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The great Laptop discussion forum

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New post 25 Nov 2009, 09:18
nink wrote:
was in your boat. I couldn't resist and went ahead and purchased Vaio TT series. Then all the cool Kellogg and Cornell kids from this forum last year went ahead and bought Thinkpad X series….and I experienced cognitive dissonance…..then YSOM notified that I am receiving free Dell laptop....

Don't make the mistake that I made!


Okay, I'm holding off. But YSOM better send me an invite SOON!!!! :oops:
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New post 28 Nov 2009, 09:02
nink wrote:
…..then YSOM notified that I am receiving free Dell laptop....


nink - you should know better by now. Nothing is "free" at bschool, it's merely included in tuition and fees.

I would agree with nink's advice, hold off until you get accepted then see what deals the school offers and, if you're buying on your own, what sorts of technology are supported by the school's IT. I had an unpleasant surprise when I got to Kellogg and found out that the print servers didn't support 64-bit operating systems so I couldn't print to the school's printers. The school has since upgraded following significant complaints by students, but lesson learned.
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New post 01 Dec 2009, 12:55
there are some really great deals from Lenovo going on right now. One question for all of you looking at the X series: Don't you think 12.1in monitor is a bit on the tiny side? Aside from the Asian girls I see at barnes and noble, who seem to be having a competition over who can work on the smallest possible screen, I think most students would find anything below 13 to be too small. Im thinking for models, working on papers, etc. Im willing to carry 4.5lbs if it means being able to read the screen.
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New post 01 Dec 2009, 13:01
i think screen size is really dependent on the individual. just because you think a 12" screen is small, for example, won't mean that i will. also dont forget you can reduce the resolution of the screen so everything appears bigger, not to mention zoom in on webpages, MS word, excel, etc. etc.

personally i'm shooting for either a 12" or 13" screen, < 4 lbs. i think the best bet would be to go into a store and play around with a laptop that has the same size screen you're looking for (it doesnt necessarily have to be the same model, although that would be ideal).
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New post 01 Dec 2009, 19:13
In bschool, long battery life and light weight = KING....

Screen size? It's a tradeoff I am willing to take to save me some shoulder and back pain.

Your bag is ridiculously heavy already, plus you don't wanna carry your AC adapter everywhere. (Sometimes, even when you carry it, it doesn't mean you can always find a place to sit where you can plug it in somewhere....)

Trust me, something like X series or other mobile laptops are worth the investment.

Also, get a decent warranty. My VAIO stopped working last week. OS wouldn't start no matter what. Spent 1.5 hrs on the phone with tech support on the other side of the world....and he made me open up my laptop and remove hard drive and other stuff.... :?

2 things crossed my mind during that time:

1) How in the hell do they expect average laptop user to do this over the phone?
2) If my laptop wasn't broken before (opening it up), it definitely is broken now....

After 90 minutes of that non sense, they finally transferred me to someone who took my info so they can send me a Fedex box so it can be repaired. Needless to say, I am using the Yale issued Dell Latitude for the first time since the Orientation week....and this thing is not 2.7lbs....
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New post 01 Dec 2009, 19:22
x200 still only gets 4 hours or so with an upgraded battery (unless you upgrade even further).

I went with Lenovo U450p today with all of the discounts lenovo was offering. 1.3ghz CULV processor should get about 6 hours with the 6 cell battery. 4.5lbs, Windows 7 64bit, 14in LED screen 4gb ram. $699 -15% off + added 2 yr warranty/accidental damage...with tax title and license total was $736.
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New post 02 Dec 2009, 08:14
merkin wrote:
x200 still only gets 4 hours or so with an upgraded battery (unless you upgrade even further).


Not entirely true, it depends on your power settings and use. I have an X200 with 6 cell battery, and with the power optimized setting and doing normal tasks (email, internet, Office), my battery regularly lasts 5.5 hrs.

One word of caution: make sure you talk to your school's IT dept. to see what is and is not supported (which may be hard if you're buying a laptop before you're admitted). For example, Kellogg's print servers didn't support 64-bit operating systems when I first got here (they've since been upgraded), and we got an email a few weeks ago saying not to upgrade to Windows 7 yet because there may be some incompatibilities. The last thing you want is to spend money on a laptop only to show up to school and not have it work right.
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New post 11 Dec 2009, 01:58
trust me, these days with EVERYONE in class switching to a netbook, my 12.1" X200 is HUGE by comparison.

Nink is right in that every little ounce counts when you have a huge backpack full of stuff and you're hiking it to and from school (especially in the colder weathers, like Berkeley, where it's a freakin' cold 40F at night! :P).

