So your back in college and you need a computer. So what to buy well it’s always a tough choice, but you don’t need to go into the thousands for a PC these days. the lower end laptop will do the job for most things, and the way to go here is low end.
- Keyboards: if your buying a laptop be sure to try it out and type on it, and type a paragraph on it, cause if it’s a bad keyboard your stuck with it for 3-4 years.
- Memory, go for as much memory as you can, Memory is not hard disk space, we’re looking here at on-board memory, it will be quoted like 4096MB which is more than enough if your running windows 7 or Windows 8, also make sure you can expand it.
- Hard drive space: Don’t worry about hard drive space 160GB will be enough for most people, if your into music and video, you can always get an external USB drive.
- USB 3.0 is now fairly standard on systems, its the Blue USB port
- Network port, at the extreme lower end and extreme higher end, Network ports are being removed, the sales rep will say “you can use wireless” and he/she is correct, but wired is going to be always their, and as anyone who has been at a conference with too few WiFi access points will WiFi is nice but can sometimes not be dependable.
- Screen size, remember the bigger the screen the more its going to cost to replace it if some one sits on it, of if it falls off the bed/desk or what ever!, a 17inch screen is going around €200 for a replacement, and its not an easy job.
- Processor, while window 7 was light work, windows 8 will be a bit harder on a machine, look for 4 cores or above, and stay away from 2 cores
- Touch Screen, try and get one of these, windows 8 will be a lot easier with a touch screen.
The next thing is software:
- Office software, well Microsoft office is the standard, but you can use open office or libre office, once you have made sure that you save everything as Microsoft file format and it will work fine.
- Photo-shop is a standard but GIMP gives you all the functionality that most people need, it’s also open source.
- The Zotero plug-in for Mozilla FireFox, is great for citations.
- LYX is great for producing papers and Theseus, and is much better at handling documentation than word.
- If your a publisher look at scribus, its open source desktop publishing system, you could always pay for quark.
Here is a few reviews and tables about CPU’s:
What proccessors are out their: https://kb.wisc.edu/showroom/page.php?id=4927
This is a comparasion of tests against cost of processor: http://www.cpubenchmark.net/cpu_value_available.html
Happy shopping, and don’t spend too much!