Computers for Law School 2011

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rebelx13
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Re: Computers for Law School 2011

Postby rebelx13 » Wed Mar 16, 2011 2:20 am

I had a question about which laptop/tablet to use.

I'm currently rocking a 2 year old Dell, and I've recently upgraded to an Alienware m11x. I am a gamer, but I also need something that'll provide me substantial battery life (I get about 2.5 hours nowadays). The games I currently play and will be playing in the future (DoTA, DoTA 2, SCII/expansions, HL3 (lol?)) are completely within the bounds of my current Dell (SCII on low settings however) and I don't anticipate buying any other games except those I mentioned above.

My dilemma is whether to purchase an iPad 2 (w/bluetooth keyboard), which will give me some quality apps, extreme portabiliy (lightweight + battery life), or to keep the Alienware. The price difference would be $700 vs. $550 (iPad). Storage probably wouldn't be too much of an issue, considering I'd get a 32GB (primarily for the apps, as I only have 6GB of music) + dropbox on the iPad. If I really needed to save some money, I'd get the 16GB and skip music on the iPad entirely and only use it as an internet device + Google docs in class (unless there is an Office for iPad solution...not interested in the Apple versions or OpenOffice).

The Alienware is sexy, but I'm concerned that an 11.6" screen as my primary laptop (I would sell the Dell if I keep it) would be difficult to manage for law school work/exams. Battery life probably wouldn't be as good as that of the iPad (?).

I'm also worried about any potential software issues with the iPad. Has anyone that's currently attending had to utilize flash based (or other) software as a daily use program in class (or at home) that they feel may be compromised on an iOS software device? Obviously if I kept the iPad, I would keep the Dell and could bring it on exam days if necessary (since a lot of schools are testing on computers).

Your suggestions are much appreciated.

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planQ
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Re: Computers for Law School 2011

Postby planQ » Wed Mar 16, 2011 2:26 am

Hey Read an post awhile ago about a guy who was using a tablet laptop, any feelings either way on a tablet? Useful in law school or waste of money?

deepspacenine
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Re: Computers for Law School 2011

Postby deepspacenine » Wed Mar 16, 2011 2:42 am

Mac. Get one with Apple Care + Time Capsule and your golden. TC allows you to do hourly backups which will save your butt. Throw in Mobile Me and you can access your TC backups from the library or coffee shop.

Plus it runs World of Warcraft with a built in screen grab app and iTunes remote. Def. what I'll need for law school.

/thread
Last edited by deepspacenine on Wed Mar 16, 2011 2:45 am, edited 1 time in total.

wolverine2014
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Re: Computers for Law School 2011

Postby wolverine2014 » Wed Mar 16, 2011 2:43 am

Not sure if you guys/gals knew this but you may be eligible to get a one time computer loan from your financial aid office to cover the cost of your computer. I just found out that Michigan offers all students a one time $2,400 allowance to purchase a computer and printer. However, the computer MUST must be purchased no more than 30 days prior to the first day of classes and no later than late March so that it can be considered an academic year expense.
For those of you who are cash strapped, I suggest you contact your financial aid office to see if they offer a similar program.

rebelx13
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Re: Computers for Law School 2011

Postby rebelx13 » Wed Mar 16, 2011 2:50 am

deepspacenine wrote:Mac. Get one with Apple Care + Time Capsule and your golden. TC allows you to do hourly backups which will save your butt. Throw in Mobile Me and you can access your TC backups from the library or coffee shop.

Plus it runs World of Warcraft with a built in screen grab app and iTunes remote. Def. what I'll need for law school.

/thread


If this was in reference to my post above, I thank you for comments, but would have to amend my post to say "I am not interested in any Apple computers, regardless of how well they may be perceived."

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geoduck
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Re: Computers for Law School 2011

Postby geoduck » Wed Mar 16, 2011 11:01 am

rebelx13 wrote:
deepspacenine wrote:Mac. Get one with Apple Care + Time Capsule and your golden. TC allows you to do hourly backups which will save your butt. Throw in Mobile Me and you can access your TC backups from the library or coffee shop.

