Reply To: Games Kristen Should Play When She Gets a Laptop

Reply To: Games Kristen Should Play When She Gets a Laptop

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Josiah the Carrot Stick

Mac vs. PC:

Apple hardware does tend to be more expensive, but feels nicer to use and can be easier to service (sometimes). and there are exponentially fewer options to sort through than all the PC market. Used you can get a decent 2010-2011 macbook ~$300-500, depending on condition. A 13″ Macbook Pro is probably about what you’d be looking for and should last a while.

Make sure it has or can run the latest MacOS; Apple now provides their office suite for free from the app store – which can handle MS office files – so that’s a plus (as well as iMovie & Garageband).


If you were looking at a new machine, read this (or at least the first part):

For used machines:
Lenovo, Dell and HP machines will all be pretty reliable *if* you are shopping for models that are commonly used for business – since they are used in such high volume for corporate customers you will find them (and parts for them) all over eBay for pretty cheap.

Thinkpad: T- series (T410/420/510/520) (Be careful of -s models, i.e., T410s – they only have a limited number of ports to plug things in compared to the normal models)
HP: EliteBook or ProBook series
Dell: Latitude, Precision mobile, XPS (Inspiron is the home-grade series)

Example: Thinkpad T410 with i7 processor & high-res display was $200 (admittedly, a steal), to which I added an SSD ($100) and more RAM (~$50). It’s got plenty of power to do some graphics and audio work.

Spec guidelines:
You want at least an i-series processor (i5 or i7) rather than the Core 2 Duo machines.
As much RAM as possible
Nothing less than Windows 10
Adding an SSD will make a *huge* difference in performance on an older machine – budget an extra $100 to upgrade it if at all possible.
Also pay attention to screen resolution – get as high a resolution as possible. Many 15″ PC laptops have the same screen res as the 14″ siblings and are more expensive because people think bigger is always better.

For portability look at 13-14″ computers, 15″ gets big and heavy. Favorite size so far is 14″ with a high-res display. Also look for high-capacity batteries, the Lenovos at least have an option for 6-cell or 9-cell; the bigger the better.

You will probably have to buy a copy of MS Office, though you should be able to get a student discount. Try to get the full install version (a one-time purchase) rather than Office365, which is a subscription service.

The Aux Cable