Notebook recommendations for student entering university

Discussion in 'Computers' started by NickSo, May 22, 2003.

  1. NickSo

    NickSo Producer

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    Hey guys, im lookin for recommendations for any laptops i should look into when i go into university next year.

    I've been thinking of the iBook, but im not sure if my courses in the future (im taking Business Administartion at Simon Fraser University) will need any applications that will require Windows OS's, and its relatively expensive compared to Windows notebooks with similar features.

    My priorities are:
    - Portability! I dont mind a 12" screen if it means greater portability. I felt the 12" iBook was a PERFECT size.
    - Price! Though my parents are paying for it, i dont wanna gouge them out for any more than I have to.
    - Reliability/Value. Pretty self-explanatory. I dont want something that'll have loose flaps that'll break off and stuff.
    - Features. I wanna be able to have all the basic ports/peripheral expansions and whatnot. A CD Burner would be nice, but i doubt many notebooks come with it. DVD-Rom might be a nice feature.

    I won't use it to game (actually, i think it'd be better if it wasn't possible to game, then i wont be playing all the time :p) )
    Mainly Websurfing, MSN/ICQ, MP3/Music, Word Processing, just the basics.

    I wanna keep it under $2000.00 CAD

    Thanks!
     
  2. Max Leung

    Max Leung Producer

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    Most notebooks in the past couple of years have combo DVD-ROM/CDR drives. I would expect this to be a mandatory feature on new laptops nowadays.

    Does the university offer wireless internet access? If so, you might consider getting a wireless card for your notebook.

    I am assuming gaming is not a requirement, so an iBook should be just as good as any other PC-based notebook out there. Although, I have no idea how reliable those iBooks are (but I do remember the spontaneously combusting Apple notebooks from a couple of years ago! That's one HOT lap! [​IMG]).
     
  3. Camp

    Camp Cinematographer

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    I'll vote for the iBook. I love mine (and I've always been a PC person). It's the 12" version and it's fantastic for it's portability and is quite rugged (I've dropped it more than a few times). The only part that could be better built is the plug on the recharging cable...it's a cool $90 to replace too.

    Get Office for Mac (which is better than OfficeXP) and you'll be able to do pretty much anything. The networking built-in to Jaguar is very powerful making it easy to connect to PC or Mac networks (just don't forget an Airport card).

    I think the 900mhz iBook is a great deal (retail $1299). Just budget enough for an Airport card and another $60 for an extra 256mb RAM (the included 128mb just isn't enough). You could jump to the sexy aluminum Powerbook with your budget but I don't think the increase in performance is equal to the price increase.
     
  4. MikeH

    MikeH Stunt Coordinator

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    You might want to check with Computer Services at SFU about what OS they recommend. I know some schools require XP Pro rather than XP Home. Then ask them or contact the Business Department and find out if Word for Mac would be a problem. I know nothing about Mac's so I can't help.

    I took a quick look at the SFU site and they do have wirless. Here are their specs. SFU Wireless



    Mike
     
  5. Masood Ali

    Masood Ali Supporting Actor

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    Nick, have you demoed a iBook running Jaguar? I suggest you do so before making a decision based solely on size.

    Also, what's your motivation for getting a laptop? I know some colleges specifically suggest incoming students purchase one (for certain majors), but most students entering college (at least mine, anyways) bought laptops that spend 90% of their life parked on a desk. Will a fast desktop and flatpanel monitor serve you better?

    And while a 12" screen will save you 2-3lbs of weight when you do decide to carry it around, remember that you'll be spending A LOT of time staring at that screen over the course of your education. You'll also spend countless hours typing on that keyboard. Take a look at a few bigger laptops/screens and consider your future comfort.

    And Dell sells 2.4GHz P4 laptops for under $1000 (sometimes as low as $700) and lighter Centrino laptops can be had for a shade over $1000. I'm assuming you have all summer until school starts, and hot deals come along a few times a month. Just keep checking the HTF deals page.
     
  6. NickSo

    NickSo Producer

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    Thanks for all the advice guys... Its gonna be awhile before i get it (3-4 months?) but i just wanna have enough time to research and all.

    Camp: Thats $2000 Canadian, so the 900MHz 12.1" is JUST the price, but then theres the damnedd 14.5% sales tax! [​IMG]

    Masood: I've played around with them for a short time, but never really in-depth use with Jaguar and the iBook. Yeah im planning to contact the business faculty or something to see what they recommend. The reason I want a notebook is coz I get distracted VERY easily (at least at home anyways) and the only way to get some real studying done is at the library or at Tim Hortons or something. I just thought that a notebook would allow me to do reports and stuff as well as studying in other places. I do have a decent desktop but no flat-panel LCD monitor.

