Dismiss Notice

Interview Feedback: Visit Interview Feedback to view and submit interview information.

Interviewing Masterclass: Free masterclass on interviewing from SDN and Medical College of Georgia

Dismiss Notice
Hey Texans—join us for a DFW meetup! Click here to learn more.

Laptop necessary in med school?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by Alexander99, Apr 4, 2004.

  1. Alexander99

    Alexander99 Ghetto Fabulous
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2003
    Messages:
    2,361
    Likes Received:
    0
    How useful/necessary is it to have a laptop while in med school? Several schools require that you own a computer and I own a somewhat outdated PC but no laptop. Is it useful to own a laptop you can take to school? If you find it useful/necessary, what do you use it for?

    I know some schools have a lot of study material online. If that's the case, I think I'll have to spring for a laptop because I can't get any studying done at home.
     
  2. Note: SDN Members do not see this ad.

  3. maoeris

    maoeris Senior Member
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2002
    Messages:
    180
    Likes Received:
    0
    The only school I know that requires it is Drexel, a lot of schools have very large computer labs, and most schools now have wireless. Why not wait until orientation to buy the laptop. I've had laptops die on my when traveling with them, so you may want to wait till you start school before buying one.
     
  4. Alexander99

    Alexander99 Ghetto Fabulous
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2003
    Messages:
    2,361
    Likes Received:
    0
    Well, I won't be moving so traveling with mine won't be an issue. I'd wait but there's a good deal on dell.com right now (free digital camera and printer with the purchase of a laptop.) I'd never have the extra money to afford a luxury like a digital camera so this is my only chance to get one by buying something I need anyway.
     
  5. Gleevec

    Gleevec Peter, those are Cheerios
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2002
    Messages:
    4,129
    Likes Received:
    5
    Dont worry about the 2MP camera, other deals will come along soon enough.

    Also, you might save even more money waiting to matriculate to the med school. I know my med school has really good deals with Dell.

    Sometimes med school students get even better deals than ugrad students, since the vendor oftentimes provides the health system with computers as well as the academic component.

    Might be worth emailing a student at the med school to see what kinda deals are in place.
     
  6. Alexander, I got my Powerbook from the UCSD bookstore, 250 dollars off. Its the best investment I've made in a long time. I love everything about it. I'm sure they have a deal on a Dell too if you want a PC... the Powerbook is great its only 12" and fits easily into my backpack.

    I would get a laptop for sure. If you want to go with the bookstore, they'll give you the discount verfied with an acceptance letter.
     
  7. Alexander99

    Alexander99 Ghetto Fabulous
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2003
    Messages:
    2,361
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thanks for the info. I'll wait until I start school in September then.

    I remember you posting quite a bit during the application process of 03-04. Are you going to Baylor for sure? Didn't you get into Southwestern?
     
  8. Alexander99

    Alexander99 Ghetto Fabulous
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2003
    Messages:
    2,361
    Likes Received:
    0
    $250 off? Nice. I hope they have a deal on a Dell cause I hate Apples more than anyone I know. I'll stop by and see what deals they have. Thanks for the info.
     
  9. You hate Apples?? To each his own I guess. +pity+
     
  10. Gleevec

    Gleevec Peter, those are Cheerios
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2002
    Messages:
    4,129
    Likes Received:
    5
    Yeah Im going to Baylor, withdrew from UTSW after the match.

    I agree on Apples sucking, and you might have software compatibility issues depending on what software your school uses.

    Almost every school out there has deals with both Apple and then some PC vendor (Ive seen Dell a lot). If youre curious you can actually go to the dell website and select "education" and "personal purchases." While these are good deals in and of themselves, universities and med schools generally get even better deals because they buy in bulk.

    Also, even though info might be online, med school libraries tend to have lots of computers anyway. Plus, having a laptop myself, I can tell you they can get quite distracting themselves.
     
  11. jlee9531

    jlee9531 J,A,S
    10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2002
    Messages:
    5,470
    Likes Received:
    8
    Status:
    Attending Physician
    there are actually a number of schools that require laptops i believe.

    drexel, uvm, davis are the ones that i know for sure.

    some schools like uvm provide for you a laptop, that is already included in your tuition. they are hella nice. the word is the laptop uvm is giving out this year is the new panasonic laptop.

    davis on the other hand require you to get one on your own. the mobile centrino ones are nice because they come equipped with a wireless card and have good battery life and have good mobility.
     
