I'm going off to college this fall, and I'm trying to find a new laptop. However, my knowledge of computer hardware is not extensive, and I'm not entirely sure what to look for. I'm probably getting a PC, as my funds are limited (I'm hoping to spend close to $500 or $600, though I could go up to $800 or so if I can get something much better for that price.) Additionally, has anyone gotten a netbook instead of a laptop and then a desktop for in their dorm? I'm not sure if my price range would cover that, but I was considering it. Thanks for the help!
I prefer laptops in general just because you have your on the go machine and home machine wrapped into one. Basically if all you want is something that won't break and is reasonably priced try to get smaller and lower end graphics. Of course don't expect to have great quality when streaming videos or be able to play anything more sophisticated then a browser based game. Battery life is usually limited to a couple hours for the smaller ones as well.
You could get a 300 dollar hp but what do you want to do with it in college? Are you an engineer, art student, writing. There are certain programs that go along with these programs that will need some processing power or graphics power. If your engineer I could give some examples.
I'm going into engineering. I'd love some examples! That would be great.
Basically autodesk related stuff, http://usa.autodesk.com/products/
They are usually the preferred software manufacturer at engineering schools. oh and in case you didn't know you can access a lot of their software for free as a student.
You might notice that these suggested requirements are really unreasonable but if you want to shoot for the stars and do your homework at home versus the engineering computer lab you could give it a shot.
But if you could at least fill these requirements, http://www.ni.com/labview/requirements/
you'd probably be fine.(the runtime engine not the development environment) There is also matlab, but that isn't very processor intensive.
It depends entirely on what you need. I went with a cheap, small laptop for when I needed portability, usually for stuff when I'm in class. I also got a desktop for my room that has the power to do everything else, with the added bonus that high-performance desktops are cheaper than laptops and are a little harder to lose or have stolen (got a pair of locking cables just in case though. Campuses can be seedy).
I did university with a huge, massive desktop and had no issues.
However, a laptop is fine IMO. If it's not powerful enough to do school related work, the school has computer labs that are powerful enough that should be open to you 24/7.
I got a tablet (Galaxy tab) and a PC at home. I have a laptop but realistically, I'm not likely to get any work done at uni which can't be done with a pen and paper or on a uni computer.
I find that having a tablet to access lecture notes, emails, and browse journals on the internet (via the uni's wifi) is more than enough for me.
Then I have a decent PC at home where I do the bulk of my writing and shit.
That said, I'm studying Sport Science and Education, so I mostly do everything in lab journals, pen and paper, or my PC stuff is limited to watching video playback and Microsoft office stuff.
I only know one guy who prefers to have a good laptop to a PC and netbook/tablet. He's also a DJ and uses it for work, so there's that to consider.