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Laptop for med school?

Discussion in 'Medical Students - MD' started by JustBreathe, Dec 7, 2005.

  1. JustBreathe

    JustBreathe Senior Member
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    I'll be starting med school in 2006, and I'm looking to buy a new laptop this summer. Does anyone have recommendations about brand, specifications, necessary features, etc? Thanks.
     
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  3. Orpheus333

    Orpheus333 Junior Member
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    posted this in another thread on the same topic:

    Alienware is traditionally expensive, But their 12' sentia laptop, configured well, would provide excellent portability for lectures.

    Dont worry about the processor so much as memory: It comes with 256mb Ram, which I would STRONGLY recommend at least 512mb. I have 1gb in mine. Also, Depending on how you manage harddrive space, 40gb is rather small- consider 60gb...more never hurts, anything but your wallet that is

    also grab the wireless 802.11 a/b/g card

    http://www.alienware.com/product_detail_pages/Sentia/sentia_features.aspx?SysCode=PC-LT-SENTIA&SubCode=SKU-PERFORMANCE

    With my suggested configuration it should run you about $1200- very reasonable in my opinion.

    I hate the graphics, an integrated Intel "extreme" graphics II. Dont be fooled- if you expect to play any sort of game/ 3d intensive application this will not be enough.

    anyother questions let me know, im a geek like that. IF you want something more powerful I'll throw down some more sites for you.

    *edit* unless you are fluent in compatibility issues I would strongly advise against a Mac. I despise them, and slick looks do not justify their high price, poor performance, lack of features and compatibility issues...ect. something like 90% of the market is windows.
     
  4. JustBreathe

    JustBreathe Senior Member
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    Do you have a link to the other thread, by any chance?
     
  5. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member
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    You might want to wait and see if the school to which you are matriculating has any group discount package deals or specific requirements before you go out and buy one.
     
  6. fun8stuff

    fun8stuff *hiding from patients*
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    As long as you don't plan on using it for much gaming, the most important things is that it is a centrino (pentium m w/ wireless card), it is light weight, and has good battery life. I went with the dell 700m, because it fulfilled these criteria and because dell had a special for $750 of $1499... so I got it for 50% off. IBM is probably most reliable, but I have never had a problem with dell.

    for deals, compulsively check:
    http://www.slickdeals.net

    if you aren't limited by money, those new IBMs that have the rotating screens and can double as a a tablet PC look pretty sweet. I would go with that if i had the money!
    http://www-131.ibm.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/CategoryDisplay?catalogId=-840&storeId=10000001&langId=-1&dualCurrId=1000073&categoryId=4611686018425021052

    if you are already accepted, contact the school and ask them what the recommend and if they offer any discounts.
     
  7. fever5

    fever5 Senior Member
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    In my class of 94 students, nearly 50 with notebooks, about 10+ have tablets - mainly toshiba's (tecra, portege or satellite) or IBM X series.

    I have been using the Toshiba Portege 3500 tablet since June 2003. I would definitely recommend them if you can spend the extra money. They're great for annotations and drawings.
     
  8. erin682

    erin682 Senior Member
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    I have a Dell (600M). Paid a fair bit for it and I'm really glad I'm invested in getting a 4 year waranty. It might be just my bad luck but I've had it 1.5 years and have had 2 major failures one in which I had to get the motherboard replaced and the other in which I had to get the hard drive replaced. I have also had a number of other small problems. I take good care of it and don't even carry it around that much. Its been a huge pain and I wouldn't get another dell.
     
  9. -Goose-

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    hey guys-

    i am computer ******ed, so i was wondering if anyone had something to say about macs in med school. my roomate has a powerbook and swears by it, but i just don't know...

    thanks!
     
  10. Iwy Em Hotep

    Iwy Em Hotep The Welcomer
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    Roughly a quarter to a half of my class uses a Mac. Unless your school has some bizarre Windows-only policy, you won't encounter too many problems, and your life will be a lot easier when you do your work blissfully unaware of viruses and spyware.
     
  11. aye

    aye Senior Member
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    i mean... what do you really need a laptop for besides personal use (surfing the net, playing games/movies, etc)?? i'm pretty sure you won't have to write any papers or projects in med school right??

    maybe i'm just old school and prefer taking notes using pen and paper...
     