  12. exmike

    exmike NOR * CAL
    10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    May 19, 2003
    Messages:
    4,206
    Likes Received:
    10
    Status:
    Fellow [Any Field]
    are you sure you still want to go to Davis then? :laugh:
     
  13. courtyard

    courtyard Member
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2003
    Messages:
    57
    Likes Received:
    0
    i am thinking of getting a new laptop too.

    i think it's better if u get it well before school starts b/c u wanna get comfortable w/ new settings before school actually starts.

    i agree that mac is piece of crap in pretty outfit. they can fit it in apple candy or sour grape color or sleek metal, but mac is a mac, and rest of the world use pc platform. y would u pay hundreds more just to find out time and time again that ur computer is incompatible.

    get a cheapest dell with just enough power, and get another new one every 3 - 4years.
    one cannot "invest" on a computer.
     
  14. LOL, I don't see how I'm going to have any compatibility problems. I have all the same programs that a PC has besides the OS ? Haven't had any problems with Word or Powerpoint yet for work stuff. And OS X is soooo much better than Windows. And it wasn't hundreds more, it was the same price as a comparable Dell but yeah it looks alot cooler :cool:
     
  15. jlee9531

    jlee9531 J,A,S
    10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2002
    Messages:
    5,470
    Likes Received:
    8
    Status:
    Attending Physician
    well i thought about it for a while...but with the $$ im saving i can create a superlaptop ;).
     
  16. jhk43

    jhk43 Senior Member
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2004
    Messages:
    305
    Likes Received:
    0
    $500 off a returned powerbook that i found at the store. still carried a 1 yr warranty, so i got the monitor replaced for free. $240 for 2 more yrs of warranty.

    i hated macs too, still kinda do, but their laptops are nice and seem to be compatible with stuffs. no complaints here
     
  17. Wow I'm jealous. I can't decide whether or not to extend my warranty beyond the year. The 240 is pricey.
     
  18. Gleevec

    Gleevec Peter, those are Cheerios
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2002
    Messages:
    4,129
    Likes Received:
    5
    Word and Powerpoint arent the issue. Sometimes schools give out proprietary programs for anatomy or histology slides or whatnot.

    OSX isnt much better than Windows. Looks prettier, but Ive had way more crashes on OSX than I have on Win2k/XP.

    Also I have shopped for laptops and was once looking for an Apple. They are way more expensive than Dells and most other PC brands. True, there are some cheap Apple computers, but they are MUCH slower than their PC counterparts. Then again, what do you expect considering Apple is a monopoly?

    Apple definitely has some cool stuff, but anything that is even remotely good (ie a Powerbook of ANY size) will cost you an arm and a leg compared to the PC equivalent.

    So if youre rich and want something really cool looking, Apples are definitely worth it. The high end Apples are really sweet. But I really dont have the money to buy even the midend Apples, and the cheapest Apples are far inferior to their PC counterparts, so Ive been sticking with PCs throughout.

    Maybe one day Apple will come out with something comprably priced with the PC, and Ill reevaluate them then, but as of now, I dont have the money for an Apple.
     
  19. Its funny how so many people make assumptions about how rich someone is just out of nowhwere on this forum based on where they want to live, what school they want to go to, or what kind of computer they have.

    My Powerbook was the same price as a comparable Dell... I probably could have had the Dell with some cool extras added like more hard drive space or more memory or a DVD burner perhaps but in the end the powerbook was the obvious choice. I'm very far from being rich. People just have different priorities man.

    Never had a crash here, and hopefully I won't have to worry about the anatomy/histology stuff if I get into Cornell :) I think they are all Mac. :love:
     
  20. medorbust

    medorbust Member
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2002
    Messages:
    72
    Likes Received:
    0
    has anyone tried the gateway 200X model? the price seems to be a bargain for what you're getting. i'm thinking of get it, but not sure of the quality.
     
  21. CalBeE

    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2003
    Messages:
    2,062
    Likes Received:
    1
    I got my laptop from Dell and it's refurbished, so it's a couple hundred bucks cheaper I think.

    One thing good about laptops is that you can take advantage of wireless connection if that's available on campus. UCLA's pretty slow on this so far, and only a few places on campus has wireless connection; some other schools like my sister's (Carnegie Mellon) has wireless connection all over campus.

    Schools will usually tell you if it prefers MAC or PC. However, I can't see a school telling students that the online curriculum material won't support PC at all. PC is usually the safer bet, but MAC is supposedly more stable, and better at graphics stuff.
     
