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micromajor2011

Whats the best pc to buy?

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I'm starting graduate school in the fall and im in desperate need of a new PC. Im considering

A tablet PC or laptop, in addition to buying an ipad maybe. I think if I can find a good tablet I won't

Purchase an ipad, but if I cant. Ill buy a cheaper laptop for space purposes and a ipad for light travel

Notes, and things. Does anyone have any suggestions for a PC that would be a good choose for reserach

purposes in science?

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try the samsung galaxy tablet - i've used various tablets (ipad, motorolas, samsungs) and find this to be the best

as for pc, first decide what your priorities are. if you think you can take notes on a tablet (which i can't as i'm accustomed to typing notes in my laptop for years), don't get a laptop. instead, get a desktop. for about half the price of a laptop, you can get twice the size and speed in a desktop. but if you don't feel comfortable taking notes and doing your school stuff on a tablet, get a medium sized laptop (13 or 14 inch) so that it's easier to carry around. or, get a very cheap laptop to take notes and stuff, and buy a powerful desktop to do your research.

if you haven't done so already, i strongly recommend that you go to a store like best buy or your university bookstore and try using tablets to see if you can take notes on them. then decide.

i personally have a dell xps (the old type which dell used to manufacture for gaming, but they discontinued after they bought alienware) which i use for everything from playing games to taking notes to running my bioinformatic analyses. it's been running solid for 3 years with no problems. but i too am thinking of getting a desktop for research works and use the laptop solely for taking notes and browsing the net.

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I have been perfectly content with my HP Probook 4530s since purchasing it a few weeks ago for $450 (just under $600 with extended warranty) from TigerDirect. Has a 15.6" screen, 4 GB RAM, full size keyboard, 320 GB hard drive, i3 processor, and ~5 hours of battery life. You can check for more bargains at http://slickdeals.net/

The link to that specific item is here: http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=19198&CatId=4938

The only downside is that it comes with a ton of bloatware. Reinstalling the OS took care of that, but I had to call HP for the reinstallation and driver discs.

This machine has more computing power than I need for my work, but not much more. It's a steal at this price, to be honest. The large screen allows me to open two windows at once without squinting, and the number pad will make my life a lot easier when entering data in spreadsheets.

These are all features that I think grad students can appreciate. I don't have a tablet, so I'm afraid I don't have any experience with note-taking on them. I can imagine a tablet allows you to read journal articles (usually PDFs) and can handle graphs/illustrations just like a laptop or desktop can. I'm not sure if the same can be said about eReaders, though I could be wrong.

I second bhikaari's suggestion to test out tablets first to see whether you'll be comfortable with them, i.e. typing on them, for example.

All the best!

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I agree that it depends on what you want to do with each. However, note-taking is not the only reason to get a laptop. For instance, the flexibility to work in different settings is one plus. For my particular work, I also need to use it to collect data in various locations. At the same time, I don't think it needs to be a top-of-the-line machine because most universities have clusters available to run the simulations/process data. At that point a laptop and a desktop become comparable in price and in my opinion a laptop is more useful than a desktop.

If note-taking is the primary reason, I would consider getting a netbook if the screen is not too tiny for you. In terms of brands, I think there's been plenty of discussions in other threads here. In my opinion, the quality won't vary that significantly between the more popular brands and it comes down to how it feels to you.

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Personally, I am going with a netbook and a desktop. I can't do any real work without a screen, and a large screen on a laptop makes it too heavy for me to want to carry around. I would much rather just have an awesome desktop and then a netbook for any basic things I need to do away from home.

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Buy a laptop, partition the hard drive, install Linux on the partition. (Don't totally wipe the HD, if you paid for windoze, you may as well have it for the rare program that can't run on Linux.) Linux doesn't get viruses/malware, it's controllable, it doesn't have wierd crashes (configured properly), it's open source, it's FREE.

Sorry, but I've got to spread the word.

PS: Don't get Ubuntu, get Linux Mint; it's easier to set up. (there are lots of versions of Linux, so you can pick the one that's right for you, another advantage)

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Buy a laptop, partition the hard drive, install Linux on the partition. (Don't totally wipe the HD, if you paid for windoze, you may as well have it for the rare program that can't run on Linux.) Linux doesn't get viruses/malware, it's controllable, it doesn't have wierd crashes (configured properly), it's open source, it's FREE.

Sorry, but I've got to spread the word.

PS: Don't get Ubuntu, get Linux Mint; it's easier to set up. (there are lots of versions of Linux, so you can pick the one that's right for you, another advantage)

I would recommend a mac book pro over a pc... you already have an iphone!

