Since Vista isn't here many a vendor can say it supports Vista, but its not set in stone yet. Students perfer laptops but a decent desktop does just as well. If cost is an issue a desktop will do fine. If cost isn't then a laptop is better only if because its mobile. Please don't exclude any insurance as laptops are the number 1 item stolen on campus next to ipods. As for dual core, that's fancy stuff if you need it, get it but basic single core does fine and overall for all tasks whatever they maybe. For an entering freshman, a desktop is OK, as needs become more clearer, then spring for a new laptop maybe in the jr. year. Also, expect the need for a flashdrive and/or wireless option for whatever system is gotten should be part of the package.
A few months ago, colleges that my dependent was accepted to ALL said there were no requirements as to desktop/laptop, OS, 32/64/dual core. All these major universities had laptop to check out in the libraries. Dorms have internet capablity.
Now the IT department of university chosen is saying the way to go is a laptop that is dual core (T2300, T2400, or T2500) and Vista capable.
So what's everyone's take: A decent desktop running XP Home and MS Office or a new laptop priced from $1300 that is dual core and supposed to support Vista?