  12. fun8stuff

    fun8stuff *hiding from patients*
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    At my school i guess you could get along without a computer. They have a lot of computers provided for you in the school itself and at the library. However, it is definately more convenient if you have one. I would rather study at home. There are a lot of online resources provided to you such as lecture powerpoints, practice questions, old exams, lecture videos, anatomy slides, etc, etc. The school communicates with us solely through email. So if there is a last minute change such as a lecture time or the schedule for the next test day, they email us. It would suck to have to drive to school to find this out.

    With all that said, why get a laptop? The number one reason is portability. Not only can you sit in your bed or count and do the above, but you could also go to a coffee shop to do homework and study. If I need to go home to my parents house it would be a pain to lug my desktop home. Since my school posts all lectures, I don't even have to be in the same state. The opening day and week of deer season, I was home hunting all day & watching lectures at night.
     
  13. Iwy Em Hotep

    Iwy Em Hotep The Welcomer
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    :laugh: :laugh: :laugh:

    Afraid so. How do you suppose you learn how to write clinic notes, research grants, etc.?
     
  14. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member
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    Depends how high tech the school is. Some schools put all the lectures online, so if you miss one, you'd want to be able to download and watch it. Other places make extensive use of email and internet resources for note distribution. Some schools administer exams through computer. And the growing trend is to take your notes directly onto the computerized lecture slides which are downloadable. Other schools in fact actually do have projects/presentations assigned in certain courses such that you would need a computer. So yes, at some places you will find that you will need a computer. Time to join the paperless society. :)
     
  15. emack

    emack Senior Member
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    Probably 20% of my class uses iBooks or PowerBooks. They're an especially good option for the computer illiterate-- no crashes, no viruses, no maintenance, no spyware, no difficulty with peripherals, no networking problems... The only compatibility issues I can imagine are easily solved if you get a few key pieces of Microsoft software (Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Messenger, Media Player-- some free, the rest about $150 total).

    That being said, for anyone entering med school or already in but finally deciding to get a laptop: ask your IT guys. I can't imagine any school that doesn't deal with any Macs, but they'll at least be able to tell you what issues (if any) other students have had. For example, a couple of years ago my undergrad institution went wireless, but the first VPN login they put out for the wireless network was Windows only; Mac users on campus got them straightened out PDQ. Macs are gaining popularity, so users are no longer an underserved minority.

    However: tablet PCs seem really sweet. Once the prices drop a bit, I'd be tempted.
     
  16. PreMedAdAG

    PreMedAdAG I am so smart. S-M-R-T :)
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    your best bet is anything that doesn't weight a whole lot. It's a pain in the butt dragging your laptop to class and back. I strictly use mine for downloading lectures, possibly taking notes (not always) and e-mailing. In addition, I make worksheets for class so i use the word processing. If you're storing lots of lectures, you need more space, but I would recommend the smallest laptop you can find
     
  17. BlondeCookie

    BlondeCookie Senior Member
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    You actually take notes on your tablet notebook pc?! How easy/hard is that? I've always wondered about that.

    Anyone else take notes on their notebook PC in class? It would be nice to do, but I've never ever taken notes with the PC. Seems to risky to be rocking the boat at this point.
     
  18. punchberry

    punchberry Member
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    I also have a 600M and it will definitely be my last Dell. I got a lot of memory, processing speed, etc, so it seemed top of the line. However, now that I am too lazy to bring it with me to class, I wish I would have prioritized weight above all else. Also, Dells are much heavier than listed if you buy them on the web site, because they design them to put all the weight on the options. So the 600M is listed as a little over 4 pounds, but mine weighs closer to 7. I tried to return it for this reason, and kept being told that "somebody will call me back" to arrange this; I gave up after about 20 phone calls.

    I have not had any major problems, but lots of small annoyances. For example, when I unplug it and it tries to switch to the battery, it often freezes.
     