I have the 9 cell battery and with the right display settings, I can get 7-8 hours out of it.
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New post 30 Dec 2009, 09:36
How often does Lenovo come out with updated models? With a discount through my company plus a 10% discount that ends today, it looks like I could get a pretty good deal on an X series. Is it likely they'll come out with some new model this spring/summer that makes that one I bought seem (relatively) obsolete?

What made me think of this is the apple blog where it lists when the most recent updates were to various products, and when you should expect new models, and thus whether to buy or wait.

ETA: It seems that the X series don't have a CD/DVD drive - what do most people do for this? Buy the docking station? The smaller external optical drive?

Sorry if I missed answers in the thread, I only made it through about 10 pages.
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New post 30 Dec 2009, 10:42
PBateman wrote:
How often does Lenovo come out with updated models? With a discount through my company plus a 10% discount that ends today, it looks like I could get a pretty good deal on an X series. Is it likely they'll come out with some new model this spring/summer that makes that one I bought seem (relatively) obsolete?

What made me think of this is the apple blog where it lists when the most recent updates were to various products, and when you should expect new models, and thus whether to buy or wait.

ETA: It seems that the X series don't have a CD/DVD drive - what do most people do for this? Buy the docking station? The smaller external optical drive?

Sorry if I missed answers in the thread, I only made it through about 10 pages.


I don't think Lenovo comes out with new models all that frequently, and if I recall correctly the X200 and X300 series are only year or two old so probably not due for update soon. In any case, for the applications you'll be using in school, it's not all that critical to have up-to-the-minute laptop technology.

As for the lack of an optical drive, I have an X200 and bought a non-Lenovo external DVD drive for about $100. I have used it exactly once: to install the copy of MS Office that Kellogg gave us. Everything else I use was either pre-installed on the machine or I've purchased a downloadable copy.
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New post 30 Dec 2009, 11:58
So I put together the following for a Lenovo Thinkpad X200 - total is $1,122.28

Any thoughts? Good/bad deal? Waste of money on any items? I don't know terribly much about this stuff, but I tried to upgrade from the base option where it seemed smart/reasonably priced.

Base features/customization

Intel Core 2 Duo processor P8600 (2.40GHz, 3MB L2, 1066MHz FSB)
Genuine Windows 7 Professional 32
12.1 WXGA, 2x2 UltraConnect II antenna; with Camera and Wireless Broadband Upgradeable
Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 4500MHD
3 GB PC3-8500 DDR3 SDRAM 1067MHz SODIMM Memory (2 DIMM)
TrackPoint with Fingerprint Reader
250GB Hard Disk Drive, 5400rpm
No Bluetooth
Intel WiFi Link 5300 (AGN) with My WiFi Technology
Integrated Mobile Broadband - Upgradable
ThinkPad X200 Series 9 cell Li-Ion Battery
7454: 1 Year Depot Warranty - TopSeller

Extras added on by me:

3YR Onsite + 3YR ADP (Extended Warranty)
ThinkPad USB Numeric Keypad
Lenovo USB Laser Mouse
Lenovo USB 2.0 Essential Memory Key - 4GB
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New post 30 Dec 2009, 13:16
If anyone who has purchased a Thinkpad before (or just knows alot about them) could give an opinion before my deal ends today, would be great. Thanks!
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New post 30 Dec 2009, 14:25
I'm 1.5 years into my X200 and still loving it. The 3 year warranty is definitely worth it, as my screen had some connection problem this summer and got it fixed for free (they were missing the parts and it took a while, but it wasn't too big of a hassle). Otherwise, the stats look good. The 9-cell is definitely recommended, since it'll give you at least 5-6 hours of heavy usage and more if you're just browsing.

The thing takes a beating and asks for more, so I highly recommend the X200!
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New post 30 Dec 2009, 15:37
I got a T400 earlier this year and it's been a great laptop but definitely not as thin and light as I would like, especially for traveling. I think that you're making a good choice with the X200 and your purchase specs look good. If you want to cut down the cost, consider downgrading the WiFi Link to 5100, RAM to 2 GB, and the hard drive size. It sounds like the overall cost isn't a problem (pretty good deal esp. with the 3 yr warranty) but if it is, check out the Ideapad S12. Basically an oversized netbook, but has some really good features for a much lower cost. Let us know what you get!
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New post 30 Dec 2009, 15:48
gregarious wrote:
I got a T400 earlier this year and it's been a great laptop but definitely not as thin and light as I would like, especially for traveling. I think that you're making a good choice with the X200 and your purchase specs look good. If you want to cut down the cost, consider downgrading the WiFi Link to 5100, RAM to 2 GB, and the hard drive size. It sounds like the overall cost isn't a problem (pretty good deal esp. with the 3 yr warranty) but if it is, check out the Ideapad S12. Basically an oversized netbook, but has some really good features for a much lower cost. Let us know what you get!


