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# 2012-13 Laptop Discussion

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Current Student
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25 Jul 2012, 20:51
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2012-13 Laptop and Software Discussion

The laptop is the single most important tool that you will have while in business school. It will be your best friend or your worst enemy. This is a thread for everyone to discuss the best laptops, notebooks, netbooks, tablets, apps, and accessories for their MBA electronic needs!

Example:

Hardware configuration:
- Model: netbook, notebook, tablet, other
- Screen size: 10" - 17"
- Hard disk space: SSD or HDD?
- Ram: 4-16 GB
- etc...

Accesories
- External hd/pendrive
- Big monitor/s at home
- etc...

Online Applications/Programs
- Office 2010
- Dropbox account
- etc...

Apps
- Note taking apps
- Angry Birds (haha)
- etc...

Consider Making Suggestions Such as:
1. Weight/size/screen size
2. Battery life (longer with smaller screen, assuming the same battery capacity)
3. Fits better on airplanes (may not be a factor for you)
4. I use a dual 24" monitor setup at work/home, so I am satisfying my need for large screens.

Previous discussions:

2011 Laptop Discussion:
laptop-suggestion-113516.html

2010 Laptop Discussion:
2010-laptop-discussion-91450.html
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02 May 2013, 08:41
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Expert's post
As someone who buys a laptop every 3 months (for our company) here is what I recommend:

1. Wait till June if you can for Intel's Haswell chipset. You will get double the battery life from the same PC or get ultrabooks that are much lighter.
2. Unless you plan to do heavy graphics work, Integrated graphics upward of HD4000 are more than enough. You dont need a separate graphic chip. I use photoshop and integrated graphics perform quite well.
3. SSD is the single most important upgrade that I would consider. Its such a performance boost that a second generation core i7 with SSD will perform much better than a 3rd gen core i7 with top of the line specs. Just as an example - my outlook (that has 4 email accounts, 2GB database) takes 45 seconds to sync on my desktop (regular HDD) and <5 seconds on my laptop (SSD). Both have quad core processors.
4. Look for quality of screen. You will be looking at this thing for 6+ hours/day.

http://www.pcworld.com/article/2037038/ ... boost.html

If you are somewhat of a techie (or a hands on guy, you dont need to be a techie), get a regular PC and swap the HDD. Its much cheaper. Get 256 GB minimum.

For those in India, planning to join a B-school in US - Buy laptops in US. They are much cheaper and you will get a warranty as well. Finally, look out on slickdeals for a good deal. Sometimes you can save as much as \$400 over Best Buy.

-Rajat
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23 Aug 2012, 14:22
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goblue04 wrote:
Anyone have any experience with the Thinkpad X230 or T430s?

I think im set on the Lenovo. I like the ease of upgrades (plan to upgrade to 8gb ram and SSD post purchase) and the reliability and build quality im just not sure if I can work on a 12.5" screen when away from home (assuming a dock setup with monitors at home).

Any suggestions would be apprecaited.

For the past two years I've been using a Thinkpad X201 (12.5" size, like the one you're considering) and it's great. The keyboard is full-size and comfortable to type on. The size of the trackpad might be something you want to think about, unless you use the signature Thinkpad trackpoint like I do. The screen is big enough to comfortably look at two documents side-by-side, yet small enough to use easily in any situation, even on planes. Plus you get the benefit of great battery life (and light weight) with the 12.5" screen.
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21 Nov 2012, 10:52
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I would wait to purchase a laptop until after you've committed to a school. Certain schools have "suggested" laptop requirements that will make your life a lot easier. For instance, although I love Macs, transferring Microsoft Office files from Mac to PC can cause a headache because formatting can change during the transfer. Moreover, certain schools require you to install software on your laptop that might not be compatible with Mac (without the use of something like Parallels).

