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PhD/PsyD Laptop recs

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Comp543

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I know this is a slightly atypical question but I’m abd in a psych program and in need of a new laptop. I’d like to purchase one that will be particularly good for dissertating.

Anyone have recommendations for laptops? Mac vs PC? Did you like or dislike whatever you used?

Thanks in advance!!
 

LadyHalcyon

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I know this is a slightly atypical question but I’m abd in a psych program and in need of a new laptop. I’d like to purchase one that will be particularly good for dissertating.

Anyone have recommendations for laptops? Mac vs PC? Did you like or dislike whatever you used?

Thanks in advance!!

I love my HP spectre 4k. Did NOT like the surface pro.

HP Spectre x360 2-in-1 15.6" 4K Ultra HD Touch-Screen Laptop
 

Ollie123

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Tough to answer without knowing what you do. If your dissertation involves machine learning, neuroimaging or other extremely computationally intensive work (and you don't have access to a cluster) you need something very different than if you are just going to run regressions.

If the latter, I'd just get something cheap and spend the savings on a docking station and extra monitors. Outside a few select areas (i.e. those where processing time for analyses is scaled to hours/days and not milliseconds), extra monitor space will do 10x more for your productivity than a few extra gigs of RAM that cuts your processing time on a regression from 1.5 seconds to 1.3 seconds. I have a laptop with me at all times, but its mostly for email, lighter work, outlining, etc. If I'm analyzing data or doing serious writing I have (minimum) 2 monitors in front of me so I can have my manuscript, 2-3 PDFs and/or stats stuff open at once. I guess its common now, but I have no idea how people survive with just a laptop. Storage is so cheap these days as to be irrelevant - I can't imagine a dissertation where it would be an issue. Comfort matters. I hate laptop trackpads if I'm doing anything serious.

I might modify the above if you have a grant or something and don't have to pay for it yourself. I have a Mac now. I didn't pay for it out-of-pocket or I probably wouldn't have one. Wouldn't have dreamed of it as a grad student. I'm a cheap bastard thrifty and price-conscious individual though.
 
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PsyDr

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Thinkpads.

Last time I priced out a similar functioning Mac, it was about $6k for a machine that could run all the psych programs and imaging programs I need.

Disagree with @Ollie123 about monitors. Unless streaming The Office in the background is productive.
 
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Ollie123

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@PsyDr Perhaps I should have mentioned that it is crucial that you harness the power of multiple monitors for good. Do not give in to temptation.

My last one was actually a Thinkpad before my Macbook. Will likely go back to it or something similar after this (I know its blasphemy, but even after having one I don't "get" what makes people love their macs so much. Its fine. Its definitely not thousands of dollars better).
 
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iliketohelppeople

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Second the thinkpads. Didn't use multiple monitors until I started at the VA. I have fallen in love and am waiting to have multiple in my personal office with a docking station (I have my TV play the Office in the background). I don't do too demanding research in terms of resources for a computer. So it could depend on that.
 
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boomshakalaka

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Thinkpads 100% I have vowed to never buy any other laptop than a Thinkpad. If you spend any significant amount of time writing, you'll appreciate the spillproof keyboards. They also seem to offer the best bang for buck. Also, I'm in the dual monitor camp, too. Dissertation productivity seemed to have went up 10x when I added another screen. Good luck!
 
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