  22. Trekkie963

    Trekkie963 Senior Member
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2004
    Messages:
    359
    Likes Received:
    0
    Everyone here seems to just be assuming they'll get a laptop. Is there a good reason why you'd need a laptop in med school as opposed to just a desktop?

    Some people have already mentioned that most schools have pretty comprehensive computer labs if you want to do stuff on-campus, but then again some schools require students to have laptops specifically, while still other schools just require students to have some sort of computer.

    So any thoughts on laptop vs. desktop?
     
  23. jlee9531

    jlee9531 J,A,S
    10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2002
    Messages:
    5,470
    Likes Received:
    8
    Status:
    Attending Physician
    who knows if there are enough computers for everyone in your class?

    since all of us went to college, its reasonable to think that we most of us has a functional desktop that we can still use satisfactorily. you can take that to med school and use it as your home computer. and then you can have the laptop as a nice convenience for versatility.

    the reason for wanting to get the laptop is mobility. the campuses that require the laptops have you take their online exams on the laptops...plus if you ever want to do anything on a computer at the campus then its just more convenient to have a laptop to take to school.
     
  24. Yogi Bear

    Yogi Bear 2K Member
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2001
    Messages:
    2,416
    Likes Received:
    5
    i totally agree on previous poster's comment that one can't "invest" in a computer. unlike a house, electronics stuff depreciate in value overnight. if u're unsure of what kinda computer u'd need, u probably don't need all the processing power of the high end laptops. get the cheapest system u can find. spend the extra money buying urself a digital camera or something (those that come w/ computer purchases suck).

    General guidlines:

    -don't worry about processor speed. i.e. do u really want to dish out $100 more to get a 2% performance increase by going for a 2.2 to a 2.4 ghz processor?

    -celerons are fine. don't worry about the p4 hype. celerons are basically stripped down versions of p4 w/o less cache memory.

    -get a cdrw/dvd combo drive w/ laptop.

    -at least 256mb ram. having 512 mb won't make a huge difference.

    -do u need floppy, serial, or parrallel ports for old peripherals? some newer computers dont' come w/ those (i.e. inspiron 1100).

    -wirelss card: get a linksys card. reputable brand. get a 802.11b card. don't pay extra for g/a versions.
     
  25. LP1CW

    LP1CW Senior Member
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2003
    Messages:
    651
    Likes Received:
    1
    I thought UVM had a contract with DELL. I could be wrong. But it is true that they give your a laptop. And they have you practice using it doing orientation so that you can take exams online.
     
  26. absolutezero

    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2003
    Messages:
    158
    Likes Received:
    0
    post deleted
     
    #25 absolutezero, Apr 5, 2004
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2008
  27. DrMom

    DrMom Official Mom of SDN
    Physician Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2002
    Messages:
    43,317
    Likes Received:
    20
    Status:
    Attending Physician

    Just my $0.02: I would not get an Acer under any circumstances. I had one and it was a horrible computer with lots of problems. The company had horrible customer service, too. My computer was in their repair center for over 6 months of the first year I had it (multiple times I had to send it to them), and they never did get it working properly. They refused to replace it, even though they acknowledged that they were unable to get it working properly.

    I've had a Compaq and a Toshiba since then...no problems at all.
     
  28. CalBeE

    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2003
    Messages:
    2,062
    Likes Received:
    1
    My family had two acer desktops in the past and we didn't have good experience with them at all.

    I personally prefer Dell. They make good desktops, but I'm not sure about laptops though. It seems like Toshiba will be a good brand for laptops.
     
  29. mlw03

    mlw03 Senior Member
    Physician 10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2003
    Messages:
    3,127
    Likes Received:
    126
    Status:
    Attending Physician
    here's another thing to consider. you need to look at total cost when deciding which brand to get. in addition to the store price, you have to think about warranties and software. for example, if you need XP Prof Edition, that's a 250$ upgrade i think, but if you do it through dell it's only another 80$. also, a warranty through circuit or best buy is gonna be a few hundred bucks. Office will run you another few hundred (depending on which edition you want). so my point is to consider everything.

    when i did that, for the same specs, dells come out a good 300$ cheaper than anything you'd get retail (mainly cuz of the warranty and the XP upgrade). so all things being equal dells may come out cheapest. and i don't think all things are equal - everything i've heard from my engineering buddies (who are all required to have laptops) is that dell makes the best machine.

    just my thoughts.
     
