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do I need my own computer??

Discussion in 'Medical Students - MD' started by danyela, Jun 10, 2002.

  1. danyela

    danyela Junior Member
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    Hey guys! I too am a newbie (M1 in Aug) and am considering buying a laptop. Any recommendations (brand, speed, all that, Ive never bought a laptop) Also CD-Roms you found helpful in the path to enlightenment your 1rst and second years. Should I shell all that $ out on a lap top? Maybe all I need is a PDA??

    PS I really think this site is awsome! everyone seems so friendly--hope this is an indication of what my med school class will be like!!
     
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  3. ckent

    ckent Membership Revoked
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    Laptop or PDA? Those two items have drastically different fuctions. A PDA isn't really necessary until 3rd year, but some second years use them too to help them study (you can download drug and bug (micro) references on your PDA to always have with you). I don't think that you need a laptop unless your school has multiple internet ports in different areas (library, study areas) where you could plug your laptop into and surf the web while you study. But even then, a laptop is more of a distraction more then anything. Our school actually requires us to purchase laptops from them, and even though we do use them as part of the curriculum to do presentations on and download lecture audios and lecture notes, 95% of the time, I find that my laptop is more of a distraction then anything else. Unless your school requires or recommends that you have a laptop, I would just use the school's computers and save your money. Unless you wanted to play computer games on your computer, then I would just recommend that you buy a desktop because you get much more computer power for your buck with a desktop. And I would wait until 3rd year to purchase your PDA too, since they come out with new PDAs every near and the price, like computers, goes down every year too.
     
  4. southerndoc

    southerndoc life is good
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    It probably won't hurt to go ahead and purchase a computer. It can be really helpful for writing late night reports (if your school's computer lab closes at night), managing your checkbook, keeping track of your student loans (yikes), etc.

    A good desktop computer shouldn't cost you more than $1,000 now. I just built a new computer system for under that.

    Laptops aren't as expensive as they were. You can get a good laptop for under $1400 now. Things to look for are an active matrix TFT screen (nearly all have it), at least 256 MB of RAM, 20 GB HD (bigger HD's are probably a waste of money - HD's are expensive in lappies), and around a 1 GHz processor. Forego the DVD drive -- unless you are certain you will be watching movies on it. A standard CD-ROM or CD-writer will be cheaper.

    For things that you will be doing, it's not necessary to go all out and get a top of the line processor. Stay within your budget. Also, if you plan on using it with battery power, then make sure you get a mobile processor (designated as -M after the processor).

    As far as desktops go, a good rule of thumb is to look at the fastest processor available and then go down 3 models. That will usually put you in the best price range for a computer. A decent computer is a Pentium 4 2.0 or 2.2 GHz or an AMD Athlon XP at 1.6 or 1.67 GHz. AMD chips perform more computations per clock cycle, so a lower speed doesn't necessarily mean lower performance for the AMD.

    Dell (www.dell.com) offers student discounts. Resist the temptation to buy any extended warranties, super duper sound cards, high-end video cards, etc. Most of those things are for high-end gamers (read people who have money to blow away).

    Finally, despite what people tell you, just because a faster processor comes out 3 weeks after you buy a new computer doesn't mean that your computer is out of date. Most computers can run programs comfortably at only 800 MHz.

    Oh yea, buy the Webpath CD. At only $50, it's well worth it. I love having the ability to hook my laptop up to my television and project the images up on my TV.

    I think I've earned my name through this post.

    Cheers,

    Geek Medic
     
  5. Dodge This

    Dodge This Senior Member
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    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by Geek Medic:
    <strong>For things that you will be doing, it's not necessary to go all out and get a top of the line processor. Stay within your budget. Also, if you plan on using it with battery power, then make sure you get a mobile processor (designated as -M after the processor).</strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">When it comes to laptops, I believe it generally is a good idea and get the highest-end system you can afford. Desktops are more forgiving with their easily upgradable parts, but laptops get old the minute you buy them. Plus, the cost of upgrade usually costs more than if you would have bought it with the system in the first place. Processor and display--those should be the basis of your shopping if you're going with a laptop because they're near impossible to upgrade.