All right, the question was not about "what OS should I get?" The question also specifically referred to a non-Apple laptop computer. There is also nothing to indicate that the person already has an iPhone. I'd say turning this thread into a flame-war (the road it's trending toward) is not warranted.

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I suggest going with Sony or Lenovo, both have plenty of powerful and practical computers. Use CNET and Consumer Reports (look in the library for the latest edition) when you're deciding between specific models (Don't trust random user reviews).I do not recommend HP or Gateway based on bad experiences. Currently I'm stuck between Sony ($$$), Lenovo (practical) and Apple($$$$$)- but I hope to resolve the issue soon! My sister has a great Lenovo thinkpad- why don't you check them out?

Do you need an inexpensive computer? What's your budget?

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Thanks for all the suggestions so far. Im not a fan of apple computers, so that is not an option. I dont mind ipads, ipod etc.. But Macs. no. Im looking to spend up to 800 if its a siple tablet or netbook. If I end up picking a small laptop around 11inches, id spend only a tad more but I think 800 is reasonable. Im looking into lenevo, toshiba, dell, and hp. Ive herad good things about the HP dm1z anyone own one? still looking...

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If I end up picking a small laptop around 11inches, id spend only a tad more but I think 800 is reasonable. Im looking into lenevo, toshiba, dell, and hp. Ive herad good things about the HP dm1z anyone own one? still looking...

again, set your priorities first. if you want to get a laptop for taking notes, browsing the net, making slideshows and such, get the cheapest (but with at least a couple years' warranty) possible. and get a desktop for beastly tasks - you can put the desktop either at home or in your lab/office and yet be able to access it with your laptop. with 800 though, you can get a really nice laptop that might handle most of your big tasks as well.

and as someone mentioned above, i would stay away from hps if possible. i too have bad experiences with them. go with either sony or dell... or lenovo too. lenovo's new thinkpads are out of the world.

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I have a Lenovo thinkpad that I really enjoy. It replaced an old IBM thinkpad -- how I wish they continued making them! I also have an iPad for travel and simple tasks; like you, I have no problems with iPads but I can't stand iMacs/macbooks so I would not get one even if I thought it was worth the price. As others have suggested, a strong laptop plus an iPad should cover all your needs, or else a light laptop and a desktop for home, in which case the iPad is probably unnecessary. Strictly speaking the iPad is not necessary for anything, but I am nonetheless very happy with mine. FWIW I hear good things about Dell, and bad things about HP.

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I run a custom i7-930 desktop at home (used to be a wedding photographer, so I needed something for fast workflow) along with (now) a Lenovo Thinkpad T420--and an iPad for s***s and giggles. I couldn't be happier with the setup. Typically I lug the laptop and iPad everywhere I go, but I often get away with just bringing my iPad by itself.

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What I do not recommend: I had awful experiences with Dell in college. The harddrive of my desktop died (blue screen errors) within 6 months of purchase, and tech support was an experience I hope to never replicate again. I did get a new one by mail, covered under warranty, but it took about 6 hours of phone calls (I do not exaggerate), and it was in the middle of my semester.

Another friend of mine had her Dell laptop completely die on her within 2 years of purchase. Unless they've upgraded the hardware they use in the last 5-7 years, I do not recommend Dell products.

Gateway, from what I understand, is also made quite cheaply and is not really built to last.

What I do recommend: If you decide to do a laptop instead of a tablet (or netbook) + desktop, my boyfriend really likes his Asus laptop and convinced his brother to buy one as well. He's in the sciences (MD/PhD, currently researching in Molecular and Developmental Bio) and it seems to meet his needs for his research.

Asus was originally a hardware manufacturer—they made one of the most popular (and reportedly, very reliable) motherboards—but they've now branched out to laptops as well. He's had it for three years or so, and it's been a good and reliable computer for him.

If you decide to go the desktop plus tablet/netbook route, you can build a tower pretty cheaply and easily. If you have a MicroCenter near you, they're great for low prices.

Edited by runonsentence

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There is also nothing to indicate that the person already has an iPhone.

Why don't you read the second post of the thread and notice the poster...

Also, with good conscience I can not tell someone to get a Windows PC. Sorry.

Edited by toypajme

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Why don't you read the second post of the thread and notice the poster...

You mean this?

typed from my phone. Sorry, my phone is not loading the site properly, so my text looks weird.

So, let me get this straight, only an iPhone does not display the site properly? No Android phones would do this? Or OpenMoko phones? or RIM phones? And you've definitely verified this, right?

Also, with good conscience I can not tell someone to get a Windows PC. Sorry.

Thank god no one asked you to do that.