  30. MoCookiess

    MoCookiess Hater of Biochemistry
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2003
    Messages:
    158
    Likes Received:
    5
    I highly recommend Dell laptops. I bought the 600m nearly a year ago, and have had no major problems, although the little traction feet have come off (probably because my computer has to endure a ton of travel). I love my battery life with the centrino processor, its twice what my brother gets for a comparable Pentium4 laptop. Also, don't forget to look at IBM, they're not as "cute" as some of the other brands but the prices and durability are great.

    The previous poster mentioned it being necessary to upgrade to XP Pro, but I haven't ever heard of a situation in which its necessary. Also, I know that my undergrad institution sells that sort of software, so you might look into checking to see if the MedSchools do also.
     
  31. CalBeE

    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2003
    Messages:
    2,062
    Likes Received:
    1
    I have Dell Inspiron 8600, which uses Pentinum M processor w/ Centrino technology. I suppose the battery last longer...I think one battery can last 4-5 hours even when I'm watching DVD's.

    However, the CD/DVD drive is really noisy, and I heard that's not the case with other brands...so I don't know

    My sister goes to Carnegie Mellon and they sell Win XP Pro for $10. Same price for Office XP Pro. Those are perfectly legal copies but without any manuals.
     
  32. mlw03

    mlw03 Senior Member
    Physician 10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2003
    Messages:
    3,127
    Likes Received:
    126
    Status:
    Attending Physician
    USF requires XP Pro to connect on-campus. http://hsc.usf.edu/is/standards/students_med.html

    At most schools it may not matter what your OS is, but I guess each school's network is unique.

     
  33. Gleevec

    Gleevec Peter, those are Cheerios
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2002
    Messages:
    4,129
    Likes Received:
    5
    Im not saying YOURE rich. Im saying people with Apples, especially the zealots who buy every new version of the iPod or Powerbook, generally are.

    Sorry for the confusion.
     
  34. Gleevec

    Gleevec Peter, those are Cheerios
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2002
    Messages:
    4,129
    Likes Received:
    5
    I think the Centrino or the P4-Mobile processor are your best bets. Centrino is nice because it has builtin wifi too, so you don't need a card.

    I actually disagree on memory. Laptop HDs are sorta slow, so virtual memory isnt as useful as on a desktop. I actually think having 512MB is even more important on a laptop.

    I agree with everything else though.
     
  35. exmike

    exmike NOR * CAL
    10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    May 19, 2003
    Messages:
    4,206
    Likes Received:
    10
    Status:
    Fellow [Any Field]
    I had a Toshiba P-3. It fell apart twice and was fixed under warranty. I wouldnt buy another Toshiba. What a headache!

    Personally I'm into the ultraportibles. The IBM X41 comes to mind, or the Sharp Actium MM and UM series. Or even the toshiba Portege's
     
  36. Fumoffu

    Fumoffu Senior Member
    10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2004
    Messages:
    194
    Likes Received:
    0
    If you're using windows XP, 512 megs of ram is a must.

    Don't believe anyone when they say 256 is enough because XP is a memory hog.
     
  37. I have upgraded from 256 to 7-- something for my powerbook and didn't notice any difference.
     
  38. Alexander99

    Alexander99 Ghetto Fabulous
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2003
    Messages:
    2,361
    Likes Received:
    0
    That's cause it's an Apple. There's nothing that will make it run fast. :p
     
  39. It was fast before and after! :cool:
     
  40. Gleevec

    Gleevec Peter, those are Cheerios
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2002
    Messages:
    4,129
    Likes Received:
    5
    Some motherboards can only handle a maximum of X memory.

    Im not familiar with powerbooks though, so I cant tell you what the max is. The documentation might have it though.
     
  41. Yogi Bear

    Yogi Bear 2K Member
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2001
    Messages:
    2,416
    Likes Received:
    5

    i've got an inspiron. upgraded from 256 to 384.....no difference. i doubt they're be any difference if i added another 256 to make it 512. unless u're running photoshop, word, exel, powerpoint, aim, playing mp3, and opening 5 windows of internet explorer at the same time, having more ram isn't necessary.

    in terms of processor, i have a celeron 2.2 ghz w/ my inspiron 1100. works fine. more than enough for me.

    i terms of battery life, i can run 3-4 hrs on a full charge. i just use it predominantly as a desktop replacement, so no need to pay extra to get a pentium m/pentium 4m based computer.

    if u guys are concerned about speed, best upgrade would be to get a hard drive that's 5400 rpm rather than the traditional 4200 rpm.
     
