University of Michigan Laptops for Freshman

<p>Recently I was admitted to Michigan for the class of 2016. I'm extremely excited, and just waiting on my visit in February to confirm it's where I want to go to college. Now this may be a bit premature, but I have a question about laptops for incoming freshman at UM. I know at some schools they give out a laptop as a part of the tuition (such as Villanova); I'm pretty sure this is not the case at Michigan. Also, at other colleges there is a program where you can order the laptop from the school at a discounted price and also preloaded with certain programs (UNC has this I believe). Does Michigan do something like this? I couldn't find anything about it online so I assume they do not. If this makes any difference, I'm hoping to get a really nice laptop (1-2k) that is really fast and can run games well. Is Sony a good brand for high end laptops? I don't want an Alienware.</p>

<p>Thanks</p>

<p>For laptops that have a good mix between performance and size, Sony and Asus are pretty good.</p>

<p>Sony would be sort of the Apple equivalent, offering a good balance but a generally higher price. Asus on the other hand just has quite a few models with varying performance, from mid-range to gaming laptops, so it is versatile there. Both companies are quite reliable, dare I say moreso than Apple (inb4hate).</p>

<p>As for speed, both in gaming and not, that'll be a large function of disk speed.
If you go for the harddrive path, only settle for 7200rpm. 5400rpm is both slow and pretty useless since it'll make you spend longer on loading times than actually playing.
The other option is an SSD. They're fast as hell (windows boots in under half the time it used to take for me with a 7200rpm drive), and other things are assured to be faster as well. It'll fit within your price range, however there is varying reliability in the SSD market and prices can get expensive for the storage, so you'd only end up with one at like 256gb at most. If you decide to go with an SSD and a sony laptop, i'd recommend doing it yourself because sony price gouges too much for SSD upgrades. For Asus, sites like xoticpc will do it for the cost of the laptop+SSD+a bit of a markup. xoticpc also has other upgrade options potentially. Either way, installing an SSD yourself is quite easy.</p>

<p>As for ordering from umich's campus computing showcase, I can't recommend it because all they have is dell laptops and Apple laptops, and I really can't recommend either brand. Not Dell because they have pretty awful reliability, and not apple because, well, integrated graphics.</p>

<p>If you have any more question shoot me a pm.</p>

<p>Good luck and go blue.</p>

<p>rhythmgaming mentioned XoticPC for gaming laptops. I agree that is a good website, the particular brand I would recommend however is Sager rather than Asus. Sager laptops have more bang-for-your-buck laptops and are more customizable than Asus laptops. However Sager laptops don't come with an OS, but you can buy Windows (and other software like MS Office) very cheaply when you're in college. </p>

<p>Asus is still a very good brand though, their ultra-portable laptops boast 8+ hours of battery life.</p>

<p>Also, DO NOT buy a laptop now! Wait a few months, because Intel Ivy Bridge CPUs and NVIDIA GeForce 700 series / AMD Radeon 7000 series GPUs are coming very soon.</p>

<p>Thanks for input; it's helpful. Yes I'm definitely waiting until June/July to get it. It'll be my high school graduation present.</p>

<p>"not apple because, well, integrated graphics"</p>

<p>Do you mean because the AMD Radeon graphics chip can't be changed?</p>

<p>^The short version: He'd be paying way to much to get decent gaming performance from the 15" macbook, since the 13" can't game for the life of it.</p>

<p>the long version: unlike desktop GPUs, mobile GPUs dont include the cooling reference, and are instead put in by the manufacturer and are a hell of a lot less modular. They also are subject to heat constraints determined by the form factors. The HD 3000, and being stuck to that power, is still horrible for any gaming that involves the typical range a gamer would actually play. The 15 inch does have a decent GPU, but you're already high in the budget at 1.8k, and then a harddrive upgrade, mouse, and windows would easily put it over 2k. Even then, the 15 inch macbook pros run very hot.</p>