Laptop for Uni help?

  JK Fortune 16:15 14 Sep 2008

Hey guys, this is my first post here lol, i need some help deciding what laptop i need for university, im taking an architecture course and i am not sure wether i need a business class type laptop or a standard home one...

I am looking to spend around £800 and i have been looking at dell's mainly as i am able to spec up my own easily while ordering, the XPS 1530 is probably my favoured home type laptop i could get, or a dell M4400 which i am finding difficult to find any reviews for? I will need a laptop for basic work, probably some CAD programs, but i wouldalso like to be able to do regular things easily, such as watch movies, listen to music, surf the internet and play a few games on.

With this in mind, it's hard to find anywhere to help me decide what i want, so i thought i'd try here =)

Thanks in advance for any suggestions (im open to other brands, it's just a dell that takes my fancy at the moment).


  wee eddie 18:00 14 Sep 2008

Would it not be a good idea to find out what the Computing requirements and recommended Specification is for the Course that you are on!

  JK Fortune 18:23 14 Sep 2008

yeah, but im not at uni yet, im going next september...i want to get a laptop now though (well before christmas) so i can get used to it and start putting stuff on it, so at the minute, im just applying for different courses, i have to apply to 5 uni's and i don't need the same thing for each one...most of them mention a CAD program or a mechanical design find out the specifics for my favourite course though and get back to you =)

  wee eddie 18:48 14 Sep 2008

Apart from the cost of a CAD Program, I assume that most Uni's have a special deal, there is that high Graphics Processing of CAD.

I have no experience in the field but would expect many, common or garden, laptops will be underspecified for such a Task.

  JK Fortune 20:46 14 Sep 2008

well, looking again at the courses im interested in, it doesn't actually give any specific requirements in the description, i assume they will have the facilities there to do what i need, but id like to have the capability to do the things i need to on my laptop...

So what im asking is will the M4400 be able to do normal things like play music, dvd's and play a few games and surf the internet and random everyday stuff...or would i be better off getting an xps and trying to run a CAD system off that...? lol

also, when im picking one, what is a substantial amount of RAM and HD space? And what processor would be sufficiant? has to be good, but not the best cause i want to try and keep the price down a little...

again, any help would be great thanks.

  HondaMan 08:17 15 Sep 2008

"cart before the horse" comes to mind.

You at trying to anticipate what the next 12 months will bring. If I could do that, I would be a multi-millionaire instead of doing what I do.

"Putting stuff on it" What stuff?

You will probably be able to get the software at a massive discount when you start the course and, of course, the computer's required spec may chyange in the next 12 months. Uni may also be able to get you a good deal on hardware.

  DrATty 10:32 15 Sep 2008

Most systems will run CAD programs but there's a big difference between running them and running them well. Waiting for screens to render can get tedious. The graphics and memory requirements can be very high for CAD. Integrated graphics won't do. You'll benefit from a high resolution screen and that will increase the processing power you need. If you'll need a lot of memory, get a 64-bit OS. Make sure that you can add memory above 4Gb and that it's affordable. 4Gb memory modules are expensive. are there any requirements to be fulfilled before you can connect to your college network?
This far ahead of the event, I'd save my money. Technology is moving on quickly. You'll get a lot more for your money next year. For instance, external graphics 'upgrades' for laptops should be available soon; these could be useful in your sphere. In fact, mobile graphics are likely to improve considerably. In addition, when you know the required specifications, you might find your department will sell you a suitable computer or that there is a decent 2nd hand market. If not, you can ask a supplier for a laptop with whatever specifications that will run whatever programs. If you find it doesn't, you could find it easier to claim it's not fit for purpose if you have problems.
Do consider a standard desktop PC. They are more easily upgraded and are certainly more powerful. They are usually less expensive too. Who knows, you might get a PC and a laptop for the money in 6 months time.

  wee eddie 17:35 15 Sep 2008

Forget it, till you have the Course in the bag and know what is needed.

If you really must which is, I think, what this thread is all about. Get one of those mini Notebooks for about £200. At least it's cool and you won't have wasted much money.

  JK Fortune 19:59 15 Sep 2008

i'll leave it a bit until im further on with my course applications...

i guess by next september they will all be cheaper anyway...thanks for the advice guys, i'll be asking you guys a very similar question in about 11 months :)

lol, cheers...i think i'll get a desktop till then...about £400 one, should be good enough to play games and stuff on, but not take up to much space, any reccomendations on that front? or should i start a new thread?

  Joe R 21:59 15 Sep 2008

JK Fortune,

It will be hard to find a better laptop for less than the money you want to spend. It should be all right for casual gaming, when run at lower settings. click here

  So Simple 21:55 25 Sep 2008

That Asus you mention, by coincidence I'd already been looking at it tonight as my wife needs a laptop for uni and having checked around, it does seem to be a lot of laptop for the money,plus I like giving my hard earned to e-Buyer as their service is spot on.

Is there anything else in the price bracket £350-£450 I should also be looking at. She doesn't need a gaming spec laptop, just a decent battery life and get that is nice to look at!

Think that was a dig at my work Lenovo thinkpad!

This thread is now locked and can not be replied to.

Elsewhere on IDG sites

Dell XPS 13 9370 (2018) review

No need to scan sketches into your computer with Moleskine's new smart pen

HomePod review

Streaming : Netflix ou Amazon Prime Video ?