  42. CalBeE

    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2003
    Messages:
    2,062
    Likes Received:
    1
    My lover (Laptop) has 512 MB RAM. I have that much because I sometimes play some memory-draining 3D games on it. I think even if you run WinXP, 256 MB will be fine unless you play games.
     
  43. Gleevec

    Gleevec Peter, those are Cheerios
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2002
    Messages:
    4,129
    Likes Received:
    5
    That can be quite expensive to do, depending on what brand youre getting.

    I definitely recommend 512MB. Esp. if you multitask a lot.
     
  44. Yogi Bear

    Yogi Bear 2K Member
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2001
    Messages:
    2,416
    Likes Received:
    5
    for a 2.2 ghz celeron/256 mb ram......(now 384)...

    typical concurrent usage...

    -Firebird .8 (web browswer)....2-3 windows open.
    -Internet Explorer - once in awhile when websites look messed up
    -Thunderbird .5 (email client)
    -Dialup networking w/ 56 k modem
    -norton
    -aim
    -firewall software
    -word, sometimes powerpoint or excel...1-2 windows open.
    -winamp
     
  45. Marxuslp

    Marxuslp New Member
    10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2004
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0
    .
     
    #44 Marxuslp, Apr 5, 2004
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2011
  46. Gleevec

    Gleevec Peter, those are Cheerios
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2002
    Messages:
    4,129
    Likes Received:
    5
    Good choice on firefox and thunderbird as well as winamp =)

    I dunno Im on a 256 celeron now and its slower than my similarly clock rated P4 at home with 512. Also I do play games, so that might be the difference. And multimedia does seem slower on my laptop.

    Im gonna buy a new desktop though, my laptop is kinda slow.
     
  47. exmike

    exmike NOR * CAL
    10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    May 19, 2003
    Messages:
    4,206
    Likes Received:
    10
    Status:
    Fellow [Any Field]
    I wonder what laptops case will give out this year.. anyone know?
     
  48. Fumoffu

    Fumoffu Senior Member
    10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2004
    Messages:
    194
    Likes Received:
    0
    I never used a laptop for undergrad

    As for 5400 rpm hard drives, I heard they tend to overheat faster.
     
  49. mikeyboy

    mikeyboy Senior Member
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2004
    Messages:
    244
    Likes Received:
    0
    A 5400 rpm hard drive will also drain your battery much faster. 512 MB of RAM would be the second best upgrade to get (after an extended life battery), especially if your video card shares system memory. I doubt that taking notes on a laptop will be of much use (though it depends on the school) but if you plan on studying at the library and want your files with you, it would be useful. I personally plan on having an ultraportable laptop (probably IBM X40, for its battery life and durability) but keep my desktop as my main computer at home. That way I can stay on-campus or go somewhere else to study and have lecture slides/notes etc. with me no matter what. That and I can distract myself by wasting time reading forum topics that are of no interest to me :laugh:

    As far as undergrad goes, I find that in science classes they would be worthless, but if you major in political science or something it is very useful. Or maybe I just don't draw those molecules in mspaint fast enough. My laptop was used only to chat online while playing games and to (occasionally) type at the library.
     
