Computers for Law School 2011

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haus
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Re: Computers for Law School 2011

Postby haus » Wed May 11, 2011 12:03 am

chimp wrote:LOL I noticed this as well. If that is your biggest complaint then overall I would think that you guys are pretty happy with your Thinkpads.


I do not have a Thinkpad myself, but I support others that do. Of the mainstream Windows laptops they always appear to be among the best for build quality, and (other than perhaps keyboard layout) the users usually seem rather pleased.

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Renne Walker
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Re: Computers for Law School 2011

Postby Renne Walker » Wed May 11, 2011 12:31 am

justhockey31 wrote:Any words of wisdom on Toshiba laptops?


4 years ago I bought a Toshiba, it broke within 3 days and Circuit City (I am soooo glad they are out of business) would not replace it. Toshiba fixed it pretty fast and I was very happy with my Toshiba until 2 years ago when the screen died. Given the hefty $$$ cost of a new screen I opted for a Sony Vaio. 17 inch screen, 8G of Ram. It works great. No complaints. Never had to contact tech support. I use Norton anti-virus―the thing I like most about Norton is their password feature―don’t know how I ever managed without it!

My friend just bought a MacBook Pro (cost $1K more than my Vaio). So far so good. What I like most about the MacBook are the backlit keys. My next computer will definitely have that feature!

I am wondering if I should get an IPad (just to have it). Don’t see how it would be helpful―does anyone have an opinion on IPads?

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Eugenie Danglars
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Re: Computers for Law School 2011

Postby Eugenie Danglars » Wed May 11, 2011 2:39 am

oldhippie wrote:ok, some opinions please....
looking at the lenovo thinkpad edge 14" with an AMD processor - obviously slower than the ones with intel processors...but i won't ever use it for gaming, is there another good reason i would want a faster processor? i really just need a laptop for school, i won't use it for much else other than some web surfing and maybe pictures and stuff, but that's all, and it's $300 cheaper for this one than for the thinkpad t410i with the faster processor and integrated graphics (these terms mean almost nothing to me, i'm just regurgitating them to y'all from teh web site!)
thoughts from computer savvy people?


I think you should go with the faster processor. When I bought my first laptop, I got the cheaper/slower processor for reasons similar to yours. After three years of use, it was horribly laggy when used with newer programs and a closer to full HD. This time around, I'm definitely going for the faster processor.

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oldhippie
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Re: Computers for Law School 2011

Postby oldhippie » Wed May 11, 2011 9:22 am

thanks eugenie, i think i've been convinced to spring for the faster processor :D
now, to shop!

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haus
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Re: Computers for Law School 2011

Postby haus » Wed May 11, 2011 10:38 am

Eugenie Danglars wrote:
I think you should go with the faster processor. When I bought my first laptop, I got the cheaper/slower processor for reasons similar to yours. After three years of use, it was horribly laggy when used with newer programs and a closer to full HD. This time around, I'm definitely going for the faster processor.


Just out of curiosity, what type of 'newer' programs are lagging your system so badly? Word processors, note taking software, web browsers, & email clients, should rarely stress a processor off a laptop that is only three years old (notebooks may be an exception). For those who like to run many programs at the same time , you may be running into a shortage of RAM, which would cause memory to go to hard drive swap space, which would defiantly slow thing down, but the proper solution for this is more RAM (or less programs), not a faster processor.

My personal laptop is just over 6 years old, and is was not a fast processor for its time, but it has been servicing me well as I have been traveling to school pursuing a Masters degree, although I will likely get a new system should I opt to go after another degree.

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chrisnashville
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Re: Computers for Law School 2011

Postby chrisnashville » Wed May 11, 2011 11:51 am

justhockey31 wrote:Any words of wisdom on Toshiba laptops? I am very clueless on computer specs and stuff so looked at a Consumer Report and they all seemed to have man crushes on those comps.


