I'm a first year master's student, on a 1+3 PhD programme at UCL Psychology Department and currently without a laptop! I don't really know what I'm looking for, it just needs to be quick and able to run SPSS. My other half is pushing for me to get a Mac but I'm a bit worried about compatibility for stats analysis etc. Can anyone recommend a good laptop for under £700?
Get a desktop if you can - you get way more for your money and less hardware issues e.g. power cables breaking. SPSS will also run a lot better on it. For £700 you would get a really really good desktop but an OK laptop.
My bro pushes me to get Mac stuff, but I don't personally think its worth it cos some unis don't offer SPSS for Macs and you therefore have to pay for your own version, or pay for a copy of windows to run on the Mac, and I am told the main reason for getting a mac is to run OS X or whatever on it so having windows defeats the object! You will also have problems with compatability all the time and it will annoy you!
If you can go for a nice desktop with big flat screen!
If you are going to use this forum a lot - and that's your real name, you may want to change it as you don't want your supervisor reading your rants!
I love my HP laptop - there are some great deals online atm and this one easily runs anything I need it to - I would have a desktop if I was working in one place - but I tend to have to shift around a lot so I need portability - if this isn't the case for you then Sneaks suggestion is very good.
I also agree, it looks as though your user name may be your real name? Change it hon... not to cover anything up but this place is great for anonymity so you can rant, rage throw all your toys out of your pram and you cannot be linked to your hissy fit ;-) Its also quite refreshing to be able to voice any concerns knowing that its difficult for anyone who may be here from your institution or your supervisor to know that its you - sounds maybe a little deceitful in some respects but seriously consider it :-) Anonimity on the main forum is freedom to say what you feel rather than what you should say in this very political world :-)
If you must have a laptop, I would say go for the best possible processor/speed, rather than be pulled in my the name or screen size etc. its the processor that will give you grief when your spss won't run and annoy you continually. Whether you have a sony or a 'rubbish' brand won't matter then.
I'm not techy enough to recommend a particular machine for your needs, but thought I'd just point you in the direction of the Argos outlet on eBay - always the first place I look for anything electrical now, as they're generally very competitive but offer proper 12-month guarantees even on refurb items. I got my laptop and my desktop there, both a good £100 cheaper than the same models anywhere else, and they always have plenty of models/brands in stock.
(Sorry, this seems to be my week for advertising on here!)
I know some people swear by Macs but I don't get it - they're very expensive, have a much more limited range of software (also expensive!) available, and in my experience are just as prone to going wrong as PCs. I used a Mac at work and a PC at home every day for nine years and noticed no real difference in reliability, ease of use etc. - but for availability of cheap & free software, compatibility etc. the PC won hands down.
SPSS should absolutely horse on any modern PC, with the possible exception of the Atom - the standard processor on netbooks these days (while compact, I'd avoid one of these for anything bar web surfing, the small keys and screen will drive you nuts after a few days).
Look for Intel Dual Core (or Celeron M), 2Gb RAM+, 80Gb+ HD and you should be laughing til your thesis and beyond.
Perhaps the Dell M1330? You'll get change from £700 and a well specced machine too.
Hey there! I know this is going to sound a bit odd but have a look in Tesco Extra! I went laptop hunting about 6 months ago, went to all the usuals, PC World, Currys, looked everywhere online etc. In the end I saw this Acer laptop in Tesco for £400 (it might have been £379 actually...but anyway!) and I went to PC World and said if they could match it or better the Tesco offer I would buy it from them. The PC World employee looked at the spec on the Acer and just said "go back to Tesco- there is no way we can give you this spec for this price. We can't even compete". He also asked us not to report his name to his manager! So we went back to Tesco and bought it. It's an Acer Aspire 5735Z, and is brilliant for my needs. I don't know much about computers at all and don't do loads of complex stuff on it but am also doing PhD Psychology and am running SPSS on it etc- I fully recommend it. The guy in PC World also said that Acer have now overtaken Sony as the most reliable producer of electronics...this is my 2nd Acer laptop and I would certainly have another! Happy hunting! KB
Make sure you get a laptop with a button that can turn the mouse pad off - a lot seem to have that now, so when you are typing the mouse doesn't reposition you. Also - try and get them to chuck in office 2007 and some virus stuff for free :p
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I so feel your pain - the touchpad is the bain of my life - I can turn it off, but my desk is such a damned mess that I keep losing my mouse which is wireless lol - I have to turn the lights off and look for the flashing red light - but yes, to be able to turn off the horrid thing is a definate bonus!
Hi, I'm in the same position and have been researching laptops - I currently have a macbook but it's a few years old and quite heavy and am not keen to take it up the huge hill to uni every day! (As well as the Stats Application worries Chloe mentioned.) Does anyone know of a light laptop (not a netbook as I will probably need an optical drive) that isn't ridiculously expensive? Or is it worth it to splash out?
I was surprised when shown to my PhD room and there was no computer, is this usual? I think on my placement I must have been really lucky and thought it was the norm to be provided with one! Do people usually just have to pay for PC/Laptop for the room out of their own money or does it tend to come out of the research grant?
I have a PC in my industrial partners and one at uni - but I work from home most of the time - but I have ended up with 3 laptops and 2 desktops at home too and 2 external hardrives so I have to constantly hunt for my work and guess which computer it might be on as I am way too disorganised to sort any kind of system out!
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