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guys, please don't turn this thread (or any other thread that discusses phones and computers, for that matter) into a brawling ground. we all have used different devices, liked some more over others, and therefore have built preferences as the outcome. so, it is okay to suggest to others what we seem is right.

btw, i too don't see the OP mention anything about an iphone. he/she has a 'my phone', which i assume could be any kind of phone.

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What I do not recommend: I had awful experiences with Dell in college.

Just for balance, my Dell laptop has been running with no issues since I got it in the fall of 2006. I guess your mileage may vary. Dell seems to be a touchy topic, so I won't say more about it.

What I do recommend: If you decide to do a laptop instead of a tablet (or netbook) + desktop, my boyfriend really likes his Asus laptop and convinced his brother to buy one as well.

I would second Asus. They're awesome. I did have a weird issue where the heat sink actually detached itself from the GPU (I really don't know how) and I had to reapply thermal paste and re-tighten it. That wasn't huge deal. I'm willing to bet that's not a regular occurrence with them.

If you decide to go the desktop plus tablet/netbook route, you can build a tower pretty cheaply and easily. If you have a MicroCenter near you, they're great for low prices.

Or even buy stuff online. NewEgg + Amazon are great for stuff like that. The box I recently built ran ~$300 (without a monitor -- used the TV for that).

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What I do not recommend: I had awful experiences with Dell in college. The harddrive of my desktop died (blue screen errors) within 6 months of purchase, and tech support was an experience I hope to never replicate again. I did get a new one by mail, covered under warranty, but it took about 6 hours of phone calls (I do not exaggerate), and it was in the middle of my semester.

Another friend of mine had her Dell laptop completely die on her within 2 years of purchase. Unless they've upgraded the hardware they use in the last 5-7 years, I do not recommend Dell products.

Gateway, from what I understand, is also made quite cheaply and is not really built to last.

What I do recommend: If you decide to do a laptop instead of a tablet (or netbook) + desktop, my boyfriend really likes his Asus laptop and convinced his brother to buy one as well. He's in the sciences (MD/PhD, currently researching in Molecular and Developmental Bio) and it seems to meet his needs for his research.

Asus was originally a hardware manufacturer—they made one of the most popular (and reportedly, very reliable) motherboards—but they've now branched out to laptops as well. He's had it for three years or so, and it's been a good and reliable computer for him.

If you decide to go the desktop plus tablet/netbook route, you can build a tower pretty cheaply and easily. If you have a MicroCenter near you, they're great for low prices.

In direct contrast to this, the only ASUS laptop that I've had experience with was really, really unreliable.... And the two dell laptops I've had have each lasted 3-4 years of hard use with ease. My first one still works fine, really, the screen is just broken... And it was time to upgrade, so I got a new one instead of replacing the screen.

I haven't bought a Dell for the last 3 years (mine is still running fine) but I had a friend who bought one this spring that he really likes- it was about $500 for an Inspiron 15, which did more than everything he needed to allow him to work on the road.

If you do go with Dell, I'd suggest watching the sales for a bit- they cycle through what models they have on sale, but they usually offer really good discounts if you aren't in a rush.

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guys, please don't turn this thread (or any other thread that discusses phones and computers, for that matter) into a brawling ground. we all have used different devices, liked some more over others, and therefore have built preferences as the outcome. so, it is okay to suggest to others what we seem is right.

btw, i too don't see the OP mention anything about an iphone. he/she has a 'my phone', which i assume could be any kind of phone.

in looking back, it appears I misread it. sorry for the misunderstanding.

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I have a Dell laptop that I got in spring 2006 (and which I'm using to type this post) that has, admittedly, had some issues (some of those were user-created). I also have an Asus eee netbook that I got two summers ago for fieldwork. I'm getting a new laptop in a few weeks, mostly because neither of my computers have enough processing power to run software I need to run while in the field. I'm either getting an Asus or a Lenovo, based on recommendations from computer-knowledgeable friends.

I'm not a huge gadget fiend so having an iPad is only sort of appealing to me. Also, if you're interested in a tablet and don't care if it's an iPad, you can go to Staples and use this $100 off coupon to get one. Rumor has it that even if it's out of stock in store, you can order it and pay now using the coupon. Coupon expires July 30, btw. I'm considering getting myself a tablet, but will probably get a Nook and root it instead. That way, I'll have a portable tablet-like thing, an eReader, and a netbook.

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Perhaps my experience with Dell was an exception?

The box I recently built ran ~$300 (without a monitor -- used the TV for that).

Yep, that's what my boyfriend did as well—bought himself an HDMI cable and uses the TV instead of a monitor. It's great for a second computer, though hard on the eyes (at least it is with his size screen). But it also means we don't need cable; Hulu all the way!

Edited by runonsentence

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