The Ideal College Laptop
We are sadly reaching this time of the year when the summer holidays are almost over, but a lot of you will be making it back to your second favourite holiday destination: college! All jokes aside, we know you’re planning on getting a lot of work done, and moving to a new accommodation might just prompt you to think: “Yeah I definitely need to buy a new college laptop, no doubt about it…I just need it…It’s for work after all!” We can’t blame you from wanting to get new gear, and there is certainly no shortage of good machines to pick from, but the question is: how much should you actually spend? Do you need a powerhouse beast of a laptop or will a simple notebook do?
Is new gear necessary?
The first thing to touch on is to figure out whether buying something new is necessary, especially if you already have an older but still half-competent laptop. Yes we know that there are amazing new computers being released every day with the latest processors and GPU’s and a trillion gigs of ram but do you really need that? If your equipment has worked for you and still does then why fix what isn’t broken? Ultimately, your need to buy something new will depend on what you are studying and what your computer needs will be; and as such some of us do need more powerful machines than others.
Having a laptop in college is essential
No matter what course you are studying let’s make this clear: having your own laptop in college is a necessity; as much of education now relies upon online resources, electronic communications and at the very minimum word processing. Of course you can use your college’s computer labs and your faculties’ machines to get your work done but this means you are reliant upon their opening hours to get things done. Even communications from lecturer’s and faculty staff get done online so you really need to have your own machine and internet connection at home to find out what is going on with your course. Basically we are not saying that you cannot go through college without your own computer, but no having one will put you at a certain disadvantage.
Looking for a cheap Windows laptop?
Most basic college homework related tasks will involve creating documents and going online to research materials and access the college’s online portal, and this doesn’t require much computing power at all. So before jumping on the “I need the latest Apple laptop” bandwagon; stop and think for a few minutes; as a cheap but smart little notebook such as the ASUS F555LA will be plenty to do the jobs you need. This 15 inch laptop starts under $400 and the base model sports a dual core i3-5010u Intel processor clocked at 2.1 GHz and with an overall cache of 3 MB. Furthermore, it has 4 GB of DDR3 ram clocked at 1600 MHz; with a 500GB hard drive which will give you plenty of storage to save your work. At this price you also get windows 10 with it so it’s really a no brainer.
How about a Chromebook?
Alternatively those who are not the biggest windows fans might be tempted by the smaller and sleeker looking ACER Chromebook 14. This stylish and very easy to transport notebook runs the Chrome OS. Granted it doesn’t do as much as Windows, but it is perfect for people using Google Doc and Google drive as their main ways to create and edit documents. It is also a great browsing machine, capable of running the Google Chrome but not the other browsers so that is worth noting. This notebook sports a quad core N3160 Intel Celeron processor, clocked at 1.60 Ghz. It also 4 GB of LPDDR3 ram. It works on a 16 GB SSD so it is limited in storage, however most of your files will be kept in the cloud using your Google Drive, so it is essentially a little cloud based device.
So you need a beefier machine?
So maybe your course involves video editing and you basically need a beast of a laptop whose performance compares with high end desktops. True you could probably buy yourself a cheap notebook and use the rest of the money to put together a good desktop, but who wants to have to use two machines when one can do it all? Off course you will need a much larger budget for this but if cost is not an issue then the Dell Inspiron i7559 FHD Editing Laptop might just be the baby you are looking for. Coming just under $1200 on Amazon, this 15.6 inch machine sports an Intel Core i7 processor clocked at 2.6 Ghz and a whopping 16 GB of DDR3 SDRAM. For storage, you will be blessed with 128 GB SSD for running your software fast; along with 1TB HDD for all those important project files. And last but not least, it comes with a very capable laptop GPU: the NVIDIA Geforce GTX 980M; sporting 4 GB of GDDR5 so you’re good for gaming too!
A lot to choose from
There are many machines to check out, and the landscape for buying a good laptop is wide indeed. The best thing you can do is to buy the best machine that is within range of your budget; that is if you really need to buy something new. If your current laptop works, then just take it along with you and wait until different times of the year to try to grab a good deal. This time of the year isn’t always the best time to get good bargains as manufacturers know that students will be on the lookout for new equipment. Also, don’t rush into buying something, instead take your time and do a bit of research; no point starting the year with a laptop you hate. Remember this baby will be following throughout your college years (arguably the best years in your life); so you’re not just picking a machine, you’re choosing a companion which will stick to you through thick and thin.