General Question

needleinthehay's avatar

Should I buy a laptop for college or bring my desktop?

Asked by needleinthehay (190points) March 13th, 2008

my computer isn’t in bad shape at all, but I’m wondering if I should bring that along or just buy (with help from graduation money) a new high end laptop. i tend to game a bit, so i’d end up buying a pretty decent one. though the machine i currently game on isn’t too out of date either.

that aside, i think a laptop would work out nicely as i could obviously bring it everywhere. though i’m not the kind of guy that likes to be seen at the local starbucks.

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20 Answers

squirbel's avatar

Laptop. But take the desktop too.

jrpowell's avatar

Why not hold off and see if you need one? You might need one. You might not. If you have the money I would just wait it out.

squirbel's avatar

And you never know what you’ll be like at college… people change ^.~

needleinthehay's avatar

I guess the deciding factor would be if my professors would allow me to bring a laptop into class to take notes with, I’ve heard that quite a few are against it, for whatever reason.

jrpowell's avatar

Some object.. It was never a big deal. That was about four years ago. If you keep the volume off and don’t bang on the keyboard you will be fine. But people will think that you are a nerd.

edit :: And I type really slow so I never used my iBook during class. My insight (or lack of) comes from observing others.

Les's avatar

I would ask you if you plan on taking the computer home with you when you go home for breaks, etc. I was a resident assistant for two years in the residence halls at Northern Illinois University, and the thing that made me laugh was kids lugging their computers, keyboards and monitors all the way downstairs, and then attempting to jam them in their cars. I don’t know if you are going to be living in a dorm, but I wouldn’t advise leaving anything really valuable in you room for the length of a break. I had a laptop, and I loved it. If I wanted to bring it to class, I could, and if I was just sick of sitting in my room, I could take it anywhere on campus to get a change of scenery. Having said this, I knew quite a few gamers, and they all seemed to prefer desktops. I just wanted to add one more insight to your decision making process.

needleinthehay's avatar

People would think I’m a nerd? Really? I thought it was almost commonplace to bring a laptop to classes, if allowed. But yeah, mobility would be an issue, I’d hate to be in my dorm 24/7 whilst studying and the like. It looks like I may be getting a laptop, then. thanks for the perspective, Les.

squirbel's avatar

I think it depends on place and culture. It was normal at my school, not nerdy. Heh… Not having meant you were poor :/

jrpowell's avatar

And like I said. I was in school a few years back. Things might have changed. But laptop usage was about 1 in 100. I was a social science major. You would probably be cool in a engineering class. It might be nerdy in History of the Middle East.

And I went to school in the ghetto. Everyone was poor.

Perchik's avatar

At least one person in each of my class brings a laptop. With that said, at least half of those people are screwing around on the internet (wifi) instead of focusing on the class. A lot of professors notice that and are starting to get frustrated with laptops in class.

row4food's avatar

i would bring your desktop for gaming and fun, and get a laptop for work and portability.

i started out with a desktop and got a laptop in my senior year. i wish i had gotten it sooner. although, i went to school for graphic design and i needed a computer to do most of my work. i really enjoyed having my own personalized setup to carry around with me. and i didn’t have to worry about transferring files from one machine to another, or if i had files on the lab computers and realized i needed them when i got home.

also i was on team where we travelled and had to miss the occassional classes. i wouldnt have been able to keep up with the work if i didnt have a laptop. so if you decide to go home for the weekend, you can bring your work with you.

@Perchik is right, a lot of kids who bring their laptops to class are chatting with friends and surfing around. very disrespectful to the professor and other students around you. if i was in a lecture class i always used good old pen and paper (and i sat second row, so there wasnt much i could get away with :-p )

i don’t think people will think you are a nerd if you bring it to class.

sarajay8008's avatar

laptop. Hands down.

cwilbur's avatar

How tight is money? The money you spend on a laptop might be better banked until you see clearly that you need a laptop, or that you don’t need a laptop.

In other words, delaying this decision until you’re there and on the ground won’t hurt you, and you’ll have more information then than you do now, so why not wait?

Rachelskirts's avatar

I bring my desktop to college every year, which I use for gaming, design work, internet browsing, etc. I am, however, considering buying a small laptop (like the Asus Eee PC) for easier note-taking in class. I’d say roughly 30% of my classmates use laptops in class, but I think a lot of this has to do with the added weight of carrying one around. That’s why I’m looking at a cheaper, more portable laptop with only the features I need (word-processing, light internet browsing, etc.). I’ll still keep my desktop around for my other needs.

gooch's avatar

Get a laptop. It is difficult to bring your PC to the library for research and class for note taking

hsrsmith's avatar

GET A LAPTOP! You will need it for class notes and stuff – plus it’s so much easier and nicer to carry around! Plus you can do your homework in Starbucks or outside in the park instead of being stuck in your dorm room. Plus your roommate will kill you for bringing a huge laptop into the dorm – you don’t have that much space. DO NOT bring the desktop. All campuses have computer labs that you can use if you need to use a desktop.

jpmcgrew's avatar

Laptops are great for school. Lots of people are taking them into the classroom and using note-taking software like NoteScribe. Desktops are difficult to haul around these days, and I really wish I would have had one in college. Unfortunately, back when I started in 2000, they were still horribly expensive! I invested a lot of trouble in hauling the thing around and having it take up desk space.

Definitely go with the laptop.


jnglejo's avatar

Why not get a tablet pc? That way you can write all your notes digitally. I did so a year ago an it was the best decision I’ve made in a long time. It saves on paper too!!
You can have all your notes in one place and can search them easily. Having a tablet definitely makes you more organised. You just have to remember to back your work up on a regular basis.

cmurphyart's avatar

An inexpensive laptop by Asus and a Pulse pen for taking notes. I fell in love with the pulse at BB last night.

HungryGuy's avatar

I’d suggest that you bring the desktop, and wait on the laptop to see if you really need one or not. I’d also advise against bringing a laptop to class to take notes. You’ll be fussing with the laptop constantly and not pay attention to the lecture.

IMO, you’re better taking a digital voice recorder to class and just let it record the lecture while you pay attention. Then play it back later to get any details you may have missed and take any notes THEN. More important than notes, IMO, is to make a note of any QUESTIONS you have, and ask them at the next class, or go ask the professor after class—they usually set aside a few hours of office time for students to come with questions.

And going to the prof after class with questions is a good easy way to boost your GPA by a few fractional points, but you didn’t hear that from me :-p

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