Hi..im about to start a PhD looking in the area of genetics and need to get myself a good laptop to last me for the next few years...Im no expert and a little confused with all the specifications there are!
I know i will need plenty of memory for statistics programs etc etc..can anyone currently doing their PhD tell me what are the specs of a standard good Laptop for a Phd...ie what hard drive and memory size?
I am currently torn between a Sony with 3GB memory and 250GB hard drive and an HP with 4GB memory and 250GB...i think the sony looks the better all round computer but the HP has more memory...is there really much difference!?
I just dont want to spend alot on a computer that wont be able to cope with my PHD!
any help would be much appreciated, thanks! :)
Save yourself some money and don't go for anything too singing and all-dancing. If you just need it to run stats programs and for general work, just get something nice and cheap - a core2duo with a gig or two of RAM. You don't need to spend too much money - around £400-500 is realistic. And steer clear of Sony - difficult to upgrade and just full of proprietary components. Why pay for a name? It certainly doesn't imply quality.
Yeah, tend to agree. Aim for the £500 bracket (Dabs.com are very reasonable). I'd say at least 2GB of RAM to run Vista properly and a Core 2 Duo or higher. Other than that 250GB should be plenty of drive space. Also, see if you can get a deal on an external hard drive so you can back your work up.
Any chance you could get your department to buy you one? It's an essential piece of kit for a PhD like yours. Our department bought our laptops out of the 'consumables' bit of our grants, as the sum the research councils give is so laughably small it'll only pay for a month's lab consumables anyway! Ok, so that means that the laptop won't be yours to take away at the end of it, but by that point it'll be pretty knackered anyway, so you'd probably be thinking about getting a new one.
Weight is important if you want to carry it around much. You can always buy separate screens/keyboards to plug into the laptop if you have a regular desk somewhere.
In terms of brands, most people I know who aren't Mac enthusiasts use Dells. If you want to save some money on one, check out the Dell Outlet store (it sells perfectly good computers that have been built to particular specs but been returned e.g. cos a company bought 50 but then decided it only needed 48). Also, see if your uni has any contracts with various companies that give a discount - buying our Dell laptops via the uni's higher education contract with them meant that we got a lot better value for money than if you buy as a private individual.
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Buy the one that's the quickest, and possibly pay a little more for something super quick and future proof. I got so fed-up with my laptop and Dell PC running at snail's pace last week (both are only 12-24 mths old), that I purchased a new computer out of irritation.
I found the best buys on ebuyer, dabs and laptopsdirect. A few companies are also running cash-back offers at the moment.
Check out the new Dell business laptop (I think it's called Vostro), and you don't get all the crappy unwanted software.
"And steer clear of Sony - difficult to upgrade and just full of proprietary components. Why pay for a name? It certainly doesn't imply quality".
I have had a sony laptop for the last year.....super fast, copes well with every programme I have tried on it and has never given me any problems. Also great sound for music......Overall, its a very good quality laptop
My only advice is don't buy a Fujitsu-Siemens - notorious for hard disk and motherboard failures, and they have a dodgy warranty policy too. I still reckon you can't beat a good laptop - I built one pretty cheaply about 8 years ago and it is the most reliable out of all the computers I use...but working on it on a long train journey is a lot of hassle I will admit.
Personally, I wouldn't go for a Dell laptop. Their desktops are fine, but I've had a number of laptops that just fall apart. Within a year, you were gluing on the keys that had dropped off - shocking build quality.
I think the best advice to keep it working well is to:
a) remove all the stupid software ("trials" etc) they put on it when you first get it, before you add anything yourself.
b) try not to download too many apps and software that end up running in the background and using valuable resources.
P.s. Check out Toshibas - normally quite reliable.
I have to admit that i was disappointed with my Dell laptop (slowed down very quickly after installing just a few applications). So much so in fact that I replaced it with a different make after a year. Laptops have a knack of going wrong more easily than desktops and, in my opinion, probably only good for 3 years service before problems start to occur. Trading off future specs and economy, a mid-market £500-ish laptop (£500 from one of the online discount vendors, not PC World or Currys prices!) should see you through 3 years. For your purposes, you won't notice the performance difference of more expensive laptops so no point paying the silly money knowing you'll be replacing it in 3 years time anyway.
Dells are ok if you get a more business type laptop such as lattitude and above.
I had a Toshiba and they are very very reliable. You can drop kick them and nothing!
Forget the Sony, you will be paying a wad of cash for the name Sony and the lovely design. HP sounds ok, 4GB RAM is more than enough to run any stats programs I know of, 2GB is normally plenty. Make sure you shop around to get the best price. Check out quidco.com to see which websites will give you the most cash back.
Increase warranty if possible and make sure it's properly insured (see laptop stolen thread for who not to insure it by), especially if you live in uni accommodation.
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