[FoRK] Computer for College Student

Jebadiah Moore jebdm at jebdm.net
Fri Jul 30 15:06:10 PDT 2010

2010/7/30 Jeffrey Kay <jeff at jeffreykay.com>
> I probably should have clarified that the real question is whether to go
> with a 2 computer solution (netbook + desktop) or 1 computer solution
> (laptop).  Mostly I'm curious to see if anyone else on the list has kids in
> college and what they decided.  The netbook would be great for running
> around campus (if the tablets were better at taking classroom notes, I'd
> consider that) but suck for performance and would require syncing between
> two computers to comfortably allow work to get done. Laptops with enough
> power generally don't have a great battery life.  Thus the dilemma.
> Perhaps the real answer is that she needs a desktop to do Photoshop and a
> medium power laptop to do most of her work (like an Asus, with long battery
> life).  That way she could keep all of her schoolwork on the laptop and
> just
> use the desktop (or her current laptop) for the heavy lifting.

Don't have suggestions for particular laptop models, but as a current
college student, I'd say to go for a laptop rather than netbook+desktop.
 Netbooks are a pain-in-the-ass form factor, and she would almost definitely
only use her desktop when absolutely necessary.  Most people end up doing
their homework in other peoples' rooms, libraries, labs, classrooms, common
areas, etc., which means using a portable computer, and if she just has a
netbook, it will be a significant encumbrance.

Most modern laptops should be able to handle Photoshop.  If the slight
slowdown is sufficiently annoying, she can use lighter-weight imaging
programs for 90% of her work, and switch to Photoshop if she needs it, but I
doubt she'll even notice the difference.  (Frankly, if she isn't doing any
heavy-duty design work or photo processing, Photoshop is overkill; there are
a lot of good, easy to use programs which cover most peoples' needs
completely.  But I don't know what kind of work she's doing.)  Also,
colleges usually have some computer labs with high-end desktops for stuff
like photo processing, video editing, CAD, etc., which she could use if she
needed, so I would say it isn't worth it to send a desktop with her.  Maybe
in the second year so she can use AutoCAD in her room, but she may be fine
with using the labs, and like you said, she may end up switching programs.

Jebadiah Moore

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