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College Laptop-Economics Major

by nvhstosu / July 5, 2010 8:04 PM PDT

I'm going to be heading off to college in a couple of months and need some help choosing a laptop. My budget is $800 max. I'm hoping to find something with 4GB ram, 500GB hard drive. I don't know much about computers. I would like it to be portable so a 15.6 inch screen max. Mainly I'll be typing up assignments, browsing the internet, light photo editing. I'm going to be an Economics major. Also would you recommend buying now or waiting until August?

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Any laptop would do.
by Kees Bakker / July 5, 2010 8:42 PM PDT

Look around in your local shop (HP, Toshiba, Acer). Look at And see if the college has some agreement with a supplier including a special student price and local support in case of issues.

Be sure it has Windows 7 (practically all have at the moment). All the rest can be fully standard, I think.

So find a few, then come back here with your shortlist.


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Toshiba has one with the specs you
by orlbuckeye / July 7, 2010 1:05 AM PDT

need for 679 at Best Buy.

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by nvhstosu / July 7, 2010 6:52 AM PDT

Which Toshiba?

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Dell Studio 15
by IsabellaJ_WinTeam / July 7, 2010 5:21 AM PDT

Hi there,

I think the Dell Studio 15 would fit your needs well. It has a fast processor, 4 GB of RAM, and 500 GB of hard drive space. It is also 15.6" and weighs 5.5 lbs, so it is portable enough to take to class.

I hope this helps! Let me know if I can answer any other questions about the Dell.

MSFT Windows Outreach Team

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My problem with Dell
by nvhstosu / July 7, 2010 7:09 AM PDT
In reply to: Dell Studio 15

is that I've had relatives who have had bad experiences with Dell. I want something reliable and from reading reviews around the web I don't feel Dell hits that mark.

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Sony Vaio EB
by IsabellaJ_WinTeam / July 7, 2010 8:14 AM PDT
In reply to: My problem with Dell


Have you checked out the Sony Vaio EB series? It has similar specs to the Dell (fast processor, 500 GB hard drive space, and 4 GB of RAM).

MSFT Windows Outreach Team

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You're opinions on
by nvhstosu / July 16, 2010 5:06 PM PDT

What are your opinion on the Gateway ID Series and NV Series Laptops? Or the HP Pavilion? Are they reliable?

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You must define reliable.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / July 16, 2010 9:42 PM PDT
In reply to: You're opinions on

Windows is a little weak in reliability which means I see the system fail long before the machine does. Many owners fail to maintain backups some even SKIP making the restore media which leads to another reliability issue.

If I was to think reliable I have to think about Apple machines and for hardware the Panasonic Toughbooks.

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I define Reliabe As
by nvhstosu / July 17, 2010 9:43 AM PDT

Something that is going to last 3-4 years. No thanks, I'm not an apple fan.

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Almost no laptops get that far.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / July 17, 2010 10:58 AM PDT
In reply to: I define Reliabe As

Look at the common 300 cycle battery. That's only 1 to 2 years and needs replacement. Then we have our usage patterns. Some will game on the machines and wear out the keyboard.

If you are tender with the machine and give it the required yearly cleaning and replace the 300 cycle battery at 2 years you might make it to year 4. The clues about design life are easy to read with 300 cycle batteries, 3 year hard drive warranties and 1 year (or less) warranty on the machine.

The Toughbook line is a little boring but is built well.

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by nvhstosu / July 18, 2010 6:39 PM PDT

What do you think of the HP dm4t and the HP dv6t?

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I own a dv6
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / July 18, 2010 9:19 PM PDT
In reply to: Overall

It's the run of the mill machine and with its 300 cycle battery and keyboard I bet it will fail in some way by year 3. The dm4t is a new model and looks to have the same 300 cycle battery but you can opt for a long life model. If you don't game on it I should hit year 4.

Remember that most consumer laptops are now 3 year designs. Many can't accept this but it is how the prices are brought down.

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Make sure you have a strong processor
by iTechGuy16 / July 19, 2010 3:27 AM PDT
In reply to: Overall

@nvhstosu Since you stated you don't know much about computers, an important aspect to consider is the processor. Many people don't take a second look at it, but it's the brain of your computer and will determine how well your computer works down the road. If you have a strong processor your battery will last longer, as your computer will not have to work as hard fulfilling requests when you are doing things such as photo editing and listening to music at the same time. Intel's new core i3, i5, i7 family all have smart performance and adjust to your needs. The i5 and i7 come with Turbo boost, which speed up your computer when you need more performance/ power. This will save you from the typical freezing and drag on older computers. Buy investing in a stronger processor now you can insure that your computer will be ahead of the curve, able to handle new technology, and capable if you decide to get into more advanced usage such as video editing.

For what you are going to be using the computer for, I think any of these computers like the Gateway ID and NV series would work out fine with an i3 processor. The HP Pavilion dm4t series looks like your best bet. For $729 you get an Intel i3, 500 GB hard drive, 4GB ram, 600 cell battery (6.5 hours, web cam and even a cool little finger print reader. Similar to what R.Profitt was saying the rule of thumb is replace your computer every three years. I had a Dell Inspirion in college 2 years ago and around year two I had to have my computer plugged into the wall to even turn the computer on. So I would invest in a warranty for about two years, fix any problems you have with the warranty around year two and you should be good to go.

Hope this helps!

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