Getting a Laptop for College to go with my Desktop

Alright, so i've been endlessly pricing and comparing and re-pricing and spec-ing laptops from every manufacturer an haven't been able to come to a consensus on what i want to take to college with me. I've got up to $2k in scholarship money to spend before i start dipping out of pocket.

I'm not quite in the same position as most college-bound students though: I've got an incredibly fast desktop computer already that'll be sitting in my dorm room.

After a lot of thought and time, i figured today that a 13" with mid-level specs will suit me just fine and i've become fixated on the Vaio Z line. The configuration i found was $1933 before warranty (i was thinking of going SquareTrade). I'm drooling, love the look the feel etc. Figured i didn't need the PMD since i have my desktop but went with the 3612QM and stayed 128gb SSD since my desktop one holds all my essential files and some larger games.

My real question is, do i eve need something this powerful or will i be able to do just fine with much less? I really like the Z line, but if i could even get away with the slower processor, that would put me at/very close to $2k after warranty. I'll be going into aerospace engineering, so i'll be running CAD and other design programs, but i'm not sure how intensive these actually are.

I need some help i guess! hope i didn't leave anything out

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  1. Considering all the equipment you'll have, before going SquareTrade extended warranty I'd check into some personal property insurance. Covers all your electronic gear - not just 1 item.
  2. Had a quick talk with my dad about insurance. He called his agent up and they're gonna modify his policy slightly to cover theft and whatnot in my dorm as well as add laptop damage coverage for only $60 a year, bumping my insurance down to $180 total instead of $350 and netting me insurance for the rest of my stuff free to me.

    Thanks WR2! Wouldn't have even thought of that otherwise.
  3. Excellent. That's a good value and smart move.

    Getting back to the laptop - I know the Z is very 'aero-spacey' but its price is more like a shuttle launch. Wayyyy more than it needs to be to get the job done.

    Got a link to your model/configuration?
  4. Not sure how to link t a config page on Sony's site, but here's the spec sheet lifted right off the sidebar

    -3rd gen Intel® Core™ i7-3612QM quad-core processor (2.10GHz / 3.10GHz with Turbo Boost)
    -Genuine Windows® 7 Professional 64-bit
    -13.1" LED backlit Full HD display (1920 x 1080)
    -Intel® HD Graphics 4000 with Intel® Wireless Display technology
    -No Power Media Dock™
    -128GB (64GB x2) solid state drive with RAID 0
    -8GB (4GB x2 fixed onboard) DDR3-1600Mhz
    -Internal (4000mAh) + sheet (4400mAh) lithium polymer batteries

    Only upgrades i stuck on were the quad core i7, Win 7 Pro and the sheet battery. I forewent the Power Media Dock because the integrated graphics and Blu-Ray drive were redundant with my desktop.
  5. bump
  6. It's all going to come down to how much you want to spend.

    Your 'performance & technical requirements' can be satisfied with most quality $700~$900 notebooks.

    The extra amount you spend is going toward the 'luxury' end of the spectrum when you're talking about the Z.
  7. That's where I'm somewhat out of touch with laptop specs. Would the absolute base Z last me several years (3-5) without any major slowdowns from just general changes in software etc, or would the upgraded processor help with that

    I'm used to picking parts based on best performance, not on what will do fine for mostly basic tasks for the next few years.
  8. Yawny said:
    Would the absolute base Z (fill in the name of any similar spec'd notebook) last me several years (3-5) without any major slowdowns from just general changes in software etc, or would the upgraded processor help with that
    My thinking is yes, it would. But paying $1600 for the base Z when you get roughly equivalent performance out of a $800 notebook is something I'm having trouble understanding.

    Now, for a corporate exec, it makes a lot of sense. For a student? ehhhhhhhh...... not so much.
  9. Alright. So just as a baseline eithout doing any real gaming, will I notice a performance difference in intensive non-gaming applications between say the stock Z and the one spec'd with the i7?

    If not, I can probably get away with a T series. The one big thing I like about the Z though, well two things, is the overall feel, the slice battery life as I often forget to charge my things, and the ability to run at full HD on a 13" laptop (I'm somewhat of a resolution whore)
  10. Yawny said:
    the slice battery life as I often forget to charge my things
    Choosing a hardware solution to a wetware problem?
  11. WR2 said:
    Choosing a hardware solution to a wetware problem?

    Convenience can be a powerful motivator. :lol:

    It's not make or break, but it's a nice option.
  12. I like the idea of a Lenovo ThinkPad T430s a lot better.
    Slice battery there can get you 30 hours and the 1600x900 resolution option isn't shabby at just $50 for the upgrade.
  13. theyawny said:
    Convenience can be a powerful motivator.
    Experiance is an even better teacher.
    Show up a few times with a dead battery and you'll figure something out.
  14. Priced out the T430s. It' roughly $1830 at the same specs as the $1900 Z series. Only difference is the display and a very slightly slower processor. It's got a disc drive too, but that isn't really a plus since i won't be using it.
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