Plus it runs World of Warcraft with a built in screen grab app and iTunes remote. Def. what I'll need for law school.

/thread


If this was in reference to my post above, I thank you for comments, but would have to amend my post to say "I am not interested in any Apple computers, regardless of how well they may be perceived."


I hope it wasn't. No gamer in his or her right mind would buy a Mac laptop. And I say that as a big Apple supporter.

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bk1
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Re: Computers for Law School 2011

Postby bk1 » Wed Mar 16, 2011 12:32 pm

rebelx13 wrote:I had a question about which laptop/tablet to use.

I'm currently rocking a 2 year old Dell, and I've recently upgraded to an Alienware m11x. I am a gamer, but I also need something that'll provide me substantial battery life (I get about 2.5 hours nowadays). The games I currently play and will be playing in the future (DoTA, DoTA 2, SCII/expansions, HL3 (lol?)) are completely within the bounds of my current Dell (SCII on low settings however) and I don't anticipate buying any other games except those I mentioned above.

My dilemma is whether to purchase an iPad 2 (w/bluetooth keyboard), which will give me some quality apps, extreme portabiliy (lightweight + battery life), or to keep the Alienware. The price difference would be $700 vs. $550 (iPad). Storage probably wouldn't be too much of an issue, considering I'd get a 32GB (primarily for the apps, as I only have 6GB of music) + dropbox on the iPad. If I really needed to save some money, I'd get the 16GB and skip music on the iPad entirely and only use it as an internet device + Google docs in class (unless there is an Office for iPad solution...not interested in the Apple versions or OpenOffice).

The Alienware is sexy, but I'm concerned that an 11.6" screen as my primary laptop (I would sell the Dell if I keep it) would be difficult to manage for law school work/exams. Battery life probably wouldn't be as good as that of the iPad (?).

I'm also worried about any potential software issues with the iPad. Has anyone that's currently attending had to utilize flash based (or other) software as a daily use program in class (or at home) that they feel may be compromised on an iOS software device? Obviously if I kept the iPad, I would keep the Dell and could bring it on exam days if necessary (since a lot of schools are testing on computers).

Your suggestions are much appreciated.


Gaming specs and good battery life aren't something you're really going to find together.

I'd say if you don't need to game on the go then build yourself a desktop (which is fairly cheap), return your Alienware (if you can get a full refund), and keep your 2 year old Dell for (assuming it has the sufficient battery life you desire) for notetaking and exams. If the 2 year old Dell doesn't have the battery life you want then upgrade to an portable/ultraportable laptop that does get the life you want (something like an ASUS UL series/U series or similar).

With the iPad you can word process (whether it is with Apple's own app or something like DocumentsToGo), but I really just don't see using an iPad plus bluetooth keyboard to be the most efficient solution in the world especially considering the amount of time you are going to spend typing notes on it. There is no MS Office app for iOS and I haven't heard of one in the pipes.

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geoduck
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Re: Computers for Law School 2011

Postby geoduck » Wed Mar 16, 2011 12:47 pm

bk1 wrote:
rebelx13 wrote:I had a question about which laptop/tablet to use.

I'm currently rocking a 2 year old Dell, and I've recently upgraded to an Alienware m11x. I am a gamer, but I also need something that'll provide me substantial battery life (I get about 2.5 hours nowadays). The games I currently play and will be playing in the future (DoTA, DoTA 2, SCII/expansions, HL3 (lol?)) are completely within the bounds of my current Dell (SCII on low settings however) and I don't anticipate buying any other games except those I mentioned above.

My dilemma is whether to purchase an iPad 2 (w/bluetooth keyboard), which will give me some quality apps, extreme portabiliy (lightweight + battery life), or to keep the Alienware. The price difference would be $700 vs. $550 (iPad). Storage probably wouldn't be too much of an issue, considering I'd get a 32GB (primarily for the apps, as I only have 6GB of music) + dropbox on the iPad. If I really needed to save some money, I'd get the 16GB and skip music on the iPad entirely and only use it as an internet device + Google docs in class (unless there is an Office for iPad solution...not interested in the Apple versions or OpenOffice).

