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Going to College: (uber desktop + crappy laptop) or (great laptop)?

Last response: in Video Games
April 17, 2009 1:41:54 AM

I'm going to college and I was wondering if anyone could help me with a very important decision. I am looking for Very High gaming potential, some future-proofness, and college enviorment. Here are my choices:

Choice #1 (uber desktop, $1650 crappy laptop, ~$300-$350)

CASE: Silverstone Raven RV01 (big, heavy, full-tower, looks very cool though)
PSU: 800w
MOBO: Asus P6t X58
CPU: Intel Core i7 920
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master V8
RAM: 6GB DDR3 1333MHz
GPU: Nvidia GTX 295
HDD: 500GB HDD 7200rpm 16MB cache (lol, yea I know)
Random keyboard, mouse, and 22x CD drive.

Crappy laptop


Choice #2 (great laptop, ~$2000)

Sager 5797 (17" screen, 8 lbs.)
CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo P9600 (2x2.66GHz 6mb L2 cache)
GPU: Nvidia GTX 280m (comparable to desktop 9800 GTX)
HDD: 320GB 7200rpm 16MB cache

April 17, 2009 3:07:46 AM

I personally took the desktop + crappy laptop approach. I could have gotten a good laptop but I spend too much cash on my PC and didn't want it to go to waste, so I just used the laptop for typing notes, a small drawing tablet makes taking down diagrams much easier, too. Or a webcam, I guess. Every night the folder I kept my college work in was synced with a similar folder on my desktop and any work I had to do was done on the desktop.
April 17, 2009 3:23:05 AM

Choice 1. Laptops are easy to loose/get stolen, and who wants to loose a $2000 laptop.

I personally think gaming sucks on laptops, but thats my opinoin.
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April 17, 2009 3:24:22 AM

And remember, a PC is far easier to upgrade than a laptop ;) 
April 17, 2009 5:36:44 AM

I chose option 1 as well. I balanced it out a bit more and spent about 1200 on my desktop and 600 on my laptop (you're gonna want something light to lug around to classes, and if you still want gaming to be a slight possibility I'd recommend the HP tablets - you can get them pretty cheap and they have a pretty decent video card)
April 17, 2009 9:57:47 AM

My 2 pennies worth... Option 1 all the way! If youre gaming then (luggable 8lb) laptops are ok, but not great.
April 17, 2009 11:36:25 AM

pc+ crap laptop
April 17, 2009 1:36:45 PM

thanks everyone! additionally I forgot to mention:

-I forgot to mention there is a high chance I will be majoring in animation/art in college, so will this change the decesion?

p.s. Carnegie Mellon University or University of Southern California?
April 17, 2009 1:40:06 PM

Shouldn't do, since most of what you'll be doing can be done on the university's systems, or on a big beefy desktop wherever you're staying.

Also, I have no idea about either of those Us, but Carnegie Mellon sounds familiar for some reason...

Edit: Oh! That's where Randy Pausch lectured... that guy was awesome.
April 17, 2009 2:10:37 PM

I was in ur situation 2 years ago!!!

heres wat i did i have a q6600 8800 ultra (amazing for its day)

+ dual core 2 gig ram intergrated graphics laptop


at uni they have things like LAN parties ect and my laptop could play some of the games that well


i upgraded my laptop to a mid range laptop nothing crazy it cost £540 and has

2ghz core 2
4gb ram
8600 GS with 1 gb turbo cache

runs games like doom 3, supreme commander, CSS

so get an uber gaming rig and a laptop with a good enough spec to play some games
April 17, 2009 3:53:19 PM

It wont change my decision, in fact it will firm it up as an uber desktop will generally be a better specification per buck than a laptop... and animation and art generally needs POWER!!
April 17, 2009 10:58:47 PM

My laptops usually start showing lots of wear after a couple of years. My wife has had even worse luck. She goes through power supplies at least once a year, she has had to have a screen replaced, and one time her GPU same un-soldered from the mobo somehow. Keys fall off, screens get all floppy and loose (thats what she said), plastic cracks... Anyway, already mentioned above, the desktop can be upgraded to refresh it's status in the ever so quickly changing tech world. Laptops are pretty much stuck as is and get outdated fast.

I would go for a cheaper laptop and a PC with big cajones and mesmerizing flashing lights. The more flashing lights the more obvious it is that you have a totally sweet uber rig..duh.

I usually just use my laptop for the purpose of being able to write and have net access where ever. What else would you do with your laptop other than write, surf, or watch movies in class? No matter how $$$ your laptop is, you will still put it through a lot of wear, you will drop it, spill beer on it...ect...ect..and it will break just as quickly as a cheaper one so unless it is your main computer, I wouldn't put too much into it.

Plus, if you get an uber laptop then it weighs 8 bazillion lbs and you have to lug it around and look really cool when you pull out your laptop that is half the size of a desktop.
April 18, 2009 9:33:31 AM

Decent PC and a netbook for taking notes on lectures...

IMO gaming is never going to be good on a laptop unless you hook up a proper mouse, keyboard and monitor - might as well by a pc, and doing graphics / art on a trackpad / laptop screen will be useless as well
, so might as well get a very decent main pc and a cheap reliable netbook for work.

personally i didnt have to make the choice! i got a thinkpad x60s and my home rig

April 27, 2009 8:22:35 PM

Considering all laptops are pretty much crap for very high gaming potential... 1.

