Buying a computer before med school? List your deal!

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If you bought a computer, and you have some insight for those of us who are looking into buying laptops, please list any great deals if you know of any. Is it true that they are supposed to get cheap in May? I heard that on a grape vine, and by a grape vine, I mean someone from SDN.
 

ddmo

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I found some really good deals at Sam's Club, at least $100 cheaper than anywhere else for the same computer, and about $400 cheaper for similarly priced dells and gateways.
 

Alexander99

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Right now on Dell.com, they're offering 10% off all systems, free shipping, and a free memory upgrade.
 
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courtyard

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dell just came up with a new laptop, inspiron 1000 series.
i think you can purchase one under 1k.

i think it's a pretty good deal.
 

Gleevec

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Best Buy has some good deals right now on Toshiba laptops.

I definitely would not buy a laptop that costs more than $1000 unless you are looking for a desktop replacement (which will be heavy and lack battery life).

I think Dell laptops are pretty overpriced, though they've started to cut prices and the new 10% deal is pretty good.

Oftentimes med schools have their own deals and configurations that they agree upon with a vendor. It might be worthwhile to wait, that is at least what I plan on doing since I figure the deals the school has with the vendor must be pretty sweet (since the med school runs the hospitals, which also buy computers as well, Im sure there are some huge bulk savings).
 

exgatr

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You should check www.techbargains.com for the best computer prices.

Dell is more expensive than most other laptops, but their stuff is built to last. A friend of mine dropped hers from 5 feet onto concrete and it still works fine.
 

XCanadianRagwee

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I have a discount through my school with Dell. I'll probably use it before I get outta here.
 

BerkeleyPremed

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Your best bet would probably be with Dell inspiron laptops. I heard Toshiba laptops are also pretty good quality and last a long time. I have a Sony Vaio laptop which was purchased in 2001 and it SUCKS HUGE ASS. I really would NOT recommend Sony Vaio laptops to anyone unless you actually enjoy having your computer crash while you're in the middle of writing research papers. I had to reformat my whole hard drive because something bizarre was happening with the memory in the C drive. I would delete programs from the C drive and then check the memory and see that it reported I had LESS memory than I did before deleting the programs (which makes absolutely no sense).
 

oldtimer

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If you're going to buy a computer, either a desktop or laptop, I suggest that you buy as much computer as you can afford because technology moves so fast that you don't want to buy a machine that will become obsolete tomorrow. If you buy top of the line, the machine will be useful for more years than a cheap one. This is coming from someone who works in the technology field.
 

Alexander99

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oldtimer said:
If you're going to buy a computer, either a desktop or laptop, I suggest that you buy as much computer as you can afford because technology moves so fast that you don't want to buy a machine that will become obsolete tomorrow. If you buy top of the line, the machine will be useful for more years than a cheap one. This is coming from someone who works in the technology field.
That's totally true. It's getting better nowadays though where you can buy a budget-priced computer that can actually run basic applications and some games for a year or two. I remember when the Pentiums first came out right after the end of the 486's. You could literally buy a top of the line computer (for $3,000+) and it'd be obsolete within a year. I mean, your computer would be so slow that it wouldn't even be able to run the new operating systems that would come out (Windows 95, 98, etc). You definately get a lot more for your money nowadays than a few years ago.
 

Gleevec

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oldtimer said:
If you're going to buy a computer, either a desktop or laptop, I suggest that you buy as much computer as you can afford because technology moves so fast that you don't want to buy a machine that will become obsolete tomorrow. If you buy top of the line, the machine will be useful for more years than a cheap one. This is coming from someone who works in the technology field.
I think your statement is only accurate in gaming.

As it stands, any computer now above 1ghz with around 512MB of RAM and 40GB hard disk space will run fine. Video cards get outdated quickly if youre into big games, sound cares are pretty stagnant.

Like if youre just surfing the net, using Office apps, listening to mp3s, maybe playing some lower end games (non FPS), I think computers built in the past year or so have been effective for a long time and dont look like theyre going to stop.

If you get a 1.5ghz P4, 512 RAM, 40+ GB HD, SB Live!, and a good LCD monitor, you'll be in business for quite a while before your hardware gets old on ya. Unless you want to play Doom3 at max res online that is.

Software has fallen WAY behind hardware recently, and there is a surplus of hardware capacity now that should let computers last longer, at least until the next release of Windows in 2005.
 
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Alexander99

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Gleevec said:
I think your statement is only accurate in gaming.

As it stands, any computer now above 1ghz with around 512MB of RAM and 40GB hard disk space will run fine. Video cards get outdated quickly if youre into big games, sound cares are pretty stagnant.

Like if youre just surfing the net, using Office apps, listening to mp3s, maybe playing some lower end games (non FPS), I think computers built in the past year or so have been effective for a long time and dont look like theyre going to stop.