The Alienware is sexy, but I'm concerned that an 11.6" screen as my primary laptop (I would sell the Dell if I keep it) would be difficult to manage for law school work/exams. Battery life probably wouldn't be as good as that of the iPad (?).

I'm also worried about any potential software issues with the iPad. Has anyone that's currently attending had to utilize flash based (or other) software as a daily use program in class (or at home) that they feel may be compromised on an iOS software device? Obviously if I kept the iPad, I would keep the Dell and could bring it on exam days if necessary (since a lot of schools are testing on computers).

Your suggestions are much appreciated.


Gaming specs and good battery life aren't something you're really going to find together.

I'd say if you don't need to game on the go then build yourself a desktop (which is fairly cheap), return your Alienware (if you can get a full refund), and keep your 2 year old Dell for (assuming it has the sufficient battery life you desire) for notetaking and exams. If the 2 year old Dell doesn't have the battery life you want then upgrade to an portable/ultraportable laptop that does get the life you want (something like an ASUS UL series/U series or similar).

With the iPad you can word process (whether it is with Apple's own app or something like DocumentsToGo), but I really just don't see using an iPad plus bluetooth keyboard to be the most efficient solution in the world especially considering the amount of time you are going to spend typing notes on it. There is no MS Office app for iOS and I haven't heard of one in the pipes.


+1

I'm also curious as to why he'd buy an Apple iPad but refuse to use Apple's Pages. It's perfectly designed for the tablet form factor and works great with .doc format (probably .docx too... I haven't paid attention). I actually wrote the first two drafts of my personal statement using Pages.

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bk1
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Re: Computers for Law School 2011

Postby bk1 » Wed Mar 16, 2011 12:55 pm

geoduck wrote:I'm also curious as to why he'd buy an Apple iPad but refuse to use Apple's Pages. It's perfectly designed for the tablet form factor and works great with .doc format (probably .docx too... I haven't paid attention). I actually wrote the first two drafts of my personal statement using Pages.


Trimmed down features of Pages versus fully fledged Office? Lack of compatibility with certain formatting? Annoyance with the layout because he is so used to Office? I dunno.

deepspacenine
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Re: Computers for Law School 2011

Postby deepspacenine » Wed Mar 16, 2011 12:57 pm

geoduck wrote:
rebelx13 wrote:
deepspacenine wrote:Mac. Get one with Apple Care + Time Capsule and your golden. TC allows you to do hourly backups which will save your butt. Throw in Mobile Me and you can access your TC backups from the library or coffee shop.

Plus it runs World of Warcraft with a built in screen grab app and iTunes remote. Def. what I'll need for law school.

/thread


If this was in reference to my post above, I thank you for comments, but would have to amend my post to say "I am not interested in any Apple computers, regardless of how well they may be perceived."


I hope it wasn't. No gamer in his or her right mind would buy a Mac laptop. And I say that as a big Apple supporter.


My 3 year old MBP runs BC2, L4D2, WoW, TF2, CS:S, SC2, etc. all great. Obviously I'm not running on High with 4x MSAA or anything but these things are built to last. The last bottleneck in Mac's is the moderate level GPUs they throw in these things, although I think the newest MBP has a 2 GB DDR5 VRAM chip in it at the highest level (could be wrong).

Point is, you can game on the Mac. My fellow gamers just don't like the Apple tax. 8)

P.S. http://store.steampowered.com/browse/mac FTW

P.P.S. Was not referencing your specific post.. just giving a little plug for Apple for the very small demographic of hardcore gamers who use Macs. All 5 of us. :lol:
Last edited by deepspacenine on Wed Mar 16, 2011 1:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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bk1
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Re: Computers for Law School 2011

Postby bk1 » Wed Mar 16, 2011 1:00 pm

deepspacenine wrote:My 3 year old MBP runs BC2, L4D2, WoW, TF2, CS:S, SC2, etc. all great. Obviously I'm not running on High with 4x MSAA or anything but these things are built to last. The last bottleneck in Mac's is the moderate level GPUs they throw in these things, although I think the newest MBP has a 2 GB DDR5 VRAM chip in it at the highest level (could be wrong).