  19. njbmd

    njbmd Guest
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    Hi there,
    My medical school passed out laptops during orientation to those who did not have them already. I used my laptop computer (I already had one) for taking lecture notes and viewing slides. It made my life much easier. I also used my computer for USMLE studying too. Our classrooms were wired and our school is has a wireless network too. All lectures are on-line both audio and video. Note-service is on-line so you really do not have to attend class.

    njbmd :)
     
  20. fun8stuff

    fun8stuff *hiding from patients*
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    should have went with the 700m ;)
     
  21. Hurricane

    Hurricane Senior Member
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    I have used a Mac laptop (first an ibook, then a powerbook) through both grad school and med school, and I also "swear by it." I have a 12" powerbook and it's great. It's very light - less than 5 lbs - so I just put it in a laptop sleeve and throw it in my backpack and take it with me anywhere. Apple spends a lot of effort on deisgn, so the machines themselves are very durable and well-made. I think of my laptop as a tool to be carted around, not this fragile thing I have to treat like eggshells.

    There are Mac versions of Microsoft Office, Photoshop, etc, so it's very easy to swap files with PC users, even in a very windows-centric environment like my med school. Worst case scenario, in the rare event you have some program that only runs in Windows, you can install Virtual PC and run Windows on your Mac. (and next year's Macs will have intel chips and run windows natively, rumor has it) And no virues and spyware and crap to worry about! I was a windows user for years before I switched, and now I'll never go back. The main difference is that now I spend most of my time actually using my computer to be productive, rather than wasting my time fixing stuff that's screwed up, or installing a bunch of programs to keep it from getting screwed up. The Mac just works.

    As far as what I use my laptop for in med school... I didn't use it to take notes - not many people did in my class. All of our lecture powerpoints were posted online, so I used it to view the powerpoints and study. We had to make powerpoints for a few classes and clinical rotations, so I used it for that too, as well as for writing papers, patient writeips, making study aids, etc. And for searching for information - pubmed, uptodate.com, etc. And lots of commication from the faculty is via email, so you need a way to check your email daily.
     
  22. deuist

    deuist Stealthfully Sarcastic
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    Sorry to hear that you got a Dell without sufficient warning ahead of time. To everyone else who is considering getting a laptop: the only 3 brands you should be concerned with are IBM (Lenova), Toshiba, or Mac. Stay away from Dell, Gateway, Compaq, HP, eMachines, Sony, or any other brands out there. I know that they're cheap or come with fancy functions, but realize that they truly are no better than paper weights with blinking lights. If, like erin, you buy a Dell, you, like erin, should be prepared for random crashes and hardware failure.
     
  23. unoriginal

    unoriginal Member
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    The truth of the matter is that you are going to find a lot of variability and different opinions among users. If you do a search on different review sites (eopinions, cnet, www.notebookreview.com) you will see this. Yes, compaq & emachines tend be the worst right now, but as for the others they aren't as bad as being made out here. IBM is definately the best, but they are also over priced. It comes to getting the best bang for your buck if funds are limited- and dell is an excellent option here. This is why so many companies, schools, businesses all have Dells and not IBMs. Personally, I have had good experiences with IBM & Dell, bad experiences with emachines, compaq, and toshiba (another overpriced one). You will find on notebooks.com, that several dell notebooks beat IBMs (similar models) in processor benchmark tests. Also, the ratings of similar IBMs and Dell on CNET tend to go hand and hand. So, just make sure you do your homework first.

    www.notebookreview.com
    www.cnet.com

    People with bad experiences with toshiba:
    http://forums.computingreview.com/showthread.php?t=81&page=1

    bad experience with IBM:
    http://www.neowin.net/forum/index.php?showtopic=133565&mode=linear
     
  24. TaiShan

    TaiShan Member
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    The only time I wish I had a laptop is when I am sitting in a boring lecture/workshop. I really do not think it facilitates your learning or anything like that.

    If you have a tendency to go online every 5 minutes, I suggest not to get a latop.
     
  25. gbleeker

    gbleeker Creighton, 2010
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    Have to say I strongly disagree. I think that if you have an inkling of knowledge about computers (ie.. can reinstall windows if need be) then you are fine with the other brands. I personally would not get a Dell, but I have a Gateway computer that I think works wonderfully, and I would not trade it in for a IBM or Mac at all.

