I'm going off the college this fall and I'm planning on building a new desktop or buying a laptop. I think the portablity of the notebook would come in hany, but I can't ugread it and I could be stolen. The desktop would be more powerful and cheeper, but wouldn't do me much good on the other side of campus.
How obsolete would a middle of the road laptop be in four to five years?
it depends on what you are going to be using it for. if its just for school work, e-mail, internet just about any notebook would do. Don't expect to be gaming on a notebook very much no matter what you buy. there are programs that can track your notebook if its stolen (logs into a site invisibly to report location and phone number used for dialup)so don't be too concerned about theft. You can also buy locking mechanisims that will secure it to a desk and other solid objects for cheap. Inquire at your local shop about security measures for notebooks.
Yeah, those Kensington locks are not only a good visual deterrent, but they actually do work quite well. Most laptops have a metal plate behind that hole, it's not just plastic. I've also seen at least one that had an alarm on it, if someone tries to steal the laptop, or tamper with the lock, it sounds an alarm.
A tip: If you get one with a combination, don't leave the combination dialed in when the lock isn't attached! Sounds obvious, but so many people take off the lock and then leave the combination set. An observant thief can easily figure out the code, and just walk off it later.
And just because you have a lock, don't think you're immune from theft. Always treat your laptop as if it were not secured, even when it is.
Remember, the majority of laptops stolen are for resale. Slapping stickers or paint on the laptop will help reduce the risk of theft, since that will lower any possible resale value, especially if your name, license plate, or some obvious identifying marks are on it. And that generic plain looking laptop may not be as fancy as one of those new titanium iBooks, but you can bet your classmates with the iBook will be targeted first.
And don't brag. If you go around talking about how great your Pentium 4 laptop with 1 gig of RAM and an 80G hard disk is, every thief in 100 miles will be keeping an eye on you. On the other hand, if you constantly complain about how slow your 'old' laptop is, they'll just ignore your machine and look for someone else.
I'm going in to my 3rd year, and I bought a laptop...It's served me well..I've been disapointed in the graphics card and hard drive, otherwise nothing to complain about..but for 2 years it sat on my desk - i didn['t take it anywhere except home on the weekends that I went home, and I certianly could have done without it then. My $.02, unless you plan on going home a lot or having need for a laptop; go with a desktop. feel free to PM or email me if you have any questions
Well as for longevity, it really all depends on what brand you buy. Example, my Compaq is in shambles after not even 2 years. But I have heard of Apple notebooks which have lasted 5 years, easily. Probably Dell notebooks would last just about as long.
You can upgrade them just not as much.. just make sure the thing runs either Windows 2000 or OS X (Depending on what kind you buy) comfortably and you will be fine even if you don't have the latest bells-and-whistles OS in 5 years.
Either an iBook, a Powerbook G4, or a Dell. All 3 are great notebooks built to last.
(BTW, I don't know how good it is but you CAN get Windows emulation on a Mac...besides Mac notebooks are very well built and the iBook is very durable)
Get a laptop - when you do get a few things with it
1. a big HD
2. 0 RAM (you can buy it cheaper of Crucial.com)
3. FULL 3yr warrantee (think about it, you drop it, hit the breaks real hard, someone runs into you, what then?)
4. Dvd ( <IMG SRC="smilies/biggrin.gif" border="0"> for the times when you DON'T have to be in class)
5. extra battery
I got a dell inspiron 8000 - damn good piece of machinery and its now got 320 megs of ram (256meg cas2 for 140 shipped from crucial <IMG SRC="smilies/biggrin.gif" border="0">) Along with my onsite 3 yr warrantee, they come out and fix it if it screws up, and they cover the accidential breakages, which rules.
It also depends slightly upon your major. I'm a Computer Science major and have found my laptop to be quite useful. It's nice to be in Programming class and have the prog right there to get help with, rather than dealing with a printed out version of what you're doing.
It's also nice to have in English classes where you have to write a paper, and the instructor has you bring in a rough draft to go over in class. Badda Boom...it's right there to make changes, while the info is fresh in your head. No going back to it a couple of hours later trying to remember what the instructor said, or what these scribbles on your paper means.
If you type fast, it's also great to take notes on. You will always be able to read it later on, and you can make folders for each of your classes. Cuts down on expensive paper binders.
Downsides have already been touched on except for these two things.
1)Batteries die fast. It's best to find a wall you can plug into during class.
2)Laptop, books, papers, supplies, folders...it all gets a little cumbursome. Sometimes, its just easier to grab a pen, a pad of paper and you're book and go.
Oh and one more thing. You're going to end up with a desktop one way or the other. You'll need the desktop to play in LAN parties. You can't forget what school is all about!
True, one of the big reasons I bought a laptop was to take it to class...but you know what? At my college, I've never seen anyone with a laptop in class. Not in any English classes, nor in any programming classes. Once in a while you see a person with their laptop in the library. Most people leave them in their dorms. I'm not knocking FooL at all; but I am telling how it is at my college.
As for LAN parties, you nailed it right on - I'm looking in to a desktop 'cause of the gaming factor. I miss having a super gaming machine.
*edit: all that said, I do carry my laptop just about everywhere. How much I need it there or even use it is a matter of debate though
Laptop vs. Desktop for school....
1. Desktop offers cheaper entry and upgrade path
2. More options
3. more speed
4. more - everything
2. Takes less desk space
3. allows you to move your work area to someplace more enviting - the library, the park, starbucks, etc
Personally I love my laptop - I take it everywhere I go. I bought an older Toshiba, upgraded the Ram (to 160) and the Hard Drive (to 20GB)- now the machine runs plenty fast and I have enough space for about anything I need the Laptop for.
Death is lighter than a feather - duty heavier than a mountian.
One good thing to look for is a system where you can remove the CD or floppy and insert a second battery. Most Sony laptops can do this, it'll let you go perhaps as much as 8 HOURS on a single charge (although 6 is probably more realistic). Make sure you get one that has the Intel SpeedStep, or AMD's equivalent, it really does make a difference (My HP was getting 2 hours on a battery before I installed the SpeedStep app, now it gets 3 hours!) An Active-Matrix display looks nicer, but consumes more power and is easier for people to read over your shoulder. Sony makes one that has a nice removable privacy filter over the screen that makes it impossible to see except from right in front of it. Now you can look at pr0n during those boring English classes!
One of the things I always told my customers was if you only use the computer for what you bought it for, it will never become obsolete. It's only when you try to update it that it becomes outdated. In otherwords, if you want something to write reports on, get one that runs Office 2000 and then STICK WITH OFFICE 2000! DON'T get the latest and greatest version just because you can! If you stick with what the laptop currently has, it'll last you through college, and then some. I know people who still use 088's to do word processing. Is the 088 obsolete, absolutely. But if all you need is a word processor, it's perfect!