[FoRK] Computer for College Student

Stephen D. Williams sdw at lig.net
Fri Jul 30 16:48:17 PDT 2010

On 7/30/10 3:06 PM, Jebadiah Moore wrote:
> ....
> 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.

I expect that this is very often true: Unlike home and office use, 
college students tend to frequently spend time elsewhere, library or lab 
or study groups.  The dorm room is often not conducive for studying for 
a number of reasons.

>   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

Just get real hardware, especially if theft / breakage worries aren't 
too bad.  My MacBook Pro with an i7 processor, 8GB of fast RAM, 500GB 
7200rpm drive (1TB when they are reasonably available) and external 30" 
4Mpixel monitors at home and office outperforms my old quad core Windows 
/ Linux desktop by a mile.  And gives my last-generation Mac Pro desktop 
(8 hyperthreading cores 16GB RAM) a run for the money.  For most 
purposes, can't tell the difference.  (10 thread high-end bulk photo 
processing is the exception, or running several VMs in development.)  
I'm going to need one of those new Mac Pro Desktops soon: 12 
hyperthreading cores and up to 3 GPU cards.

Anyway, on the Mac hardware side, remember that you can run Windows or 
Linux natively if you really wanted to.

> 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

There is no reason not to use Photoshop, MS Office, etc. at college.  
The student versions are very cheap usually.  Studica etc. or the 
college bookstore typically.  Good place to buy Macs also, both the 
hardware and the service plan is nicely discounted.

> 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.


More information about the FoRK mailing list