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Laptop question

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by JennyL867, Jul 21, 2006.

  1. JennyL867

    JennyL867 Senior Member
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    This might be a little off topic, but I'm sure a lot of you have laptops. I just got a Toshiba Satellite for med school this fall, and it's the first one I've ever had. I was just wondering what precautions I should take with the battery and such. Will leaving my laptop plugged into an outlet all the time shorten my battery life? I don't plan on taking my laptop to class with me every day, so when I'm at home, I don't see the point of using my battery. I know batteries have a limited number of cycles so won't using it at home just wear it out faster? However, I've read you should at least unplug the laptop at night when it is shut down, and that you should fully discharge your battery a few times a month or so. Would it be a good idea to take my battery out when it's plugged in at home?...but I've also heard that if I take the battery out, I should have the laptop plugged into a UPS since it no longer has a battery back-up. Is this necessary? My last question is when to use standby and hibernate modes. Is a certain amount of time too long to leave it in standby? Or is it better just to shut it down if I won't be using it while I'm at class? Sorry about all the questions...I just don't want to unknowingly be damaging anything.
     
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  3. dittozip

    dittozip Senior Member
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  4. sfnix

    sfnix Member
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    go to this link, sell your laptop and buy a mac. macs are the junk, PCs are on the way out.
     
  5. Depakote

    Depakote Pediatric Anesthesiologist
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    The toshiba sattelite is a good laptop, just don't wrap the AC adaptor too tightly. I had mine go bad and it was impossible to replace.
     
  6. Sol Rosenberg

    Sol Rosenberg Long Live the New Flesh!
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    Much of what you are worried about were problems associated with older NiCd, and later (to a lesser extent) NiMH batteries. Li-ion batteries don't have problems with memory effects (i.e. you don't need to completely discharge them ever.) I really wouldn't worry about taking your battery out, because the charger in your laptop is a smart charger and will not overcharge the battery. If you want to be paranoid and unplug the laptop when it is shut down, then go ahead. Technically, it is true that you should unplug any electronic device, when not in use (to limit susceptability ot power surges, etc) but no one actually does it.

    You can leave your laptop in standby and/or hibernate modes indefinitely. I rarely shut down my laptop -- I just put it into hibernate mode most of the time. After a while, Windows may get "confused" and I do a full shut down/restart, but that happens very rarely, and you won't damage anything by doing so.

    All you PC haters/Apple pushers, get a life. You will able to survive at Med. School (and then some) with either, and PCs cost WAY less.

    Also, OP, if your laptop lasts a long time (> 2 years) it's pretty much a given that you will have to replace the battery (around $100) no matter how well you care for it. Just plan for that eventuality, and you will be fine.
     
  7. sentry

    sentry Member
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    It is nice to see all the money Apple is spending trying to brainwash people with those ads is working. Macs don't have viruses because so few people use them that it isn't worth a hacker's time to create a mac virus. Macs don't work any better or worse on average than PC's with digital cameras and other toys (with the exception of other Apple products). The only reason to buy a mac is if you are into any sort of desktop publishing. For the most part macs are overpriced, underperforming, and over-hyped.

    P.S. Sorry for hijacking the thread
     
  8. MinnyGophers

    MinnyGophers Senior Member
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    Amen.
     
  9. spospo

    spospo Going to extremes
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    i've had my laptop for over 3 years now (PC). I probably run the battery all the way down 1 or 2 times a month. the battery still lasts about 1.5 hours when unplugged (only lasted about 2 when i first got it). other than that, i don't do anything special with it. i have it on almost all the time. i turn it off for the night only once a week or so. i've never taken the battery out when i am plugged into the wall. maybe i'm just lucky that nothing has happened. also, i don't download stupid stuff onto it (my brother does this all the time). maybe that is why it still runs well.
     
  10. Compass

    Compass Squishy
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    I would not recommend carrying around the laptop without the AC adaptor. Sure, it's supposed to be convenient and anywhere, but you might as well steal free juice rather than depend on the battery.
     
  11. Sol Rosenberg

    Sol Rosenberg Long Live the New Flesh!
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    :thumbup: Good Advice. Other pieces of laptop advice that I have to give from owning many laptops:

    1. ALWAYS get the extended warranty on a laptop. It is one of the few pieces of equipment where you will come out ahead by doing so. I have ALWAYS made use of my laptop extended warranty for something or other. Laptop repairs (if you have to pay for them) are super-expensive and rarely worth it. I've already had to replace the keyboard on my 6+ month old Dell (OK, technically that is covered under the normal warranty, but I'm sure something else will go wrong...) You usually can add the extended warranty after you buy the laptop, too (so long as it is still covered under the regular warranty.)

