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Biz/ComputerSci/BIM Majors! Thinkpad 430s or Mac?

ithinkican93ithinkican93 Registered User Posts: 89 Junior Member
edited August 2012 in College Computers
Hi!

Incoming freshman here. I'm going into the fall as a Business Information Management major at UC Irvine (so basically business and computer science major). I'm hoping to also minor in Digital Art as well.

I'm debating on Thinkpad 430s vs Macbook pro 13" inch. I wanted to ask what may be necessary in terms of my major. I want a computer that is fast, reliable enough to last me at least 4 years, and will be compatible with for whatever biz/comp sci stuff I may encounter.

Right now I'm debating between a Macbook Pro and a Thinkpad T430s. But I wonder which will be better when I start working on my management and computer sci courses--- which will make it easier for me. Any other brand / model suggestions would be great!

BIG Questions:
Intel processors i5 vs i7?
GHz -- 3.6 necessary?
How much memory -- 4 GB vs 8 GB?
Anything else that will definitely be necessary in a computer?


Money is not a serious issue IF long term it will make school easier for me and it will last. Because I'm working with loans, the cheaper the better! (:

(sorry if you notice i've posted this on other threads, cc won't let me tag ): )
Post edited by ithinkican93 on
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Replies to: Biz/ComputerSci/BIM Majors! Thinkpad 430s or Mac?

  • hylyfehylyfe Registered User Posts: 150 Junior Member
    I STILL dont get the craze for a macbook. Like srs? If someone told me there was a company that was completely overpricing a slightly inferior product and they were one of the most successful companies in that field, I would not believe it. Take that out of your options now unless you are srsly infatuated with the unix based OS, which is very easy to get around anyways. U did not mention gaming or running large simulations or animations etc so really an i5 is fine. 6gb -8gb is a good option because memory is quite cheap now. Though you really wont need more than 4gb.
    About thinkpads, I split a can of soda on my laptop 4 years ago and its still running smoothly. Thinkpads have this drain where all the pop just came out of. On a chiclet keyboard I prolly woulda been screwed. Thinkpads are a rock and they are pretty nice looking in a plain and simply sort of way (though looks should be LAST thing when choosing or designing tech). This was written on my T400.
  • AtemporalAtemporal Registered User Posts: 219 Junior Member
    Both will be sufficient for 4 years of undergrad. lenovo usually has better build quality than Apple, but Apple's build quality is excellent. Both can be upgraded by the end user, but if you know you don't plan on doing that, consider getting a MBA instead. The Air has a higher resolution than the Pro, and starts at $200 less with similar configs. You trade off the ability to upgrade though.

    Processor: You can't go by the numbers. The difference between desktop i5s and i7s is much higher than laptops, since laptops use ULV versions and are also usually gimped (e.g. most laptop i7s are dual cores, whereas a lot of desktop variants are quads.) i5s usually perform 10-15% slower (real time), but have better battery and warm up slower.


    MBA 2012 i5 vs i7 heat/battery comparison


    You can't add clock speeds of processors together. Two 1.8 GHz cores do not equal 3.6 GHz cores. Think of it like one car vs two, transporting people. The two cars driving together do not necessarily go at 90 mph if both are going at 45; rather, you have two cars going at 45 and both are transporting people.

    RAM: If you have an end user upgradeable computer (not a MBA, etc), then go with 4 and upgrade later down the road. Otherwise, 8.
  • ithinkican93ithinkican93 Registered User Posts: 89 Junior Member
    I'm thinking I will do some animation and digital artwork on the side, as it is my minor and not my major. What do you guys think if the X320t thinkpad?

    So will the i5 processor and 4 gb memory suffice for when I'm running multiple programs at the same time?

    I'm trying to get a laptop for less than $1500! So given that what are my options? Is an IPS display necessary?
  • ithinkican93ithinkican93 Registered User Posts: 89 Junior Member
    @Atemporal one thing i want to clarify with the clock speeds. so what does it mean when it's an i5 processor (3m cache, up to 3.30 GHz)? should i go for the i5 or i7 on a lenovo? the i7 costs a painful $190.00 more so if I wouldn't really need it id prefer that
  • hylyfehylyfe Registered User Posts: 150 Junior Member
    well you can get an i7 for under 1500. I don't know what sort of animation programs you will be running but maybe you might need a discrete graphics card. Sure the new 3rd gen processors have improved internal graphics but they may not be enough for your stuff.