    I have had my Gateway for 1 year now, had no problems... whatsoever -- then again I am very computer savy. I reinstalled Win2kpro when I got it, so that I didn't have crappy WinXP home edition on it. The only thing that I can't take care of is a hardware failure, which I would have to send it in to the company. If that happens, then ya, Gateway support sucks.
     
  26. deuist

    deuist Stealthfully Sarcastic
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    You wouldn't need to reinstall Windows if the computers worked properly to begin with. Dell likes to add-on lots of extra crap. That extraneous material + its subpar hardware = lots of headaches.

    As does Dell's. Good luck on getting a complaint resolved in a satisfactory manner. I had a friend who had to contact the Better Business Bureau to get her dispute resolved---this, after I had told her not to purchase a Dell to begin with.
     
  27. synapse lapse

    synapse lapse tokyo robotic
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    I have a wonderful sony vaio t-250, undoubtedly the sweetest laptop on the market now, and it works great. I built my home computer so can't personally speak to other brands besides mac (which I used to own) but I think samsung makes decent comps as does many other companies. I would agree to stay away from emachines and compaq, and I also think gateways are kinda crappy. Also, alienware is a good reliable brand to go with. I recommend sony, toshiba, IBM, Mac, Alienware, and a few others. But anyhow, you know about opininons....
     
  28. TruTrooper

    TruTrooper Senior Member
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    I recently got a DEll laptop. I love it for its convenience and mobility but this will be the last time I go with a Dell. One of the biggest selling features on the thing doesn't work like it was supposed to.

    The customer support sucks super hard. They say they will call you back but won't. They can be rude and clueless about their own machine. One day I spent over two hours over the phone with Dell in this scenario:

    Dell automated I robot phone operator: If you blah blah ha press 1 now. If you don't want blah blah ha but got blah blah ha in the past, press 2 now. I you want bla wa loo but don't speak english press 3... and so on

    Me: Hello my laptop is coughing up blood-tinged sputum

    Dell Customer service rep #1: Please give me your name, address, telephone number, age at which you first had sex, You father's name, the length of your pet Praying Mantis, your grandmother's social security number, etc.,

    Me: [ exhaustively provides all answers]

    Dell CSR # 1: Well this isn't the department that handles this issue but I will transfer you now to the dept. that does handle the issue.

    <long delay>

    Dell CSR # 2: How can I help you today?

    Me: My new laptop is coughing up blood-tinged sputum

    Dell CSR # 2:please give me your name, address, telephone number, age at which you first had sex, You father's name, the length of your pet Praying Mantis, your grandmother's social security number, etc.,


    Me: [ exhaustively provides all answers]

    DEll CSR # 2: Blood-tinged you say?

    Me: Yeah

    Dell CSR # 2: Well this isn't the department that handles this issue but I will transfer you now to the dept. that does handle the issue.

    ** Call drops**

    <dials dell back up>

    Dell automated I robot phone operator: If you blah blah ha press 1 now. If you don't want blah blah ha but got blah blah ha in the past, press 2 now. I you want bla wa loo but don't speak english press 3... and so on




    This went on for more than 2 hours. I want to say 3. Somtimes the call would drop so I would immediately leave my number with the next rep so she or he could call me back but none ever did.

    So if you want a machine that doesn't exactly live up to its functional capabilities and spend hours on the phone with non-human and human morons alike, then go for a DELL.

    I would suggest going with an IBM or Toshiba
     
  29. synapse lapse

    synapse lapse tokyo robotic
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    Haha to get out of listening to the stupid answer bots I just tap 0 and # repeatedly as if I am ******ed, almost always connects you to someone after prompting like 5 times. :thumbup:
     
  30. gbleeker

    gbleeker Creighton, 2010
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    For a desktop, I would never advocate buying a computer from anyone. Build your own; it's cheaper and of better quality usually. This is only useful of course, if you have the knowledge to do so.

    For laptops, I am part of the crowd that hears the words Dell and Gateway and think "ewwww nasty" or "trash fodder" and have always been this way towards their products. But to tell you the truth, in defense of Gateway (not Dell, I still hate Dell) my laptop (not desktop) cpu has worked wonderfully.

