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 2018-10-22, 19:35 #12 danaj   "Dana Jacobsen" Feb 2011 Bangkok, TH 32×101 Posts My son did research on this, as he just started college and needed a laptop. He also has adaptive needs and has to type rather than write (while I agree with equations, graphs, etc. this is a special case). He decided on the Lenovo Yoga 730 13". I poked around and it does look like a fairly regular recommendation for this purpose. $730 up to$1100 or so depending on configuration (the exact models change over time and you can't custom build). It's small, fairly light, seems reasonably powerful for the intended purpose but it sure isn't a gaming laptop. I have a 15" gaming laptop and it is huge compared to the Macbook or Yoga.
2018-10-22, 22:10   #13
CRGreathouse

Aug 2006

5,987 Posts

Quote:
 Originally Posted by VBCurtis While taking notes on a laptop is folly, nearly every lower division course at large universities has moved to online homework systems, and also electronic textbooks. A laptop or large-screen tablet is nearly a necessity to study with others or have textbooks available outside one's dorm. Have a poke around webassign.net or mymathlab.com for examples (these are the two I use in my intro-level courses). Zyante.com is a nice web-native textbook firm, but many major publishers just include a PDF text linked within the homework system as an option to go paperless (and have zero used-book value after the term).
Fair enough. A basic tablet like a Kindle Fire (< $100) should suffice for e-textbook and mobile surfing needs.  2018-10-23, 01:26 #14 CRGreathouse Aug 2006 5,987 Posts Or all the way up to something like the Yoga, I mean, it's your money, but until you get some cashflow I'd spend it carefully.  2018-10-23, 10:25 #15 pinhodecarlos "Carlos Pinho" Oct 2011 Milton Keynes, UK 2×2,539 Posts I’m old school, notebook. Even when I do energy audits I use it instead of a tablet. 2018-10-24, 00:32 #16 Xyzzy Aug 2002 3×2,837 Posts Quote:  Originally Posted by ET_ And don't even think to try Prime95 on it... https://www.mersenneforum.org/showth...622#post487622 2018-10-24, 09:48 #17 ET_ Banned "Luigi" Aug 2002 Team Italia 113538 Posts Quote:  Originally Posted by Xyzzy I was only joking. I use Raspberry PIes to help GIMPS... 2018-10-25, 18:23 #18 Xyzzy Aug 2002 3×2,837 Posts Quote:  Originally Posted by ET_ I was only joking. I use Raspberry PIes to help GIMPS... 2018-10-25, 22:39 #19 jvang veganjoy "Joey" Nov 2015 Middle of Nowhere,AR 2·229 Posts Lots of responses! Quote:  Originally Posted by VBCurtis Laptops are wear items; if you take it to class a couple days a week and it's in your backpack for study use half the time it'll break, be damaged, or be stolen before 4 years is up. If I were in your spot, I'd spend ~$800 or so now, and be just fine with doing so again halfway through college. If you end up doing serious CAD or modeling work, you'll have the freedom to choose a desktop with that second $800! Hm, I've considered that but I think I'll need to take a reasonably powerful laptop to class, if we do anything like we do in engineering classes at school (and I'm pretty sure colleges don't have classes in computer labs). Quote:  Originally Posted by M344587487 I bought a gaming laptop a few years ago and do not recommend it. As VBCurtis says you're probably better off getting a midrange laptop and replacing it if necessary. Mine has a 970M which overheats when taxed, the battery is at 2/3 capacity and is not replaceable, it's built well and has a backlit keyboard but it's nothing special. For a daily driver laptop I think the most important thing is battery life and portability. I don't recommend a dGPU because they suck too much power and space, and while you could get away with using an intel iGPU it is a bit wimpy for anything other than light usage. An AMD 2500U quad core with Vega 8 iGPU is the right balance IMO. Thinkpad is always recommended online but I have no experience with them, regardless I configured a ThinkPad E585 on the Lenovo site with 2500u, 2x4GB RAM, 1080P screen and 128GB SSD for ~$680. If I were to get a new laptop tomorrow this would be it (if a dual battery Thinkpad was available in a Ryzen config I'd get that instead if the price was right). I don't understand expensive headphones, YMMV (judging by your post it obviously does) but I just buy whatever ~$30 over the ear headphones are recommended at the time. I've thought about how to prevent the heating problems. Nowadays manufacturers put a good deal of focus on cooling solutions, and I don't mind fan noise. Also, some laptop brands are fully serviceable; I could replace parts and components as needed, or replace the coolers/thermal paste myself. Quote:  Originally Posted by VictordeHolland You could also go for an Apple MacBook Air. Yes it is pricy for the specs, but it is light and should last a couple of years. I'd always go for a desktop if you want to run demanding CAD / professional software, laptops are great for Office, but not much else. I plan on staying away from Apple/Mac OS as much as possible; I don't like how most of their products are designed (iPhone/iPad are passable at best), their operating system is the bane of my existence, you'd never be able to fix any of their products problems yourself, and they are rather overpriced, as you mentioned. If I feel that something similar to a Mac was worth buying, I'd buy a Surface or something, despite how awful Microsoft is. Quote:  Originally Posted by Xyzzy A cheap$150 netbook would be great for college. They have a long battery life and they can run Linux. We have one running Debian and it works great!
I also have a cheap $150 netbook, a Lenovo Ideapad 100S, which I took to ASMSA. Its battery life is surprisingly short (easily under 4 hours from a full charge), the display is annoyingly difficult to read in any setting, and the touchpad doesn't work sometimes. It came with Windows 10, despite having only 2 GB of RAM, so I had to switch it over to Ubuntu (Kubuntu! ) to get anything done. And it had only 32 GB of hard drive space on a really slow little eMMC stick, so I had to put in an SSD to store much more than the OS. And it still runs incredibly slowly; just basic web browsing and typing on Google Docs taxes the processor and memory beyond belief. I can barely watch a video with picture quality over 360p... Quote:  Originally Posted by CRGreathouse For class I'd recommend a notebook. Like, an actual notebook -- it's easier to focus on class when you don't have the distraction of the Internet at your fingertips. I plan on having both my laptop and a notebook. But now that I think about it, a touchscreen with a pen would be really convenient for such note-taking and drawing diagrams... Quote:  Originally Posted by Uncwilly What ever you get, spend ~$100 for an external drive to backup the machine. Do so with regularity.
Quote:
 Originally Posted by chalsall Agreed! Just to add, make sure there isn't "Seagate" anywhere on the retail box of the external drive! And, if you really want to be paranoid (but resilient), buy two external drives and swap them monthly (keep the other at a physically distinct location; ideally in a safe). Also, "Cloud Backups" are a really good idea; even using GMail to send yourself important documents can be useful.
This makes sense, but what's wrong with Seagate? And having double physical backups in different locations (locked in a safe?!) plus online backups seems pretty paranoid