    Don't always look into clock speed. I have a pentium 4 @ 3.00 GHZ sitting somewhere at home but obv its not as good as a i5 @ a lower clock speed. (This is an exaggerated example to make a point). In a same family though clock speed will matter.
    3m cache refers to the to cache memory of the processor. Cache is essentially used to reduce access time of memory by storing frequently used memory in Cache memory. Don't worry too much about it...
    What particular processors are you looking into?Also Honestly 4 gb is quite enough for a lot of things.
  • ithinkican93ithinkican93 Registered User Posts: 89 Junior Member
    well thing is i'm not sure. i was recommended by family to get an 8gb and i7. but it of course get's more expensive. i want to get what is necessary and last long. a laptop that looks good would be a plus, but being light is even better.

    as an incoming freshman, im not sure what would be necessary for my major / possible minor combo. computer sci + business major and digital art minor is what i'm looking at right now. the mac seems more appropriate, but i'm not that much of a laptop person / don't really know specifications on specs (ex. NVIDIA vs intel hd4000... i wouldn't know the difference looking at the computers)

    @hylyfe do you have any recommendations?

    computers ive been looking at in the last few hours is the thinkpad t430s, thinkpad x tablet (the pc that is tablet convertible), and the macbook pro 13"
  • hylyfehylyfe Registered User Posts: 150 Junior Member
    hmm well in regards to graphics, if you are not runing games, crazy simulations or very intensive animation programs the HD 4000 will be fine. I would be safe though and spend the extra 100 or so for a discrete graphics. Ithink an i5 really would likely be good for you, but I am not familiar with what a digital arts minor progams and applications would be.

    Just for kicks and giggles I went on to HP's site and build a laptop with a 2 year warranty and a 3rd generation Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-3610QM Processor (2.3 GHz, 6MB L3 Cache) 8 GB of ram and GEFORCE 650 M and hard disk 750 GB @ 7200 rpm for just about $1100. That i7 processor is a bit on the lower end from the 3rd gen processors.
    Nevertheless the laptop I built is a pretty strong rig and much better than any mac you can get for that price.
    I have never used the thinkpad x tablet so I cant say if its effective or worth it.
  • del_psidel_psi Registered User Posts: 229 Junior Member
    The Thinkpad X tablets are not as good as they used to be since the quality has went down with the price , but they are still better than almost all the laptops you would find at Best Buy. For example , the IPS LCD panel on the X230t helps makes it impressive.


    Personally I think Fujitsu makes the best tablet PCs but they are generally very expensive if you want to buy a new one (e.g. the T902 starts at around $2000 USD).

    I currently own the lenovo ThinkPad X230t and I noticed that the digitizer isn't as accurate as the Fujitsu T5010/ T900 /T901 but it's usable enough in landscape.
  • del_psidel_psi Registered User Posts: 229 Junior Member
    I'm thinking I will do some animation and digital artwork on the side, as it is my minor and not my major. What do you guys think if the X320t thinkpad?

    So will the i5 processor and 4 gb memory suffice for when I'm running multiple programs at the same time?

    I'm trying to get a laptop for less than $1500! So given that what are my options? Is an IPS display necessary?

    IPS LCD displays have the capability of displaying very accurate colors ( more so after calibration). If you can't get a laptop with an IPS LCD display , you may want to consider a laptop with a high end TN panel display ( the lenovo ThinkPad W530 with the 1080P option).

    You can get a nicely configured lenovo ThinkPad W530 for under $1500 by using the Barnes and Noble Gold discount site.


    http://shoplenovo.i2.com/SEUILibrary/controller/e/barnesnoblegold/StdAffinityPortal/en_US/Lenovo:EnterStdAffinity?sexpired=1&requested-affinity-cmd=StdAffinity:Home&home=barnesnoblegold&menu-id=products&affinity=barnesnoblegold

    Be sure to select the 1080P screen for the W530.


