The Ideal Law School Laptop

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missv463
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Re: The Ideal Law School Laptop

Postby missv463 » Sat May 16, 2009 6:18 pm

coolkatz321 wrote:Well, I just ordered a Thinkpad...amazing computer and at a great price (just under $1,000). For anyone looking to purchase a Thinkpad, get it through the Lenovo Contractor program--

http://www.lenovo.com/cpp

The password is 'familyandfriends'
Also, you can get an addition 5% off by using the code "USETSAVINGS"

It saves way more than the normal Lenovo site...I think my total savings were around $720.


just bought a T400 and a S10 for $1376... thanks for the info! happy that i finally made a decision :D

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Sobriquet
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Re: The Ideal Law School Laptop

Postby Sobriquet » Sat May 16, 2009 6:44 pm

Just FYI, the 9 cell only gets "8-9 hours" of charge of utilization if you are only using your laptop to do minimal work about 50% of the 8-9 hours and idle the other 50% of the time...and the monitor dimmed to about half. I personally cannot stare at a computer with the monitor dimmed to half and who's going to leave their computer idle for half the time they are using it? Just beware of all battery life estimates for the fine print.

deadatheist
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Re: The Ideal Law School Laptop

Postby deadatheist » Sun May 17, 2009 12:21 am

holy shit this is a long thread. anyone whose been following this care to summarize if humanly possible?

p.s. i'm going to run a search for the whole running windows on a mac subject, but any additional insight if it hasn't already been discussed per this topic would be most awesome.

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superflush
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Re: The Ideal Law School Laptop

Postby superflush » Sun May 17, 2009 12:29 am

deadatheist wrote:holy shit this is a long thread. anyone whose been following this care to summarize if humanly possible?


Actually, I thought that was a good idea. Maybe I'll do so if I get a chance tonight. :)

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coolkatz321
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Re: The Ideal Law School Laptop

Postby coolkatz321 » Sun May 17, 2009 12:30 am

deadatheist wrote:holy shit this is a long thread. anyone whose been following this care to summarize if humanly possible?

p.s. i'm going to run a search for the whole running windows on a mac subject, but any additional insight if it hasn't already been discussed per this topic would be most awesome.


Summary: if you want a Mac, get a Macbook. If you want a Windows computer, get a Thinkpad (the T400 is excellent). Netbooks? Only if you want something for basic internet surfing or note-taking.

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superflush
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Re: The Ideal Law School Laptop

Postby superflush » Sun May 17, 2009 1:45 am

Summary:
On the Mac side:
With the Education pricing here's what they start at
White MacBook: starts at $949.00
Unibody Macbook: starts at $1,249.00
15-inch MacBook Pro: starts at $1,899.00
17-inch: MacBook Pro: starts at $2,599.00

It is my understanding that the majority of the exam software can only be run on Windows, which in this case means Mac users will have to use Boot Camp and have aversion of Windows installed on their Mac to run the exam software. I am being told that not all law schools require you to be able to run Windows. (i.e. Boalt) it is advised that you check before you go through the trouble of doing the Boot Camp (if you didn't want to in the first place). VMware Fusion and Parallels Desktop are virtualization software products for Mac, although I'm pretty sure you can't use the exam software in this. They still might be helpful for other things though.
Microsoft Office OneNote is a part of Microsoft Office that is only available in the Windows version of Office. Many people say this is one of the best ways to take notes and do outlines. This cannot be run on Mac without VMware Fusion and Parallels Desktop. But if you are using one of these programs it can be.
This website may be helpful for those who are considering a Mac for law school:
http://maclawstudents.com/
Also, Apple has had a promotion in the summer for several years, usually mid-June to mid-September where if you as a student buys a MacBook or MBP, you get $200 off an iPod (or free iPod). So, many may want to look out for this if they are buying in the summer. Also, the next version of the Mac OS, Snow Leopard (Mac OS X v10.6), should be out sometime in the summer.

