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PC buying advice(13 posts)

PC buying adviceraptorUW
Jul 11, 2003 11:21 AM
are extended warranties worth purchasing?

I will soon be purchasing a new laptop and was curious to know what the opinions are regarding extended warranties offered by many companies. for roughly $100/year, they will cover spills, drops, etc along with standard defect warranty.

I know that most people look at extended warranties for tv/stereo/etc as poor use of money, but i'm not sure what people have to say about something so mobile as a laptop.

also..if anyone wants to offer advice as to brand/specification appropriate to my needs, i'll take it. i'll be a 1st year law student in the fall, so my usage will be mostly in email, internet and ms office type stuff. i'm looking for a laptop mainly b/c i thought it would be nice to utilize my school's wireless network as well as to be able to take work with me when traveling between home/school/etc.

thanks,
scott
Avoid laptops if possible.czardonic
Jul 11, 2003 11:32 AM
In my experience, they are a lousy investment.

I bought an IMB thinkpad in 1998. It has been solid ever since and has never required repair or replacement. However, it is now largely obsolete, and upgrades are not practical. It also cost significantly more than a desktop, and I have made little use of its portability.

So, I would advise you to seriously consider the likelihood that you really need a laptop, especially if transferring your work on removable media (like a Zip disk) is an option.

As far as brands, my IBM has been very solid. My company used to buy IBM, but now swears by the quality and price of Dell.
LOL!No_sprint
Jul 11, 2003 11:52 AM
Good point. (nm)czardonic
Jul 11, 2003 12:29 PM
Dell makes a great PC. 2nd on avoiding laptops if possibleKristin
Jul 11, 2003 1:33 PM
If you NEED a computer that will travel, then you must get a laptop. But their cost is 25% more than a comparable desktop unit and they have lots of moving parts. Moving parts means more breakage. They cost more to fix since all the parts are specialty. This also means if something breaks 2 years from now, you won't find a replacement part. And laptops can not be upgraded--so consider it disposable.

(Then again, if you are not an A+ tech, then you'll probably dispose of any computer after 10 years. So my point is moot.)

Finally, avoid anything with a trackpoint mouse (eraser head). They've been buggy since day one.

Recommended laptops:
Dell Lattitude C600 series
IBM Thinkpad (avoid the thin notebooks)

Recommended desktops:
IBM, Gateway, or Dell GX series

Avoid:
NEC, Sony, and Compaq
Laptops only way to go.No_sprint
Jul 11, 2003 12:02 PM
Especially if you're a student. I work in a University and the wireless network is absolutely awesome. You're going to be in study groups, other's places, your place, etc. and you're connected all the time. No cards to put in, phone plugs to find, etc. I wouldn't recommend using it in every class for feverishly taking word for word notes though. The Socratic method in Law School is optimized by participation, especially when there are note outlines available ALL over the place for every law school class. Believe me, been there.

Dell is great because of their flexible payment plans if you're on a budget. Also, their prices can hardly be beat.

Next, go to your school's computer store, hopefully they have one. If you're unfamiliar with the "educational use" discount. Ask! It's really incredible what I get my software and hardware for. If they don't have one, go to another University's computer store.

The laptop is the only way to go. I use PCs and Macs and must say, for ease of us, connectibility to all sorts of stuff, going wireless, the Mac is superior. If you want, get another keyboard for home use. Piece of cake.

My PC is damn huge and has a billion wires all over the place because I don't have a perfect computer desk. The monitor is gargantuan. It as a whole is just ridiculously horrible and just about out the window. Hooking up some SCSI periphery is impossible because they don't make those huge cable that long.
Gargantuan monitor? Two words: Flat Screen.czardonic
Jul 11, 2003 12:26 PM
SCSI Periphery!? Three more words: Universal Serial Bus.

Great note taking advice though!

I still say that if you can avoid a laptop, you'll save yourself a lot of hassle and worry about theft, damage and upgrades. But maybe they are no longer avoidable.
That means upgrading every six months.No_sprint
Jul 11, 2003 12:38 PM
My work outfits me with everything I need. I would never take advantage of them so much to ask that the entire units, scanners, displays, everything be bought new every 6 months. Especially when they've got me outfitted with two PCs and a notebook already that are perfectly functional and able and were terribly expensive as buying all things state of the art are.

I don't know of any flat screen as large as my main Sony monitor. Over 23 inches. There is the 32" inch plasma for $5000

Regardless, the notebook, especially for a student is the only way to go. The wireless network is absolutely awesome.
Huh? What does?czardonic
Jul 11, 2003 12:44 PM
If you are using SCSI peripherals, you are long overdue for an upgrade, my friend.

I don't think a student requires a 23" monitor, and they aren't going to get one on a laptop anyway.

As I said, maybe laptops are the only way to go. My only suggestion was to examine the students likely needs, weigh the costs and benefits, and avoid laptops if possible because they are more fragile, more prone to theft and harder to upgrade.
Huh? What does?raptorUW
Jul 11, 2003 1:45 PM
thanks for the advice, everyone.

I realize that a laptop is more fragile - thats why i thought that in this case, the extended warranty might be worth the money. it seems like the one electronic device that might be worth extending a warranty on.

the cost window seems to be closing and laptops seem to have caught up with desktops in regard to performance (in the apps i'll be using, i'm not sure i'd notice a difference)....my conundrum seems to be deciding whether the laptops mobility outweighs the concerns surrounding its durability.

as far as upgrades go, i'll typically keep a comp for 3-4 years then just buy a new one. so, basically, i'll just buy one that can handle my needs, needs that i don't expect to change dramatically in the next few years.

oh, No_Sprint - thanks for the note taking advice...i wasn't ever planning on using it in class...i don't think i can type that fast nor can i diagram stuff as well if need be.
I used a laptop in law school.Matno
Jul 12, 2003 3:47 AM
in fact, we were the first class that was required to have them at my school. I loved using it for note taking. SOOO much faster than writing by hand. You can always keep a pad handy if you need to diagram something (which isn't all that often in law school). I did get the fastest computer available at the time (1998), which wasn't cheap, but it still works fine. (Although now I mostly use it as a dvd player for my daughter on long car trips...) The boot up is about the only thing that I notice as slow. Everything else I use it for works just fine. Newer laptops are such a good deal that I wouldn't worry too much about the cost, upgradeability, etc. You can get a great laptop from Dell for $700! Amazing.

I do highly recommend Dell. Stay away from Gateway at all costs. IBM's are okay if you get a deal through your school, otherwise, they're way overpriced.
Still got Lastworditus I see. nmSintesi
Jul 12, 2003 11:13 AM
can't go wrong with dell(nm)rufus
Jul 11, 2003 5:17 PM