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laptop ??

Discussion in 'Pre-Pharmacy' started by wstrn08, Apr 22, 2004.

  1. wstrn08

    wstrn08 Junior Member
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    I'll be starting pharm school this fall at western and am looking for a laptop. i don't really know too much about computers but am looking for something in the $1000-2000 range. any suggestions on what would be appropriate for pharm school???i'd appreciate any help.thankyou
     
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  3. lyzziebeth

    lyzziebeth Member
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    I would recommend a Dell. I have one and it's very reliable. If you search around online, you can find discount coupon codes or certain models/configurations that will be within your price range.
     
  4. 28657

    28657 Smile like you mean it
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    I have a Compaq Presario and it's my most favorite thing *ever*. If there was a fire in my apt and I could only take one thing, it would be my laptop (my cat could find her way out of the fire, right?!).
    I've heard lots of bad things about Compaq....like getting the dreaded blue screen. I can tell you that it's only happened once to me! Ha, like that's something positive. :rolleyes: If you get (or have) a Compaq just make sure you buy a backup drive along with it (and the extended warranty). ;)
    But seriously, like Lyzziebeth recommended, I have a friend who has a Dell and it's been great for him so far.

    Now that reminds me....I'm off to CompUSA to pick up a backup drive.
     
  5. dgroulx

    dgroulx Night Pharmacist
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    Most everything is pretty reliable. I've had a Toshiba for over a year and it's been completely trouble free. I got it right before Christmas at Best Buy, when they were cleaning out stock of old models. There was a manufacturer rebate and a Best Buy rebate totalling $400, plus it came with a free wireless card. There was also a $10 wireless card rebate, which put $10 back in my pocket.
     
  6. imperial frog

    imperial frog Pharm.D
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    IBMs tend to be a little more expensive, but they seem to be more durable than HP, Compaq (which are the same as HP now) Toshiba and Gateway. I havn't seen too many Dells so I can't say about that one. Whatever you get, I would pay a little extra for one with wireless built in.
     
  7. Glycerin

    Glycerin Commercially Unavailable
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    I have a Gateway Solo 9500 (which I don't think they make anymore), and I also just bought a Dell 600M that I LOVE. :) It's very light, has wireless built-in, has a 40GB hard drive, CD-RW/DVD, etc. With rebates and internet coupons, it was less than $1500. For coupons on computers, I would check www.currentcodes.com or www.dealnews.com . :) And Dell usually has rebates or instant money off offers frequently.
     
  8. scuba_smitty

    scuba_smitty paintballer
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    I have a Sager laptop from www.powernotebooks.com and it has been great. I got it from a lesser known company because I got tired of the bigger companies computers turning to crap because they mass produce them like crazy. A good place to go and get feedback on computer dealers like dell,gateway,HP,etc. is www.resellerratings.com Just search for the company you are going to buy from and see what people had to say about their product,service,tech support,etc.
     
  9. cyyyw

    cyyyw New Member

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    any laptop should work. basically, you just need powerpoint and adobe for pdf. you might want to consider centrino cuz it's lighter. most people in our class have Dell. it's less expensive and reliable. but other brands are pretty good too.
    for more rebate news, try www.techbargains.com
    welcome to westernu. =)
     
  10. jdpharmd?

    jdpharmd? Turning lead into gold
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    It's funny that you mention that, because sager makes almost every laptop sold by "the bigger companies". I've heard good things about them.
     
  11. imperial frog

    imperial frog Pharm.D
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    Do classes typically have power outlets in pharm school? The rooms I've seen are a mixed bag. The Centrino system is nice because it focuses on maximizing battery life and performance.
     
  12. dgroulx

    dgroulx Night Pharmacist
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    My classrooms in St. Pete have long tables with either floor plugs below or plugs built into the tables. There's also floor plugs and wall plugs in all the common areas. I've never needed to use my battery.
    :)
     
  13. wickliffe2

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    I have a Dell 8600, but it might be a little more expensive than what you want. The best thing about Dell is their customer service. My printer recently decided it didn't want to print anymore, so I called Dell and had a new one in my mailbox in TWO days! I also used to have an IBM thinkpad which I think is pretty affordable. Liked that one too!
     
  14. RunOn

    RunOn Junior Member

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    For those of you who have purchased a Dell laptop online, could you provide me some feedback as to how your experience went? Did you have the laptop customize? Are they really that good with their customer service if something goes wrong with your laptop and replacing you with new parts?

    Thanks for the help.
     
