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Old 05-06-2010, 07:49 PM   #1
elephantinc
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Default Anyone that went to university, is a desktop practical?

I'm looking for a new computer and as I'll be going to university in little over a year I was wondering, is a desktop practical at university? I'd quite like a desktop over a laptop because you get so mush more power for your money but I'm worried about it getting stolen or if I'd need a laptop to take to classes/lectures and things.

So is there anyone that went to university (particularly in england) that had a desktop or felt they really needed a laptop?

(Re: The chance of it being stolen, I hope to go somewhere like Cambridge or Warwick, which I think have relatively low crime rates (and I hope to have a single room (which would certainly be the case at Cambridge) but it still seems like a possibility.)
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Old 05-06-2010, 11:09 PM   #2
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Hi mate,,
I have never been to uni but I think a laptop is more convenient. Yes you do get way more boom for your buck in a tower, but you would have to build a metal cage and bolt it to the floor!!!

I guess with a tower you COULD get yourself a terabyte external and backup your work every day. That way if it did get knocked off you would at least have your stuff with you and know that all of your work is safe??

The downside of a laptop as you said is price and power and I also think its just as likely to get stolen if not more because it is so mobile. So one would have to think about cost etc for replacement. At least a tower is cheaper. Do they have insurance for this mate??

Personally I would write down the pros and cons for both INCLUDING prices and insurance etc and see what comes up trumps.

You could always get a small and cheap notebook which will run basic programs I think (I need one for my son when he goes to High School next year) and then sync with your tower in your room when needed? The beauty of the laptop/notebook is you can be anywhere and continue working without the need to go back to your room.

cheers bullet
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Old 06-06-2010, 12:02 AM   #3
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I already have a 1TB external hard drive and back up regularly, so I've got that covered
I think if one could get insurance it would be quite expensive, judging by how expensive mobile phone insurance is.
I was thinking of an imac, which I could bolt to the wall, but would I be allowed to do that in a university room?

My thinking with a laptop was that it could be put away in a cupboard when I'm not in.
Having said that, it would be pretty difficult to sneak out a 27 inch imac from a secure campus....

I was just wondering if anyone needed theirs when out and about that much, especially with things like smartphones and ipads now.
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Old 06-06-2010, 02:16 AM   #4
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ipad sounds cool

I know a whole house got cleaned out here in Perth, with a removal truck and all!!!! People can be cheeky mate
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Old 06-06-2010, 06:59 AM   #5
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I went to university, and I've never had a laptop. Maybe I'm just not a mobile guy. I've never really felt like I needed a laptop. I love my desktop. Granted, I wasn't taking comp sci, so maybe that would be more demanding, laptop wise. Really up to you I guess. What would you do that would require a laptop? Besides security... but I think if you locked down your desktop computer, there's not much more you can do.
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Old 06-06-2010, 10:21 AM   #6
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Crime rates round student areas are always higher than the surrounding area, so still be careful (especially round halls).

Most of the time you would have really good access to PC's within uni, so you probably would not need a laptop, in fact taking it back and forth is asking for a problem, chavs, people in uni, drops, left in a pub when drunk.

There should not really be a point taking a laptop into a lecture (though some students do here), granted the lecture notes etc should be on a VLE, but you can access them before, there really is no need for a laptop/Ipad etc, your there for the lecture, jotting notes is easier.

I doubt you would be able to bolt a comp into a wall, thats one thing they look for (holes in walls) when returning the deposit! A desktop would be harder to nick due to its size.

Unless your doing hugely complex work and need the power I would get a 500 desktop PC that will suit your needs, you can do any complex processing at Uni if needed, just move work about in your external (possibly get a mini HDD) and keep it backed up.

You only see about 2-3/10 students with laptops in uni to be honest.
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Old 06-06-2010, 10:34 AM   #7
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Ok, thanks. That will really help me decide what to do.
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Old 06-06-2010, 09:07 PM   #8
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No probs,

I recommend live mesh for synching, backing up and online storage to students. It's free and easy to use, and means that you have data online, external and desktop.

I know a lot of students have lappys over desktops but they never bring them in to uni itself.