Best of luck!
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27 Mar 2013, 10:09
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Just a couple thoughts:

1) I would probably wait until you see what your school tech bundles are, normally they'll be slightly cheaper than retail and may be just what you're looking for.
2) It's probably worth waiting until laptops are released using Intel's new haswell chips. These should be available (I would guess) some time this summer. The haswell chips are probably not as revolutionary as Intel would have you believe, but it's worth waiting an extra month or two for anyways.
3) If money isn't much of a concern, I think the top PC contender is the Lenovo X1 Carbon. Aside from that, Macbook Air/Pro with Parallels is a great setup as well. (The X1, Air, Pro, will probably all be released using haswell chips this summer / early fall)
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17 Apr 2013, 10:43
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highwyre237 wrote:
I'm leaning towards an ultrabook (Lenovo/Asus/Sony). Really digging the portability and battery life. Only downside is the missing optical drive. Will this be a problem or should I suck it up and get a regular laptop?

Same here, but I agree with BB. You'll need an optical drive maybe once per semester. Maybe we can get some classmates to split the price of a usb dvd drive and share?

OR, maybe someone would be nice enough to rip the image and put it on a usb for us...

Either way, if its a hassle once a semester or not, I think its worth the portability and extra battery life.

Will your new laptop be your only computer at school? I know that I'll have a couple desktops and probably my old laptop, so I'll easily be able to manage using a primary laptop without an optical drive.

It's also astoundingly cheap to get a usb optical drive:
http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss? ... ical+drive

I don't think you should limit your laptop choices based on whether they have an optical drive or not.
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17 Apr 2013, 20:09
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Tip (I'm just finishing up first year, and went through this just last September): get a non-Mac that's light and portable. If you can, get one with the number pad on the side-especially if it's your primary computer. You'll be doing lots of computing and the number pad helps save time and frustration. Also get one that can be hooked up to a screen via the port on the side. You (and the groups you'll have to work with in breakout rooms with screens) will thank me later The non-Mac recommendation was only due to one piece of software that we used for Decision Modeling that wasn't available on Mac. The entire course was based on the software (Risk Solver) and we were tested on it too, so the students with Macs had to spend a bunch of time in the computer lab learning/using the software for assignments. Not the end of the world, but less convenient.
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01 May 2013, 19:04
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i would not take minimum recommended specs for laptop as a strict guideline.

kellogg's minimum recommended spec for mac is:
Model: 13” MacBook Pro or MacBook Air
Processor: 2.3 GHz Intel Core i5 with 3MB cache
Memory: 4GB RAM
Hard Drive: At least 256 GB SATA hard disk (5400 RPM)

however, i've been using a 2010 13" macbook air with 1.86 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo and 128GB (SSD) and it has been more than enough (even when running windows on VMware). there are several classmates who still use the old school plastic, white macbooks (discontinued) without an issue. it just might be a little slower booting up and opening programs.

if your computer can boot up in under 30 seconds and can multi task between word, outlook, excel, and a browser without slowing down, you're fine.

most people have a 13". i would not recommend anything smaller. excel work is a pain on small screens. if you want something smaller, get a 13-15" laptop and a tablet. i'm seeing more and more classmates with ipads since all reading material and class slides are posted online. check your schools policy on tablets in the classroom. kellogg doesn't allow laptops in classrooms but allow tablets.

if your buying a new laptop, i highly recommend you spring for an SSD rather than a faster processor. also, everybody uses dropbox so no need for external HHD unless you regularly like to back up your system.
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01 Aug 2012, 08:42
Anyone have any experience with the Thinkpad X230 or T430s?

I think im set on the Lenovo. I like the ease of upgrades (plan to upgrade to 8gb ram and SSD post purchase) and the reliability and build quality im just not sure if I can work on a 12.5" screen when away from home (assuming a dock setup with monitors at home).

