013, 08:17 PM   #5
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I bought my son a Toshiba ultrabook with Intel inside. We also bought an external disk drive in case he needs it, but he hasn't needed it yet. We downloaded the printer software from the website so it's set up to work with our wireless printer.

He really likes it. It's lightweight and perfect for taking to school.
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Old 01-06-2013, 08:27 PM   #6
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She will probably find that she will use the computer in her classes. We are an apple and PC family..... My son a sophomore in college and our computer geek...recently purchased a new laptop to replace his very heavy work horse laptop...

Samsung - Intel I3, 4 G ram and 1/2 terabit 500g hard drive. It was about $600 and he says it's perfect for school.
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Old 01-06-2013, 08:29 PM   #7
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I'd say a Mac too. DD's on her second one and DH has her first one--it is 5 years old and still going strong! DNi just got one before going off to college and my nephew who has NEVER been a MAC person (computer whiz!) has given in also.
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Old 01-06-2013, 08:39 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LisaR View Post
No Mac recommendations. We had a bad Apple (pun intended) and won't go that route again, and I really don't see the need for one with what she will be using it for.
lol! I love my mac, but they are SO expensive and if she doesn't need one, forget about it. They do have a college student discount, but its only a couple hundred dollars off.

I got my eldest son a Dell from costco. It was very reasonable and no issues so far. My younger son will be going to college in August, but we are waiting to see where he ends up going before we purchase a new computer. For example, Virginia tech actually requires a mac.

The other thing you could consider, if budget is an issue, is looking for a refurbed computer. I know that sounds terrible, but we have a friend who reburbs computers that are either repos or sold from a company when they upgrade. We have had awesome success with these computers and we have free service for ever. There are reputable dealers for reburbs and it can save some dough plus they may be willing to transfer from your old hard drive.

Your daughter's college will have an IT department and if you know where she is going you can check their web page and see what specs they recommend. You may also be able to get microsoft office at a discount. Usually in the accepted student days and new student orientation they go over computer requirements.

Good luck to your daughter!
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Old 01-06-2013, 08:44 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Buckalew11 View Post
I'd say a Mac too. DD's on her second one and DH has her first one--it is 5 years old and still going strong! DNi just got one before going off to college and my nephew who has NEVER been a MAC person (computer whiz!) has given in also.
I'm on my second, too! I bought my first one as a repo. I am hooked. But I do recommend getting apple care which covers all repairs for the first three years. Macs are great for people who love photography, making videos , and recording music. But I am sure they are also good for science geeks.
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Old 01-06-2013, 09:20 PM   #10
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I would start with the college your daughter is going to. Most colleges list what computers work best with their networks. A lot recommend a desk top, not a lap top believe it or not.

My daughter has a Mac, and it is the only computer we have had a hardware failure on. And there are things she can't do with it for school, so she still needs access to a PC. Having said that she loves it, and it is always the fault of the website or software developer that a site or program isn't Mac compatible. I can't talk, my employer runs 200 websites, and none are Mac compatible.
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Old 01-06-2013, 09:26 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by LisaR View Post
She currently has a 500 gb HD of which 315 is being used. So based on that, 500gb should be more than enough, no?
yeah, but a 500GB SSD drive would cost close to $400+everything else. Is she planning to bring her big laptop with her? Maybe you can consider a netbook, they are 10" laptops, small, slow, cheap but portable and light... then use the 17" as the powerhouse for everything else.
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Old 01-06-2013, 09:58 PM   #12
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I would also check with the college since a lot of them have preferred computers.
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Old 01-06-2013, 10:09 PM   #13
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yeah, but a 500GB SSD drive would cost close to $400+everything else. Is she planning to bring her big laptop with her? Maybe you can consider a netbook, they are 10" laptops, small, slow, cheap but portable and light... then use the 17" as the powerhouse for everything else.
Definitely not taking the 17" with her. This new one would be her one and only computer.

I had to look up what an SSD was. Unfortunately, after reading about it, I still don't know what the heck it is. Sorry, I told you I was lacking in the technical department.

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I would also check with the college since a lot of them have preferred computers.
DD has narrowed her choices down to three schools with heavy emphasis on one in particular. All three just have a very basic statement saying a computer is recommended but not required. There aren't any specs or mentions of which one works best with their network. They do say to contact the department directly if you are going into certain computer or animation majors, but even if DD changed her major ten different times, she wouldn't go into those fields so I think any computer will work.
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Old 01-06-2013, 10:37 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LisaR View Post
Definitely not taking the 17" with her. This new one would be her one and only computer.

I had to look up what an SSD was. Unfortunately, after reading about it, I still don't know what the heck it is. Sorry, I told you I was lacking in the technical department.
SSD drive is basically a regular hard drive on steroids... it loads things a lot faster... for example, if it takes like 1 min to load windows for you, with an SSD drive, it will load in 15 sec MAX.

yeah, Ultrabook would be perfect for her! :]
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Old 01-07-2013, 01:52 AM   #15
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My son has an HP. He went online to the hp website and "built" it to his specifications.
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