    Yes, the support sucks, but I can fix anything wrong w/ my computer, provided it is software, not hardware. If it is hardware, it will have to be sent in anyways.

    I am just saying that Gateway, for me so far, has been fine for my laptop; it runs fast and smoothly and has had no troubles. Can't speak for Dell or anyone else. I got a great buy also.
     
  31. Tiki

    Tiki Girl named after a Giant
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    Everyone thinks Toshiba is so great, but I've had nothing but problems with my computer. I've had it for a year, and I've had to have the motherboard replaced twice. I had to extend the warranty for additional two years because it would just stop working. I spent alot of money on this stupid computer, and I honestly wish I would have bought a cheap Dell.
     
  32. stargirl50

    stargirl50 Member
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    A lot of you probably know this, but in case you don't its worth repeating-- you can get microsoft office CHEAP from your school, so don't buy it at Best Buy etc. I got the whole office package for $10 from my med school (it was $40 at my undergrad) but either way... its a good deal :)
     
  33. futuredo32

    futuredo32 Senior Member
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    I started med school with a Gateway and had trouble with it from the beginning. I had to buy a new laptop, less than two years after paying WAY too much for the Gateway. I would recommend anything other than a Gateway!
     
  34. deuist

    deuist Stealthfully Sarcastic
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    Alexander mentioned Alienware. I had forgotten about these higher end models. I have heard good reviews, but Alienware and its competitors are extremely expensive. I can't see a medical student needing that kind of power.
     
  35. run4boston

    run4boston formerly Run
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    I recommend getting a laptop for the convenience of having notes, powerpoint slides, and other 'downloads' at your fingertips. Sure, I could go to the lab and look at stuff, but I find it much nicer to be able to access material in my own way at my convenience. I don't take notes with my laptop (I tried that at the beginning) because we have pre-printed notes. I find it easier to focus on the lecturer when I make a minimum of notations. Also, when I'm in a study group, it's nice to be able to show notes to my friends without having to go to a lab. FYI, I have an IBM ThinkPad T43 and I love it. It's quiet, light, and fast. Also, MCW recently integrated wireless into the study areas and library, so that makes things much nicer. Best regards.
     
  36. fun8stuff

    fun8stuff *hiding from patients*
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    i have not dealt that much with dell support since i can fix just about anything that goes wrong my computer, whether it is hardware or software (i built one of my desktops- which as someone stated is the best way to go for quality, but often times it is more expensive than dell laptops).

    anyways, on the few occasions where I had to deal with dell over the last 5-6 yrs, i found the best way is either through their email support or online chat. These take less of your time. You can't get the wrong department and you simply write it out in plain english what you need (although if you speak Indian, it may go faster... ha ha).

    In one of my previous dell desktops i accidently fried the motherboard because i rigged a videocard up that wasn't technically compatible with the desktop i had (of course i didnt mention this part to support). i simply emailed dell about the problem, answered the questions they wanted me to in the next email, and within a week and a half they sent me new everything (MB, ram, NIC, processor, etc) for no charge. They even offerred to have someone come out and install it all, but turned them down on that one.
     
  37. Jmuhnie

    Jmuhnie Justin
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    I own an IBM (lenovo) X41 tablet. I love the thing. I however don't use the tablet feature all that often. I don't attend enough lectures to really take notes on it and rarely do I need to add something to the provided lecture notes.

    Cons: The one annoying thing about the IBM is that the program load time can be lengthy (it doesn't bother me that much).

    Pros: I have the extended battery and can easily get 4½ hours and more if I actually "manage" power. Total weight is right at 4 lbs. Which means that my netter's anatomy atlas weighs a lot more. Also the screen doesn't seem to flop around like a bunch of the other tablets. Last thing, I like the keyboard. Unlike some of the dells that squish everything into half the key space, the IBM allows you to type like a normal person.


    As for macs. My roommate has one. There is only one program that his computer is not compatible with. He loves his computer. The only thing he wishes was that it was a 12" screen instead of a huge widescreen.