What would be a good option for an external backup drive? Are there special ones with fancy security features I should pay attention to (or the lack of such security in a product)?

Quote:
 Originally Posted by danaj My son did research on this, as he just started college and needed a laptop. He also has adaptive needs and has to type rather than write (while I agree with equations, graphs, etc. this is a special case). He decided on the Lenovo Yoga 730 13". I poked around and it does look like a fairly regular recommendation for this purpose. $730 up to$1100 or so depending on configuration (the exact models change over time and you can't custom build). It's small, fairly light, seems reasonably powerful for the intended purpose but it sure isn't a gaming laptop. I have a 15" gaming laptop and it is huge compared to the Macbook or Yoga.
The Lenovo 2-in-1s seem well-regarded; they have the convenient touchscreen (and a proprietary pen thingy) too! What's your opinion on your laptop?

Thanks for all the feedback! Lots of things to consider...

2018-10-26, 09:06   #20
M344587487

"Composite as Heck"
Oct 2017

16158 Posts

Quote:
 Originally Posted by jvang I've thought about how to prevent the heating problems. Nowadays manufacturers put a good deal of focus on cooling solutions, and I don't mind fan noise. Also, some laptop brands are fully serviceable; I could replace parts and components as needed, or replace the coolers/thermal paste myself.
They really don't. It's all about how thin and crippled by thermals they can make something now. Unless you go for a specialist laptop or maybe the most popular brands I don't think you'll be able to replace the cooler, at best you can replace the paste. It wouldn't be a good idea to use liquid metal even though that would be the most beneficial.

Quote:
 Originally Posted by jvang This makes sense, but what's wrong with Seagate? And having double physical backups in different locations (locked in a safe?!) plus online backups seems pretty paranoid
HDD manufacturers take turns being unreliable, last time I bought one Hitachi was to be avoided. Now I think WD is recommended but honestly unless you have large data sets I'd go for an SSD instead, an external M.2 SSD if you're being fancy. Online backups have saved my bacon, physical backups may save my bacon one day :P

 2018-10-26, 09:18 #21 pinhodecarlos     "Carlos Pinho" Oct 2011 Milton Keynes, UK 10011110101102 Posts So what degree are you taking? Can you post the list of courses. Just want to understand if you really need a fancy laptop.
 2018-10-26, 10:29 #22 henryzz Just call me Henry     "David" Sep 2007 Liverpool (GMT/BST) 135558 Posts I don't know what it is like in the US but when I was at uni in the UK any computer work was done in a computer lab. You should be able to learn this sort of thing from an open day/emailing relevant people. I would confirm this before buying.

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