Computers for Law School 2011

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shredderrrrrr
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Re: Computers for Law School 2011

Postby shredderrrrrr » Wed Aug 08, 2012 2:33 am

Buying a MacBook Air and was looking for some help about specs.

Can anyone tell me if there is a significant difference between a 1.8GHz Dual-core Intel Core i5 processor, 1.7GHz Dual-core Intel Core i5, and a 1.8GHz Dual-core Intel Core i7? I'm just wondering what the the .1 difference in GHz and i5 vs. i7 means to a computer noob. Is it a noticeable difference worth spending differently for?

Same question goes for memory. Is there a difference worth spending on between 4GB 1333MHz DDR3 SDRAM, 4GB 1600MHz DDR3L SDRAM, and 8GB 1600MHz DDR3L SDRAM? I would assume the last one is the best, but would all be pretty fast?

Sorry to be such a computer idiot. I am just trying to decide whether to buy new/refurbished and don't know the first thing about processors and memory.

tl;dr: Are processors/memory the same as storage in the sense that there is a tangible benefit in spending money to upgrade them or are they pretty similar in the eyes of someone who is planning on using their laptop only for basic stuff?

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haus
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Re: Computers for Law School 2011

Postby haus » Wed Aug 08, 2012 6:44 am

shredderrrrrr wrote:Buying a MacBook Air and was looking for some help about specs.

Can anyone tell me if there is a significant difference between a 1.8GHz Dual-core Intel Core i5 processor, 1.7GHz Dual-core Intel Core i5, and a 1.8GHz Dual-core Intel Core i7? I'm just wondering what the the .1 difference in GHz and i5 vs. i7 means to a computer noob. Is it a noticeable difference worth spending differently for?

Same question goes for memory. Is there a difference worth spending on between 4GB 1333MHz DDR3 SDRAM, 4GB 1600MHz DDR3L SDRAM, and 8GB 1600MHz DDR3L SDRAM? I would assume the last one is the best, but would all be pretty fast?

Sorry to be such a computer idiot. I am just trying to decide whether to buy new/refurbished and don't know the first thing about processors and memory.

tl;dr: Are processors/memory the same as storage in the sense that there is a tangible benefit in spending money to upgrade them or are they pretty similar in the eyes of someone who is planning on using their laptop only for basic stuff?

If you would like to see a discussion on the relative diffrence of these components compared to one another, you can take a look at this article.

http://arstechnica.com/apple/2012/06/re ... vy-bridge/

Assuming the your usage pattern is that of someone taking notes, web surfing, writing papers, I doubt that the diffrence in the processors will have much, if any, impact.

As for RAM, the type of work described above, is not going to bring the speed of the RAM into play, but amount of RAM may still be an issue. If you are well disciplined, and only run the apps you need at any given moment, then the baseline RAM will likely be fine. If on the other hand you are like me and find reasons to try to run (and keep active) large numbers of programs, then you may find the additional amount of RAM to be handy.

chemE_envlaw
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Re: Computers for Law School 2011

Postby chemE_envlaw » Wed Aug 08, 2012 2:19 pm

I posted this in the NYU-specific thread, but maybe this is a better place:

I have a question about laptops. Ultrabooks, specifically.

I'm bringing my desktop as my main computer. I have a years-old laptop that I assume still works but weighs something like 6 pounds and has ME or Vista or something terrible as an OS, so I was figuring I'd buy a new one. The specs on the recommended systems are rather more than I would think would be necessary for a little word processing and web browsing. I'd like to get an Ultrabook, but I'm not going to spend an arm and a leg, so I guess my question is, do you think a little less processing power/hard drive space would be a problem? I wouldn't think so, but maybe there's something I'm missing?

I leaning toward an ASUS Zenbook UX31-ESL8 at the moment.

thederangedwang
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Re: Computers for Law School 2011

Postby thederangedwang » Wed Aug 08, 2012 2:31 pm

shredderrrrrr wrote:Buying a MacBook Air and was looking for some help about specs.

Can anyone tell me if there is a significant difference between a 1.8GHz Dual-core Intel Core i5 processor, 1.7GHz Dual-core Intel Core i5, and a 1.8GHz Dual-core Intel Core i7? I'm just wondering what the the .1 difference in GHz and i5 vs. i7 means to a computer noob. Is it a noticeable difference worth spending differently for?