Just to give another perspective on the two previous replies, I bought a Toshiba Portege about 6 months ago that (so far) has treated me very well. Very light, good power, good looks. Best Buy was carrying one specific model for a discounted price (if you told them you didn't want GeekSquad warranties, overpriced "Windows Update servicing", etc.)

This model might not be around anymore, but here was one particular review that got me looking into them.

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geoduck
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Re: Computers for Law School 2011

Postby geoduck » Wed May 11, 2011 1:32 pm

haus wrote:
Eugenie Danglars wrote:
I think you should go with the faster processor. When I bought my first laptop, I got the cheaper/slower processor for reasons similar to yours. After three years of use, it was horribly laggy when used with newer programs and a closer to full HD. This time around, I'm definitely going for the faster processor.


Just out of curiosity, what type of 'newer' programs are lagging your system so badly? Word processors, note taking software, web browsers, & email clients, should rarely stress a processor off a laptop that is only three years old (notebooks may be an exception). For those who like to run many programs at the same time , you may be running into a shortage of RAM, which would cause memory to go to hard drive swap space, which would defiantly slow thing down, but the proper solution for this is more RAM (or less programs), not a faster processor.

My personal laptop is just over 6 years old, and is was not a fast processor for its time, but it has been servicing me well as I have been traveling to school pursuing a Masters degree, although I will likely get a new system should I opt to go after another degree.


But buying the cheapest available processor option on a consumer laptop generally means that you're already getting last year's or the year before's chip. So in three years, you're way behind. To speak in overarching generalities, one of the big advances in chips year over year is the top level cache and the size of the chip. Both of these affect the efficiency of the chip hugely, even with simple stuff like word processors and flash websites. Take into account performance loss over time and even if your chip is only 500 Mhz slower than the current market equivalent, it's ridiculously slower. Buying the better chip often means buying the newer chip design, making it usable for longer.

Though you're probably just used to how slow it is now, which is fine as long as you never spend any amount of time on a new machine. Shit gets addicting.

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haus
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Re: Computers for Law School 2011

Postby haus » Wed May 11, 2011 2:05 pm

geoduck wrote:
Though you're probably just used to how slow it is now, which is fine as long as you never spend any amount of time on a new machine. Shit gets addicting.


No, I happen to be a professional, I know what does and does not impact performance of a computer. My work laptop is a 6 month old Dell, and I would rather work on my 6 year old Mac.

Just about the only time that you will notice ANY type of processor lag is when you have run into a situation where you have topped out a processor for an extended period of time, this rarely happens for common users. The vast majority of even old systems do not max out their processors on a regular basis, unless they have been owned and someone else is using your computer to attack other systems.

Anyone who has a dog slow system, do not take my word for it, run the diagnostics, what is your processor utilization, is it pegged at 100%. Check your memory utilization, is it maxed out? Addressing the problem that is not your bottleneck will not reward you with considerably better performance.

Faster drives give a lot more bang for the buck then extra processor for most users. If you want to splurge get a SSD instead of a hard drive, which will allow programs and data to load much faster, and heaven forbid you get yourself into a heavy swapping state, then the SSD will be able to push data in and out much faster than a traditional laptop hard drive.


EDITED TO ADD:

For the vast majority of laptop users, the comfort and usability of the keyboard and touchpad will turn out to have a larger impact on the usability of the system than will the processor for the next three years.
Last edited by haus on Wed May 11, 2011 2:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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geoduck
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Re: Computers for Law School 2011

Postby geoduck » Wed May 11, 2011 2:28 pm

haus wrote:
geoduck wrote:
Though you're probably just used to how slow it is now, which is fine as long as you never spend any amount of time on a new machine. Shit gets addicting.


No, I happen to be a professional, I know what does and does not impact performance of a computer. My work laptop is a 6 month old Dell, and I would rather work on my 6 year old Mac.