    2. If you have the opportunity to buy a second battery at a nice discount when you buy the laptop, do so (I usually buy 2 extra.) You will eventually need to replace the 1st one anyway, but also, if you ever go on a long flight or something, most batteries don't last long enough to watch a whole long-ish movie, etc (definitely depends upon your laptop.) No matter how long your laptop runs on battery power, it never seems to be long enough.

    3. Extra AC adapters are also handy, too. Most good quality aftermarket ones are just as expensive (sometimes even more so) than the OEM ones. You can always buy cheap junk on eBay, but those never last. If you are actively plugging/unplugging, etc the AC adaptors eventually wear out.

    That's all for now....
     
  12. kidthor

    kidthor meep
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    I have an IBM laptop and after a couple of years the battery started to poop out, but I use it every day in class so it's not all that surprising (sometimes with, sometimes without the battery). It's not a big deal though, because I just got new battery and now the thing lasts 4 hours! Basically, I wouldn't worry too much about taking care of the battery since you can always get a new one when it's time.

    Oh yeah, and like jota said, the extended warranty is key. Mine came with a four year warranty and so far I have had the system board die once and one time I pushed my finger through the back of the screen such that it made a nice big black spot on it. My friend also managed to spill a coke into her laptop. Moral of the story: get a long warranty that covers everything!
     
  13. JennyL867

    JennyL867 Senior Member
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    Thanks a lot everyone! If anyone has anymore advice, keep it coming! :)
     
  14. sfnix

    sfnix Member
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    overpriced, i will concede. however, my powerbook is the best high expense product (that includes cars, tvs, household appliances, and anything else over say... $400) that I have ever invested in. I will aslo concede that macs are much more useful to the creative portion of the world (graphic designers, video animators, video editors, etc.), their user friendliness though is unmatched by any company currently making computers. things as simple as word processing and internet surfing are so much more enjoyable on macs.

    p.s.- bought my powerbook before their new advertising campaign came out. Also it's fine with me if you don't want to buy macs as well, given that the fewer people that have macs the fewer viruses I will have to worry about (ala quoted post).
     
  15. Compass

    Compass Squishy
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    I'd also like to point out that laptops these days are short-term investments. You can only get at most 3 years out of a laptop, due to updated OS (for example, my laptop can't take Vista, so it'll poop out in the rollover), outdating of software, general slowdown from heavy file usage, general hardware degradation. So if you want laptops long-term, buy cheaper so you won't go "OMFG my 2 grand laptop last me one year!" Warranties are a must. I bought a 2 year warranty on my HP, and I had a core component replaced 3 times from normal use, and if it breaks again (the core component itself has serious problems, I'm not stabbing it to death) I get a replacement. Mm, also, find a forum where they have the laptop discussions. They mostly know hardware limitations, problems, etc., that most companies don't inform you about.
     
  16. ND2005

    ND2005 1K Member
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    Here's the thing....people always try to use this argument: "Macs don't have viruses because so few people use them"

    I don't really care WHY they don't have viruses. I care that they don't have viruses. That is a clear fact, aside from the ******* "proof of concept" viruses that have been made (which still require you to be dumb enough to input your administrator password for them to do anything, but whatever).

    Whether or not the Mac OS is "completely" secure or not, it's a hell of a lot more secure than a PC. I don't have to deal with spyware, defragging my hard drive, or running Norton all the time.

    And yes, I know those are just a relatively minor inconvenience, but I don't particularly want to be inconvenienced by my computer. I'll pay a little bit extra just to buy a computer that is more convenient (disregarding all the other things I like about the Macs).

    Also on that note, I recently did a comparison pricing of a Macbook and a Lenovo R series -- the Lenovo actually cost about 50 bucks more when you put the same specs on them both (2 GHz Core Duo, 1 GB RAM, DVD-R, 80 GB Hard Drive). And I realize Dells are cheaper than Lenovos -- but that's b/c they're pieces of crap, and after my last Dell experience I'll never buy from them again.
     
