Laptop for College

Discussion in 'Technology' started by sashadog, 28 Aug 2018.

  1. sashadog

    sashadog New Member

    Hi folks as above any advice on where/what laptop as reasonably priced as possible to get my daughter for starting college..
    I went into PC World and got the impression i was being over sold by the assistant and as i dont know much about them i left it.
    Basically what he was saying was for college use I needed to spend 450E on the LT and then 130E on Office and Security bundle,,,
    I just need confirmation on this is what i am looking at spending Thanks,,
  2. SBarrett

    SBarrett Frequent Poster

    I'm sure that there's plenty of others will give you expert advice but this is my non technical opinion

    - get a computer with the latest intel processor. It will make a huge difference
    - get a decent amount of memory. Most stuff is stored in the cloud these days but she may need to download some programmes.
    - She probably doesn't need Office. I used Google Drive with Sheets and Docs. You can also download something like WPS for free which works just as well. There's plenty of alternatives to Office.
    - The laptop should have Windows Defender built in. You can buy Malwarebytes for €25 a year and it can be used on 3 computers. Again, plenty of alternatives out there. Spend that money on getting something with a really good processor

  3. Zenith63

    Zenith63 Frequent Poster

    My thoughts -

    • Absolutely no need to purchase anti-virus/anti-malware/security if the laptop has Windows 10 as it comes with Microsoft Defender built in. If the laptop comes with Symantec or any other security solution like that, I would remove them and re-enable Microsoft Defender
    • You can get away without Office as others have said, but honestly I think whatever line of work she goes into, familiarity with Office will be essential so why not learn now. You can buy a once off licence online for €149 (Office Home & Student) or you could go with an annual Office365 Personal licence (€69 per annum) that would include access to the latest versions of Office at all times. Much of a muchness either way I think. I doubt having the latest version is that critical, so the once off €149 is maybe for the best
    • €450 is worryingly cheap for a laptop in my view. However this is your call, if she's a careful person who would likely still have the laptop in 5 years time then buy a decent one and it will last. If you foresee it being left on a bus, dropped off a desk, then go for the €450 one. Cheaper laptops tend to be painfully slow after 3 years and you end up having to buy a new one, whereas something more like €800 will still be going strong after 5 years
    • Watch out for what is pushing the price up if you're paying more, you want things like a solid state hard disk (SSD), minimum 4Gb RAM, the best spec CPU you can afford (I'd aim for an Intel i5), the best motherboard chipset you can afford (this and SSD hard disks are the biggest determining factors in computer speed). Whereas things like going for much smaller/lighter sizes (Ultrabooks as they're often known) often cost a lot more but don't benefit speed/longevity
  4. Leo

    Leo Moderator

    Agree with Zenith63, no need to go beyond the Intel i5 series processors, i7 and beyond are aimed at high performance / gaming machines, and prices accordingly. The H series (first letter after the generation/ series number, e.g. i7 8550H) processors offer better graphics performance, but again, unlikely to be required for a general purpose college machine. The U series have lower power consumption.

    The i3 series would likely do the job if budget is a concern as you're unlikely to get anything decent with an i5 series for under €600 before shelling out for Office.
  5. mathepac

    mathepac Frequent Poster

    Last edited: 28 Aug 2018
    What is it your daughter wants the laptop to do? Business, medicine, media studies, pure maths, engineering?

    The best way to load up on hardware, generic office-type apps AND any course-specific software is to buy through the college/university's student body/staff discount schemes.

    The university sys-admins will have some input to configs and software bundles so talk to the faculty people first.
    Last edited: 28 Aug 2018
  6. gravitygirl

    gravitygirl Frequent Poster

    Some colleges also have a licence whereby students can download Office for free so I would leave that until they start anyway to suss out the options available through the college
    newtothis likes this.
  7. newtothis

    newtothis Frequent Poster

    Definitely agree. Seek advice from the college. Most if not all have discounts available through HEANet or through local schemes. Office is available for free from some colleges.
  8. sashadog

    sashadog New Member

    Thanks for all the above info Folks,,,

    Think it is probably a good idea to wait and see when she starts her course what way to go,,through the college and see what they suggest and can offer,,,

    Thanks again,,
  9. HollowKnight

    HollowKnight Frequent Poster

    I'd echo some suggestions to try go with intel i5 processor, 8gb ram.