    Now, do you need a laptop? Of course not. This isn't law school--you probably won't be required to purchase one to use in class. Only the really hardcore people even try to use them in class to take notes. Ever try to take notes by typing instead of writing? More of a hassle than it's worth.

    If you're looking to save the money, you can forgo the laptop and not be at a disadvantage. Oh, and wait on the PDA until rotations. Those things keep getting more powerful and cheaper--whatever you buy now will be out of date in 2 years.
     
  6. danyela

    danyela Junior Member
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    muchas gracias for your advice, you guys, It is greatly appreciated!
     
  7. Zeffer

    Zeffer "My dog ate em. I swear thats the truth!"
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    It's funny that this thread happened when it did. I just received my Dell Inspiron 8200 with:
    CDRW, DVD, 64 meg Nvidia DDR Video card, 256 meg DDR RAM, Floppy, Turtle Beach sound card, 1.4ghz P4 processor, 400mhz bus, etc. Did I need it? No. Do I love it? OH YEAH!!!!!!! It helps me keep my research data in order, I can surf the web or do journal searches at school much faster. All in all its a fun toy.

    If you get a laptop spend the money when you buy it cause upgrading the thing is way more expensive than upgrading a desktop. You probly could get away without haveing a comp at all if you don't want to spend any money (but I say get the toy now).

    Wait on the PDA unless it will help you keep your life organized. I much prefer my PDA to my obsolite an never used franklin day planner.
     
  8. Arukas

    Arukas Junior Member
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    I got my labtop last year, and back then it was pretty good, came with a 16 MB geForce 2 video card. but damn it, now this piece of junk is too outdated and I can't play a lot of new computer games now! :mad:

    But seriously though, if your school has good computer facility, I probably will not recommend getting a labtop. My laptop is my source of entertainment and does not play any role in my medical education so far (maybe other than bringing down my grade). :D
     
  9. wfu2005

    wfu2005 Member
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    I think this is pretty interesting, since I don't know what I would do without my laptop. Everything is there, b/c all our lectures are on powerpoint and so I take notes direction onto the slides. Some people print out the slides and then take notes on them, but I found that I was wasting more paper than anything else. Plus since all of our lectures are on real audio I end up listening to them later (on my laptop). Of course, we are "given" a laptop from the start and everything is geared toward use of our computers in our curriculum so I am sure it is different in other schools.
     
  10. Dodge This

    Dodge This Senior Member
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    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by wfu2005:
    <strong>I think this is pretty interesting, since I don't know what I would do without my laptop. Everything is there, b/c all our lectures are on powerpoint and so I take notes direction onto the slides. Some people print out the slides and then take notes on them, but I found that I was wasting more paper than anything else. Plus since all of our lectures are on real audio I end up listening to them later (on my laptop). Of course, we are "given" a laptop from the start and everything is geared toward use of our computers in our curriculum so I am sure it is different in other schools.</strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Where do you go?
     
  11. wfu2005

    wfu2005 Member
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    Wake Forest. They really are gung ho over technology, with internet ports at every chair and all over the campus etc. I agree with everyone else that you have to find your own way of taking notes, some don't like typing, and sometimes it's hard when you want to just put something on a diagram but I think as the professors get better at powerpoint this becomes less necessary. I'm sure there are people here that rarely use their computer at all, but you should see the lecture hall when it is full and everyone is typing away at their laptops....reminds me of an Orwell novel.
     
  12. southerndoc

    southerndoc life is good
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    It's funny how people consider their computers outdated the minute a faster processor comes out. The fact is your system is going to be the same speed until you decide to upgrade software or the operating system.

    I can't justify spending $2500 on a high-end laptop when you can get a very good one for $1400. For the price you paid for that high-end system, you can get a new system (which will be faster than the $2500 system) in a few years.

    All the bells and whistles are certainly nice. Most people don't complain about the extras. If you're on a tight budget, then you must ask yourself if you need those extras.
     

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