I converted my thinkpad order to a quote, so I have 30 days from now to buy it at the price. I'll probably just do some other browsing in the meantime (maybe check out the Ideapads too), and then purchase it from the quote I have locked in...I'm hoping the ecoupon that expires today won't get lost if I go back to order in a few weeks.

Those upgrades I made (RAM, WiFi, hard drive) were less than 70 bucks total, so I felt comfortable with them.
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New post 30 Dec 2009, 17:23
I took the X200 option at Tuck and I love the laptop so far.

As usual with Lenovo, a very well built laptop. I have no problem using the 12" screen and the keyboard is very well laid out.

The biggest benefit is the 3 lb weight. I'll often double check my backpack to make sure it's actually in there because it's so light!

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New post 03 Jan 2010, 20:42
Lugging around a 5 lb machine takes a toll. I wish I had gotten something lighter because practically, I really just use the internet and Microsoft Office. I occasionally watch movies, but there's just not a lot of extra time to do other stuff with my laptop. I'd say you don't need anything too fancy and you want it to be light and durable. Though, I'm sort of wishing I bought a mac. I didn't want to deal with the hassle of learning a new OS while starting b-school, but that's essentially what I had to do going from XP to Vista, and soon 7. And I'm still figuring out Microsoft Office 2007 (which is a pain!). A lot of you might be beyond this, but something to consider if you're thinking about Apple.
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New post 05 Jan 2010, 07:53
FY at Fuqua here. Duke offers us something like $2500 to buy our own computer for school (which, of course, is rolled into your loan), and I was seriously thinking about buying an upgrade to my 2006 MacBook Pro. It turned out to be unnecessary - I just bought a new HD and RAM, and I've been very satisfied with my computer.

I strongly discourage getting a netbook. Sure, they're sweet and lightweight and everything, but you can't DO that much on them. Whatever computer you get, you'll be undoubtedly be using at school in team meetings and in the library to finish assignments, for which you will need the full functionality of a real computer. Also, useful tidbit: at Fuqua, we're not allowed to have open laptops in class. I think it's a great policy.

If I had to do it over again, I actually would've gotten a MacBook Air, with an external CD/DVD ROM that I would keep at home. Those things are amazing, and provide more than enough power than I need.
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New post 05 Jan 2010, 09:03
To Demystify various concerns regarding laptops in bschool in the past year, I can safely declare:

1. Yes. Students use Macs in bschools and yes, they seem to do fine with the Macs regardless of what people say about Macs in bschools in online forums

2. Yes. People use netbooks in bschools. Hell, it's popping up more and more, especially among the students who brought 5+ lb laptops with poor battery life to bschool. If you have a standard 5+ lb laptop that's fairly new right now, consider buying a netbook and bring your current PC/laptop with you to bschool. Other than certain classes like Op Mgt, statistics, econometrics, and finance, you really don't need all the processing power.

In fact, when my Vaio TT went down back in November and I had to send it in for repair, I chose to buy a Fujitsu Lifebook netbook (1.7ghz N280, 2GB RAM, 160 GB HD, Bluetooth, etc etc) instead of carrying around YSOM issued Dell Latitude (which is heavy). I can tell you from the experience that (contrary to my initial expectations) netbooks can play movie files, MP3's, online videos, Adobe Acrobat, Photoshop, and etc. Hell, it performed 100% better than the 12inch G4 Powerbook I used back in college (the laptop that made me swear never to own Macs EVER again). My only complaint was the keyboard. My hands are big and my fingers are long. It was kinda uncomfortable at first, but then I got used to it.... Now I just use my Vaio at home and carry that netbook around. My YSOM issued Dell is being used as ....."paper weight" to keep my reading printouts from falling off my coffee table :?

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New post 05 Jan 2010, 15:02
Did my comments on using a mac at BSchool not work? I kind of gave up on this lengthy Microsoft love-in I guess...

The main thing you need to learn on a mac is CMND+T. It is your F4 for locking cells in excel. Virtually everything else is a cinch, and you have the knowledge you are more attractive and style conscious than your school mates with ugly Dell and Lenovo cubes.

I mean, hell, I run Matlab on my mac (in OSX) and it *kills*. Was never too bothered I couldn't own Minitab or some nonsense regression software or other.
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