Just about the only time that you will notice ANY type of processor lag is when you have run into a situation where you have topped out a processor for an extended period of time, this rarely happens for common users. The vast majority of even old systems do not max out their processors on a regular basis, unless they have been owned and someone else is using your computer to attack other systems.

Anyone who has a dog slow system, do not take my word for it, run the diagnostics, what is your processor utilization, is it pegged at 100%. Check your memory utilization, is it maxed out? Addressing the problem that is not your bottleneck will not reward you with considerably better performance.

Faster drives give a lot more bang for the buck then extra processor for most users. If you want to splurge get a SSD instead of a hard drive, which will allow programs and data to load much faster, and heaven forbid you get yourself into a heavy swapping state, then the SSD will be able to push data in and out much faster than a traditional laptop hard drive.


Your Mac also automatically defrags the system and is better overall at self-maintenance. I bet most common Windows laptop users don't know what that is and what to do with it. Granted I haven't used a low level laptop for a long time and until very recently used my systems mostly for video and graphics work, so I definitely taxed the processor more than most.

SSD is definitely TCR.

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ResolutePear
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Re: Computers for Law School 2011

Postby ResolutePear » Wed May 11, 2011 2:32 pm

geoduck wrote:
haus wrote:
geoduck wrote:
Though you're probably just used to how slow it is now, which is fine as long as you never spend any amount of time on a new machine. Shit gets addicting.


No, I happen to be a professional, I know what does and does not impact performance of a computer. My work laptop is a 6 month old Dell, and I would rather work on my 6 year old Mac.

Just about the only time that you will notice ANY type of processor lag is when you have run into a situation where you have topped out a processor for an extended period of time, this rarely happens for common users. The vast majority of even old systems do not max out their processors on a regular basis, unless they have been owned and someone else is using your computer to attack other systems.

Anyone who has a dog slow system, do not take my word for it, run the diagnostics, what is your processor utilization, is it pegged at 100%. Check your memory utilization, is it maxed out? Addressing the problem that is not your bottleneck will not reward you with considerably better performance.

Faster drives give a lot more bang for the buck then extra processor for most users. If you want to splurge get a SSD instead of a hard drive, which will allow programs and data to load much faster, and heaven forbid you get yourself into a heavy swapping state, then the SSD will be able to push data in and out much faster than a traditional laptop hard drive.


Your Mac also automatically defrags the system and is better overall at self-maintenance. I bet most common Windows laptop users don't know what that is and what to do with it. Granted I haven't used a low level laptop for a long time and until very recently used my systems mostly for video and graphics work, so I definitely taxed the processor more than most.

SSD is definitely TCR.


lol@SSD's defragging.

Until Lion comes out, there is no TRIM for SSD's as well.

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haus
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Re: Computers for Law School 2011

Postby haus » Wed May 11, 2011 2:37 pm

geoduck wrote: ...until very recently used my systems mostly for video and graphics work, so I definitely taxed the processor more than most.


Until recently these are tasks that I would have suggested that users avoid using laptops for and head straight to desktops/workstations, but with higher end systems it is indeed possible to do this type of work on laptops now (probably for the last 5 years or so, without major headaches). Well, let me restate that, for those who know how to do this type of work it can be done on laptops, I have no talent or skills in this area and I doubt that a ton of extra power from the computer would change that much.

I had been making the assumption that in this thread we were dealing mostly with writing, research, messaging (instant/email). None of these things are particularly processor draining. As such, for those who stay in this play ground extra money spent on a processor is unlikely to pay dividends.

The other big exception that I deal with on a regular basis is compiling code, but anyone who does a lot of this type of work is unlikely to come to TLS for laptop advice.

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geoduck
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Re: Computers for Law School 2011

Postby geoduck » Wed May 11, 2011 2:41 pm

haus wrote:
geoduck wrote: ...until very recently used my systems mostly for video and graphics work, so I definitely taxed the processor more than most.