On the Windows side:
Lenovo ThinkPad T400 is a notebook thats been mentioned over and over again as a good option. In the ThinkPad T Series there is the T400 & T500, and there are several different models within, and are very customizable on Lenovo's website.
Toshiba Portege R500 has also been mentioned. I have one of the predecessors of this notebook. And while mine is outdated, the portability of this ultraportable is great.

Windows 7, which is said to be unbelievably better than Vista, is expected to be out by Christmas, and the Release Candidate trial is available legitimately online now.

On the Netbook end of things
A lot of different netbook models have been mentioned. I just got my netbook a few days ago, a Samsung NC10, and really like it. Its served as a good upgrade from my 4yr old Toshiba Portege R200. Although eventually I hope I'll have MacBook or MacBook Pro.
The best advice I can give on the netbook end, is to try to see them instore somewhere before you order. Since the specs are virtually the same across the board, things like screen size and the keyboard are very important. When I tried out some of the keyboards, I liked the Samsungs better than competitors (I think the only one I didn't get a chance to try was MSI Wind). Be aware that some models don't come with bluetooth (which is a shame) and some make it so that upgrading your RAM voids the warranty (my Samsung has an easy access RAM slot and it only took my seconds to put new Crucial RAM in there). While netbooks are great, I don't know if anyone is recommending to use them full-time for law school. For most people, they serve as a companion device.

- If I mispoke about something, feel free to correct me. Or if you have better information about anything, such as virtualization, feel free to add it.
Last edited by superflush on Sun May 17, 2009 1:54 am, edited 2 times in total.

deadatheist
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Re: The Ideal Law School Laptop

Postby deadatheist » Sun May 17, 2009 11:14 am

thanks superflush!!

last night i read some articles on maclawstudents among other sites, so i think it's good to see people here are on the same pg. like you said, it's worth checking with your school to see (a) if macs'll be at a disadvantage and (b) if the school uses examsoft so you'll have to run windows through bootcamp anyways (and use the shortcuts you'd use on a pc with the program). fwiw (anything?), i sat in on a handful of (2l and 3l) classes at boalt and hastings with friends, and i'd easily say a majority of students were using macs, w. regular os...

i've loved my pc laptops, and they've weathered a lot, so i just want to make sure i find something that can handle all the wear and tear to come... i feel like macs, esp mbps i've used for work, are somehow more durable w/ better battery life, but oh how i'd :( to turn in my "i'm a pc" badge

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coolkatz321
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Re: The Ideal Law School Laptop

Postby coolkatz321 » Sun May 17, 2009 11:23 am

deadatheist wrote:thanks superflush!!

last night i read some articles on maclawstudents among other sites, so i think it's good to see people here are on the same pg. like you said, it's worth checking with your school to see (a) if macs'll be at a disadvantage and (b) if the school uses examsoft so you'll have to run windows through bootcamp anyways (and use the shortcuts you'd use on a pc with the program). fwiw (anything?), i sat in on a handful of (2l and 3l) classes at boalt and hastings with friends, and i'd easily say a majority of students were using macs, w. regular os...

i've loved my pc laptops, and they've weathered a lot, so i just want to make sure i find something that can handle all the wear and tear to come... i feel like macs, esp mbps i've used for work, are somehow more durable w/ better battery life, but oh how i'd :( to turn in my "i'm a pc" badge


The T400 has a better battery life than any Macbook. If you get the extended battery, you're looking at 10+ hours of battery life. Say what you want in the PC vs. Mac debate, but the T4/500 will give you better durability and longer battery life vs. any other laptop.

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matty
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Re: The Ideal Law School Laptop

Postby matty » Sun May 17, 2009 1:45 pm

nitsudrx wrote:
coolkatz321 wrote:I would just like to emphasize the importance of a discreet graphics card...the PC will run much, much better. Also, having an LED screen will drastically increase your battery life.


Worth $150 more? I will really notice the difference?

EDIT: Now I'm hearing that the integrated gives longer battery times and keeps the computer temperature cooler...

whoa, yeah...don't spread misinformation in this thread. You absolutely do not need the discreet graphics card unless you plan on using it for gaming or watching HD content. There will not be any noticeable difference in your basic law school related uses. Save the $150 and apply it towards the 9 cell battery (no, I wouldn't count on 10 hours of battery life, but anywhere from 6-8 or 9 is reasonable). I also recall reading somewhere on here that a 160 GB hard drive is not big enough. That's absurd, law school stuff will take up 1% of that I bet. Obviously you might want the space for other stuff, but you can get a good external 500 GB on sale for 30-40 bucks these days.

