<p>I'm a computer science major, I'm laptop shopping but I have no idea what kind of laptop I'd need. Is there a preference for Dell/Apple in certain majors? Or is it just whatever you're comfortable with.</p>

<p>What</a> Computer to Bring - Cal Poly Computer Science Department</p>

<p>nevermind, I found that with a little searching.
sorry for the double post, didn't see an edit button.</p>

<p>My son asked the ambassador for his department (MatE) and he suggested a netbook instead. he said they are easier to carry around if you have a desktop in your dorm. He actually said most students don't bring laptops to class. His department has a group of computers that can be used by students and all of the programs are loaded onto those.</p>

<p>My friend's son is a ME major and he and his roommate bought locks for their computers. His roommate is a CE major and he has a laptop of some type that he puts on a stand at his desk. a lock sounds like a good idea no matter which type of computer you get.</p>

<p>Thanks for this information, momofmv! My husband has been starting to think of what to get for our daughter. I was thinking a desktop and a netbook, too. That way they don't have to always unplug a laptop and lugging it around. A netbook seems like a perfect size. How do they lock a computer? I'm visualizing a huge padlock like you see on people's refrigerators in the cartoons. :) :)</p>

<p>**momofmv wrote:</p>

<p>My son asked the ambassador for his department (MatE) and he suggested a netbook instead. he said they are easier to carry around if you have a desktop in your dorm. He actually said most students don't bring laptops to class. His department has a group of computers that can be used by students and all of the programs are loaded onto those.</p>

<p>My friend's son is a ME major and he and his roommate bought locks for their computers. His roommate is a CE major and he has a laptop of some type that he puts on a stand at his desk. a lock sounds like a good idea no matter which type of computer you get.**</p>

<p>It is some type of padlock thing. We need to look into it and I'll let you know. My son has a Mac and he loves it. He needs to get Microsoft Word for it I think. The netbooks are really small and under $400. You can add speed and power to them I think , so that will make it more. I imagine they are easy to steal too. Hopefully that isn't a big problem at CP.</p>

<p>My D has a netbook and loves it because it is easy to carry around. She needs to store her info on an external drive. S wants to bring his desktop with him, too.</p>

<p>Speaking from experience, the best thing you can do now regarding a computer purchase is nothing. Wait until your s/d has had a week or two of classes and then decide what, if anything, to get. There is no urgency to this expensive decision.</p>

<p>gotpeter, I agree unless your child is making the switch from PC to Mac or the other way around. We bought the Mac a month ago so our child could finish out her HS year getting used to the computer she'll be using next year. With D1 two years ago, we sent her off to college with a brand new unfamiliar computer, and it was burdensome for her to have to figure out how to use it, in light of everything else she had to adapt to in the first few weeks. D2 is a whiz on hers, and has downloaded all of her music, contacts, papers she might want from high school, and so on.</p>

<p>Great advice riverrunner. I would agree that having a new computer to figure out might be a problem. My other concern is that there will be so many big expenses later in the summer with paying for admission and housing etc...Spreading some of the cost around can be helpful. My son is going to pay for his netbook. He is waiting to see if there are any updated ones available and if there are some good deals as stores start selling stuff for college kids.</p>

<p>Hooray for gotpeter, the voice of reason.</p>

<p>I, too, vote for getting at the beginning of summer whatever PC the student will use at college. That is what my son did several years ago when he started at Cal Poly. There is a lot loading of software, data files, etc and tweaking to make any PC "yours". Having to do that and start classes and everything else that's going on seems to me to be hassle. Better to get the PC out of the way as much as possible before classes start.</p>

<p>You should look into what specific software the college may require. Cal Poly required (this was a few years ago, and I don't know the current policy, but don't expect it to change much) a virus checking program of some vintage on any PC that was going to be on their network, which is just about a given. I'm sure there is info on the Cal Poly web site, but haven't checked recently. </p>

<p>I am interested to get some more feedback on either getting a laptop only for my daughter or a desktop and a netbook. To me the desktop/netbook combination seems about ideal except for data file linking/version tracking between the two.</p>

<p>This was the response from the Materials Engineering depart. when I asked about a computer:</p>

<p>If you intend to purchase a new computer, I would suggest getting a windows or linux based netbook (either is fine for any office software, email, web browsing). Netbooks are smaller, lighter versions of laptops, have great battery life, and are perfectly capable of handling word documents, excel files, email, web browsing. If Matt brings a desktop he can use that in his room at home and take the netbook to class, the library, group meetings. I tried using my laptop for taking notes a couple times, but I really prefer pen and paper for that.</p>

<p>Some of the engineering software we use is windows only, but supposedly you can get either a windows dual boot or windows emulators for mac to run these successfully. The MatE department has some student computers that are loaded with all the various software we use. Several of these are resource intensive solidworks (3D CAD) and CES (materials selection / database) and may or may not run smoothly on a netbook, but he can use the department computers when he needs to use such programs.</p>