Until recently these are tasks that I would have suggested that users avoid using laptops for and head straight to desktops/workstations, but with higher end systems it is indeed possible to do this type of work on laptops now (probably for the last 5 years or so, without major headaches). Well, let me restate that, for those who know how to do this type of work it can be done on laptops, I have no talent or skills in this area and I doubt that a ton of extra power from the computer would change that much.

I had been making the assumption that in this thread we were dealing mostly with writing, research, messaging (instant/email). None of these things are particularly processor draining. As such, for those who stay in this play ground extra money spent on a processor is unlikely to pay dividends.

The other big exception that I deal with on a regular basis is compiling code, but anyone who does a lot of this type of work is unlikely to come to TLS for laptop advice.


Yeah, you've actually been able to do video on laptops a bit longer to some extent by using low resolution proxy files and then applying the changes to the big files later. Still, it didn't make my laptop all that happy. I'd imagine some of this processor drain would still affect normal users that do any extent of high definition video playback, especially on systems with integrated graphics or even on-chip graphics like the Core i3/5/7 series.

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Eugenie Danglars
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Re: Computers for Law School 2011

Postby Eugenie Danglars » Wed May 11, 2011 10:03 pm

haus wrote:
Eugenie Danglars wrote:
I think you should go with the faster processor. When I bought my first laptop, I got the cheaper/slower processor for reasons similar to yours. After three years of use, it was horribly laggy when used with newer programs and a closer to full HD. This time around, I'm definitely going for the faster processor.


Just out of curiosity, what type of 'newer' programs are lagging your system so badly?


this machine is fine- it was my first laptop (bought in Summer 05, I think) that had problems. I bought an iBook G3 (I think) when it was super cheap because the new line replacing them had just come out. Three years later, it had trouble running chrome, one note, pretty much everything other than the version of word it came with.

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haus
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Re: Computers for Law School 2011

Postby haus » Wed May 11, 2011 10:36 pm

Eugenie Danglars wrote:this machine is fine- it was my first laptop (bought in Summer 05, I think) that had problems. I bought an iBook G3 (I think) when it was super cheap because the new line replacing them had just come out. Three years later, it had trouble running chrome, one note, pretty much everything other than the version of word it came with.



G3 iBook was last refreshed in 2003. It was a slow processor, but it was also limited to 640MB of RAM, which is very low by modern standards. Chrome never released an official release that supported either the G3 or G4 class processors, I heard rumor that there were some one of releases that supported these processors (my G4 PowerBook does not support Chrome either), but I imagine that the user experience with these versions of Chrome would likely leave a lot to be desired.

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geoduck
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Re: Computers for Law School 2011

Postby geoduck » Thu May 12, 2011 1:08 am

haus wrote:
Eugenie Danglars wrote:this machine is fine- it was my first laptop (bought in Summer 05, I think) that had problems. I bought an iBook G3 (I think) when it was super cheap because the new line replacing them had just come out. Three years later, it had trouble running chrome, one note, pretty much everything other than the version of word it came with.



G3 iBook was last refreshed in 2003. It was a slow processor, but it was also limited to 640MB of RAM, which is very low by modern standards. Chrome never released an official release that supported either the G3 or G4 class processors, I heard rumor that there were some one of releases that supported these processors (my G4 PowerBook does not support Chrome either), but I imagine that the user experience with these versions of Chrome would likely leave a lot to be desired.


He means iBook G4. He'd know if he had that handled monstrosity that Johnny Ive crapped out while he was getting warmed up.