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coolkatz321
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Re: The Ideal Law School Laptop

Postby coolkatz321 » Sun May 17, 2009 3:13 pm

matty wrote:
nitsudrx wrote:
coolkatz321 wrote:I would just like to emphasize the importance of a discreet graphics card...the PC will run much, much better. Also, having an LED screen will drastically increase your battery life.


Worth $150 more? I will really notice the difference?

EDIT: Now I'm hearing that the integrated gives longer battery times and keeps the computer temperature cooler...

whoa, yeah...don't spread misinformation in this thread. You absolutely do not need the discreet graphics card unless you plan on using it for gaming or watching HD content. There will not be any noticeable difference in your basic law school related uses. Save the $150 and apply it towards the 9 cell battery (no, I wouldn't count on 10 hours of battery life, but anywhere from 6-8 or 9 is reasonable). I also recall reading somewhere on here that a 160 GB hard drive is not big enough. That's absurd, law school stuff will take up 1% of that I bet. Obviously you might want the space for other stuff, but you can get a good external 500 GB on sale for 30-40 bucks these days.


Trust me, the 10 hours of battery life is actually a pretty accurate estimate. My T400 is on its way, but my friend has the 9-cell battery and LED screen and with brightness on ~60% and wifi on he gets about 10.5 hours of battery life. It's really, really impressive. The Thinkpads also have the best cooling system of any laptop, so they never get hot (not in my exp., at least).

mudmanfloyd
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Re: The Ideal Law School Laptop

Postby mudmanfloyd » Sun May 17, 2009 10:36 pm

Is there any downside to ordering a Lenovo from the contractor purchase program? Like, for example, if I need tech support or needed a warranty covered problem fixed, would they give me trouble or ask what qualifies me as a contractor?
Thanks

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matty
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Re: The Ideal Law School Laptop

Postby matty » Sun May 17, 2009 10:52 pm

mudmanfloyd wrote:Is there any downside to ordering a Lenovo from the contractor purchase program? Like, for example, if I need tech support or needed a warranty covered problem fixed, would they give me trouble or ask what qualifies me as a contractor?
Thanks

Not at all. Only downside is the the wait, especially if you order the LED screen (which I recommend). Ordered mine through CPP right at the end of Arpil and the original shipping date was May 15, now its been pushed back to May 28. Getting impatient...

bigben
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Re: The Ideal Law School Laptop

Postby bigben » Mon May 18, 2009 12:22 pm

I agree that it would be a huge waste of money to buy the discrete graphics unless you want to play games or do something with HD like play it on your TV. The one awesome thing about the discrete graphics, and I think I mentioned this earlier, is that you can turn it off and use the integrated graphics when you don't need it, thus extending your battery life.

About the battery life, it's true that you can get 10.5 hours while on wifi if you have the right options (LED screen, 9-cell battery, but SSD is not necessary) and the right settings (I would say 40% brightness which is usually bright enough and where I set mine, automatic turn-off of optical drive enabled). But of course all batteries gradually lose their max power, and you usually don't want to run the battery down to the last possible second.

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Spinoza
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Re: The Ideal Law School Laptop

Postby Spinoza » Mon May 18, 2009 12:44 pm

How important do you think an optical drive is? I am looking at some super-light 12 and 13 inch laptops that are pretty cheap and dont have an optical drive. I have one now on my laptop, and I never use it. Just wondering if there are any 1Ls out there that know if you really need one more than a couple of times a year (in which case you can just borrow an external one).

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misteranthro
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Re: The Ideal Law School Laptop

Postby misteranthro » Mon May 18, 2009 1:45 pm

hieveryone wrote:
misteranthro wrote:I thought I had it figured out a couple of days ago, but now I am getting more and more unsure about what I want to do. I am thinking Lenovo, but their battery life kind of sucks and they don't have any current platforms that support a dual battery system. The T400 seems best, but with a SSD, 9 Cell Battery and LED display I still don't know if I will get 4 hours out of a charge. Anybody have any anecdotal experiences about battery life you want to share?