Point is, you can game on the Mac. My fellow gamers just don't like the Apple tax. 8)

P.S. http://store.steampowered.com/browse/mac FTW


It is obscenely cost inefficient to game on a Mac. The same is true of any laptop but it is worse on a Mac.

If you truly spend a decent amount of time playing PC games, getting a desktop is TCR. You'll have more power for less money every time.

deepspacenine
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Re: Computers for Law School 2011

Postby deepspacenine » Wed Mar 16, 2011 1:02 pm

bk1 wrote:
deepspacenine wrote:My 3 year old MBP runs BC2, L4D2, WoW, TF2, CS:S, SC2, etc. all great. Obviously I'm not running on High with 4x MSAA or anything but these things are built to last. The last bottleneck in Mac's is the moderate level GPUs they throw in these things, although I think the newest MBP has a 2 GB DDR5 VRAM chip in it at the highest level (could be wrong).

Point is, you can game on the Mac. My fellow gamers just don't like the Apple tax. 8)

P.S. http://store.steampowered.com/browse/mac FTW


It is obscenely cost inefficient to game on a Mac. The same is true of any laptop but it is worse on a Mac.

If you truly spend a decent amount of time playing PC games, getting a desktop is TCR. You'll have more power for less money every time.


Sure from a price-per-performance ratio standpoint but what if I wan't to use OS X for my law school, web design, day-to-day stuff. iCal and Addy Book syncing via Mobile Me to the cloud and my iPhone were a game changer in my life. I suffered on Treo and Windows Mobile dreaming of a day I could use my native mail client (Mail.app) to intelligently add calendar entries that would instantly show up on my mobile device. Now I can with OS X and I just love the flow of the OS.

Couple that with some stellar hardware support (I have never been let down by Apple Care) and for me it was worth the cost. Sure I could build a watercooled rig at half the price but having an "all in one" computer for day-to-day and gaming has a draw for some people, IMHO.

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geoduck
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Re: Computers for Law School 2011

Postby geoduck » Wed Mar 16, 2011 1:05 pm

deepspacenine wrote:
geoduck wrote:
rebelx13 wrote:
deepspacenine wrote:Mac. Get one with Apple Care + Time Capsule and your golden. TC allows you to do hourly backups which will save your butt. Throw in Mobile Me and you can access your TC backups from the library or coffee shop.

Plus it runs World of Warcraft with a built in screen grab app and iTunes remote. Def. what I'll need for law school.

/thread


If this was in reference to my post above, I thank you for comments, but would have to amend my post to say "I am not interested in any Apple computers, regardless of how well they may be perceived."


I hope it wasn't. No gamer in his or her right mind would buy a Mac laptop. And I say that as a big Apple supporter.


My 3 year old MBP runs BC2, L4D2, WoW, TF2, CS:S, SC2, etc. all great. Obviously I'm not running on High with 4x MSAA or anything but these things are built to last. The last bottleneck in Mac's is the moderate level GPUs they throw in these things, although I think the newest MBP has a 2 GB DDR5 VRAM chip in it at the highest level (could be wrong).

Point is, you can game on the Mac. My fellow gamers just don't like the Apple tax. 8)

P.S. http://store.steampowered.com/browse/mac FTW


I've been on the Steam for mac store since day one, so I'm aware that it can run games. But as you say, the GPUs are a bottleneck. The drivers are also a big one. Other than WOW, all of those games were really created for DirectX. They run okay on OpenGL, which is compounded by the weak drivers. I can play Left4Dead 2 smoothly on full 1920X1080 using bootcamp on my 2008 iMac. In OSX, I'm running one step above minimum spec. Civ5 runs .. okay in bootcamp. In OSX, I have to run on bottom spec and can't play huge maps. Granted this is better in the new systems, but you can get PCs with better graphics cards for less.

