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VCOM computer requirements

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - DO' started by DesiQ, May 5, 2004.

  1. DesiQ

    DesiQ Member
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    Could someone send me the minimum computer reqs for VCOM's c/o 2008? I know they're recommending the Dell D800 laptop but I've heard a lot of negative comments about that laptop- too loud, heats up quickly, screen isn't crisp clear, heavy, etc. Also if anyone DOES have this laptop, what do you think of it?
    Thanks so much!!
    Lina
     
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  3. Richie Truxillo

    Richie Truxillo Your Scut Monkey Mentor
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    Dells make decent laptops but really if you want something truly excellent, I highly recommend the Alienware Sentia laptop line. It's an excellent balance between performance and price. Each one is custom built to your needs. If you are a power user like me ( I am an avid gamer, a musician and I program ) The Alienware Area-51 laptop is the best, that or one from Morel PC. Plus the tech support plans are excellent. Take it from someone who's been building computers since the age of 10 ;)

    ( I am the ubergeek! Embrace thy inner geek! :laugh: )

    Seriously though,they are good laptops and I would recommend them as an alternative to Dell.

    Regards,
    Richie
     
  4. sheiny

    sheiny Junior Member
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    I'm a current VCOM student. I have the Dell Inspiron 8500...not because the school recommended it but because my tech head friend did. It is an awesome computer...when it is working. I had several problems right at first...eventually had to get the whole thing replaced, then the hard drive of the new one replaced. After the initial issues, no problems. It is heavy...but it has (hopefully) enough space and power to get me through 4 years of this. I have a friend in class who has the identical computer and hasn't had a single problem. Dell's service isn't nearly as great as they say. There is an assortment of laptops in class from Macs to tablets. There hasn't been a single brand that someone hasn't had problems with, to my knowledge. Whatever you get, get used to it before you get here. And if you aren't a good typist, I'd recommend Aunt Martha's typing course (or whatever CD teacher you can find). The typing is fast and furious and whatever computer you get will become your right hand.

    As for specific requirements, check our website or email the school. The biggies are a wireless internet card (mine is built in...the detachable cards seem like a pain) and enough power to run a LOT of BIG Powerpoint files (it is common to have a single lecture that is more than 35 MB). You should also plan to get DSL/Cable wherever you live or plan to do all of your internet work while at school. All curriculum is internet only and you will NEVER get these large files downloaded without a fast connection and a fast processor.
    Hope this helps!
     
  5. DesiQ

    DesiQ Member
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    Thankyou so much for your advice and help!! I found the minimum reqs. on the website and will consider buyin a Dell (the Alienware Area 51 is a bit high tech for me- i'm not much of a gamer ;) ). Personally I've had good experiences with Dell (had an Inspiron 7000), but my sister JUST bought one of the newer models and has had so many problems with it. and I agree their tech support isn't the greatest, but they've helped me get through some of the rough probs. It seems to me that it's important to have a good portable laptop for VCOM- rather than an all out desktop replacement. Does everyone bring their laptops to class every day?
     
  6. sheiny

    sheiny Junior Member
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    It is not "required" to bring laptops to class...however 98% of the students do. It is such an integral part of life that the only time I do not bring mine is when we are having an exam and then leaving for the rest of the day. You need it for everything...getting lectures off the web, getting email during the day (this is the primary mode of communication from administration to us), etc. For example, today we had histology lab. This consists of a series of slides sent in powerpoint files. During the "lab" these slides are projected on the screens in the classroom. I use my laptop to take notes on the slides in ppt as they are reviewed by Dr. Hill AND because I can see the fine points of the slides better on my laptop than on the big screen.

    There are some classes that I take notes on paper...but I still have my laptop up during those times so that I can look at the slides larger than they printed on my paper. I also record all of the lectures in case I get lost...and that requires having my laptop. Lots of people do not print notes at all...they take notes in Word or Powerpoint directly during the lectures. Even those who ONLY take notes on paper still usually bring their laptops to class.

    here's another example: last week our last lecture started at 11. At 11:15 the Financial Aid dept sent an email telling us we had a financial aid meeting immediately following class and then they were going to provide lunch. This is pretty typical for how integral email is to our "everyday" life. Most of us keep our email up continuously during class. And of course, there's lots of web surfing and IM'ing going on!

    Let me know if you have any more questions about life at VCOM
     
  7. sheiny

    sheiny Junior Member
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    Don't forget to get some accident insurance on your computer! The computer is so important that you need some insurance to cover it if something happens. Although we aren't allowed to have food in the classroom, we can have drinks...and there have been a couple of folks who got drinks poured into their computers....ooops! Bye bye computer and bye bye work.
    The other piece of sage advice I have for you is BACKUP BACKUP BACKUP! Backing up to a CD every night is not too much. You never know when your computer will go kablooey...and all your notes for tomorrow's exam with it!
     
