Jump to content
  • advertisement_alt
  • advertisement_alt
  • advertisement_alt

Computers for Students


thetruewalkingwoman
 Share

Recommended Posts

Hi y'all,

So quick question for you all...my computer is currently dying a very slow death. It's gone from being able to last days to holding a FULL battery for maybe 4 hours. It's gotten pretty bad, so I'm in the market for a new laptop. I've been using a macbook for the last 6 years. I like the simplicity of it. But, that being said, I'm open to other idea's. I've been doing some research into the Microsoft Surface laptop which seems pretty close to the macbook.

 

What does everyone else use? I'm looking for something with great battery life, easy to use, and will last me through my masters and (hopefully) Ph.D.

Thank you all in advance!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I need advice on new computers as well! Preferably a PC since engineers typically use those, but I love Macs as well. 

@thetruewalkingwoman Thank you for making this post! My laptop is struggling as well. It got me through undergrad and now my gap year, but my touchpad won't allow me to click anything (thank goodness for my bluetooth mouse!).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I never had a macbook so I can't give an opinion on them. On Windows laptops, I would recommend getting something from Asus or Lenovo since I had a great experience with those and they seem to last forever.

For the specs, it will depend a lot on your use and budget, but I greatly recommend getting one that has an SDD and at least 8gb of RAM.

@Moods It's pretty much the same thing for a desktop, it will depend a lot on your use and budget.

If you give more information I can try to help ?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've had a Dell XPS 13 for a year and a half and I love it. I'm a bit of a tech geek and I'm a software engineer by trade, so I installed Linux on the hard drive and overwrote the Windows install.

Most things relating to programming are a lot easier to get working on a Unix-like system, either a Mac or whatever flavor of Linux you like best. Some of those flavors are really, really close to Windows in look and feel. 

I second the recommendation of @TheHoff to get a solid state drive and at least 8 gigs of RAM. That increases price a bit, but for the case of the XPS 13, you can get one without a touch screen to offset that a bit. For me, touch screens aren't really worth it. I never user them and they always have a glossy finish that makes it hard to see the screen a lot of times. My XPS 13 with a matte screen cost $300 less than the touch screen model.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I switched from an asus to a macbook when I started grad school and I will never go back to PC. The simplicity and shortcuts have saved me SO MUCH time (though I admit it may be possible I was unaware of ways to create shortcuts and save time on the windows interface). The other thing is my macbook is still going strong after years of abuse, whereas I had been buying a new laptop every 2 years before this. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, Levon3 said:

I switched from an asus to a macbook when I started grad school and I will never go back to PC. The simplicity and shortcuts have saved me SO MUCH time (though I admit it may be possible I was unaware of ways to create shortcuts and save time on the windows interface). The other thing is my macbook is still going strong after years of abuse, whereas I had been buying a new laptop every 2 years before this. 

If you don't mind me asking, what field are you in? I would love going back to a Mac, but I am not sure if it is best computer for engineers. I originally used a Mac in high school and then was advised that PC were more commonly used by engineers, so I got one for college, but now I need a new one because I have put it through too much. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't care for Macs, but that's a personal preference. So my suggestions will be PC-based.

I just upgraded to an Acer Aspire E15 (specifically this configuration). It was a little under $600, which was more than I wanted to spend, but it was actually the least expensive laptop that had all of the features I wanted. This includes a solid state drive, 8 GB of memory, a speedy multi-core processor, a DVD drive, a card reader, and an HD display. The battery life is also pretty good - it's advertised as up to 15 hours. I haven't really been keeping track to find out how accurate that is, though! It has has a light up keyboard, which I thought was silly when I bought it, but turned out to be quite nice for those late nights typing in the dark. I've had it about a month and I'm really happy with it. 

My previous laptop was an ASUS. I did like it, but it only had 4 GB of memory and struggled with Photoshop and some other programs. However, it had a fast start up time and many of the other features I wanted (DVD drive, card reader, speedy processor, HD display). A colleague has a more expensive ASUS (with more memory) that runs like a dream for games and other memory-demanding programs. However, my ASUS started having issues after 2.5 years and they became really annoying recently, which is why I bought a new one.

My very first laptop was a Dell and it lasted like 10 years. Really the only reason I had to stop using it was because the charger port snapped off of the motherboard. I could have paid someone to fix it, but it was quite outdated at that point! However, they do last a long time. Why didn't I return to Dell? Mainly the price tag.

Ultimately, I think the brand is less important than the hardware. Go for at least 8 GB of memory and get at least a dual-core processor (although you should be able to get quad-core for the same price these days). Solid state drives are also much faster than mechanical hard drives, although they are more expensive. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

15 hours ago, Moods said:

If you don't mind me asking, what field are you in? I would love going back to a Mac, but I am not sure if it is best computer for engineers. I originally used a Mac in high school and then was advised that PC were more commonly used by engineers, so I got one for college, but now I need a new one because I have put it through too much. 

ah, yeah, I'm not an engineer; I'm in the social sciences.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

10 hours ago, Levon3 said:

ah, yeah, I'm not an engineer; I'm in the social sciences.

