Computer Choices for College

Hello everyone,

I’d appreciate your advice in choosing a computer for college.
I’m looking to buy a desktop and a laptop PC, having the desktop be my workhorse and my laptop be my mobile entertainment device. In general, I’ll be using the desktop for video editing, photo viewing/editing, 3D modelling, multi-tasking, etc. The notebook will be used for word processing and office type applications, general internet use, and some photo editing.

My price range is about $2,000 total, so about $1,000 for each, but that can be arranged however it needs. I’d like the notebook to be fully capable of working by itself, so I don’t want to skimp out there. I want them both to be good purchases that will last for 5 years or more (though the desktop could be upgraded to last longer).

I’ve come up with the following “requirements” (meaning, suggestions):

For the Desktop:
Monitor: 17" LCD preferred, 19" LCD would be great; possibly I like this one from HP.
Operating System: Windows Vista dual-booted with Ubuntu
Processor: AMD Athlon 64 X2 or Intel Core 2 Duo
Hard Drive: Minimum 80 GB, 120 GB or higher preferred, 250 GB or higher beyond expecations
Memory: Minimum 1 GB, 2 GB preferred, 4 GB beyond expectations
Graphics Card: Dedicated Nvidia GeForce, 128 MB or 256 MB

For the Notebook:

Screen Size: From 14" to 17"
Operating System: Windows Vista dual-booted with Ubuntu
Processor: AMD Turion 64 X2 or Intel Core 2 Duo
Hard Drive: Minimum 80 GB, no more than 200 GB
Memory: Minimum 1 GB, 2 GB beyond expectations
Wireless: Included, absolutely
USB 2.0: Minimum 3, 4 or more preferred

My core use is mutli-tasking between internet applications, music programs, web programming, and image editing programs. The laptop I use now (my family’s) has only 512 MB of RAM, and a 1.8 ish Pentium 4 processor, but it does well with my work. That said, I’d like to have everything speed up a bit with the purchase of a new system.

So, I’d like your advice.
Anything from reviews to suggestions for systems of hardware, etc.

Thanks for your help. :yes:

I don’t know if it can fit all of your specs (though I suspect it can) but I bought an IBM/Lenovo ThinkPad X60 for college, and I love it. It’s powerful, runs Ubuntu really nicely, can get a battery life of up to 12 hrs, and weighs 5 Lbs.

why not have the desktop as ubuntu and the laptop as windows, or the uther way around? if you want to do alot of graphics work eather get a very expensive lcd, or get a flat screen crt. cheep lcd’s aunt very curate, and cannot be calibrated very well

What do you think of these:

19" LCD Monitor: $229.99

HP Pavilion a6040n Minitower: $799.99
Intel Core 2 Duo 1.86Ghz, 2GB RAM, 320GB Hard Drive

And for the notebook, I’m looking at the following:
HP Pavilion dv6365us Notebook: $1,249.99
Intel Core 2 Duo 1.83 Ghz, 2GB RAM, 160GB Hard Drive, 15.4-inch WXGA TFT Display

HP Pavilion dv6345us Notebook: $1,049.99
Intel Core 2 Duo 1.73 Ghz, 1GB RAM, 160GB Hard Drive, 15.4-inch WXGA TFT Display

Toshiba Satellite A205-S4597 Notebook: $1,149.99
Intel Core 2 Duo 1.86 Ghz, 2GB RAM, 160GB Hard Drive, 15.4-inch WXGA TFT Display

Spend a little bit of time with your favorite search engine. Include the words “problems” and “complaints” along with the product you are researching (without quotes of course).

by verry expensive lcd i ment £1000+!

digital desplays change in large steps. brightness, contrast, etc, so it is inposable to get them calobrated corectly.

for graphics work do not scimp on the graphics card! buld your desktob becose you can get exactly what you want

make shore that you buy a laptop with a nvidia card! adi works poorly with linux and blender

I like my toshiba laptop, and after my desktop got fried, it’s held up exceptionally well on it’s own. I had half your budget for my laptop (I got it for 600$ new, low end model, and it owns.)

My only real concern is Toshiba doesn’t keep up with driver updates, and Intel (makes the graphics chip.) doesn’t install on a toshiba via a contrived check. (It’s fully possible to edit that out… if you know assembler.)

But even my low end toshiba runs blender well, and renders fairly quickly, unless there’s a ton of intensive stuff. Runs games quite well too.

(Note: The driver is a non-issue with linux. With a bit of setup, I got Slackware 11 going rock steady, and great performance.)

Edit: I got my toshiba for college, and it works flawlessly. If you have a choice, get an Atheros-based chip, no matter what laptop. Awesome support for linux (madwifi) and windows. And they outstrip just about any other card I’ve used in range and signal clarity.

Just found this, and I think it’s a great deal for a desktop.
19" Monitor (the one I was looking for no less), 2.0 Ghz Intel Core 2 Duo, 2 GB RAM, 320 GB Hard drive. hessiess, I’m not going to spend that much on a LCD, sorry. If others stand by your claim, then I’ll definately re-evaluate my opinion, but after having seen this particular screen in store, it is good quality. I’m aware that techonology goes bad, though, so if anyone else stands by the need to buy higher priced LCD monitors, I’ll do so.