You probably would want to move out into a student house after the first year, a lot of students move in together with friends they meet after the first year, the computer, a reasonably priced one may be coverd in your student insurance, expensive ones would have to be insured sepperate.

Check out Endsleigh insurance, as they do (or did) good priced insurance for students, or check out the ones on campus in freshers week between pub visits!

Is is September your starting?
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Old 06-06-2010, 10:00 PM   #9
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I don't start till september of next year but I just didn't want to buy a computer that I would only be able to use for one year.

So I haven't actually started the application process yet (that starts in September). I'm thinking of applying to Cambridge, Imperial college london, UCL, Warwick and York. I haven't been to all the open days yet but at the moment I think this will be my order of preference:
1st. Cambridge
2nd. Imperial
3rd/4th UCL/Warwick (can't say without seeing them (but it should be easy for me to get in to warwick for a number of reasons...)
5th York (only really on the list in case something goes very wrong or if I decide I want to stay closer to home)

Some universities expect one to stay on campus for the whole course, for example, Cambridge. I'm not sure why (or if I'll be able to afford it, particularly with two of us going to university at the same time).
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Old 07-06-2010, 01:20 AM   #10
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I went to Uni in Swansea, pretty much the dodgyest place you could go, and my PC was fine, just lock the door and take caution

When at uni I never felt the need for a laptop, would take notes the old fashioned way.

And because I was doing a lot of simulation/fx scripting based stuff I would have found doing so on a laptop pointlessly slow/if possible.

cheers,
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Old 07-06-2010, 01:32 AM   #11
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There's locks (e.g. Kensington) you can loop around a sturdy desk leg or permanent fixture that's some added security. More a deterent than foolproof, but every bit helps if you're concerned.
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Old 07-06-2010, 08:22 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by elephantinc

Some universities expect one to stay on campus for the whole course, for example, Cambridge. I'm not sure why (or if I'll be able to afford it, particularly with two of us going to university at the same time).
Thats the same at Oxford, It's to do with the enhancing the student experience and allowing peer collaboration over the course (as you mingle with other students in the same study area at differing levels of the course).

If thats not the case a lot of students go to halls first year then move in with mates they have made friends with in the second year.

Its a pain but theres a lot of students now looking at courses closer to home to cut back on the financial outlay.

Definatly go to the open days to get a feel for the uni and the place.

Cheers

Steve
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Old 07-06-2010, 05:29 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by gster123

Its a pain but theres a lot of students now looking at courses closer to home to cut back on the financial outlay.

Definatly go to the open days to get a feel for the uni and the place.

Cheers

Steve
I live in quite a rural area and could never commute to a university from where I am now, so, wether I can afford it or not, I'll have to pay for accommodation.

A lot of the open days overlap, so I can't/couldn't go to them. Warwick was at the same time as the Oxford departmental open day, so I don't know what that's like. (The Oxford open day was a complete waste of time by the way. They basically just read the prospectus out and when I had a question that wasn't on it even they didn't know the answer. How can they not know their own admissions policies?! We didn't even get to look around the department. And it turns out that they only take 25 people for the course. 25! Over 200 apply! Where as at Cambridge they take about 76. My school has a much better record with Cambridge as well (much, much better), so I know which one out of those two I'm applying to.) The UCL open day also clashes with the Cambridge open day, so I won't know what that's like.

I won't be going to the York one but I've already done a summer school there and applied for another one (plus it's last on my list anyway).

Having said this I can always arrange a visit once I get my offers.


Thanks for the advice everyone.
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Old 08-06-2010, 02:27 AM   #14
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you could just do what i did.
build a nice bad ass Desktop ( building it myself, i wasn't out very much. plus computer store i ordered all the parts from, gave me a nice discount)
and also buy a mediocre laptop.

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Old 08-06-2010, 09:16 PM   #15
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Stupid question, but if I could ask, what do you plan on studying?

Bristol has a great animation school at UWE if you wanna go that route. It's run in conjunction with Aardman studios I believe...I'm going to an open day tomorrow...Think I'll be oldest guy there at 32!
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