    Description
    ThinkPad W530 - 1 Year Depot Warranty
    Processor: Intel Core i7-3720QM Processor (6M Cache, up to 3.60 GHz)
    Operating system: Genuine Windows 7 Professional (64 bit)
    Operating system language: Genuine Windows 7 Professional 64 - English
    Windows XP Mode: Windows 7 XP Mode - English
    Display type: 15.6" FHD (1920 x 1080) LED Backlit AntiGlare Display, Mobile Broadband Ready
    System graphics: NVIDIA Quadro K1000M Graphics with 2GB DDR3 Memory
    Total memory: 4 GB PC3-12800 DDR3 (1 DIMM)
    Keyboard: Keyboard Backlit - US English
    Pointing device: UltraNav with Fingerprint Reader
    Camera: 720p HD Camera with Microphone
    Hard drive: 320GB Hard Disk Drive, 7200rpm
    Optical device: DVD Recordable
    System expansion slots: Express Card Slot & 4-in-1 Card Reader Edit
    Battery: 6 Cell Li-Ion TWL 70+
    Power cord: 170W Slim AC Adapter - US (2pin)
    Bluetooth: Bluetooth 4.0 with Antenna
    Integrated WiFi wireless LAN adapters: Intel Centrino Ultimate-N 6300 AGN
    Integrated mobile broadband: Mobile Broadband upgradable
    Language pack: Publication - US English

    Accessories and options:
    3YR Onsite + 3YR ThinkPad Protection


    Estimated total
    $1,343.93 (plus tax? , also includes 3 year onsite warranty)

    The CPU and GPU are overkill for you but it's a really nice computer that will last a long time.
  • ithinkican93ithinkican93 Registered User Posts: 89 Junior Member
    @del_psi what's your review on the thinkpad x tablet pc? For under 2 grand, I thought it was a great machine. But i'm not sure whether or not to go with i3, i5, or i7. Or to go up GB. If I did so, the price would be over $1500.

    Is the thinkpad x tablet pc useful? I thought i could use this for drawing and taking notes in class. What do you think?

    The w series looked like a good option. But i wasn't a fan of how huge it was. that was the only downfall of that computer. I'm living quite a distance from the main campus / where my classes are-- about a 20-25 minute walk. Essentially i wouldn't think it was a big deal to carry around a 5 pound laptop but, again on the advice of family and friends, the lighter the better. Do you think a thinkpad x tablet pc would be a better choice?

    do you have your opinions on the t430s or the mac pro?

    (btw your replies have been AMAZING and very helpful. I hope you don't mind so many questions.. a grand is a lot to invest! :P)
  • ithinkican93ithinkican93 Registered User Posts: 89 Junior Member
    @hylyfe you seem super knowledgable about laptops... i found a similar laptop with almost the same specs...

    IdeaPad Y480 14" Laptop | Shop | Lenovo | (US)

    don't really know / have a hard drive preference so i may settle for the cheapest model. what do you think
  • ithinkican93ithinkican93 Registered User Posts: 89 Junior Member
    oh and again with the whole mac vs pc debate, i talked with my ics counselor and she told me that it didn't matter. both will work.
  • del_psidel_psi Registered User Posts: 229 Junior Member
    @hylyfe you seem super knowledgable about laptops... i found a similar laptop with almost the same specs...

    IdeaPad Y480 14" Laptop | Shop | Lenovo | (US)

    don't really know / have a hard drive preference so i may settle for the cheapest model. what do you think

    Some of the IdeaPad models are known to overheat when you do intensive tasks (gaming , simulations , etc.).

    The warranty on the IdeaPad models is also MUCH worse than the ThinkPad models.
  • ithinkican93ithinkican93 Registered User Posts: 89 Junior Member
    @del_psi ok good to know! so that option is definitely out. thanks for that advice!
  • hylyfehylyfe Registered User Posts: 150 Junior Member
    ideapads are ok, but i like thinkpads personally. Honestly hard drives are not that big of a deal. Memory is quite cheap nowadays and most laptops come with a lot of hard drive space and often for like just a few more dollars they will upgrade you. I would recommend one at a 7200 rpm for faster load and access times. Solid state obv is the best but they are quite pricey. A lot of laptops come with an extra 32gb ssd hard drive which can be used for bootup so your computer can boot up super quick.
    But hard drive should be the last concern. If in a year or two you find ur hard drive is not big enough you can get an external hard drive cheap.
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