Um. Their battery life sucks? I've actually heard based on notebook reviews that the T400 is one of the better laptops out there in terms of battery life. Also, all of the options you just listed extends battery life. the SSD has no moving parts and has less power consumption. The LED screen is more energy efficient as well, if only marginally. And the 9 cell..well that should give you a lot more battery time than the 6 cell as well. So I'm not sure why you're worried. Also, as with all laptops with Li batteries--you don't want to discharge the battery all the way. so you really shouldn't be running your battery to 0% anyways.

edit: you should be getting 8-9 hours with a 9 cell. and switch of the discrete graphics when you don't need it. Assuming you opted for it.


When I called Lenovo, I asked the customer service rep I was talking to about her battery life. She was also running a T400, but with the 7200 HD. The rest of the specs were the same as mentioned above though. She told me that she has a 6 cell battery and is getting roughly 2 hours per charge from it. IMO, that sucks. Granted, the 9 cell should close to double that, but it still ends up nowhere near the amount of time advertised. I intend to go with the 9 cell with the specs I mentioned above and just spring for a second 6 cell battery. Hopefully, by undervolting and adjusting the screen brightness I can get plenty of time to last me the full day on campus without plugging in.

Bankhead
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Re: The Ideal Law School Laptop

Postby Bankhead » Mon May 18, 2009 1:48 pm

I'm going to ask again. Is Vista Home Premium necessary, or will Vista Home Basic do the trick? I've seen the charts, but I don't know if the extra stuff is worth paying another 50 bucks for...
Last edited by Bankhead on Mon May 18, 2009 1:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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bigrob24
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Re: The Ideal Law School Laptop

Postby bigrob24 » Mon May 18, 2009 1:48 pm

just purchased a T400 last week, cant wait for it to get in!!!

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djshack
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Re: The Ideal Law School Laptop

Postby djshack » Mon May 18, 2009 2:49 pm

nitsudrx wrote:I'm going to ask again. Is Vista Home Premium necessary, or will Vista Home Basic do the trick? I've seen the charts, but I don't know if the extra stuff is worth paying another 50 bucks for...


I'll answer again as well. I recommend Vista Home Premium at the minimum. Basic is so stripped down it doesn't even included the "Aero" visual effects. If you don't mind your computer looking like it's from the 90s, then get Home Basic. True, it's not a necessity, but if you're buying a new computer you might as well have some cool visuals to go with it.

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Buckeye
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Re: The Ideal Law School Laptop

Postby Buckeye » Mon May 18, 2009 3:55 pm

djshack wrote:
nitsudrx wrote:I'm going to ask again. Is Vista Home Premium necessary, or will Vista Home Basic do the trick? I've seen the charts, but I don't know if the extra stuff is worth paying another 50 bucks for...


I'll answer again as well. I recommend Vista Home Premium at the minimum. Basic is so stripped down it doesn't even included the "Aero" visual effects. If you don't mind your computer looking like it's from the 90s, then get Home Basic. True, it's not a necessity, but if you're buying a new computer you might as well have some cool visuals to go with it.


This is probably the correct response.

At the same time though, this is why I prefer Linux. Instead of paying extra for visual effects, why not get the whole OS for free, with even more customizable visual effects?

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Spinoza
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Re: The Ideal Law School Laptop

Postby Spinoza » Mon May 18, 2009 4:10 pm

The new Acer Timeline series is getting some good reviews. They are a fair bit lighter than the T400, but still manage an 8hr battery life. But then again, they are only coming out today, so ho knows how they will really perform and what the end price will be.


I too was thinking about getting one of these. I acually like the look of the 13 inch (hence my earlier question about getting a laptop with no internal optical drive. I can't find anyone selling them online, so I doubt they came out on time. IMO the 14 inch owns the T400 easy. I don't get why people like the the T400s here so much. They are ugly as sin, heavy, and have more power than you need for law school. The battery life is nice, but why not just get a lighter, cheaper laptop with the same life.