<p>In summary, a windows desktop would probably be easiest as far as engineering software goes, but if Matt really wants his mac and is competent with dual boot / windows emulator software then he can bring what he likes. If you get him a new computer, I suggest a netbook.</p>

<p>Hope that might be helpful for engineering majors.</p>

<p>bhyurf---when my son was finishing up high school, we too were thinking of what kind of computer to buy. I also found the CPE/CSC’s information, as referenced above, to be helpful. Also checked out other 4-year universitys’ computer science or computer engineering departments for the same information.</p>

<p>The best information came at Open House, when we met within our department. There were upperclass students presenting very impressive projects on their laptops. We talked to several students, with different laptop brands, and got their thoughts on what kind of computer to buy. There didn’t seem to be one brand that stuck out, but the graphics we saw lead us to buy a more powerful computer at the end of high school.</p>

<p>The first year, my son took only one CPE/CSC class a quarter. But that programming lecture+lab class was the equivalent to about two classes, with lots of typing. So he was glad to have a full size keyboard.</p>

<p>Fast forward a few years and he is taking 3 CPE/CSC classes a quarter, uses a laptop at every lab, and just recently bought a more powerful laptop. When he came home this past spring break, he showed me what his new laptop easily could do (compared with his older computer): run several programs at once, have lots of windows open, run 2 OS’s , have an improved keyboard, and, more importantly, run computer graphics with ease.</p>

<p>At this level, your particular computer needs might be different and depend on your major & specialty area.</p>

<p>I’m not very computer savvy, but hope I’ve given you have some ideas to think about. Why doesn’t my son answer? He’s too busy with his programming classes to roam around college confidential. Hopefully, you, too, will get as much as possible out of Cal Poly’s “learn by doing”.</p>

<p>My son got his new desktop at the beginning of the summer, so he learned how to maintain and troubleshoot it, before heading off to CP. Made sure he got a computer that would not be out of date in a few years.</p>

<p>Once in the freshman dorms, the desktop was fine. But suddenly the desktop wouldn’t work. Luckily his friends down the hall helped him get the computer back in shape, but that took a few days. Meantime, he had to borrow computers from friends down the hall. At that point, he realized he needed a second computer and bought a laptop. For the next few years, the desktop was the primary computer (the screen was bigger and you could leave it on all day without it overheating) and the laptop went to the classrooms or to group projects.</p>

<p>As I mentioned in the earlier reply, he just got a second more powerful laptop and now uses that as the primary computer. But that old desktop still is used for the same reasons listed in the last paragraph. It’s a hassle lugging that tower back & forth at move-in and move-out times, but it has been good for him to have two computers.</p>

<p>^^ Would you say that a netbook is fine as a "tote-around" computer? My husband has already ordered a Dell Business computer through our older daughter's job. He got a fantastic deal on it, so couldn't pass it up. That would be her home-based 'puter. </p>

<p>It just makes more sense to carry a lighter weight netbook, but at the same time, if a notebook would be more practical, we'll definitely consider that. I just can't see her carrying that around as readily.</p>

<p>FWIW, I just pinged my son on how he did with his 15" MacBook Pro and the flash drive he got for free for attending WOW and he said they were "perfect". The Mac was exactly the right size for his room and classes (yes, he took it to class), met all his "recreational needs" and he never had any compatibility problems. Oh, and the flash drive was all he needed for backup/file transfer and, best of all, it fit on his key ring. I think the smartest thing we did was have him make the decision and purchase **after **the first week or so of school. That way he had a chance to see what his peers were doing and check out the requirements of his major (AE).</p>

<p>How do students print material? Do they bring printers to their dorms or is there a central print service that students can use?</p>

<p>Bring your own printer. You can print through your polycard for 15 c per page at the library, but it's inconvenient. Don't depend on others to print for you, either. Your peers won't admit it, but it's annoying to be constantly asked to print this and that.</p>

<p>During the summer, we checked the bookstore for printers and ink cartridges. Also checked El Corral online but they weren’t always up to date on what they offered. We bought a printer (all-in-one), based on what printer ink cartridges the bookstore sold, and tried it out before heading to Cal Poly. During freshman WOW week, the bookstore was a zoo with dwindling supplies, so I was relieved we bought the printer a month earlier. When my son needed ink cartridges, he used his Campus Express to pay for it at the bookstore. If he needed some special printing or binding, he used Pony Prints, paying with Campus Express. Campus Express also is good at the health center and for purchasing/pre-ordering books at El Corral.</p>

<p>Might I suggest getting an aftermarket refill kit. I've been using my $15 refill kit and $25 HP deskjet for three years now, and I've only had to replace the black ink cart twice. A scanner is nice for sharing notes online and putting together composite documents, but I don't find myself needing one often.</p>

<p>Another money tip: the bookstore (well, anything on campus) is terribly overpriced. And while buyback is easy, you can usually sell for a higher price on craigslist. Email your profs ahead of time and ask which book and version they're using. You can sometimes get the same book on amazon or ebay for half.</p>