Same question goes for memory. Is there a difference worth spending on between 4GB 1333MHz DDR3 SDRAM, 4GB 1600MHz DDR3L SDRAM, and 8GB 1600MHz DDR3L SDRAM? I would assume the last one is the best, but would all be pretty fast?

Sorry to be such a computer idiot. I am just trying to decide whether to buy new/refurbished and don't know the first thing about processors and memory.

tl;dr: Are processors/memory the same as storage in the sense that there is a tangible benefit in spending money to upgrade them or are they pretty similar in the eyes of someone who is planning on using their laptop only for basic stuff?

with all the development in processors its really impossible to compare them anymore without using benchmarks. In other words, terms like clock speed and Ghz this and Ghz that are becoming increasingly less descriptive and less helpful in telling you straight up which processor is "faster".

In short though, the newer generation icore processors usually perform 15% faster than previous generation icores. Thus, you would need to compare the processor model and type to get a more accurate estimate

edit: the basic intel icore processor now (meaning if you walked into a best buy and saw their display models) are sandy bridge architecture (their model numbers should all be in the 2000's)..though walmart still sells older arrandale models (model number under 1000)

thus, take a look at this model from walmart

--LinkRemoved--

note how its an older icore model (since its model number is i5-480m)

and then take a look at this bestbuy model

http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Gateway+-+1 ... Id=5036655

note the better processor (2000+ model number)

But then take a look at their respective stats, on paper, they look the same since both have 3mb cache and similar Ghz

albanach
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Re: Computers for Law School 2011

Postby albanach » Wed Aug 08, 2012 4:06 pm

thederangedwang wrote:
But then take a look at their respective stats, on paper, they look the same since both have 3mb cache and similar Ghz


And that said, if all you plan to do is use is a word processor and a web browser, almost any modern laptop should be sufficient, especially if it has 4GB or more of RAM.

Responding to the original question, I'd invest in the extra RAM before investing in a faster processor.

always_raining
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Re: Computers for Law School 2011

Postby always_raining » Wed Aug 08, 2012 4:11 pm

Would it be dumb to buy a refurbished laptop? I was thinking about buying a Mac but I don't want to spend that much money, but I also don't want to risk some sort of terrible mishap during exams.

I feel like this should be a simple decision. I normally use Macs but since I need Windows anyway, I am leaning toward a PC. But there are so many choices. I just want a super light laptop that doesn't have terrible reviews. I almost feel like I should stop reading reviews...they keep scaring me away.

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Re: Computers for Law School 2011

Postby rinkrat19 » Wed Aug 08, 2012 4:12 pm

albanach wrote:
thederangedwang wrote:
But then take a look at their respective stats, on paper, they look the same since both have 3mb cache and similar Ghz


And that said, if all you plan to do is use is a word processor and a web browser, almost any modern laptop should be sufficient, especially if it has 4GB or more of RAM.

Responding to the original question, I'd invest in the extra RAM before investing in a faster processor.
OTOH, RAM (at least in a PC, I have no idea about Macs) is easy and cheap to upgrade yourself, unlike the processor.

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shredderrrrrr
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Re: Computers for Law School 2011

Postby shredderrrrrr » Wed Aug 08, 2012 4:13 pm

Thanks for the helpful information!

I'm buying an iMac + laptop instead of the 17" MBP that I had planned on buying (comes out to about the same price). I figure the iMac will take care of most heavy-usage stuff (my video-editing, Photoshop, and storing all my data) and just need the laptop for everyday law school stuff and maybe some occasional photo-editing and whatnot. I was just interested if I should invest in upgrading the Air to meet my needs or if it should suffice as is. Sounds like the latter is the case.

I was also confused because the processor in my current 2008 Macbook is .5GHz bigger than the new Air...and I assumed that meant it would be worse. It looks like that is not the case.

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Re: Computers for Law School 2011

Postby shredderrrrrr » Wed Aug 08, 2012 4:15 pm

always_raining wrote:Would it be dumb to buy a refurbished laptop? I was thinking about buying a Mac but I don't want to spend that much money, but I also don't want to risk some sort of terrible mishap during exams.