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tempurabanana
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Re: The Ideal Law School Laptop

Postby tempurabanana » Mon May 18, 2009 4:50 pm

Just putting this out there...

I was all gung-ho about the T400 until I was on a plane the other day and asked the woman next to me if I could hold hers. The damn thing is heavy! It had one of the big batteries on it though, but that would be what I'd get if I got it. I was just generally surprised by how large it was - I was definitely expecting something smaller.

I would definitely check out the laptop you intend to buy in a store first before you set out some cash for it. Seeing and holding the T400 was enough to give me second thoughts.

For the record, the woman used it for business and said she really liked it.

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djshack
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Re: The Ideal Law School Laptop

Postby djshack » Mon May 18, 2009 5:39 pm

Buckeye wrote:
djshack wrote:
nitsudrx wrote:I'm going to ask again. Is Vista Home Premium necessary, or will Vista Home Basic do the trick? I've seen the charts, but I don't know if the extra stuff is worth paying another 50 bucks for...


I'll answer again as well. I recommend Vista Home Premium at the minimum. Basic is so stripped down it doesn't even included the "Aero" visual effects. If you don't mind your computer looking like it's from the 90s, then get Home Basic. True, it's not a necessity, but if you're buying a new computer you might as well have some cool visuals to go with it.


This is probably the correct response.

At the same time though, this is why I prefer Linux. Instead of paying extra for visual effects, why not get the whole OS for free, with even more customizable visual effects?


I did actually dual-boot Ubuntu on my T400 for about a week. I liked it... reminded me of Mac OS X a bit (the good things about it). I ended up taking it off though because I don't NEED it for anything, and I use Windows for everything (good or bad, whatever). The less stuff to distract me during law school, the better (and I actually like MS Office, and greatly prefer it to OpenOffice).

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djshack
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Re: The Ideal Law School Laptop

Postby djshack » Mon May 18, 2009 5:39 pm

tempurabanana wrote:Just putting this out there...

I was all gung-ho about the T400 until I was on a plane the other day and asked the woman next to me if I could hold hers. The damn thing is heavy! It had one of the big batteries on it though, but that would be what I'd get if I got it. I was just generally surprised by how large it was - I was definitely expecting something smaller.

I would definitely check out the laptop you intend to buy in a store first before you set out some cash for it. Seeing and holding the T400 was enough to give me second thoughts.

For the record, the woman used it for business and said she really liked it.


Yeah, it's heavy-ish. But that weight translates to durability and quality construction. Also, it's not MUCH heavier than my old white 13" MacBook (5 pounds vs. 5.5 pounds or so). I have the 6-cell battery, FWIW.

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superflush
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Re: The Ideal Law School Laptop

Postby superflush » Mon May 18, 2009 6:53 pm

Spinoza wrote:How important do you think an optical drive is? I am looking at some super-light 12 and 13 inch laptops that are pretty cheap and dont have an optical drive. I have one now on my laptop, and I never use it. Just wondering if there are any 1Ls out there that know if you really need one more than a couple of times a year (in which case you can just borrow an external one).


You could always get a slim external optical drive for less than $100. So, if I could get by with only using it at home, that would work out.

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coolkatz321
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Re: The Ideal Law School Laptop

Postby coolkatz321 » Mon May 18, 2009 7:30 pm

tempurabanana wrote:Just putting this out there...

I was all gung-ho about the T400 until I was on a plane the other day and asked the woman next to me if I could hold hers. The damn thing is heavy! It had one of the big batteries on it though, but that would be what I'd get if I got it. I was just generally surprised by how large it was - I was definitely expecting something smaller.

I would definitely check out the laptop you intend to buy in a store first before you set out some cash for it. Seeing and holding the T400 was enough to give me second thoughts.

For the record, the woman used it for business and said she really liked it.


The titanium alloy roll cage isn't that light...but it's only 5.5 pounds or so vs. the usual 5 pounds. The battery probably didn't help much.

If you want a lighter Thinkpad, just go with the SL400, which is still a great computer.




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