QOTD: What's the Best Computer for a Student?

Apple computers have always been a bit of a hit in the education sector, but according to a study by consumer electronics site Retrevo, the majority of college-bound students are not considering a Mac this year, instead opting for something less pricey.

"While Apple has done well historically in the education market, 2009 marks the dawn of the netbook," says Vipin Jain, Retrevo CEO. "Students told us they wanted longer battery life, smaller size, and a lighter laptop. 58% of them plan on spending less than $750.00. Only 18% have a budget over $1,000.00. Netbooks are affordable; some costing only $170.00. In contrast, Apple laptops start at $949.00. At a time when many people are experiencing economic hardship, having a new Apple laptop isn’t a necessity."

With that 17-inch laptop that was on sale at Wal-Mart for under $350, there does seem to be a lot of computer that a student can get if he or she shops around and catches the good deals.

For those of you buying for back to school either for yourself or someone else, what sort of computer (laptop or desktop) would you recommend?

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  • abswindows7
    I'd get an i7 975 with 24 gig of ddr3 2000mhz, a 1200 watts power supply with 2 x gtx 295 in SLI with two 128 g SSD in raid 0. Also four 24 inch full hd lcd's :)

    I would of course cool that beast with liquid hydrogen :)

    That's a school dedicated computer ( If you plan not going to your classes :) )
  • thiswillkillthat
    This is an idiotic question.

    The laptop that will fit the necessities of a student is dependent on the use and the values of the aforementioned student.

    The end.
  • jhansonxi
    abswindows7That's a school dedicated computer ( If you plan not going to your classes )
    Considering how many "career" college students I've met, your recommendation makes sense in a scary sort of way. :D
  • Other Comments
  • cadder
    A mainstream 15" laptop would do well for most students. They don't need a lot of computing power or fancy features, and 15" machines are the cheapest thing beyond netbooks.

    However as my daughter pointed out, sometimes they don't have room on the desktop in some lecture halls for a 15" machine, so if a student is taking the machine to class then maybe a 13" would be better.

    If a student really knows that they won't be running anything but light office apps, maybe a netbook is all they need.
  • joshery420
    Assuming you're not trying to game heavily, I love my Dell Studio 15. I got the last generation 1535 series, and they're currently 1537's, but overall it's the same system really. The backlit keyboard isn't something I thought I'd love near as much as I do. It's fantastic for late night work!!
  • mlcloud
    If it was a computer "solely" for the tasks of a student, then anything with a good amount of RAM and a decent CPU would be fine. I'd hate to go anything less than a 2.0ghz duo-core though, because modern OSes tax system resources like no other, and it is very frustrating for the average student if their computer starts to lag, especially once they get a few bloatware and unnecessary start-ups installed onto their laptops. Try doing your homework on a pentium 3... all you need is internet and openoffice? Good luck, even with that...

    2.00ghz duo core
    3gb RAM
    250gb HD
    Up to 4.6hrs of battery life

    On the other hand, if they had needs like gaming, everything becomes insanely complicated... balancing graphic power and battery life and screen size and SSD vs HD and....