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Computer Requirements for college students

by gadget girl / June 24, 2006 5:39 AM PDT

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?

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Only a suggestion...
by Willy / June 24, 2006 6:05 AM PDT

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.

tada -----Willy Happy

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See if they offer a plan or direct buying.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / June 24, 2006 6:28 AM PDT

At one college a plan with Dell was something you would kill for. It included 4 years of service. Very amazing deal. They also supplied a list of machines.

It was bound to happen that someone would kick up the requirements. Will those have have substandard units upgrade?


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Plan/Direct Buying for College Students
by gadget girl / June 25, 2006 11:10 PM PDT

There is a company through school that does sell laptops and desktops (laptops are primary). The only major difference between other vendors is that they provide 4 year program; but no software is listed. Others of same price, memory, HD, processor usually have XP Pro or Windows Media.

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That 4 year program is worth more than software.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / June 25, 2006 11:57 PM PDT

The academic deals for the OS and Office reduce that effect but service for your laptop is EXPENSIVE. I'll write in the near 1 thousand buck range for the LCD or motherboard failures.


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As a college student myself...
by mcallij / June 26, 2006 1:02 AM PDT

I just finished my freshman year at college, and I have a laptop. As long as you have a MODERN laptop (not one that's three or so years old like mine), a laptop should take care of every need a college student has. It's definitely good to have a USB drive laying around, as they get used A LOT. Right now, Vista really isn't that big of a deal for a college student, so I wouldn't worry about that little part. Windows XP will do fine. And dual core is a nice touch, but it isn't necessarily needed. The only real problem with laptops is screen size. There have been reports released that staring at small (12" of so) laptop screens for hours (as college students are prone to do) can be very bad for the eyes. Therefore, I'd suggest getting something with a decent-sized screen. Mine is about a 13", and it's a little small for me, in my opinion. Just make sure it's something that will be comfortable to look at.


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Thanks for input
by gadget girl / June 26, 2006 6:14 AM PDT

I want to thank everyone for their input. Her desktop has wireless capability and she has a USB drive because it was policy at high school not to allow diskettes from outside sources. She doesn't really like working on a laptop, so I was surprised when she said this.

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by angryfirelord / June 26, 2006 6:37 AM PDT

The ABSOLUTE minimum requirement in my opinion is a 64-bit processor. This is something to watich for because Intel currently doesn't have a 64-bit mobile chips yet (unless you count the Pentium 4, which runs too hot anyway). Dual-core isn't too important because few applications can take advantages of dual-core.

For the desktop: Any AMD chip with 64-bit will be enough (including the Sempron). Intel is ok but their chips output more heat which translates to more fan noise. If you absolutely need a dual-core chip, then go for the Pentium D 9xx series. Avoid the 8xx series becuase they run MUCH hotter and a little slower. The one exception would be the 805 because it isn't as clocked as high so it's thermal output is less.

For the laptop: Currently the only 64-bit laptop chip that is out there is the Turion 64. Intel chips get better battery life but they don't have 64-bit support.

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