Woohoo! Social sciences!

I have a MacBook Air from 2015 that I loooooooove and has done well by me. It was very much worth the investment since I've had so few issues with it. In addition, because I got Apple Care, the only issue I did have was completely covered. I chose to custom build mine through Apple's website which was great because it has the specs I wanted without upcharging me for thinks I didn't want. If you go this route, make sure to future proof your machine by bumping up processor and RAM. I always say your Hard Drive space can stay fairly small since we have external drives that are huge for much less money. Your internal hard drive should be large enough to house your media and essential docs but probably not much else. 

Soon, I'll probably need to get a PC solely to run ArcMap on (*eyeroll*) for grad school, but I'm not going to shell out beaucoup bucks for that. 

In terms of making your choice, at least 8 GB of RAM, solid state or fusion drive (preferably solid). Make a list of things you want the computer to do/have and what you don't want. Take into account size and weight and longevity. Then, see if you can test any of the computers you're considering. Stop by a best buy or tech store to give them a run for their money. Leave the store before buying and then once you've made a choice you can place your order with no hesitations. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've been using my trusty MacBook Pro retina since 2014 and it's still good. Before that I owned an ASUS laptop with touch screen for only 3 years and it lagged sooo bad. I highly recommend the MBP-- but I'm not so confident in apple's newer models since they're missing USB and HDMI ports, which are super useful for school. On the other hand, I don't have experience working on the newer MBP so I might be mistaken. Good luck!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

7 hours ago, londonrain9 said:

I've been using my trusty MacBook Pro retina since 2014 and it's still good. Before that I owned an ASUS laptop with touch screen for only 3 years and it lagged sooo bad. I highly recommend the MBP-- but I'm not so confident in apple's newer models since they're missing USB and HDMI ports, which are super useful for school. On the other hand, I don't have experience working on the newer MBP so I might be mistaken. Good luck!

I also have a MacBook Pro retina from 2014!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have 2 laptops, each about 5 years old.  I mainly use a Macbook Air for travel and archival work along with a scanner and a mouse.  The downside is the lack of USB ports (only has two) but I bought a cheap USB hub on Amazon that's served me well since I hate working without a mouse and also need the scanner when in archives and (if the internet is spotty) I need to be able to tether at the same time as well.  The Macbook is awesome, and although part of its longevity might be due to the fact that I use it sparingly, it's been a tank for me and I love how quickly it boots up.  My other laptop is an HP Envy that I bought more for gaming than anything else but these days functions as my workhorse.  I hooked it up to a 24" monitor, keyboard, and mouse and it basically functions as a desktop that I can unplug and take without any of the peripherals if I need to.  It's a bit on the heavy side, though, especially compared to my Mac.

If I had to buy a new computer tomorrow, I'd probably get another Macbook.  Windows just has too much bloatware these days and I'm no longer tech savvy enough to mess with all the settings I need to and figure out all the programs I'd need to stop from running on startup.  I definitely echo @hardatwork's comment about getting an SSD and at least 8 gigs of RAM.  All of that said, I'm much more familiar and comfortable with Windows than I am with Mac OS, even after 5 years of using my Macbook.  Still the fact that the Mac lets me use Office and also edit pdf files (mostly just basic chop out a page here or there which basic-level windows adobe does not allow) makes it indispensable for me.

Good luck in your computer searches!

Edited by fortsibut
English is hard.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...

Echoing @londonrain9 and @ResilientDreams -- I've a 2014 retina pro too! It's still going strong, and I love it, been using it for the IB (two years) and three years of uni. I love it to the extent where I'm deeply worried what I'd do if it broke. I'm not a fan of any of the newer Macs, but damn I don't wanna go back to windows. Never had to do repairs or anything on mine. Hoping it lives forever haha.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...
On 2/2/2019 at 8:36 AM, PsyDGrad90 said:

Social science here too. I love my Surface. The versatility is great for reading and annotating pdfs. Powerful enough to run stats software. Lightweight for great portability and good battery life. 

I second what @PsyDGrad90 said, I also have a Surface and I love it as a social sciences student. I got the 256 GB SSD and I never see myself running out of space in the future. Luckily when I was shopping around for a new laptop I was able to consult with my SO who is a computer programmer and he warned me fervently to stay away from the MacOS system. I know some people are religious Apple fanatics, but with Windows updating most of their software and now having the capability to run both their processes and some Linux-based processes, it means you'll be able to do much more.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Surface tablets are rad I prefer mine to my iPad. The functionality of windows with the portability of a tablet...But the flip side is that you can’t really position it that comfortably like you can with a regular notebook when lying down.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If you're short on cash or just want good value go with a refurbished Dell laptop. If you have time, search around for a coupon and you can get a flagship current gen laptop for almost half off. You will get more ram, CPU, and SSD hard drive space for much cheaper than comparable macbook.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.