The graphics card won’t be the best, but with the price I can afford to buy a separate card.
What do you guys think? Good deal?

thats pritty simaler to my laptop, exept the prosessor is more powerfal, and its got a bigger hd. if you want to use linux on it dont get gforce8 series cards, becose thay dont have good linux drivers yet .

i think that is a pritty good deal for £500ish pounds, only thing is that dual core is probaly going to be repalsed with quad core in afew months, when the price of them comes down abit.

'm not going to spend that much on a LCD

thats why you use crt’s! there isant rilly anything wrong with lcd’s exept you carnt calobrate them exactly, espetily on the cheeper ones.

I’d say buy a $800 notebook and a $1200 PC. Use the notebook with windows and doing school based work away from the PC. If you plan on doing rendering and you you can wait till the end of July (2 months) you can pick up a Q6600 (2.4ghz Quad Core CPU) for just under $300. I just got one for $600 and really like it compared to my 1.8ghz Core 2 Duo.

Q6600: $300
DDR2 800, 2Gig: $100
Intel DP965LT (HW revision 207+): $100
SATA HD (300-400gb): $100
500w Power: $50
ATX Case: $50 <get something nice later if you’d like>
Copy of XP or Vista: $150
GeForce 8600GT: $200
Decent LCD: $300

Total: $1,350
If you ditch windows you can get that down to $1,200

GeForce 8600GT: $200, bad drivers under linux, no 3d acseloration

stick to 1 os pur comp and save your hd space, linux is slightly faster for rendering.

nVidia recently added the 8x series to their latest Linux / FreeBSD drivers a few days ago. I was running the Bata FreeBSD drivers on my system and it was stable - granted I couldn’t compile blender but thats a FreeBSD issue. glxgears ran fine and x ran fine.

I just fixed my windows install on this computer (vista corrupted my xp partition) so I’m going to turn my data drive back into a freebsd drive later today.

MrRage, you’re suggesting building my own?

Well I’m throwing it out there as an option to consider. Typically you can get a really good system for about $500, but if you want something with a little more power they end up charging you an arm and a leg for it. I spent the morning setting up linux / osx and several other OS on my system and to try them out and I’d recommend sticking with windows with that setup - unfortunately the hardware still too new for anything but windows.

so, is windoze what the college supports? Be sure they don’t do Macs, like if all the profs have Macs their gonna want their stuff turned in in Mac format. I know Apple used to push hard to get Macs into schools.

Most colleges -here at least- can do both. Personally, I think that linux on the laptop is a better choice, if you keep it simple enough. (My school’s network was designed for windows. Linux runs the wi-fi points better than windows does. Not to mention openoffice supporting every common format, windows and mac. Then there’s the performance edge. If you’re willing to learn a bit, linux is the better choice for college. Anymore, you don’t really have to muck around on the terminal too terribly much, unless you want to.)

I have Linux installed on my desktop upstairs, and while I find it enjoyable, there seems to be far too much to ever learn. Of course, that’s what I like about it…

What’s wrong with dual-booting anyway?

OfficeMax is offering two great deals, imo, which I think I may take.
I’ve talked to a friend at the college I’ll be going to, and he says that this is a good deal minus the graphics card. Also, the AMD processor can’t run Adobe Premiere, for whatever reason…

What do you guys think?
HP Pavilion DV6353us 15.4" Notebook PC - $950

  • AMD Turion™ 64 X2 Dual-Core Mobile Technology TL-60
    (2.0GHz) (1024MB L2 Cache / 1600MHz FSB)
    • NVIDEA® GeForce® Go 6150 (UMA) Graphics
    • 2048MB DDR2 System Memory (2 Dimm)
    • 160GB 5400rpm SATA Hard Drive
    • Lightscribe Super Multi 8X DVD±R/RW with Double Layer Support
    • 15.4" WXGA High-Definition BrightView Widescreen Display (1280x800)
    • 802.11 b/g WLAN
    • Windows® Vista Home Premium OS
    • 1-Year Limited Hardware Warranty

HP Pavilion A6028x Desktop PC - $800 w/ 19" w1907 HP Monitor
BEST DEAL- Save $180 Instantly with combined purchase of w1907 Widescreen LCD listed below. Final Price of PC and Monitor after savings: $799.97
* AMD Athlon™ 64 X2 Dual-Core Processor 4200+ with AMD LIVE!
(2.40GHz)(1GB L2 Cache / 2000MHz FSB)
* 2048MB PC2-4200 DDR2 SDRAM Memory (2 Dimm)
* 320GB 7200rpm ATA Hard Drive
* LightScribe Super Multi DVD Burner16X DVD±R/RW Drive
* NVIDEA® GeForce® 6150 LE Graphics (discrete 128MB)
* Windows® Vista Home Premium OS
* 1-Year Limited Hardware Warranty