If you get a 1.5ghz P4, 512 RAM, 40+ GB HD, SB Live!, and a good LCD monitor, you'll be in business for quite a while before your hardware gets old on ya. Unless you want to play Doom3 at max res online that is.

Software has fallen WAY behind hardware recently, and there is a surplus of hardware capacity now that should let computers last longer, at least until the next release of Windows in 2005.
You have a point there. I guess I enjoy gaming so what that guy said sort of applies to me. We're getting a new version of Windows next year? That's sort of pointless. What's wrong with XP? I think it's the first version of Windows that's been somewhat decent. At least we won't be forced to upgrade for several years the way the trend's been. Even though XP has been out for years, you don't really need it yet--I'm on '98.
 

BerkeleyPremed

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I'm still running Windows ME and I think it's fine for my purposes (just wordprocessing, powerpoint, surfing the web, etc). Why they keep releasing new editions is absolutely beyond me. (Other than the fact that they want to make more $$$...because the billions they're making now isn't really enough). Each new edition puts another thorn in everyone's ass which is quite annoying because workplaces will have to install the new version and you'll feel obligated to install the new version just to keep up.

The following quote applies to the tech industry today:
"You have to run as fast as you can just to stay in the same place."----The Red Queen
 

jhk43

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If u want a mac, go to the apple store. they have return items, sometimes awesome deals. got 25% off my powerbook plus its warrantied for 1 yr (already got myself a new monitor)
 

Gleevec

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Alexander99 said:
You have a point there. I guess I enjoy gaming so what that guy said sort of applies to me. We're getting a new version of Windows next year? That's sort of pointless. What's wrong with XP? I think it's the first version of Windows that's been somewhat decent. At least we won't be forced to upgrade for several years the way the trend's been. Even though XP has been out for years, you don't really need it yet--I'm on '98.
Nothing is wrong with XP at all. Win2k and XP are the best OSes out there.

Ive had a lot of crashing with Win95, 98, and ME, so Im not a fan of them at all.
 

Alexander99

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Gleevec said:
Nothing is wrong with XP at all. Win2k and XP are the best OSes out there.

Ive had a lot of crashing with Win95, 98, and ME, so Im not a fan of them at all.
So I guess the answer is, nothing is wrong with XP but Microsoft (aka the "evil empire") feels the need to make more money.
 

exilio

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Well the new OS's do mean new profits..but really they are created as a platform to introduce new technology. faster response, great application memeory management, better gaming...basically allowing someone to do what theya re doing now, just faster and with great security...at least that's the hope. ;)

And I second the NewEgg.com recommendation. They are the best when it comes to buying new PC parts...build your own if you can figure out how...and if you want to be a doc, you should be able to figure it out...that might not be fair though.

Dell is always having some sort of special. Nowadays laptops are so much more affordable so you really will have some good choices. If you want to play high end games you will want a desktop as it offers far more bang for the buck.

At the very least, if you have a friend that knows how to build PC's..buy the parts, buy a six-pack for your bud, let him build your PC and voila! :)
 

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Alexander99 said:
You have a point there. I guess I enjoy gaming so what that guy said sort of applies to me. We're getting a new version of Windows next year? That's sort of pointless. What's wrong with XP? I think it's the first version of Windows that's been somewhat decent. At least we won't be forced to upgrade for several years the way the trend's been. Even though XP has been out for years, you don't really need it yet--I'm on '98.
i hope you don't play much games when you are starting med school.
 

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IBM sells directly on eBay. Search by seller and type in "ibm" as the seller. It's usually leftover stock so it usually lags the current top of the line by a few months, but they're good prices considering the original prices, and their warranty is great (3 years for T series)
 

oldtimer

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There is a saying I'm especially fond of about computers because it's so true:

What Intel giveth, Microsoft taketh.

As computer power increases, application developers like Microsoft will come up with new ways to use the new-found capabilities. Unless you can reliably predict what computing needs will be 4 years from now and beyond, I would buy as much computer as you can afford.
 

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I'm in the process of upgrading my box.

New parts ordered:
MSI K8T Neo motherboard (Socket 754)
AMD Athlon 64 2800+ (+Reasonably cheap fan)
OCZ 2x512MB PC3500 Latency Enhanced RAM
Sapphire (ATI) Radeon 9600XT Video Card 128MB
400W Power Supply

Total cost around $740. Of course this doesn't include all the parts I already have (case, hard drives, floppy, DVD+CDRW combo drive), but unless I'm forgetting something that's only another $200 or so. Tis true about getting alot of bang for your buck these days...

