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Laptop vs. Desk Top

peggypeggy Registered User Posts: 359 Member
edited March 2005 in Engineering Majors
For all of you in college in engineering, which is better? Laptop or desktop. Do you actually take your laptop to class? Or to the library?

Any thoughts?

Post edited by peggy on

Replies to: Laptop vs. Desk Top

  • thomaschauthomaschau Registered User Posts: 510 Member
    I've been wondering this too.

    But while pondering, I thought:

    Wouldn't it be a pain in the ass to do problems on a keyboard? Where's the integral key? *looks at keyboard* I think a laptop would be much much more useful in a course loaded with trivial facts that you have to quickly jot down--like biology.
    Laptops are also not as powerful and are pretty much only good for note-taking, which, in engineering, might be useless.
    Desktops could be useful for intense engineering applications.
    Anyone an actual engineering student who has input?

    I'd love to have a science/math/engineering keyboard and software for taking notes and doing problems. Write the equations term by term, one shift key for subscripts, a shift key for superscripts, a few letters of the alphabet, a buncha greek letters, hmms...
  • LindsayluLindsaylu Registered User Posts: 248 Junior Member
    I would like to know this too, not just from those in engineering though :)
  • chrisdchrisd Registered User Posts: 497 Member
    My daughter is a sophomore engineering student, at Olin College. Her school requires students to buy laptops. That's the only computer she has, the only one she uses. I think this may also be true at RPI.
  • lildude_ravilildude_ravi Registered User Posts: 445 Member
    For those of you who want math symbols, you can use Math Equation software
  • LauraNLauraN Registered User Posts: 882 Member
    I can't speak about computing power and all that kind of stuff...but when I visited a friend of the family in college, she had a laptop and her roommate had a desktop...and it was a monster. I mean, it was just a regular computer, but they were at PennState and crammed into the smallest dorm room I've ever seen, and the fact that the one girl had a laptop made a huge difference, space-wise. College is all about being compact.

    Definitely not the greatest factor in your decision, but something to consider.
  • ottothecowottothecow Registered User Posts: 1,042 Senior Member
    I am taking both but rght now if I had to make the choice I would choose a desktop. You make think that the laptop is good at taking notes, but think about how much focus typing takes compared to writing. Notes are not internalized when typed anywhere near as well as when they are written out. And if you need to make little insertions or diagrams in your notes, don't even think about the laptop. Laptops also make great targets for theives while desktops and campus computers dont get stolen so often.

    Desktops are cheaper, more powerful, and easier to upgrade. As a college student, cheap and upgradeable are great features and as a math/science/engineering student, you had better believe that you will want some amount or raw power of your own so you dont have to log into a school system to do something.

    Laptops do have their advantages and as I said, I am bringing both, but my laptop is a used Thinkpad T23 that I picked up and installed linux on. Its decently powerful and was a good deal, but it just cant serve as my only system. It will however, be great when I need to get away from my dorm or go to the library (thanks to the proliferation of wireless almost everywhere).
  • Linus365Linus365 Registered User Posts: 113 Junior Member
    I'm not in college, but I would say go with a laptop (desktop replacement). Gateway has a bunch of very good desktop replacement laptops that are pretty affordable. I have a dell inspiron 8600 [not very affordable, but its performance is great]. But yeah, gateway and dell have very good soltuions for those who require the performance of a desktop but seek the portability of a laptop. A desktop replacement laptop is a good compromise.
  • peggypeggy Registered User Posts: 359 Member
    Thank you all for your help. You've given us some things to think about!

    LauraN -- size is not a bad reason to make a decision. The reason my now-in-college daughter got a desktop is because it's harder to lose. And this kid would lose hers!

  • ottothecowottothecow Registered User Posts: 1,042 Senior Member
    I disagree that a "desktop replacement" would be good at college. It throws away the advantage that each system provides a college student. You get a big clunky laptop rather than a small, lightweight machine that you would be willing to carry everyday (trust me, if it is desktop replacement sized, you will not want to carry it daily). In exchange for being in a smaller box, you now pay much much more and lose the cheap upgradability that is great for the poor student.

    Instead of winning on two fronts, you lose on both.
  • cANDYmancANDYman Registered User Posts: 107 Junior Member
    I wouldnt define desktop replacements as "big" and "clunky", I myself have a Dell Inspiron 9200, with a 17 inch widescreen monitor, big maybe, but definetly not clunky; no wires, everything you need in a neat 1.6x15.5x11.3 inch case. It weighs around 7-8 lbs, which is about the same as Linus365's 8600. If you ever feel that it might be too heavy for you, there is the option of having a laptop backpack.
  • thomaschauthomaschau Registered User Posts: 510 Member
    Desktop replacements belong on the desktop.
  • smartguy86smartguy86 . Posts: 64 Junior Member
    i too have a decked out 8600, OH YEAH! me and linus 365 rule!
  • IlliniJBravoEchoIlliniJBravoEcho Registered User Posts: 1,110 Member
    I got both a desktop and a laptop. I returned my desktop to my family (they needed it more than me) less than 2 months in. I like my laptop b/c I don't game, I just write huge lab reports. And you can bring it anywhere. Roommate has friends over? Go to the library. Gonna be up all night? Go to the Union. Want to type with friends? Go to their dorm. It's transportability is very very nice. I love my laptop.

    But a careful warning for guys with laptops, be careful not to actually put it directly on your lap for a long time daily or a lot of the time b/c the intense centered heat may cause infertility due to high temps damaging sperm counts. They're outside your body for a reason guys. And that was my public service announcement for the day.
  • chalkchalk Registered User Posts: 328 Junior Member
    ottothecow: One thing to keep in mind is that, even if a student doesn't move their laptop often, it's not taking up much desk space. That's a big reason why I want a laptop -- if I need desk space for papers or anything else, I can just fold up a laptop and move it out of the way.
  • allrightieallrightie Registered User Posts: 44 Junior Member
    I found that some enginnering schools require you to purchase a certain computer.

    Vanderbilt, for example, on the website says you have to get a Dell with certain software and they roll it into the tuition costs, about $2800
This discussion has been closed.