Any suggestions would be apprecaited.
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08 Aug 2012, 00:01
I prefer MacBook pro. Don't worry about the office 2010, since Office has the latest version for mac, even they are more user-friendly and the user-interface is fantastic.
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22 Aug 2012, 17:19
I got the retina display macbook pro and I love it.
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28 Aug 2012, 21:13
I use a MacBook air and it gets the job done fine. Also great for carrying around.
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05 Oct 2012, 03:28
HP Pavilion DV6-7012TX laptop is powered by 2nd generation Intel Core i5-2450M Processor which has 3.10 GHz speed. HP Pavilion DV6-7012TX laptop is featured with 6 GB DDR3 RAM and 640 GB Hard disk drive. HP Pavilion DV6-7012TX laptop is perfect to watch the movies and is also soothing for eyes as it comes equipped with 15.6 Inch Widescreen BrightView LED-backlit Display offering 1366 x 768 Pixels Resolution. HP Pavilion DV6-7012TX laptop runs on Window 7 Home Premium Operating System. HP Pavilion DV6-7012TX laptop has Integrated 2 GB gDDR3 NVIDIA GeForce 630M graphics card.
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16 Oct 2012, 03:09
I use a MacBook air now and it runs great. Awesome!
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23 Oct 2012, 11:13
I have a quick question concerning the usage of MacBookPro (which I have and would like to use):
- How does it work with excel? Do you have to substitute the analysis kit or is it included in the new office version?
- How about data transfer from mac to pc. Does the data not get mixed up sometimes? You probably have to do it a lot between your class mates so I just want to ensure that my mac does not become a burden.
- Same for powerpoint presentations, does it work in practice without bad surprises?
- Is there anything else I have to keep in mind?

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12 Nov 2012, 21:28
LasseSchmid wrote:
I have a quick question concerning the usage of MacBookPro (which I have and would like to use):
- How does it work with excel? Do you have to substitute the analysis kit or is it included in the new office version?
- How about data transfer from mac to pc. Does the data not get mixed up sometimes? You probably have to do it a lot between your class mates so I just want to ensure that my mac does not become a burden.
- Same for powerpoint presentations, does it work in practice without bad surprises?
- Is there anything else I have to keep in mind?

bump.

curious about these questions as well, as I am currently in the hunt for a laptop
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09 Dec 2012, 21:48
i have dell notebook, i.e Dell "CORE i7" really a nice feeling with it...
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10 Jan 2013, 10:53
I'm thinking a thinkpad, but not sure which series yet. Just to note, do not spend the money on Office 2010, it looks like most schools offer the student version, or a free version through their stores.
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17 Jan 2013, 14:56
I've been using Windows PCs for ages, and switched to a Mac Air about 6 months ago. TBH, while the battery life and weight of the machine are phenomenal, I have missed the easy compatibility options of Windows (and knowing where everything is!). For example, writing to external hard drives from the Mac isn't always possible, unless you download other software to overcome this limitation.

Office for Mac is a great package, but it doesn't always have the features that the Windows version does. I think you can get around most limitations, but I really don't want to have to do that while working late on an assignment at Business School.
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18 Jan 2013, 15:36
goblue04 wrote:
Anyone have any experience with the Thinkpad X230 or T430s?

I think im set on the Lenovo. I like the ease of upgrades (plan to upgrade to 8gb ram and SSD post purchase) and the reliability and build quality im just not sure if I can work on a 12.5" screen when away from home (assuming a dock setup with monitors at home).

Any suggestions would be apprecaited.

The X230 is a fantastic machine, based off my experience with the X220. The IPS screen and keyboard are very good. The only problem is that the fan gives an error from time to time during boot - a quick shot of air from a duster fixes it though. The small screen and lack of HDMI-out were undesirable, but on the other hand it's very portable. I'd either go with Lenovo or get an Asus ultrabook.

On the other hand, any people use a tablet exclusively when not at home for b-school?
Re: 2012-13 Laptop Discussion   [#permalink] 18 Jan 2013, 15:36

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