I feel like this should be a simple decision. I normally use Macs but since I need Windows anyway, I am leaning toward a PC. But there are so many choices. I just want a super light laptop that doesn't have terrible reviews. I almost feel like I should stop reading reviews...they keep scaring me away.


I've never had a bad experience with Apple refurbished and have never heard a bad thing about it. Basically you're just buying something that someone returned 2 days after deciding they didn't want it. In fact, I've heard some people say they prefer to buy refurbished since each one has been personally inspected and looked over, unlike most computers off the assembly line.

Not saying you should buy a Mac over PC, just that if you do, refurbished is a great way to go (the only downside being you may be buying an older model if you don't make sure not to).

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Re: Computers for Law School 2011

Postby rinkrat19 » Wed Aug 08, 2012 4:37 pm

shredderrrrrr wrote:I was also confused because the processor in my current 2008 Macbook is .5GHz bigger than the new Air...and I assumed that meant it would be worse. It looks like that is not the case.
er..."bigger"? :P

albanach
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Re: Computers for Law School 2011

Postby albanach » Wed Aug 08, 2012 5:23 pm

rinkrat19 wrote:
albanach wrote:OTOH, RAM (at least in a PC, I have no idea about Macs) is easy and cheap to upgrade yourself, unlike the processor.


Unfortunately as laptops become smaller this is less the case. On a MacBook Air I believe it is impossible to increase the RAM.

always_raining
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Re: Computers for Law School 2011

Postby always_raining » Wed Aug 08, 2012 5:29 pm

shredderrrrrr wrote:
always_raining wrote:Would it be dumb to buy a refurbished laptop? I was thinking about buying a Mac but I don't want to spend that much money, but I also don't want to risk some sort of terrible mishap during exams.

I feel like this should be a simple decision. I normally use Macs but since I need Windows anyway, I am leaning toward a PC. But there are so many choices. I just want a super light laptop that doesn't have terrible reviews. I almost feel like I should stop reading reviews...they keep scaring me away.


I've never had a bad experience with Apple refurbished and have never heard a bad thing about it. Basically you're just buying something that someone returned 2 days after deciding they didn't want it. In fact, I've heard some people say they prefer to buy refurbished since each one has been personally inspected and looked over, unlike most computers off the assembly line.

Not saying you should buy a Mac over PC, just that if you do, refurbished is a great way to go (the only downside being you may be buying an older model if you don't make sure not to).


Thanks, that's really helpful. I might go this route. I like the Apple support as well. Never had experience with PC Support though, so I can't say whether it's better or worse.

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Re: Computers for Law School 2011

Postby shredderrrrrr » Wed Aug 08, 2012 5:41 pm

rinkrat19 wrote:
shredderrrrrr wrote:I was also confused because the processor in my current 2008 Macbook is .5GHz bigger than the new Air...and I assumed that meant it would be worse. It looks like that is not the case.
er..."bigger"? :P


My computer knowledge is very evident :oops:

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Re: Computers for Law School 2011

Postby rinkrat19 » Wed Aug 08, 2012 5:47 pm

shredderrrrrr wrote:
rinkrat19 wrote:
shredderrrrrr wrote:I was also confused because the processor in my current 2008 Macbook is .5GHz bigger than the new Air...and I assumed that meant it would be worse. It looks like that is not the case.
er..."bigger"? :P


My computer knowledge is very evident :oops:
Hz is Hertz, meaning 'cycles per second.' (The G is giga, meaning billion) In computers, it means calculations per second (more or less. Frequency of the CPU's clock signal). So more hertz is faster, not bigger. :wink:

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shredderrrrrr
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Re: Computers for Law School 2011

Postby shredderrrrrr » Wed Aug 08, 2012 5:52 pm

rinkrat19 wrote:
shredderrrrrr wrote:
rinkrat19 wrote:
shredderrrrrr wrote:I was also confused because the processor in my current 2008 Macbook is .5GHz bigger than the new Air...and I assumed that meant it would be worse. It looks like that is not the case.
er..."bigger"? :P


My computer knowledge is very evident :oops:
Hz is Hertz, meaning 'cycles per second.' (The G is giga, meaning billion) In computers, it means calculations per second (more or less. Frequency of the CPU's clock signal). So more hertz is faster, not bigger. :wink:


Gotcha. Whenever I look at computer specs, I just assume the bigger the number the better despite not knowing what most stuff does.