  17. Compass

    Compass Squishy
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    Mmm, Macs being almost impossible to crash does lead to an interesting story about just how much they can do. I was using Photoshop CS for Mac, and not realizing the canvas size was in inches, I had set the canvas size to 1024 inches by 768 inches. When I meant pixels. It took me about 30 seconds to do anything, and I thought Mac was being stupid, but I'm impressed Mac could handle a 73728x55296 (4076863488 square pixels, for cameraphiles, it's 72 megapixels compressed onto a screen) picture without dying and much more than a slowdown. Quite amazing.
     
  18. JustBreathe

    JustBreathe Senior Member
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    I just recently purchased a MacBook (I love it, btw). When I was deciding which brand of computer to purchase, I compared the prices of all of the major brands with the specs as close as I could get them. The price of the mac was one of the lowest. I still don't get the "overpriced" claim. Maybe the educational discount really helped?
     
  19. 63768

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    for the amount of RAM required to run a mac, i'd sure how it doesn't crash. otherwise, that'd be downright embarassing. they're overpriced because an equally capable PC will cost less. oh and macs crash too. instead of the blue screen of death, you get a rainbow circle. oh and lenovos are horrible overpriced (but not if you wait for a sale). dells are reliable and not cheap as i've ordered more than 50 dell laptops/desktops when i was a healthcare consultant/resident IT person for 3 yrs. the only problematic ones were with people who a) didn't take care of their computer or b) completely incompetent. i think a sample size of 50 > sample size of 1.

    in any case, OP don't leave it plugged in all the time. only when you need to charge it or use it while low on batteries. as others have said, i'd keep the AC adaptor on you most of the time just in case. other than that, just take care of it i.e. defrag, airdust the fans, etc.
     
  20. ND2005

    ND2005 1K Member
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    OMG! 512 mb! That's SOOOOOO MUUUUUUCCCCHHH RAM! What a rip. Oh...wait...isn't that the minimum RAM for a Vista capable PC? Hmmm.


    Blue screen of death does not equal rainbow wheel. For one, the rainbow wheel goes away 99% of the time. For two, in the rare occurrences when it doesn't (which, strangely, seems to happen mostly when dealing with WMP), the rainbow wheel only indicates a frozen program, not a frozen OS. I've never had to hard-reboot my Mac due to a frozen OS.


    Did my complete incompetence lead to my hard drive failure? Or was it my not taking care of my computer?

    What about the LCD screen that simply stopped functioning (leading me to have to borrow my roommate's desktop monitor and plug it in to my laptop to try and recover my senior thesis)? How did I cause that one?

    I don't really care about "sample size" (i.e. I don't care about how other people's experiences with Dells are). I had a crappy one -- thus I don't give $$ to their company anymore. Same way anyone who buys a lemon of a car is unlikely to ever buy that brand again, regardless of what Consumer Reports or word of mouth tells them.
     
  21. VPDcurt

    VPDcurt 2K Member
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    I've got the IBM thinkpad x60s with the extended battery - it lasts 10+ hours on a single charge. I've also got a more streamlined battery that lasts 4+ hrs to reduce bulk when I don't need that much battery life. I will never buy a mac unless I need to work with graphics/video/publishing. Otherwise, it's simply not worth the money.
     
  22. Darkshooter326

    Darkshooter326 Senior Member
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    I think it's pretty hard to generalize the care of a laptop. I've had my current PC laptop for almost 5 years, extremely heavy usage, with no problems. I keep it plugged into the wall, and turn it off/restart frequently. I think if you want a laptop to work 5 years for you, it will. But if you want to be up to date on technology, then laptops are "short-term investments." Hey OP, Laptops are great, don't worry too much. :oops:
     
  23. jackieMD2007

    jackieMD2007 ***MVI***
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    I completely agree with this. I had my previous laptop (PC, a Gateway) for 5 years. It survived college and then my husband in law school. We recently bought a macbook and really enjoy it. If you take good care of your laptop you shouldn't have problems.
     
  24. LauraPaz

    LauraPaz Senior Member
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    Exactly. There will always be the one defective computer that dies a month after you buy it, whether Dell, Mac, or any other manufacturer, and it will most likely leave a bad taste for that brand. But that's rare. Just don't spill things on it right after the warranty expires (ahem, like I did :( ) and it'll be fine.
     