  50. uclabruin725

    uclabruin725 Average Fella
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2003
    Messages:
    90
    Likes Received:
    0
    I have to disagree with the posters that say Dell makes best laptops. Most of the people (who work in the IT field) I know recommend IBMs for laptops - although you definitely will notice the increase in price for the quality. You can kinda feel the flimsiness inherent in Dells, HPs, and the like - especially if you hold an IBM in one hand and a competitor in the other (just don't drop 'em!). Although I do have to agree that Dell is the winner value-wise.
    As for processors, I agree that speed shouldn't be sought-after; with the way processor speeds increase, top of the line won't be top of the line in a month or two. The Centrinos do have a positive in their low-power consumption however. Aside from this, I would probably go for the cheaper processors whenever possible (just as long as it's not a Pentium III). I've heard several complaints about Celerons being battery hogs (but that could be from the versions that are desktop processors simply put into a mobile motherboard). Keep in mind the AMD Athlon-M processors too - they provide a good bang for the buck (I believe out of the mainstream manufacturers, only HP/Compaq are selling AMDs though).
    I do think RAM is much more important than processor speed. Currently, 256 megs is sufficient to run what you need, provided your processor is up to date. However, as newer programs are released, especially OSes (although the next version of Windows isn't scheduled for a couple years), more RAM is a must. If you were to configure a system right now, your best bet would be to plan for the future and get 512 in a single SODIMM (leaving one more bank free for upgrades in the future). You may not feel the 512 right now, but you probably will be happy you got it in the future. Be careful about adding on RAM in the online configurations - many companies will rip you off (charge you $100 more for a 512 in 2 SODIMMs, or charge you $200 for 512 in 1 SODIMM). You may want to look into purchasing your RAM afterwards from Kingston or Crucial and installing them yourself easily for much cheaper. If you have an integrated video card that shares ram with your system, the added RAM is a must!
    Everything else is up to your preferences and only limited to how deep your pockets go! Bigger screens are always nicer (unless you're going for the ultraportable), but not necessary. Also keep in mind what pointing device you feel more comfortable with. Some only provide touchpads, while others only include the pointing stick. There are a few companies like Dell which include both pointing devices.
    If you plan on adding external hard drives or burners, make sure your laptop is equipped with USB 2.0. Personally, I don't think burners are worth it on laptops - if you have a desktop, do your burning there and just get a DVD-ROM on your laptop. These days, as someone already mentioned, many laptops do not come with floppy drives - but are available as external add-ons at a ridiculously expensive price for technology going out the door. If you are sure you won't be using floppies, you can easily get away with just using USB flash drives which can be had for 30-50 bucks for 128 MB.
    Integrated wi-fi is great, since you don't have to carry anything around with you, but it can be expensive, and you can easily just get a PC card. The downside: you have to carry it around whenever you want wireless, and the range isn't as great as the internal antennae that usually runs up the lid of the laptop. Currently, 802.11b will suffice, especially for surfing the web as most broadband connections do not exceed 1 - 1.5 Mb/s and 802.11b has a capacity for 11 Mb/s. 802.11g is really only needed if you plan on doing a lot of large file transfers between computers, as that's where you'll feel the benefit of the 54 Mb/s cieling with "g." However, I do believe that newer wireless protocols will be developed in the future, probably at least until the cieling is 100 (there are currently D-link protocols that offer 108 MB/s), so the downside of getting integrated wireless is the fact that upgrading will be a pain.
    Extended batteries are useful if you plan on travelling a lot or going ultra-mobile. The wireless benefits of 802.11b/g can really only be realized once you are unplugged and moving around.
    Incidently, for those of you with Verizon Wireless service, you probably have free wireless internet access (well, free as in it counts against your minutes, but if you use it during off-peak and during weekends, it's essentially free). The service is faster than dialup, but by no means comparable to broadband. Still, wireless internet wherever you are is very cool. All you need is the data cable from Radio Shack for your phone (got mine for about $20), and the drivers for your phone that you can download off a website. This allows your phone to be used as a modem to connect to any dialup accounts you may have, and to act as a fax machine and allow you to fax from the road. Also, if you dial #777 and use your mobile number @vzw3g.com, you'll have access to the "wireless broadband" that says it's connected at some ridiculous spee, but really isn't that fast.

    Okay. I started going on and on. I'll end this here. As always, feel free to disagree with any of my statements.
    One more thing! Tom's hardware is a great site for reviews: www.tomshardware.com
    i think there was an article about the pros/cons of 5400 or even 7200 rpm hard drives in laptops. They're nice, but as you can see, I'm all about dependability and functionality for my laptop. My desktop however, I try to get as fast as possible. =)
     
  51. uclabruin725

    uclabruin725 Average Fella
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2003
    Messages:
    90
    Likes Received:
    0
    wow, that was longer than I thought it would be.
    i just wanted to include a little experience I've had (and others that I know) dealing with Dell's customer service. It seems like they outsource their tech support to India, as everybody that has tried to call in has gotten someone with a huge accent that is hard to understand. Many of these people are the typical script-readers that don't know anything about computers. I once spent 2 hours on hold and being transferred to different departments before finally landing some guy that didn't know how to plug his phone in, because he couldn't hear me at all and thus, hung up on me.
    Dell's tech support used to be top notch, but I'm afraid they've lost some ground in that department as of late. On the plus hand, of the times I've had to send my computer in, I've gotten it back fairly quickly. I used to have all the respect in the world for them when they sent out a guy to my apt to give me a new modem when mine was dead on arrival. But then they refused to acknowledge a huge problem in the keyboard of the inspiron 3800 series (this was an older laptop) until a class action lawsuit forced them to give an additional warranty coverage for the keyboards after the laptops became outdated.
    As you can tell, i'm a little bitter with Dell. But like I said before, you really can't beat their prices often! Would I get another computer from them? Nothing high-end. A cheap computer for under a grand that I might sell in a year or two? Possibly.
     

Share This Page