  15. jdpharmd?

    jdpharmd? Turning lead into gold
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    I bought a dell laptop online about 5 months ago. I customized it, etc. Everything went very well and I had everything (laptop, free digital camera, free printer/scanner/copier) in about a week. I've never had a problem. I was out the door with a powerful machine and all that free stuff for about $1300. Search around for free shipping coupons online. They are usually pretty easy to find.
     
  16. LVPharm

    LVPharm SDN Moderator
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    I bought a Dell Inspiron 8200 a couple of years ago when I started pharm school. The only advice I can add here is to get more than a 1 year limited warranty/1 year mail-in service. Unlike a desktop computer, when something goes wrong on a laptop, it's not as easily repairable as a desktop because a lot of components are proprietary...it's not very "user serviceable".
     
  17. bananaface

    bananaface Pharmacy Supernerd
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    I own an Acer TravelMate....a convertible tablet. In "slate" mode I take notes in my own handwriting. In "standard" mode I have a regular laptop with keyboard. And, it only weighs 2.5 pounds.

    It cost about 2K. Since I will be using it all through school, and lightening my paper load, I figure it is worth the investment.

    Oh yeah. I can open PDF files and hilight/write on them. It works out well for research projects.

    You can find out more about tablet PCs by visiting www.TabletPCBuzz.com

    Anna
     
  18. Pilot

    Pilot Senior Member
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    Be sure to test the "loudness" of the keyboard before buying. I used a laptop in pharmacy school (94-97), and irritated many classmates with the sound of typing. Ended up sitting in the back of the classroom so as to irritate the least number of people.
     
  19. jdpharmd?

    jdpharmd? Turning lead into gold
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    Anna, which TravelMate do you have? I saw a review that blasted some of the acers for being boat-anchorish. Other than that, the acer tablet pc's got pretty good reviews. Do you have the model without the internal CD drive?
     
  20. 64microbus

    64microbus Senior Member
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    Dell 600m w/DVD burner and DVD X-copy. DVD X-copy let's you make a copy of movies you own. Theoretically ;), you could rent a movie and copy it.
     
  21. bananaface

    bananaface Pharmacy Supernerd
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    I have the Acer travelMate c110TCi. It has an external CD-ROM drive which I do not bother to carry.

    I don't have a boatlike model. I think the reviews you read must have been referring to the c300 model, with the internal CD-ROM drive.

    My tablet weighs so little that when I carry it in my laptop case (Tom Bihn BrainCell) I hardly notice. My purse actually weighs more than my laptop case witht he laptop inside. Alot of people think my laptop bag is a big square purse, since the size is much smaller than any laptop they have seen.

    Just beware the keyboard is smaller than standard and takes a little adjustment. The handwriting recognition software stinks. But, it is an issue with the Windows OS, so will be uniform across any tablet PC (except Electrovaya's slate, which supposedly runs Linux). Once Longhorn comes out, those recognition issues are supposed to be resolved.

    Anna
     
  22. surgical

    surgical Member
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    Hey I have a question.....is a Intel Pentium M (Centrino) 1.4 GHz as fast as a Intel Pentium 4 2.8 Ghz? Also my school recommends that we get a "1400 MHz Intel Moblie Pentium IV or Higer" Does that mean a Centrino because they said 1400 MHz moible?? :confused:
     
  23. jdpharmd?

    jdpharmd? Turning lead into gold
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    A 1.4 Ghz Pentium M isn't usually considered as fast as a Pentium 4 2.8 Ghz, but it's not too far off. The pentium M is killer for battery life, but the P4 will kill it in "brute force". The school just means P4 (M), NOT centrino or pentium "M". Thanks to intel for the super confusing terminology! :thumbup:
     
  24. LVPharm

    LVPharm SDN Moderator
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    You should be fine with a 1.4 GHz Pentium M. This is a case where the clock speed of the chip does not indicate the ability of the chip to perform "faster". In this PC magazine article, they had a 1.4 GHz Pentium M outperform a 2.4 GHz Pentium 4-M on certain benchmarks: http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,1759,924315,00.asp

    Your school probably meant P4-M 1.4 GHz (that's pretty old, by now), not the 1.4 GHz Centrino Pentium M which is plenty powerful for everyday work.
     
  25. bananaface

    bananaface Pharmacy Supernerd
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    The Intel Centrino was renamed Pentium M for "mobile". My laptop, which I bought in August, is labeled "Intel Centrino". if I were to buy the same model now, the label would be changed, but the CPU would be the same.