  25. chewsnuffles

    chewsnuffles is a series of tubes
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    I gotta agree with what was posted above, RETURN THE TOSHIBA AND GET A POWERBOOK PRO OR A IBM/LENVO POWERBOOK.
    WHY? I have a toshiba tablet, its good, but god it's poorly built and I'm pretty damn good with computers so if it messes up I got it covered (sometimes). However, I've had keys fall off and the screen gets dead pixals easy and its quite a lug around for the limited processing power (I do like it overall).
    But, your a med student, you deserve the best right now and not have to worry about the space bar falling of your comp the day before a test. This is always my advice, unless your really low on $$$, then ya gotta decide for yourself. But I'm gonna junk this Toshiba after 1.5 years, while a good apple or IBM would probably last me 4, they show the wear better as well.
     
  26. dittozip

    dittozip Senior Member
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    huge techno-jock and i couldnt agree more. #1 is apple, esp now that you can install windows. and #2 is IBM/Lenovo
     
  27. Lanced

    Lanced Senior Member
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    Is anyone aware of schools who do note support Macs? I.e. I wouldn't be able to use the diagnostic imaging software, etc. with a Mac?

    Thanks
     
  28. Neuro27

    Neuro27 Member
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    just trolling along on pc vs mac :D

    [​IMG]


    oh and macs do freeze
     
  29. chewsnuffles

    chewsnuffles is a series of tubes
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    el oh el... OK, but I still stand by saying what I said
    PLUS, I'm pretty damn good at PC's, but there are still instances of compatability which DEFINATELY don't exsist for mac's since everythings generic. Debate the pro's and con's of that situations as you like, but bluetooth for example on my PC is a huge pain in the ass.
     
  30. mvenus929

    Physician 10+ Year Member

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    The Penn State Website says this:

    I haven't seen anything anywhere else, but it's worth checking the websites of the schools you want if you're looking to buy a new computer.
     
  31. ND2005

    ND2005 1K Member
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    I can't stand those PC/Mac commercials
     
  32. sfnix

    sfnix Member
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    Bryn Mawr chem labs use macs... the revolution is starting.
     
  33. sentry

    sentry Member
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  34. sentry

    sentry Member
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    Sorry for the 2nd post, but part of why those ads are so infuriating is that Apple makes a strawman out of PC's. They rely on stereotypes, and then attack them. For example, one talks about how when you take a PC out of the box you have to read the instruction booklet and spend hours downloading drivers -- that is just flat out wrong. Another one details that digital cameras don't work well with PC's -- think about that, would a technology company really create a product that wouldn't work with a huge percentage of computers worldwide. Apples are a marketing revolution (making them cool by having celebs endorse them, and featuring them in movies (anytime you see a computer in a movie its a mac)), but they certainly aren't a technology revolution.
     
  35. 63768

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    in response to whoever i offended earlier and all mac v pc people, let's agree to disagree. no side will ever convince the other that their computer is better. this battle will never cease, so i'm just gonna back down now. it's not worth it for me to argue back and forth when you think i'm wrong and i think you're wrong.

    i hope the OP is satisfied with his/her laptop.
     
  36. JennyL867

    JennyL867 Senior Member
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    Sorry to start such a heated argument...but thanks for everyone who responded. I love my new laptop! I survived college with a Sony desktop that only had a 300 MHz Celeron processor, 48 MB of SD RAM, and a 6.4 GB hard drive! I'm obviously not very computer savy and only need a computer that'll do basic word processing, internet surfing, etc......I just want my new laptop to last! Thus, I was just wondering how best to take care of it. If anyone has anymore advice concerning that specifically, I'd be very happy to hear it :)
     
  37. phenylalanine

    phenylalanine Senior Member
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    is everyone buying their laptops before schools start? I heard intel is coming out with a new chip on 7/27.
     
  38. 63768

    63768 Guest
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    i'm not aware of a new chip coming out since the core duo is still semi-new. i know that AMD is dropping their quad-core processors later this year but nothing about intel. shrugs.
     
  39. ND2005

    ND2005 1K Member
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    Core 2 Duo ("merom" for laptops and "conroe" for desktops) comes out this week. Their new server processor ("woodcrest") is coming out soon as well.

    Core 2 Duo has got to be the worst name, ever, by the way.

    Intel's first quad cores will prbably show up in the 4th quarter or next year's first quarter.
     
  40. phenylalanine

    phenylalanine Senior Member
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    ah so it is true. i wonder if I should wait to buy my laptop... ugh.
     
  41. Anastasis

    Anastasis caffeinated for safety
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    *Points at Nintendo Wii* Nope - that already won worse name ever.
     
  42. shantster

    shantster Eye protection!
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    When mine crashed (I have an HP), I went to best buy and got a Targus power supply that has all different connections for different types of computers. If you still want one, they would probably fit your comp.
     

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