    Thanks guys, keep 'em coming!
     
  7. Thomas Newton

    Thomas Newton Screenwriter

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  8. Camp

    Camp Cinematographer

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  9. Max Leung

    Max Leung Producer

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    Nick, just buy your notebook in Alberta. Visit Calgary, no PST here, only 7% GST. Or order an iBook online.

    US universities are fairly pricey. Nick, stay in Canada, our post-secondary education is better anyways (for the same price I mean!). However, US women LOVE Canadian men, so maybe go to the US for post-graduate studies. [​IMG]
     
  10. DonRoeber

    DonRoeber Screenwriter

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    If you're going to buy your machine in a few months, wait until after MacWorld this July. Apple usually upgrades it's consumer models in the summer, so if there is going to be a boost to the iBook line, it's going to happen then.

    As much as I'd love to just tell you to go get an iBook and love it forever (and you would), you really need to check with your school's computer services center to find out what they require for your courses, and what they recommend.
     
  11. Patrick Larkin

    Patrick Larkin Screenwriter

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    Tips on Apple purchases:

    - If you are a student, you can buy one through Apple's education store and get a discount ($50 discount) or
    - Order it through amazon.com and get no sales tax and free shipping!


    We buy hundreds of notebooks and one thing that keeps us coming back to Apple is BATTERY LIFE. An ibook will give you more battery life than a PC notebook. I get a REAL 4 hours out of my Powerbook G4 and an iBook should get you close to a REAL 5 hours. Lot of companies will TELL you they get 4 hours but they are giving the theoretical life in most cases.

    iBooks go from $949 and up. Don't be fooled into thinking you can get a PC laptop for less. Go price them feature for feature and you'll find out Apple portables are the best deal out there.
     
  12. NickSo

    NickSo Producer

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    I checked out apple.com's prices, and I foudn that if i bought it from apple.com, i save $220 than if I bought it from apple.ca thanks to the growing canadian dollar ($1 USD = $1.37 CAD). Apple doesnt have the EDUCATION store for Canadian universities [​IMG]

    It looks like theres alot of praise for the iBook. I will research and ask around to see what i'll need in SFU business. I'll probably be waiting to get it later, so i'll see what MacWorld has to show for the new iBooks.

     
  13. MikeAlletto

    MikeAlletto Cinematographer

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    As someone who went to college having a mac as my computer of choice I would say get a windows based PC. There are just too many incompatibilities and hoops I had to jump through to do certain projects. Especially if you need to be working in labs using software that only runs on windows. You can get a pretty cheap Dell laptop that'll do everything you want it too.

    You may really really like the iBook, but you must really think hard about the compatibility problems you'll face trying to use it on campus and in working with others who will all have windows laptops and desktop machines. You'll be stressed out enough, no need to worry whether your computer will be able to read the file with a project your group is working on.
     
  14. Mike Sogge

    Mike Sogge Stunt Coordinator

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    Check with the University you'll be attending and see if they have a computer sales center that sells Apple products. You can usually get a hefty discount when purchasing via the school than directly from another retailer. When I purchased my TiBook last fall, I saved about $300 off of the regular Apple price by ordering it via my University.

    After purchasing my laptop I found that my grades actually went up despite having a computer chained to me 24/7. More time spent at the Library = more time spent studying. When I was still using my G4 desktop I found myself being more susceptible to disctraction (TV, friends, etc).

    One of the biggest things I like about the Apple laptops is their size. They are SUPER thin. One of my friends has a newer Dell laptop that's comparable in features, but is nearly twice the thickness of my TiBook. The Apple laptops are also light which you'll find to be really nice when you start packing your backpack full of textbooks, notebooks, and your computer.

    One suggestion I have though, is to seriously consider the 14" iBook. If you plan on keeping the computer and not upgrading for a while, then the extra 2" of screen size will be well worth it. I personally don't think I could survive on anything less than 14" if the laptop's screen were my sole monitor.

    In regards to compatiblilty, I'm an engineering student at a University that is pretty much all Windows except for a few rogue colleges and have not had a problem with it. OS X is very well adept at handling any networking or file sharing issues you may find. If you need to run any Windows only, processor intensive apps (which I doubt you will), there are always computer labs you can use. Pretty much everything else has a Mac counterpart (Office being the biggest you'll probably use) or should be able to run under Virtual PC.
     
  15. MikeAlletto

    MikeAlletto Cinematographer

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