    Gone are the days when all CPUs could be compared by measuring the number of cycles performed in one second (1Hz=1 cycle/sec, 1MHz=1,000 cycles/sec, 1GHz = 1,000,000 cycles/sec). Different CPUs send different enough amounts of information per cycle to make the old measurement system useless. The old system is like trying to figure who can walk the furthest by counting the number of steps taken, while disregarding stride length.

    Now, the only way to tell which CPU is faster is to "benchmark" them. This process is performed by running the same benchmarking software program on each computer one wants to compare. You can find comparisons of many popular models online, at PC magazine websites, or at download.com . Different benchmarking programs tell you about different (sometimes multiple) aspects of the computers' processign capabilities. For example, my husband and I tested my 900 MHz Centrino/Pentium M against his Pentium "4" 1.4 GHz using a benchmarking program called SiSoft Sandra 2004. While the Centrino beat the Pentium "4" with graphics processing (FPU=1253 vs 1197) capabilities, the Pentium "4" performed better than the Centrino in arithmetic (ALU=2825 vs 3917) and multiple data processing (ISSE2= 1603 vs 2143) in rough proportion to the 0.9:1.4 ratio.

    Extrapolating from the stats above, a 1.4 GHz Centrino/Pentium M should be beaten by a 2.4Ghz Pentium "4".
    M 1.4 vs "4" 2.4 extrapolated figures:
    FPU= 1949 vs 2052 (graphics roughly equal)
    ALU= 4394 vs 6715 (Pentium "4" 2.4 GHz whomps Centrino/Pentium M 1.4 on arithmetic)
    ISSE2= 2494 vs 3674 (Pentium "4" 2.4 GHz whomps Centrino/Pentium M 1.4 on multiple data processing)

    My 900 MHz Centrino is pretty fast. The thing that slows you down is WiFi. Yuck.

    Anna
     
  26. imperial frog

    imperial frog Pharm.D
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    Centrino isn't the chip, it's a set of technology including wifi, processor, and graphics (and more) that was designed to maximize battery life with maximum performance. The processor will be faster than a comparably rated non-Centrino machine so don't worry about getting a 1.4 Mhz one. The Pentium M chip came out before Centrino (but a Centrino will probably have a M version of it in them) and consumes less power than a regular Pentium. Unless the M is combined with the total Centrino package though, it will be relatively slower and battery life will be shorter.
     
  27. bananaface

    bananaface Pharmacy Supernerd
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    They did a lousy job of power maximization. I get maybe 2.5-3 hours on my battery. I guess it can be tweeked to get up to 4. :rolleyes:
     
  28. imperial frog

    imperial frog Pharm.D
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    Heh, I usually only get 1-2 hours max. I'm using a 700mhz PIII and a 2.4 ghz P4 M (not Centrino though) and the battery life sucks.
     
  29. bananaface

    bananaface Pharmacy Supernerd
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    I can't wait till we get the 12+ hour lightweight flexible batteries on this side of the Atlanic Ocean.

    Do alot of people bring laptops to class at other schools? I am the only one at UW.
     
  30. Jenita143

    Jenita143 New Member

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    I'm going to Western as well. I just bought a Gateway 505X. Its really nice with the Centrino and widescreen (and its a pretty silver color). I conducted some surveys when I went to visit computer stores to see what the guys working there reccommended. They all say Dell, with Gateway following behind it. One guy told me he sees people bringing in Sony Vaio's for technical problems. Toshiba suppose to be reliable too.
     
  31. imperial frog

    imperial frog Pharm.D
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    I have the Gateway 500...same as yours except for the Centrino part. Havn't had any problems with the exception of the E key breaking. Easy fix though.
     
  32. surgical

    surgical Member
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    Hey do you guys know if Dell notebooks comes with an AC power adapter?
     
  33. imperial frog

    imperial frog Pharm.D
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    I'm positive that all new ones would no matter who makes it.
     
  34. Trancelucent1

    Trancelucent1 Gator Girl :)
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    All dell models come with an AC power adapter (I've never heard of one not). I just got a Dell 600m in december and it has the power adapter and a pretty long life battery (5 hours or so). I love my laptop!

    ~Pam
     
  35. surgical

    surgical Member
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    I plan on getting the Dell 8600 notebook. Anyone know if this is a good choice?
     
  36. jdpharmd?

    jdpharmd? Turning lead into gold
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    I have a 5100 and I love it. The 8600 is nice, but it's heavy and big (like this one). The 600m is a little bit nicer blend of power and portability, IMHO.
     