The Apple tax isn't all that real for workstation performance anymore, but it's still a huge factor for heavy gamers. I'm not a heavy gamer, though, so yay OSX.

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bk1
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Re: Computers for Law School 2011

Postby bk1 » Wed Mar 16, 2011 1:09 pm

deepspacenine wrote:Sure from a price-per-performance ratio standpoint but what if I wan't to use OS X for my law school, web design, day-to-day stuff. iCal and Addy Book syncing via Mobile Me to the cloud and my iPhone were a game changer in my life. I suffered on Treo and Windows Mobile dreaming of a day I could use my native mail client (Mail.app) to intelligently add calendar entries that would instantly show up on my mobile device. Now I can with OS X and I just love the flow of the OS.

Couple that with some stellar hardware support (I have never been let down by Apple Care) and for me it was worth the cost. Sure I could build a watercooled rig at half the price but having an "all in one" computer for day-to-day and gaming has a draw for some people, IMHO.


Google Calendar? Outlook syncing? Android? This isn't stuff unique to iOS/OS X.

I understand that some people do prefer OS X and prefer having one machine over two, but it will cost more to have a single machine (you can make a desktop and get a portable laptop for cheaper than you could a gaming laptop). You don't need to build something high end to best a laptop and I seriously doubt the amount of people who really need to the capability of playing PC games outside of their apartment/home. These preferences will cost you a lot so if you want them then pay for them. But I would never recommend that to anybody considering it is a bad choice all around from so many different angles (less power, more money, smaller screen, more weight on the laptop, etc).

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geoduck
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Re: Computers for Law School 2011

Postby geoduck » Wed Mar 16, 2011 1:13 pm

bk1 wrote:
deepspacenine wrote:Sure from a price-per-performance ratio standpoint but what if I wan't to use OS X for my law school, web design, day-to-day stuff. iCal and Addy Book syncing via Mobile Me to the cloud and my iPhone were a game changer in my life. I suffered on Treo and Windows Mobile dreaming of a day I could use my native mail client (Mail.app) to intelligently add calendar entries that would instantly show up on my mobile device. Now I can with OS X and I just love the flow of the OS.

Couple that with some stellar hardware support (I have never been let down by Apple Care) and for me it was worth the cost. Sure I could build a watercooled rig at half the price but having an "all in one" computer for day-to-day and gaming has a draw for some people, IMHO.


Google Calendar? Outlook syncing? Android? This isn't stuff unique to iOS/OS X.

I understand that some people do prefer OS X and prefer having one machine over two, but it will cost more to have a single machine (you can make a desktop and get a portable laptop for cheaper than you could a gaming laptop). You don't need to build something high end to best a laptop and I seriously doubt the amount of people who really need to the capability of playing PC games outside of their apartment/home. These preferences will cost you a lot so if you want them then pay for them. But I would never recommend that to anybody considering it is a bad choice all around from so many different angles (less power, more money, smaller screen, more weight on the laptop, etc).


Now if we're no longer talking about college students and are talking about people with money to burn, a quad-core 15" Macbook Pro with bootcamp should play anything you damn well want. Even without bootcamp, everything in Steam for Mac will run like a charm.

ZFB
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Re: Computers for Law School 2011

Postby ZFB » Wed Mar 16, 2011 1:16 pm

I have desktop for the gaming side of computing, so I'm most likely going to go for a Lenovo Edge or T-series sub $1000.

As far as Macs go, I was forced to use them in the labs during school and at work. I just don't like the OS and there's no arguing that they're over priced. As far as security, they have been shown to have just as many vulnerabilities as PCs but they don't have enough of the global market to make it worthwhile for people to target (yet). My personal opinion is that I'll never buy a Mac. If I want a Unix based OS I'll throw a linux disto on a PC.

Unless you have a compelling reason to buy a Mac (such as using Final Cut Pro), save your money and stick with a PC for half price. You can upgrade again after law school and your total cost will finally be that of a Mac.