  8. DesiQ

    DesiQ Member
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    Hey thanks so much for all the info.. and yes, backups are DEFINITELY a must- learned that the hard way :rolleyes: . I heard that some people actually have some sort of audio devices with which they can record lectures in mp3 format onto their computer- is this true? Do you know what type of software/hardware I would need for it? Would you recommend something like that, or are notes adequate?
    Also, how many hours a day do you find yourself studying? Do you ever get free time to just relax and kind of recuperate? At this point in the year is it starting to get stressful?
    Sorry for all the questions :D , I'm just excited about starting in the fall, and am trying to get a better idea of what to expect.
    you all are awesome!!!
     
  9. sheiny

    sheiny Junior Member
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    I record the lectures using Windows Movie Maker, which came on my Dell. Other people use different software, some use regular hand held tape recorders. I don't often need the recordings, but it makes me feel better to have them. If I need to go back and listen again, I can. Don't go out of your way to get expensive audio software. The run-of-the-mill stuff works fine. You will need another mic...I got one at Office Max for about $5. So, for me, free software + $5 mic = no reason not to record the lectures.

    Finals are next week, yes, stress is rising. But remember, we are on blocks...so this is our 4th set of finals already!! This has been an extremely stressful block all the way around (neuro) and I am ready to be done with it!We will get a week off after finals and then come back for Block 5.

    The first block was the hardest for me so far. I probably studied 6-8 hrs/day outside of class. After that block, the class hours got longer, so the time for studying outside of class had to decrease. I promised myself before I arrived that I would not forfeit sleep. I function best and stay healthiest when I sleep at least 7 hrs/night. This is a marathon, not a sprint. You have to stay healthy (emotionally and physically) to get through this. So I don't stay up late, even before a test. There are many who do stay up all night, or most of the night before a test...and some sleep only a few hours EVERY night. And for the most part, you can tell who they are just by looking around the room to see who looks the worst! ;)

    Most of us seem to make time to rest and recuperate. For me, I watch about 1 hr of TV during the week, spend a little time with my hubby each day, and take 1/2 day off, or so, over the weekends. In the class, you will probably find the whole gamut: some party and drink 3-4 nights a week, others never take even 1/2 day off...each person has to find what is right for them.

    Speaking of sleep, I'm headed to bed now. I'm available for questions if you have more. I would have LOVED to have someone to ask questions of about this time last year!!! Ah the joy of being the guinea pig class! :p
     
  10. drbrowneyes

    drbrowneyes Member
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    Hey sheiny,

    thanks for the heads up. I don't think anyone has put it like that :D
     
  11. terpgirl

    terpgirl Senior Member
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    I have an Inspiron 600m. Great computer.

    My advice: get the LONGEST warranty possible, and include "idiot" insurance (my father called on mine, and when they asked my dad's response was "it's for my daughter... so I need idiot insurance"). Had mine 2 week and only surfed the net, but the motherboard blew up. And I mean blew up, complete with sparks, popping noises and smoke. Of course, it's one of the most expensive pieces in the computer. The PCI wireless card doesn't work. They replaced it, and it still doesn't work. Bought an external card to put in the slot, bypass the PCI card and I've had no problem since (it's been almost 8 months). The monitor/video card went bad... how often does a monitor go bad? Not in 4 months. Had a pretty green color throughout until the repair guy came.

    Have had my system for around 10 months. The warranty is worth it's weight in gold.

    -Liz
     
  12. Amy B

    Amy B I miss my son so much
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    Who do you get this through? Does it come out of homeowners insurance or can you buy something through Dell.

    sheiny,
    How does this Movie maker work. Was it already on your Dell when you bought it? I bought the D400 (let me guess, I bought a bad computer) because it is one of the lighter models and it does have the movie maker program, so you are saying I can record lectures with it. How does it pick up enough sound in the lecture hall to make it worth while.
     
  13. Amy B

    Amy B I miss my son so much
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    oh, I see the accidental coverage complet care through Dell for 99$. I am adding it now. thanks for the post!!!!!!!!! :thumbup: :thumbup: :thumbup: :thumbup:
     
  14. sheiny

    sheiny Junior Member
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    Our IT department just sent out an email...they have worked out some package deals with Dell that meet the VCOM requirements.

    If anyone is interested, check out :thumbup: http://www.vcom.vt.edu/delllaptops.html
     
  15. sheiny

    sheiny Junior Member
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    Plug an external microphone into your computer (small "lapel" cheapie mic at Office Max: $5) and aim it toward the source. Open Movie Maker, hit "record" and then "record" when the next window opens. That's it!
     
  16. Amy B

    Amy B I miss my son so much
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    Wow now that sounds easy enough. Thanks a lot!!!!
     
  17. Amy B

    Amy B I miss my son so much
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    That's how I got mine. They set up a great thing with Dell. It really helped me to make sure that I bought the required requirements on my laptop. VCOM sure helps to make sure their students are taken care of, don't they. :thumbup:
     

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