    My recommendation...get the most battery life for the least amount of weight. I'd recommend extended batteries instead of extra batteries. Unless your school is geared to tablets (as mine will be next year) then I suggest a 10 cent walmart notebook for things you can't handle on your computer. The extra money for tablet features probably isn't worth it, but fun if you can afford it.
     
  38. TX515

    TX515 Senior Member
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    I think Dell Latitude is the way to go.
     
  39. stoic

    stoic "Time you enjoy wasting, was not wasted"
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    howdy.

    i am the aforementioned roommate. i love my mac. really. i love it. i know all you pc people think this sounds crazy - i used to be one of you - but really, i LOVE my computer.

    i have a 15" powerbook; i've had it for 10 months. i went from an hp notebook that was CONSTANTLY ****ed up to my mac. and i couldn't be happier. really. i've never regreted switching. one time i thought about being jealous of not having a tablet pc (lots of my class had new shiny ones at the beginning of the year). but as it turns out, hardly any one ever uses the tablet mode (even the hardcore computer people).

    it never crashes. the operating system is sooo intuitive. it's never had
    a virus. the software is integrated perfectly. it's fast. very fast. it's stable, it never crashes. i've never called tech support. i've never had a warranty issue. i've never had to fiddle with the settings of the video driver or anything else becuase everything is perfectly meshed.

    ok, i'll stop now. you get the point.

    oh, and macs look great too. they are also, along with ibm, the highest quality machines out there. very solid build.

    as jmuhnie mentined, i do regret the 15inch screen. not that i don't love the big screen when i'm looking at it. but it adds almost two pounds over the 12 inch. i know that sounds stupid but my backpack is so ****ing heavy with my computer/books/notes/whatever that i might have been better going w/the 12 and an external monitor.

    anyway, only one program doesn't work on my mac... and that's just becuase KU is to cheap to by the updated license. but it would work on my computer IF i ran virtual pc. but i refuse to do so for two reaons. one, i want a mac, not a pc. two, the virtual pc program is ****ing expensive.

    and i've also been very suprised by how many peoplein the class have macs. i'd say at least 15-20%. even the instructors have commented that there are "more and more" every year.

    so in conclusion; definately GET a notebook. i can't imagine med school w/o mine. i take it everywhere when i study. i'd be lost without it.

    and if you're school doesn't require a windows based machine, seriously consider the mac option.

    i love my mac.
     
  40. gbleeker

    gbleeker Creighton, 2010
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    Stoic,

    Not to hijack the thread, but you and your rm are at KU; are you from KS? If so, where from if you don't mind me asking? I'm from central KS and am applying to KU, might have a few questions etc...
     
  41. stoic

    stoic "Time you enjoy wasting, was not wasted"
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    hi gbleeker,

    yea i'm @ KUMC (so is my rooomate). we are MS1's. I'm also from central kansas (hutchinson).

    send me a PM w/any questions. i'll try to answer.

    dave
     
  42. basupran

    basupran ortho, study, cars, lift
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    I just spent $1200 on a 710m 60gb, 1gb ram, dvdrw, 1.7, 8 cell battery. The deal was $500 off $1500, so $1000+handling+tax. Does dell suck compared to other brands, yes. Is it great in terms of bang for the buck, yes. Considering that I am a broke med student, I decided against fancy laptops and chose something practical+cheap+functional.
     
  43. TX515

    TX515 Senior Member
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    Does anyone have any experience with the Sony S series? Also, does anyone regret buying a small monitor like 13'' or below? Thanks.
     
  44. emack

    emack Senior Member
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    I don't know anything about Sonys, but I do have a small-screen laptop: a 12" iBook. The screen is more than big enough for everything I use it for. And the small size makes such a big difference in portability. I never take notes with it in class, but if I did it'd be a lot easier than with a bigger notebook-- this thing'll sit easily in my lap, or even on one of those useless little one-sided desks they have in lecture theatres. When I do need to take it out in class every once in awhile, it's relatively discreet and does not require too much juggling (ex. I can handle both it and paper notes at the same time without too much trouble).

    Of course, even larger notebooks don't weigh that much now, but if you need to throw other things in your bag with it, the smaller the better. My laptop's smaller than a good many of my textbooks (and more durable... poor ripped and stained Netter).