    On Office, I recently bought and it's so much cheaper than buying it direct from microsoft.

    Also, consider buying the laptop in a shop in Northern Ireland, it generally works out about 80-100 euro cheaper.
  10. dub_nerd

    dub_nerd Frequent Poster

    There is a vast range of different performance and software requirements that a student could have, from running complex simulations to mathematical typesetting to casual note taking. Don't assume MS Office is the last word in writing -- it's relatively poor for complex maths. It's mad to be talking about gigs of memory and multicore processors and particular packages before you figure all this out. It could be that a netbook or even a phone or tablet with optional keyboard could suffice. You really need to know what it's going to be used for.

    Also you need to have an eye to durability. If a laptop is going to be carried everywhere it is more prone to accidental damage. The more powerful it is the heavier it is likely to be and the more damage prone, not to mention more tiring. I was buying laptops for someone who broke one on average at least once a year. You will quickly regret not buying the cheapest machine that does the job required.
  11. commentquery

    commentquery Registered User

    Zenith63 above says to rely on W Defender. I have heard this before. However i have been badly hit by virus and attacks and I have WD only. Dell Support say that i should install Antivirus (such as McAfee). But 2 questions here.

    Q1. AV on Amazon (UK) is considerably less expensive that Supplier sites - about 25%. But it will not send to Ireland. (I want the email version as it will be quick and so Parcel Motel is not an option to beat the post restriction. Any advice ?

    Q2. Are some AV country specific (must be purchased for use in specific country / region) ?
  12. Zenith63

    Zenith63 Frequent Poster

    I cannot answer either query sorry, but honestly you are 100% wasting your money on 3rd party AV. Microsoft are ploughing vast sums of money into their anti-malware solutions, particularly to protect and re-assure large enterprise as they move to Office365, you get all the benefit of this for free when you use Defender.

    Also keep in mind Microsoft make your operating system, so if anybody knows how it is intended to work and how best to protect it, it is not McAfee/Symantec or any other 3rd party who have access to a subset of how the OS works.

    You’ll also generally notice these 3rd party AV solutions slow your machine down and get in your way.

    Finally please keep in-mind Dell have a very tight relationship with Intel/McAfee, it is 100% in their interest to persuade you to buy from their partners, they are not incentivised to give you impartial advice.

    Your time would be better spent trying to figure out which behaviours on your computer are causing you to get viruses, which are extremely rare these days. You could consider doing more risky behaviour in an Incognito browser window for example. Or if you want to take it a step further, Windows 10 allows you run an Ubuntu Linux virtual machine right in Windows, you could start one of those up and do the more risky browsing in there, it will have no way of infecting your Windows install then.

    My 2 cents as a long-time IT security and infrastructure specialist, mileage may vary :).
    arbitron and Cervelo like this.
  13. AlbacoreA

    AlbacoreA Frequent Poster

    Make a note of the spec you get.

    Sometimes Colleges ask to take the students laptops in, to install the colleges software on them.

    I can't be sure, but I know of one person who's laptop had hardware changed (memory removed) and there's a strong possibility it happened while the college had it.
  14. Leo

    Leo Moderator

    Is this recently? The 2018 version of Windows Defender is a vast improvement over previous versions and scores well versus the alternatives in lab tests. So as Zenith63 says, don't waste your money on McAfee.

    If you are still picking up malware with the latest Windows Defender, you need to be more suspicious of unsolicited emails and dubious websites (including those at the end of sponsored links with catchy headlines), and don't ignore any warnings Defender throws up.