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bk1
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Re: Computers for Law School 2011

Postby bk1 » Wed Mar 16, 2011 1:19 pm

geoduck wrote:Now if we're no longer talking about college students and are talking about people with money to burn, a quad-core 15" Macbook Pro with bootcamp should play anything you damn well want. Even without bootcamp, everything in Steam for Mac will run like a charm.


I still would recommend getting a desktop for gaming for these people especially considering you can swap in new parts (and you would still have to get mouse/keyboard/speakers/monitor to make the laptop a viable gaming alternative to a desktop).

But I guess if you've got money to burn you could just buy each new MBP refresh that comes out. :P

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bk1
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Re: Computers for Law School 2011

Postby bk1 » Wed Mar 16, 2011 1:21 pm

ZFB wrote:Unless you have a compelling reason to buy a Mac


Which brings us to the eternal question of: are Mac design aesthetics and OS X compelling reasons?

If you have the money then I think they are compelling reasons (as opposed to the guy on public transit yesterday who was carrying one of those Giorgio Armani branded smartphones).

champsound
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Re: Computers for Law School 2011

Postby champsound » Wed Mar 16, 2011 1:23 pm

Love how this turned into a best computers for gaming (during law school) thread.

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geoduck
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Re: Computers for Law School 2011

Postby geoduck » Wed Mar 16, 2011 1:25 pm

bk1 wrote:
geoduck wrote:Now if we're no longer talking about college students and are talking about people with money to burn, a quad-core 15" Macbook Pro with bootcamp should play anything you damn well want. Even without bootcamp, everything in Steam for Mac will run like a charm.


I still would recommend getting a desktop for gaming for these people especially considering you can swap in new parts (and you would still have to get mouse/keyboard/speakers/monitor to make the laptop a viable gaming alternative to a desktop).

But I guess if you've got money to burn you could just buy each new MBP refresh that comes out. :P


Well just the mouse and maybe the speakers, though more likely a good set of headphones. If you get the hi-res screen on the MBP, that'll be plenty for gaming. And the keyboard is pretty great once you get used to it.

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bk1
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Re: Computers for Law School 2011

Postby bk1 » Wed Mar 16, 2011 1:27 pm

geoduck wrote:Well just the mouse and maybe the speakers, though more likely a good set of headphones. If you get the hi-res screen on the MBP, that'll be plenty for gaming. And the keyboard is pretty great once you get used to it.


It's not about the resolution, it's about the size. Spending more on my monitor than on my rig was one of the best decisions I ever made.

notanumber
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Re: Computers for Law School 2011

Postby notanumber » Wed Mar 16, 2011 1:35 pm

So, does anybody here use a dual monitor setup for their desktop? If so, does it help with productivity?

I'm considering buying a macbook air and turning my old pro into a desktop. I've always been drawn to the idea of dual monitors (notes and papers on one side, work product on the other), but I've never actually worked with them. How would this work for the kinds of tasks one does in law school?

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geoduck
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Re: Computers for Law School 2011

Postby geoduck » Wed Mar 16, 2011 1:37 pm

bk1 wrote:
geoduck wrote:Well just the mouse and maybe the speakers, though more likely a good set of headphones. If you get the hi-res screen on the MBP, that'll be plenty for gaming. And the keyboard is pretty great once you get used to it.


It's not about the resolution, it's about the size. Spending more on my monitor than on my rig was one of the best decisions I ever made.


Luckily, the 27 inch Apple cinema display is only like 800 bucks and supplies power to the laptop!

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bk1
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Re: Computers for Law School 2011

Postby bk1 » Wed Mar 16, 2011 1:38 pm

geoduck wrote:Luckily, the 27 inch Apple cinema display is only like 800 bucks and supplies power to the laptop!


It powers the laptop? That's kinda nifty.

deepspacenine
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Re: Computers for Law School 2011

Postby deepspacenine » Wed Mar 16, 2011 2:31 pm

champsound wrote:Love how this turned into a best computers for gaming (during law school) thread.


That was my original intention. Thus the /thread comment.

Next step is to start a WoW raiding guild for the times we should be studying ConLaw. :lol:




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