    Someone else here mentioned having an extra monitor at home. This is a great option, especially if you're switching to a laptop and have an old desktop monitor lying around somewhere.
     
  45. I have a 300m - supposedly their lightest.. but it is nothing but trouble. Sayonara Inspiron. You've inspired me to go back to my roots - hello powerbook.

    Has anyone heard about the new version of the ibook due out this January? It's supposedly 13.3in (widescreen) or so, running on the new Intel chips and to phase out the 14in ibook. I think it's still very hush-hush.. but I will post the link to the article if I can find it.
     
  46. closertofine

    closertofine Emerging from hibernation
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    I've got a slight variation on this dilemma...I've got only 4-5 months of 2nd year left, but then Step 1 to study for...and I've been getting fed up lately with just having a desktop. I actually think it hurt my studying this last block (which of course is my own fault) because I was so reluctant to go back to my place to sit in front of my desktop to look at online powerpoints, etc.

    But I'm generally very frugal (especially since my parents are helping me out with med school costs), and I'd find it hard to justify to myself, much less my parents, why I should get a laptop for such a short time...I mean, I doubt I'll get much chance to use it 3rd year, right?

    But my other thought is just to find the cheapest one I can, chalk it up to med school costs, and not bother going through a long discussion with my parents. Any thoughts on whether this would be ridiculously wasteful?

    If not, does anyone have an opinion on a cheap, but still decent-quality, laptop...if all I really need to do is use the internet and Windows programs? Dell has one advertised near $500, but I know some of you have major complaints with them (my current desktop is a Dell, though, and it's been great).

    Assume I'm pretty much technologically incompetent...I can install programs, etc...but any kind of constructing my own computer or something is way beyond my capabilities! I did have a laptop in early college that my dad bought from IBM as previously used and rehabilitated (can't remember the word for that)...but it's long since dead...it worked well for a while, though...

    Edit: that did bring up one more thought...would there be any use in bringing my old laptop to some computer people to see if it could be brought back to life? (I think it still turns on...just doesn't run most of the programs). It's an old IBM Thinkpad...haven't taken it out of the case for years...
     
  47. stoic

    stoic "Time you enjoy wasting, was not wasted"
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    the $500 notebooks are generally heavy, slow, and just way way behind the pack in terms of performance. in the bang for buck catagory, i like the dell 700m. they start at a little under a grand and i know a lot of people who have them and are very happy.

    i wouldn't try to update something old.... you'll end up being frustrated.
     
  48. funkless

    funkless Apatheist, Anestheologist
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    I have an HP Pavilion with the huge screen. I love it. I don't mind the extra weight. Being able to have .ppt and .doc files open at the same time has been priceless for me.

    Side note: Stoic, I thought you were class of 2008?
     
  49. dinesh

    dinesh Senior Member
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    If you want to go cheap, walmart and stores of the sort have toshibas. They aren't the lightest, but are reliable from what I've heard from friends.
    I myself got a 710M.
    It's not as light as I thought, but then again I am hard to please.
    ALIENWARE has a Sentina model starting @ under 1000 bucks, but the specs are way underpar as to what you can get from a dell.

    Ibooks are pretty awesome and light, those who have them swear by it. Me..I'm a windows ***** all the way down.

    Get to a store, hold some in your hands see what you like best. THe 710m/700m is a bit on the thick side(1.5") but bearable.
     
  50. stoic

    stoic "Time you enjoy wasting, was not wasted"
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    nope, always been 2009
     
  51. gaikokujin

    gaikokujin Member
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    I'm also a mac fanatic. I bought a 12" powerbook this year - my first mac. The operating system is truly elegant and I don't waste time messing with all the technical problems I have ALWAYS had with PC's. I used to swear by Dells, but their customer service has gone downhill in recent years. Macs just WORK.

    Mine is 4.5 lbs, 100GB HD, 768MB RAM, DVD burner -- all in a package smaller than my netter book! I bring it to school with me every day and have the netter program on it so I don't have to bring enourmous books with me. Also there's a fantastic flash card program called iflash for the mac that I use daily to study.

    I'd say 50% of my class has macs. 30% bring their laptops to school every day and take notes. I take notes on mine every day in class.
     

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