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rinkrat19
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Re: Computers for Law School 2011

Postby rinkrat19 » Wed Aug 08, 2012 5:58 pm

shredderrrrrr wrote:
rinkrat19 wrote:
shredderrrrrr wrote:My computer knowledge is very evident :oops:
Hz is Hertz, meaning 'cycles per second.' (The G is giga, meaning billion) In computers, it means calculations per second (more or less. Frequency of the CPU's clock signal). So more hertz is faster, not bigger. :wink:


Gotcha. Whenever I look at computer specs, I just assume the bigger the number the better despite not knowing what most stuff does.
Like someone else said, it's not always easy to just compare GHz with processors. Like a 2nd generation i7 2.5GHz processor might be slower than a 3rd generation i7 3.2GHz or whatever. There's other stuff going on there besides just straight speed, unfortunately. If you have the whole model number of the CPU (like mine is an Intel i7 3610QM, for example), you can look up the benchmark tests.
http://www.cpubenchmark.net/high_end_cpus.html

I believe the 2nd gen Intels have numbers in the 2000s and the new gen have 3000s.

thederangedwang
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Re: Computers for Law School 2011

Postby thederangedwang » Wed Aug 08, 2012 6:20 pm

rinkrat19 wrote:
shredderrrrrr wrote:
rinkrat19 wrote:
shredderrrrrr wrote:My computer knowledge is very evident :oops:
Hz is Hertz, meaning 'cycles per second.' (The G is giga, meaning billion) In computers, it means calculations per second (more or less. Frequency of the CPU's clock signal). So more hertz is faster, not bigger. :wink:


Gotcha. Whenever I look at computer specs, I just assume the bigger the number the better despite not knowing what most stuff does.
Like someone else said, it's not always easy to just compare GHz with processors. Like a 2nd generation i7 2.5GHz processor might be slower than a 3rd generation i7 3.2GHz or whatever. There's other stuff going on there besides just straight speed, unfortunately. If you have the whole model number of the CPU (like mine is an Intel i7 3610QM, for example), you can look up the benchmark tests.
http://www.cpubenchmark.net/high_end_cpus.html

I believe the 2nd gen Intels have numbers in the 2000s and the new gen have 3000s.

to add onto that, we're actually forgetting one more thing, hard drive access speed.

Most people think computer speed is determined by 2 main factors, processor speed, and how much memory. But there's a third, hard drive access speed, basically, how fast your hard drive can pull up and save information. If you have a slow hard drive, but fancy everything else, then you are seriously limiting your computer speed

Basic consumer stores like bestbuy mostly sell computers that have 5400rpm hard drive disks. These are the slowest but also the cheapest hard drives. Usually they're ok and they give you a lot of bang for the buck, but if youre really interested in getting a fast computer, you need to get a computer that has at least a 7200rpm hard drive disk or higher.

If you really want a fast computer, get what is known as a Solid State Drive (SSD) which actually doesnt spin at all and doesnt have moving parts. These are more expensive but have dramatically better performance. In fact, switching from a HD to a SSD usually results in comparable improvement to a newer faster processor. There is one other drawback besides price, they dont store a lot of stuff so if you have a lot of music/pics/video, SSD is not for you

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Re: Computers for Law School 2011

Postby shredderrrrrr » Wed Aug 08, 2012 9:55 pm

thederangedwang wrote:
If you really want a fast computer, get what is known as a Solid State Drive (SSD) which actually doesnt spin at all and doesnt have moving parts. These are more expensive but have dramatically better performance. In fact, switching from a HD to a SSD usually results in comparable improvement to a newer faster processor. There is one other drawback besides price, they dont store a lot of stuff so if you have a lot of music/pics/video, SSD is not for you


Man, just when I thought I was getting it figured out lol. Is "flash storage" considered SSD? Basically, I'm comparing these two:

http://www.apple.com/macbookair/specs.html (the 1199 model. It is cheaper with education discount)

http://store.apple.com/us/product/FC965LL/A

Which one would you guys go with? And is it worth paying $90 to update the RAM if the first one? I already decided the extra hard drive space isn't worth the extra money.