Don't get a random kb, get one that looks really uber because many women will look at the kb as a sign of the computer's overall effectiveness. Yeah I know, but they also apparently look at your shoes first to determine what kind of guy you are. So, don't neglect your shoes either. :) 
May 3, 2009 4:25:35 PM

Survey Says!!! Door number 1 = No Brainer
May 3, 2009 5:53:02 PM

I have just recently been confronted with that exact same dilemma and I can personally say that #1 choice all the way. I had a HP Tablet as mentioned by someone in this thread earlier and it was a great laptop, but it just wasn't strong enough. I could do my works well enough but I would consistently get held back by the laptop limitation.

So right now, I'm building my first PC tomorrow (sold that laptop and used the money to order the parts) with 3 GHz quad-core, 8 GB RAM, 1 GB GPU, and more so I already know for sure that this rig will be blazing fast compared to the laptop and it will save me money by allowing me to upgrade parts at times rather than having to buy a whole new laptop if I wanted to upgrade to something stronger at times.

also, I bought a netbook, eeePC 900A and it is extremely useful already, the increased portability over the old laptop makes it soo much more useful for basic office program and wireless internet access (also for the comparative huge increase in battery life).

Soo, my personal experience support #1 choice all the way!
November 20, 2009 11:58:45 AM

My friend have the same - Silverstone Raven RV01. I like it much!
November 20, 2009 4:03:04 PM

Choice # 1 hands down.....

You should be able to get by with a 10" netbook.....

do you have a monitor for the desktop?
November 20, 2009 5:49:11 PM

Although I'm pretty sure this thread is long since passed it's due-date, I will still recommend getting a high end desktop and a craptop if you really feel you need one.

I bought an IBM thinkpad for the same reasons when I first went to college--then quickly realized the extra effort of bringing it to classes and using it was a waste...and the fact that I installed Nintendo Emulators and often was caught playing Mike Tyson's Punchout rather than doing anything productive did not help.

Sold the laptop for a few hundred bucks, and upgraded the PC more.

Desktop PC all the way.
November 20, 2009 5:55:15 PM

lol, I didnt even realize that^^^ lol...
November 21, 2009 2:31:57 AM

Plus one more for the destop / crappy laptop option.

Specifically, if I were you and had $2,000 to spend on two computers... I would put $1300 - $1500 into the desktop and $500 - $700 into the laptop. Remember, as others have said, it is hard to upgrade a laptop, but a desktop... that's easy.

Nevertheless... If I were you and had $2,000 to spend on whatever I wanted... I would buy the uber computer and save the rest of the money. When I was in college (I graduated two years ago), a laptop in the classroom was generally a distraction. Please see dirtdiver's post for more information.
November 22, 2009 5:41:57 AM

Definitely Choice #1. I'm a senior in college now...I got a lousy laptop summer before freshman year, but I ended up leaving it in my dorm all the it was a desktop replacement, which left me with no gaming and annoyingly slow laptop for 3 years.

If you want something to bring to class, get a netbook since it's much more convenient IMO, but obviously up to you since it's more about the convenience of dragging with your everywhere rather than computing power. Like others have said, I see people bring their laptops to class and they end up chatting on IM and surfing facebook not paying attention anyways.

Besides even if you commute or have time to kill between classes, most big universities should have plenty of computer labs for you to go to and even print stuff for free (mine at least)...Core2Quad desktops not too shabby.

Right now, I'm commuting this year and I have zero need to bring a laptop to any classes. Just built a new i5 system for my primary PC and I don't even turn on my laptop anymore.

EDIT: Haha, realized this was from 7 months ago just now :) 
November 23, 2009 10:54:33 AM

^ lol, I did too. Wasn't going to post, but I wanted to back OvrClkr up.
November 23, 2009 2:00:30 PM

Get a nice desktop and buy a small ~$300 netbook for school. I can tell you from personal experience that you won't want to drag a heavy 17" laptop to school every day just to take notes. You might make it a semester that way before you say "screw it" and either buy a smaller laptop or just switch back to pen and paper. You don't need your school laptop to do anything more than run Microsoft Office and a web browser anyway. I picked up a 10" MSI Wind netbook for my last year of college and for some reason my back stopped hurting that year. Go figure, right?
November 25, 2009 1:06:53 PM

Option 1 all the way. Laptops are fun to have and it does pay having a gaming rig in long boring classes, but if you want to do serious gaming, you cant beat a desktop for the money. As long as your school has free wifi on campus, the internet should keep you busy during classes though. On the comp itself, I'd personally go with 2xRadeon 5880s though (DirectX11) IMO, but that's just personal preference.

As a side note... go against Spinacheater's advice and get a simple, performance case. Something like the Cooler Master RC - 960 should do fine (or if you have the budget, something a little better). It does the job and it won't scare off every chick that goes into your room. Do this especially if you are living in a dorm. You don't want to be the guy with the huge, flashing nerd box.

*EDIT* I hate you MatG. People who rez dead advice threads should be banned.