  37. LVPharm

    LVPharm SDN Moderator
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    jd's right. The 600m is a almost two pounds lighter than the 8600. Portability is an issue here. I have an 8200 that weighs almost as much as the 8600 and it's a b*tch to carry around. To put it in perspective, it's like carrying around a full gallon of milk (when I slap on the extra battery). It's also quite huge, and takes up a lot of real estate on the desk in class, so I often don't bother bringing it. What good is a powerful notebook loaded with bells and whistles when you don't feel like taking it with you. For what you use notebooks in school for: working with MS Word, Powerpoint, and internet access, I'd sacrifice SOME power for portability anyday. I kinda envy some of my classmates who have thinner, lighter notebooks.
     
  38. surgical

    surgical Member
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    Thanks for the input. The problem is I want a Dell that has Centrino and aslo a 15 inch screen. The 600m has only a 14 inch screen..DOH!
     
  39. surgical

    surgical Member
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    I have another question....If I buy a Centrino notebook I do not need to purchase a wireless card because Centrino notebooks have built in wireless cards? Am I correct? :confused:
     
  40. LVPharm

    LVPharm SDN Moderator
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    Correct. I believe it's part of the "Centrino package". I like an internal wireless card...I installed one a few months ago because I hated having to carry a PCMCIA card and install it everytime I wanted to go wireless.
     
  41. dgroulx

    dgroulx Night Pharmacist
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    What OS are you using? I have XP and only had to install the card one time. Now I keep it in my laptop case and just plug it in where ever I go. I've been able to jump on several different networks without reinstalling. The only thing I need to do is to update my network settings.
     
  42. jdpharmd?

    jdpharmd? Turning lead into gold
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    There are two types of cards: PCMCIA and Mini PCMCIA. A mini card is completely internal. Most newer laptops can accept one or two mini cards.

    The external (regular) cards usually plug into the side of the laptop. Some have small parts that hang out of the PCMCIA slot. I have an external linksys card because I was worried about getting an 802.11b internal. There was no 802.11g option for internal cards, so I bought an external. It really doesn't bother me, but the part that hangs out could get caught on something if you're not careful.
     
  43. LVPharm

    LVPharm SDN Moderator
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    I installed a miniPCI card (in a little door underneath my laptop) that is 802.11g. It's great, cuz I can connect at 50 Mbps to the school's wireless network. I believe it's called a "Dell Truemobile 1300". I bought it on eBay for something like 40 bucks. What I meant about my PCMCIA card was that I hated having to plug the darn thing in when I want to connect, and I hated having the darn thing sticking out of my laptop. Sorry about saying "install", I can see where that would be confusing because my OS wasn't an issue here. The PCMCIA card worked great...but the miniPCI card works better ;)
     
  44. imperial frog

    imperial frog Pharm.D
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    I gave my old laptop with a PCMCIA wireless card to my sister. About a month later I noticed that the card was at a weird angle..she said she stept on it while it was in the computer. It still works, it's just held together with tape. I like my built-in wireless much better.
     
  45. surgical

    surgical Member
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    Is there anything that tape can't do? :thumbup:
     
  46. Glycerin

    Glycerin Commercially Unavailable
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    I have the 600m, and I love it. I prefer the 14-inch screen to something wider, though.
     
  47. Glycerin

    Glycerin Commercially Unavailable
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    You have the option to choose between different built-in wireless cards when you order the 600m online. I'm sure it's the same with any Centrino computer. With my 600m, I just take it with me, and if there is a hot-spot, my computer senses it and lets me know that there is a wireless network available. If a WEP key isn't required, it lets you connect to the internet. I'm able to take my computer to class and automatically connect to the internet wirelessly. I have the Dell TrueMobile 1300 WLAN Mini-PCI Card, which is completely internal. :thumbup:
     
  48. dgroulx

    dgroulx Night Pharmacist
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    Okay, sorry I misunderstood what you meant. I have the old slot load kind, but I keep the card in it's plastic case stowed in my laptop case until I need it, which isn't often. For school, we usually just need word or power point.
     
  49. Caverject

    Caverject Try Some Schnitzel!
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    Buy an Apple Powerbook or Ibook and all problems are solved! :)
     
  50. Modnar

    Modnar Mmm... workahol
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    Amen! My husband and I are both iBook owners and we love 'em. :love:
     
  51. dgroulx

    dgroulx Night Pharmacist
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    UF mandates a PC laptop, but I'm getting a new Power Mac G5 computer for Christmas.
    :love:
     

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