1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Build Advice University Approaches a Problem Arrises

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by Odinster, 4 Sep 2013.

  1. Odinster

    Odinster What's a Dremel?

    Joined:
    3 Feb 2011
    Posts:
    80
    Likes Received:
    3
    So with university approaching I have hit a conundrum, I can not write notes at a fast enough pace to keep up with most people so I don't want to be going through university struggling to take down notes. So as I can easily hit 80 WPM I thought well why don't I use that skill to my advantage and get a smallish laptop to fit my needs.

    The only way I could see this working as I have a pretty long travel time between where I will be staying and where I will probably have my lectures buying a super heavy-weight laptop that would have the grunt a desktop would doesn't seem like an option and am I right in thinking laptops tend to have a shorter life expectancy than desktops due to the fact that they do get knocked around ever so slightly.

    So I'm thinking about buying a Chromebook (The samsung one in particular), I understand that it has it's limitations but I believe it fits the ball for being lightweight, easy to carry and should suffice for making notes on, and I imagine it will be able to access everything as the university library also uses Chromebooks. But then I come into further problems first of all the laptop in particular does not have a physical port it supports only Wi-Fi. I don't know whether the halls would allow the use of a wireless router set as a bridge as I know some places do not allow it in their policy.

    So my thinking was ok I can get a chromebook (I'm sorry if I'm droning on at this point but I sometimes find it hard to get my point across), but then I imagine I'd need a desktop for some things which do require some more grunt, aswell as perhaps using it for Skype (Chrome doesn't support this), League of Legends and maybe some new games who knows, probably nothing too demanding, I also thought that perhaps getting a wireless card in a desktop which is connected via ethernet allows it to bridge which would be perfect as surely it would allow me to connect my phone and the chromebook aswell right?

    So the build:

    Budget:- As low as possible to fulfil the requirements let's say for now; sub £400 (not sure what you can get with that these days)

    Main uses: League of Legends, running accounting software, Skype, iPlayer, watching DVD's and listening to music

    Specs of current PC: Probably all useless and I'm likely to donate it to my sister, may pull out a Hard Drive.

    Parts Required: ALL

    Monitor Resolution: 19 inch at 1280 x 1024 (may possibly pick up a monitor that supports multiple inputs like RCA / DVI and VGA

    Overclocking: Never done it before but if it's worth doing in your eyes and it's easy enough to do, I guess I could.

    Storage space: Don't think I need an SSD, I understand they improve boot times but I doubt boot times are that important for me, but 1TB or 2 should suffice.

    Special Requirements: Would like it to be able to connect to the internet via Ethernet and act as a wireless bridge for 2 devices if possible. (Ideally Samsung Chromebook and Sony Xperia L which I'm looking to get) Also if possible I'd like it to have some form of upgrade path so it doesn't become dated within 4 years, I understand this may be a problem with the budget.

    EDIT: A Blu-ray atleast reader would be nice (I'd like to have a copy of all DVD's and Blu-rays) a writer would be preferred but if budget is an issue I'll settle for a DVD writer.

    Also how do people feel about the idea of a Chromebook and a desktop or am I over thinking and should just get a laptop or what? I've never had a laptop and I've always grown up with desktops so am somewhat afraid of them so to speak, any advice would be greatly appreciated and sorry for the wall of text.
     
    Last edited: 4 Sep 2013
  2. MSHunter

    MSHunter Minimodder

    Joined:
    24 Apr 2009
    Posts:
    2,467
    Likes Received:
    55
    AMD APU netbook for on the go. might even play the games, can handle SC2 on low settings.
     
  3. Odinster

    Odinster What's a Dremel?

    Joined:
    3 Feb 2011
    Posts:
    80
    Likes Received:
    3
    Do you have a link or somewhere where I can see prices and specs? I know little to nothing about the laptop market.
     
  4. MSHunter

    MSHunter Minimodder

    Joined:
    24 Apr 2009
    Posts:
    2,467
    Likes Received:
    55
    amazon.co.uk search: amd e 450 choose a netbook or a laptop size one its up to you.
     
  5. adrock

    adrock Caninus Nervous Rex

    Joined:
    5 Dec 2006
    Posts:
    1,265
    Likes Received:
    43
    it's also worth checking for the courses you're studying, my first three years at uni all course material was provided as printed notes, also available online. Our lectures were little more than a guy reading the notes to us, and we used our tutorial sessions to go over them and get clarification on anything. It'll obviously vary from uni to uni and course to course, but the only notes i took were for maths because one of the lecturers handouts were photocopies of his hand written notes and his handwriting was terrible :/

    I had a second year maths lecturer who used to basically copy his handwritten notes onto a whiteboard while reading them out. unfortunately he wrote on the whiteboard in handwriting size, and faced the board the entire time he did it so no one could hear what he was saying. coupled with a thick greek accent and it was one of the more challenging courses i did, despite the material being covered having been a part of my a-levels (got to love a scottish uni).