thederangedwang
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Re: Computers for Law School 2011

Postby thederangedwang » Wed Aug 08, 2012 10:05 pm

shredderrrrrr wrote:
thederangedwang wrote:
If you really want a fast computer, get what is known as a Solid State Drive (SSD) which actually doesnt spin at all and doesnt have moving parts. These are more expensive but have dramatically better performance. In fact, switching from a HD to a SSD usually results in comparable improvement to a newer faster processor. There is one other drawback besides price, they dont store a lot of stuff so if you have a lot of music/pics/video, SSD is not for you


Man, just when I thought I was getting it figured out lol. Is "flash storage" considered SSD? Basically, I'm comparing these two:

http://www.apple.com/macbookair/specs.html (the 1199 model. It is cheaper with education discount)

http://store.apple.com/us/product/FC965LL/A

Which one would you guys go with? And is it worth paying $90 to update the RAM if the first one? I already decided the extra hard drive space isn't worth the extra money.

Yes, Flash storage is what you get when you have a SSD. So both those options have SSD.

albanach
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Re: Computers for Law School 2011

Postby albanach » Thu Aug 09, 2012 8:06 pm

If you can afford the RAM and Apple Care get both. If not, just get Apple Care. You can only get a single loan increase to cover a laptop, so it makes sense to ensure it will last the three years.

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Re: Computers for Law School 2011

Postby moneybagsphd » Fri Aug 10, 2012 1:51 pm

Deciding between MB Air and thinkpad x1c. I like the bigger screen and sturdy design of the thinkpad, but I don't have a lot of experience with Windows. If I get the air I will likely be dual booting W7 to use MS Office because 1) I want OneNote and 2) I've heard that MS Office is better on Windows...

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Re: Computers for Law School 2011

Postby shredderrrrrr » Fri Aug 10, 2012 2:05 pm

albanach wrote:If you can afford the RAM and Apple Care get both. If not, just get Apple Care. You can only get a single loan increase to cover a laptop, so it makes sense to ensure it will last the three years.


Thanks for all the help everyone! I think this is what I'll end up doing.

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shredderrrrrr
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Re: Computers for Law School 2011

Postby shredderrrrrr » Fri Aug 10, 2012 2:08 pm

moneybagsphd wrote:Deciding between MB Air and thinkpad x1c. I like the bigger screen and sturdy design of the thinkpad, but I don't have a lot of experience with Windows. If I get the air I will likely be dual booting W7 to use MS Office because 1) I want OneNote and 2) I've heard that MS Office is better on Windows...


Confused by #2. I've used Office on a Mac for over 5 years and thought it was identical to Windows? I've never noticed even a slight difference.

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rinkrat19
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Re: Computers for Law School 2011

Postby rinkrat19 » Fri Aug 10, 2012 2:22 pm

shredderrrrrr wrote:
moneybagsphd wrote:Deciding between MB Air and thinkpad x1c. I like the bigger screen and sturdy design of the thinkpad, but I don't have a lot of experience with Windows. If I get the air I will likely be dual booting W7 to use MS Office because 1) I want OneNote and 2) I've heard that MS Office is better on Windows...


Confused by #2. I've used Office on a Mac for over 5 years and thought it was identical to Windows? I've never noticed even a slight difference.
Actually quite different, although not as different as the last version.
http://www.pcworld.com/article/208992/o ... erent.html

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moneybagsphd
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Re: Computers for Law School 2011

Postby moneybagsphd » Fri Aug 10, 2012 2:48 pm

rinkrat19 wrote:
shredderrrrrr wrote:
moneybagsphd wrote:Deciding between MB Air and thinkpad x1c. I like the bigger screen and sturdy design of the thinkpad, but I don't have a lot of experience with Windows. If I get the air I will likely be dual booting W7 to use MS Office because 1) I want OneNote and 2) I've heard that MS Office is better on Windows...


Confused by #2. I've used Office on a Mac for over 5 years and thought it was identical to Windows? I've never noticed even a slight difference.
Actually quite different, although not as different as the last version.
http://www.pcworld.com/article/208992/o ... erent.html

This. Plus, Office 2010 for W7 will be slightly cheaper for me (both will be ridiculously cheap).




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