Now UT2k4 will really fly :) Any other good new games I should check out? I'm already thinking about PC Halo (which I never played on console... Yuck, console FPS...). BTW, I find that I have plenty of time to play games in med school. I mean, it waxes and wanes with my exam schedules and other goings-on, but I have a reasonable amount of time to do stuff. This of course has increased since I have completely stopped going to class. Of course, I don't work out anymore, but that's the price I gotta pay I guess :) For those of you who wonder, I do as well if not better on exams and such when I just study it on my own and not go to class.

My advice for anyone who's looking at a computer now is to consider your needs. My system is fairly mid-range, and I anticipate it will play all the current games really well, and future games very well to mediocre for another 2 years. Is it worth another $1000 for the latest CPU/mobo/memory/video card combination to extend the life of the PC another year? Nah, I'll just rebuild again then. If you don't intend on playing the hottest games on your PC, you don't even need this much PC, and you should easily spend less than $1,000 including monitor for a box. This should hold true for laptops as well. If I were to buy a laptop it would be something cheap. Who games on their laptop? I mean you can, but it's nothing like having a nice 21" monitor with full keyboard and mouse in front of you. Anything else can be comfortably run on today's reasonably low-end technology.

As for price changes, prices are always fluctuating. For example, memory prices have been going up steadily for a little while now, and who knows when they will hit the roof and come back down. My advice has always been to just buy what you want when you have the cash. Anything else is like playing the stock market. You can do research, you can speculate, but there's just no sure way to know. The only constants are that everything depreciates over time as new technology is introduced steadily. If you wait 6 months for what you want now, are you going to want the new thing introduced in 6 months that you haven't thought of yet?

BTW, I still think newegg.com is really cheap on alot of stuff. Alot of times what I do is check newegg first, then go to axion and/or pricewatch to compare. Most of this stuff I got from newegg, except for the motherboard which I saved $5 on by getting it elsewhere.
 

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If you're just going to surf the internet and do emails/DL music/burn cds, the best thing to do is to look at the deal sites like gotapex.com, slickdeals.net, bensbargains.net, and so on...and wait till they have low prices on Dell stuff. Usually there's a 100-200 dollar rebate involved, which takes about a month to receive.

Even though I hate Dell, you can't beat their red hot deals. For instance, my sister recently got a P4 2.8 w/80 gb HD and 17" LCD monitor for 832-200 rebate=632 including shipping and taxes. There is no way anyone can put together a computer with those specs for that little money. The monitor alone is over 350...then factor in the CPU (150), HD (50), memory (50), CD writer (20), case (30), keyboard and mouse (20)...it adds up fast. So start looking now, and I'm sure you'll find a deal you like before August.
 

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Another website you might want to check out is www.spoofee.com
It is similar to pricegrabber and there are some real good deals.
 

toomuch

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I've had my laptop for three years and I still love it. It's a toshiba and hasn't give me any problems at all until recently, but the cause is spyware and I'm in the process of taking care of it. I think I could keep it for another 2 years and it would still be usable. However, because of my computer abuse that causes it to be vulnerable to more spyware and viruses I'll be forced to buy another laptop. XP does have a lot more diagnosic tools than ME so make sure it has at least Windows XP. I could add more memory and change to XP, but I like having a recovery disk with my preferred OS, it just makes me feel better. I don't have a cd-rw which I thought would make me buy a new computer sooner, but I have 2 usb outlets and with the development with usb drives, memory sticks and mp3 players I don't care. I think in the future, memory sticks will replece dvd's as well and having a dvd-rw isn't that important either. I'm sure anything 40GB or more will be more than enough memory. I also would suggest a P4 and it will be able to do whatever you want. If you can get 512MB of RAM get it, but ones with 256MB are always upgradeable so if the price of a 256 and 512 are more than $100, buy the cheaper one and pay for the upgrade just make sure you can upgrade it to at least 512MB because laptops are usually made to be able to upgrade one. So this is my short advice of buying a PC laptop. If you think, you might buy a mac, I have another page of opinions that I could share with you.let me know
 

celticmists18

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BerkeleyPremed said:
I'm still running Windows ME and I think it's fine for my purposes (just wordprocessing, powerpoint, surfing the web, etc). Why they keep releasing new editions is absolutely beyond me. (Other than the fact that they want to make more $$$...because the billions they're making now isn't really enough). Each new edition puts another thorn in everyone's ass which is quite annoying because workplaces will have to install the new version and you'll feel obligated to install the new version just to keep up.

The following quote applies to the tech industry today:
"You have to run as fast as you can just to stay in the same place."----The Red Queen
I would suggest upgrading to Windows XP before your computer crashes. I had ME and it killed my computer (which had my personal statement on it). I took it to Circuit City so they could hack it and they guy told me that ME is VERY unstable (actually his words were "its a piece of ****"). Just FYI . . .
 

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For desktops, build them yourself through www.mwave.com. You can build a decent system for under $1000. For laptops, probably Dell. If you're into gaming and have money to spare, get a laptop from Alienware. www.alienware.com.
 
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