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Kistaro Windrider, Reptillian Situation Assessor

Unfortunately, I Really Am That Nerdy

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College Computing Chaos
nyah, tongueout, glasses, nerd
Just a bit of a request for advice: any suggestions for laptop computers good for college? I'm currently leaning towards a Gateway 400S-something, with Windows XP Pro (for the networking). I'll also add Norton Internet Security 2003 and Office XP Student Edition to whatever I wind up with.

The Gateway's biggest draw, other than it having literally everything I need for "only" $1,600 (my father's spending target), is the warranty, included in that price. By multiplying the warranty fee by 2.5, we threw in Accidental Damage Protection- that covers soda spills, drops, shoves out a window, falling down the stairs while carrying the thing, and any other sort of accidental damage generally not covered by standard "only if it's our fault" warranties. Considering that this thing's going to college, I think such a warranty is a good idea.

But I haven't had a Gateway before. Any comments on it, or suggestions of better ideas? Remember the price target is $1,600ish, although cheaper is of course better.

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I personally recommend a 386 witn Windows 3.1, Wordpad, and a Telnet/SSH client.

Distinct advantages:

(1) Nobody in their right mind would steal it.
(2) If it breaks somebody will probably take pity on you and give you a better computer for free.
(3) If you've got access to a server with Lynx, it has very nearly full functionality compared to a $1,600 box. You won't be able to play games or mp3s but most of the actual work (and websurfing!) you'll want to do can still be done.

Of course, don't let your dad know I said so; hold out for the $1600 machine. ];=8)

Hmm. It might work, but it doesn't quite meet the minimum specs for Wetrix, and I can't use The GIMP (Gnu Image Manipulation Program) over a text link, or on a 386. I might look in to that computer, though- I have a laptop with those specs in the basement.

My message was entirely tongue in cheek, but I think the general principle applies. A 386 would certainly be usable for basic word processing tasks and quality early-'90s computer entertainment products, but for about the same amount of labor -- and only a few hundred dollars -- you can pick up a laptop from E-Bay that is capable of playing Diablo II, set up a recent OS on it so that you can actually download current software and/or run Mathematica, and get vastly improved functionality still on the cheap.

If I'm going to make a serious recommendation, it's that. And if you do go on the cheap, buy something cheap enough that you won't think twice about replacing if it breaks -- any machine out of warranty should be treated gently and not expected to last forever (even though all my machines started out used and none has shit itself).

I'd say an iBook. They're built like tanks, run OS X, and they start at $999. But since you're a Windows user, I doubt you'd go for that, and I know jack about Windows notebooks.

I have two in my closet: an Epson 486 with PCMCIA slots (apparently that's odd), and a Compaq SLT/286. You could use something like the SLT as not only your computer, but a lunch box, as the battery bay under the keyboard is large enough to fit a can of soda and a sandwhich in. o.O;

It would also qualify as "checked luggage" on an airplane, though. =P

The Macintosh is very good for publishing use, but it doesn't have the software support I need. And I'm just not a Mac person.

PCMCIA slots are standard equipment on notebooks; the Gateway that my father has now ordered (too late, heh) has two. One will likely be used for a Firewire communication adapter, since while the computer has two USB 2.0 ports, it doesn't have a Firewire port. That may take up both card slots, though.

My dad once had a computer like that; it was called actually a "portable computer" as it wasn't really designed to be moved. It wasn't too much larger than my desktop machine, and it had this funky orange illegible screen to boot. It had a gigantic 30MB hard drive, and ran OS/2 pretty well- especially considering the machine's specs. I think it had somewhere around 2MB of ram- it was a really advanced computer.

...umm, for its time, anyway.

Compaq Evo N10105V

Scales in pricing from barebones $899 to roughly $1400 with some additional add ons. I'd spend about $1200 to get 512mb of ddrsdram, any size hard drive, a wireless PCMCIA card, and extra warranty. Aside from that, its a relatively durable and inexpensive laptop.

*meeps* that should have been N1015v, not the longer one o.O

iBook! Or the new 12" PowerBook. Born/raised/working in a Windows world, I was shocked at how quickly I was able to get used to the Apple, and that little iBook bouncing around in my backpack amazingly takes a lickin' and keeps on tickin'.

But you seem a PC person, so I'd recommend a Dell. That's what we have bought at work for a number of years, and we have had few problems with them. The times we do have problems, they have been extremely quick with their support and shipping parts to us. We have purchased Gateway models before, and we have had a lot of problems with their cheaper "cost-effective" models.

Whatever you end up choosing, you might want to further investigate what your university offers in terms of academic discounts. You might be able to save a few hundred dollars if you purchase it through the school. (As an example, I think Dell laptops at my school starts at around $1000). I would also see if you can purchase things like XP and Office through the school; here for instance, the prices are $69 and $55 respectively, whereas purchasing them retail adds several hundred dollars to each.

And make you you get an extended warranty. 3 yrs. parts at least; you probably won't need the 24/7 response/phone support which usually costs extra and you can figure out things like taking out the hard drive etc. on your own, but you'll want the three years on parts. Also, manufactures know that laptops tend to get more use/abuse than desktops, so note that most warranties for laptops are limited no matter what extensions you get; for things like batteries and LCD screens, it will usually be one year or less.

I reccomend a Dell. Dell can afford to buy the best name brand computer parts and effectively and smoothly piece the parts together :)

Gateway does all that, too, but I believe they are PROBABLY more expensive. Go for Gateway if you can't find a reasonable Dell.. but look really, really hard for a Dell ;)

"Dude you're gettin' a Dell!"

Re: Dell or Gateway

Actually, the Dell computers of similar power cost a bundle more, and don't have the Accidental Drop Protection warranty.

You get what you pay for, though. Dell has the absolute most reliable comptuers I've ever worked with; we just can't really afford one at the moment.

Re: Dell or Gateway

I see, I see

my mistake.. I might be a little out of date

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