    If you're dead set though, i'd recommend going with whatever's easiest for you to type on, getting a bigger laptop if that helps. I used a 2nd hand IBM T21 for my later years because the keyboard was comfortably large, and all i ran was debian, fluxbox, couple of terminals and a text editor. admittedly that was for maths, comp sci and AI so it covered my coding needs too.
     
  6. GeorgeStorm

    GeorgeStorm Aggressive PC Builder

    Joined:
    16 Dec 2008
    Posts:
    6,807
    Likes Received:
    463
    As adrock said, check your course details.
    For most of my modules my notes are available as powerpoints/pdfs online.
    The laptop wouldn't be good for the ones where handwritten notes are needed (anything involving maths basically)

    If you really want it go for it, but I wouldn't worry too much about having 'slow' handwriting, I'm very slow yet I did ok (am doing) through a mix of using their notes, and if need be copying notes up after lectures from friends etc.
     
  7. Mechh69

    Mechh69 I think we can make that fit

    Joined:
    16 Sep 2009
    Posts:
    1,298
    Likes Received:
    59
    Please don't beat me down but I have a Dell that I bought in 2006, Still going strong so it's all in the way you take care of your equipment. I did have them replace a screen (airport accident) and the HDD died but other than that it's been a great machine and I still use it when i travel. My wife has a Dell that she's had since 2008 and still uses it for some of her work things when she is away from the house. HDD died on that one too but over all I have had good luck with them. We also have a lot of Dell's at work and not that many issues with them either. Which is surprising considering I'm in the military and they travel out to the field (training exercises and deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan for a year or more at a time)

    I know a lot of people don't like one company or the other but if you get a decent spec machine and take care of it, it should last you a while.
     
  8. mucgoo

    mucgoo Minimodder

    Joined:
    9 Dec 2010
    Posts:
    1,602
    Likes Received:
    41
    If all your doing is notes, android tablet + bluetooth keyboard could be less than £100.
     
  9. Odinster

    Odinster What's a Dremel?

    Joined:
    3 Feb 2011
    Posts:
    80
    Likes Received:
    3
    Well I've not really been able to see anywhere that states how the information will be presented It's Accounting & Finance which I'm looking to do at Oxford Brookes if anyone has any experience of what that's like. But the events of this morning may now also have an impact on this as my desktop caught fire (seems as if the cable supplying power to one of the harddrives melted at the connector and then arced, cheap PSU might have been at fault here) and being my first 'fire' I'm pretty freaked out by it as it was actually on fire so I'm abit wary about just changing the PSU and trying to reuse the rest of it incase other components are damaged / at fault here.

    From what I've read now I'm not sure about how to go about things, either way I'll need something to take with me, whether it be a desktop or laptop or whatever. So what would the suggestions be now if the budget were to be set at around the £500 mark would I be better off going down the laptop / ultrabook type route or would going for a desktop give alot more bang for the buck?

    What sort of warranties / guarantee's tend to come with the laptop, correct me if I'm wrong but aren't all electrical goods technically supposed to last atleast 6 years? (Can't remember what it was I actually read a while back about this)

    EDIT: In terms of specs I'm struggling as I don't know much about this market but these would be my requirements: DVI / VGA port (possibly HDMI if that can be used backwards to a DVI) so normal screen size can be as small as 11 inch's though something around the 14 / 15 region preferred, must be able to have enough graphics grunt to be able to play League of Legends on 1280 x 1024 via external monitor, optical drive, support keyboard and mouse aswell as have decent integrated touchpad and keyboard, battery life must be decent (6 hours atleast?) or some form of swappable battery should be an option, bluetooth connectivity would be nice, ethernet port should also be available aswell as standard wifi capabilities (god i'm really like a fish out of water here)

    With thanks
     
    Last edited: 6 Sep 2013
  10. CopperX

    CopperX IT Support BOFH @ a Uni.

    Joined:
    4 May 2010
    Posts:
    53
    Likes Received:
    3
    All in all it depends on what sort of notes you want to write down. As other people have said (and what I experienced when I was a student) is that all the lecture notes and slides tend to be either printed out for you by your lecturer or available online afterwards on your University's VLE (something like Blackboard or Moodle). I've found the VLE area for Ox Brookes and it's here it you want to have a look: http://www.brookes.ac.uk/brookes-virtual-gateway/

    I occasionally took my laptop to lectures (I did an IT degree) but found it a waste of time, most other students will simply just browse the web via the Uni wireless and not bother with work. I found it easiest simply just writing down bits and bobs that were important but missing in the notes.

    You could always do what my friend did (and a few others) and buy a proper Dictaphone and place it on the lectern at the front of class so it records everything your lecturer says and then play it back and make detailed notes another time.
     
  11. rollo

    rollo Modder

    Joined:
    16 May 2008
    Posts:
    7,887
    Likes Received:
    131
    The Dictaphone idea has alot of merit and is alot easier / cheaper than alot of alternatives. Does depend alot on the course your studying.
     

Share This Page