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Old 10-09-2011, 08:04 PM
 
Location: Everybody is going to hurt you, you just gotta find the ones worth suffering for-B Marley
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Need to buy a computer/laptop to use for online school where I have to also use discs. What should I look for in a computer besides a disc drive? Would a Mac be better? I don't even know the right questions to ask when I go in to look.
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Old 10-09-2011, 08:40 PM
 
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Online classes will need broadband connection, you will need a provider, modem, router, and if you choose a laptop, wireless.

Anything will come with a CD/DVD drive, probably a model that will burn CD's or DVD's, but I cannot imagine that you will have to burn anything as part of an assignment. Everything will have USB ports for thumb drives the most common storage/transport for students if they can't be uploaded.

What software will the courses require? That will be course dependent, from needing nothing more than word processor, spreadsheet, and a PDF viewer, to web design programs, data base programs, etc. Does the school provide, offer discounted student purchase, and for what platform?

Your instructor can provide you with specifics, that is who you need to ask.
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Old 10-10-2011, 01:24 AM
 
Location: Tucson for awhile longer
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You also might want to consider a built-in webcam (doesn't up the price much). If you are going to school online you might have times you need to communicate face-to-face with your instructors or fellow students. Skype and other meeting programs are free and easy to download.
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Old 10-11-2011, 12:54 PM
 
Location: Metro Washington DC
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Some Macs you have to buy the drive separately. Nothing wrong with that, I'm just pointing that out.
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Old 10-11-2011, 01:15 PM
 
Location: Everywhere.
660 posts, read 801,352 times
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Also advisable to look for a namebrand computer that has a good warranty. Getting an older used PC is not advised because some of the parts may not work after it is used regularly in a short amount of time.
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Old 10-12-2011, 12:12 PM
 
Location: Maryland not Murlin
8,196 posts, read 22,687,635 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Whyte Byrd View Post
Need to buy a computer/laptop to use for online school where I have to also use discs. What should I look for in a computer besides a disc drive? Would a Mac be better? I don't even know the right questions to ask when I go in to look.
This would be better served in the Colleges and Universities sub-forum as this question has come up from time to time.

Your school/program/course should list the basic requirements for on-line courses, but my guess is that most computers released in the last few years would be sufficient. You do not need anything fancy, just a decent processor (does not need to be stupid fast/powerful, but should have at least two cores), a decent video card (doesn't have to be HD), hard drive space (around 10 free gigs or so), connection speed (basically, anything faster than dial-up), and 2 gigs of RAM should be more than enough.

A Mac would be overkill, unless you want to use it for other purposes that can take advantage of what it offers. Otherwise, just stick to a basic, low-to-mid range PC with stock configuration and you should be fine.

Also, your school probably has a "computer store"....more than likely with Dell and/or HP and Apple with discount pricing. Apple's Education Pricing is a joke at only $100 off, but HP and Dell give better deals, and you can get a decent laptop or desktop for $400 or less.
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Old 10-13-2011, 01:39 PM
 
Location: Everybody is going to hurt you, you just gotta find the ones worth suffering for-B Marley
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Thanks to all. One more question; I'm looking at Best Buy right now at some refurbished. Would you buy a refurbished laptop?
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Old 10-13-2011, 02:14 PM
 
Location: WV and Eastport, ME
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Whyte Byrd View Post
Thanks to all. One more question; I'm looking at Best Buy right now at some refurbished. Would you buy a refurbished laptop?
Look somewhere else. Nobody on this forum ever recommends buying at Best Buy, and that would go triple for a refurb. I would equate that with sending money orders to Nigerian bankers.
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Old 10-13-2011, 03:52 PM
 
16,308 posts, read 25,415,298 times
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Originally Posted by mensaguy View Post
Look somewhere else. Nobody on this forum ever recommends buying at Best Buy, and that would go triple for a refurb. I would equate that with sending money orders to Nigerian bankers.
I'll second all of this. Don't let Best Buy and the Geek squad get their hooks into you, they will sell you services and features you don't need.
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Old 10-13-2011, 04:36 PM
 
Location: The Triad (NC)
29,737 posts, read 64,902,798 times
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Buy new and with the most features you can afford beyond those you need.
Check with the bookstore at the Uni. They almost always have the best deals.

hth
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