Welcome to College Confidential!

The leading college-bound community on the web

Sign Up For Free

Join for FREE, and start talking with other members, weighing in on community discussions, and more.

Also, by registering and logging in you'll see fewer ads and pesky welcome messages (like this one!)

As a CC member, you can:

  • Reply to threads, and start your own.
  • Post reviews of your campus visits.
  • Find hundreds of pages of informative articles.
  • Search from over 3 million scholarships.

What laptop is best for college?

AdrianaaAdrianaa Registered User Posts: 4 New Member
edited May 2013 in College Computers
I am going to start this fall and need to buy a laptop. Which one would be a good choice?
Post edited by Adrianaa on

Replies to: What laptop is best for college?

  • OperaDadOperaDad Registered User Posts: 2,476 Senior Member
    Depends upon your major and school. What does your school recommend?
  • hashiramahashirama Registered User Posts: 4 New Member
    I'm having the same problem. I'm an international student and I need to know which operating system will be more convenient at uni, Mac or Windows. I'm doing engineering by the way.
  • GenApoGenApo Registered User Posts: 169 Junior Member
    I haven't been to college, so take this with a bit of salt; just info that got passed down to me from friends who've been through the experience, other sources and my own experience with computers.

    If you're going to choose between Mac or Windows, I'd think Windows would be the preferred OS. It's compatible with more programs than Mac, it's cheaper (on average, of course, and depending on your sources) and it's, in my opinion, worth the money when it comes to the performance per dollar. It may depend on the major/college you're going into but I moderately doubt that either would severely hamper your ability to choose.

    I know you didn't mention this, but if it's possible, you might want to try a UNIX operating system. It might be a bit foreign at first, but I've heard the features it offers are great for majors like CS and possibly engineering as well.

    For performance to dollar though, there are very few, if any, Mac laptops that will outmatch a PC. Mac laptops are priced quite high, largely due to the brand name association, the aesthetic flair, the exceptional build quality (and trust me, it is) and their superb customer service/support.

    For example, I have a Lenovo Y400 (older version than what is currently offered), priced at $750. It comes with a GT650M 2GB GDDR5, 8GB DDR3 1600MHZ, i7 Quad Core 2.4gHz w/6mb Cache, 5hr battery power and 1TB @ 5400 RPM. A comparable Macbook Pro (the 15 incher) would cost $2199 (technically, not even comparable, as the only areas where it is equally matched with the Lenovo are in Regular RAM and Processor - the only area that it outright beats the Lenovo is in the screen - very high quality 2880x1800 compared to the lame 1366x768 on the Lenovo).

    Another reason you might want to get a Mac is its heightened security. A typical Mac will get far less viruses than a typical PC; however, for both computers, it is EASILY possible to get zero provided you treat your computer with the RESPECT IT DESERVES.

    In conclusion, if you're looking for a high performance, low-priced and high quality computer, I'd stick with a PC (particularly Lenovo and Acer!). If you really feel like spending that extra $1k you have laying around though, go with a Mac; it has superior build quality, brand recognition, screen resolution, moderately effective intrinsic virus protection, marginally comparable performance and, depending on your perspective, an aesthetic that will fit right in at your local coffee shop.
  • GenApoGenApo Registered User Posts: 169 Junior Member
    Woops, meant Asus, not Acer!!!!
  • NightShadeQueenNightShadeQueen Registered User Posts: 268 Junior Member
    It also depends a lot on your school's setup. If, for example, your school makes use of AFS, your best bet is actually a Linux computer.

    If you want to go into computer science, Unix (Mac or Linux) all the way.

    If you want to go into a field that uses AutoCAD or similar software, Windows. (AFAIK there is no good Unix alternative to AutoCAD)

    I have a Toshiba Satelite with Ubuntu 12.04 - it boots like a dream, is less fussy than most Mac's I've seen, and if anything goes wrong, I can take off the back panel to reseat the RAM/replace the HD/etc.

    [I've helped a friend reseat the RAM on a mac before. It's quite painful]
  • SikorskySikorsky Registered User Posts: 5,851 Senior Member
    My eyes stopped focusing the moment GenApo said UNIX. Sorry, GenApo.

    I agree with OperaDad. Most colleges and universities have computer recommendations for new students on their web sites.

    Hashirama, if you're going to study engineering, you might consider searching for the faculty member who oversees undergraduate studies in any engineering department in the university, and asking that person whether the engineering departments have any special recommendations.

    Adrianaa, if you're not going to study engineering or computer science, then you're probably just going to use your computer for email, internet, writing papers and storing information. Anything your college or university recommends will be fine; really, if you're mostly just making words and using the internet, almost any new computer will do. You might want to look into data back-up, though, if the school doesn't provide it.

    If your college or university doesn't offer advice on computer buying, then I suppose you could look at these pages from American University, where my kid is a student:

    General information: http://www.american.edu/oit/hardware/Recommendations.cfm.

    Recommended specifications for Mac: http://www.american.edu/oit/hardware/Mac-Recommendations.cfm.

    Recommended specifications for Windows: http://www.american.edu/oit/hardware/Windows-Laptop-Recommendations.cfm.
This discussion has been closed.