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TheFutureLawyer
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Re: Computers for Law School 2011

Postby TheFutureLawyer » Thu May 12, 2011 2:44 pm

frijoles99 wrote:I thought long and hard about this question. There are a number of factors to take into account when looking into a computer specifically for law school. Price, form factor, battery life, performance and storage capacity, and reliability.
So on the subject of Apple computers.
I know for a fact that if you purchase an apple computer you must purchase at minimum a macbook pro. Apple spends nothing on reliability when it comes to their macbook line I had a girlfriend who had 16 repairs done at the apple store and their resposne was "it was within spec". I fixed computers as a job and that was not"within spec" anyway they give her a new macbook and it breaks on the spot. What this means you are stuck easily spending 1300+ for a macbook pro minimum. In my opinion there are easily equivalent and better PC options available for about half the price. The only reason to get a macbook pro is if you genuinely love the operating system and are capable enough to figure out for yourself how to get the software to work with your apple computers.
Moving onto PC's

Reliablity- This is foremost in any purchase. You do not want your computer breaking mid-test.
In the world of PC's Dell, HP and acer in my opinion are bargain basement brand names. Quality is lacking and in many circumstances they don't know how to build a complete machine. According to certain reliability tests IBM/lenovo and Asus have both developed a reputation for reliability and quality. IBM/lenovo has set the bar for business computers while Asus made its name building the most reliable motherboards on the planet. I have repaired computers and both of these required the least amount of repair.

Form Factor-
I believe the 13.3 in. screen is the perfect form factor screensize. It has just enough real estate to do dual screened comfortably. It doesn't feel tiny compared to the 9-11 in. screens you get in "netbooks". In addition you get an added bonus that most laptops with 13.3 in. screens are built with battery life in mind. This screen size equally allows for a full keyboard too. Something important when you are writing very long papers or quickly for tests. You could certainly get a 15 in. screen or a 14 in. screen , but I feel that the gain in real estate is not worth the cost in weight, battery life, or performance it will add. Usually you can target between 3 and 4.2 lb for the weight of your laptop.

Battery life-
No one really appreciates battery life until they are desperatley searching around the room for that one vacant plug. These days you don't have to think about battery life in terms of 3-5 hours. Many 13.3 in. laptops have ulv processors and power settings that sip power without much decrease in performance. If you are looking at the right computers you can expect between 7 to 12 hours of battery performance. This is one of the most importance aspects of your laptop as a law school student. Battery life will be more important than performance. Word processing is not cpu intensive, thus it will be more important to pay attention to power consumption.

Performance-
Intel just announced its sexy new sandy bridge chipsets that can melt your face off with their performance. OH MANN I CAN RUN WORD FASTER AND CHECK OUT THIS EXCEL DOCUMENT!!!!!! I am trying to say for law school bleeding edge performance is not that important. Even cheap Intel Atom processors will get the job done easily for law school. And actually higher performance CPU's will only drain battery life. If you want a Core I processor try the core I3 but the culv core2 duo su7300 processor is more than enough for most people. The key here once again is battery life. having all day battery can come in damn handy when you just have to get something done.

Price-
If you are buying a macbook you need to spend 1300+ for a useable macbook pro.
If you are buying a PC with the specs stated previously you can be flexible between 400 to 800 depending on your personal preferences.

Recommendations-
I suggest these computers based on the previous information. You do not have to get these, but use these as jumping off points for your own research into what you want.Feel free to PM me with any questions.

In the interest of disclosure I do own this computer.
http://www.amazon.com/UL30A-X5K-Light-1 ... 081&sr=8-1

This is a similar competing model
http://www.amazon.com/Acer-TimelineX-AS ... 58&sr=1-10


Got that Asus last night for $525

071816
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Re: Computers for Law School 2011

Postby 071816 » Fri May 13, 2011 1:43 am

This is a sweet deal: http://slickdeals.net/forums/showthread ... &t=2918095

Edit: I just finalized my order. Should arrive early June :)
Last edited by 071816 on Fri May 13, 2011 2:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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oldhippie
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Re: Computers for Law School 2011

Postby oldhippie » Fri May 13, 2011 7:58 am


wow. seriously considering......

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traehekat
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Re: Computers for Law School 2011

Postby traehekat » Fri May 13, 2011 8:43 am

bought an HP about a year ago for law school. thing died on me a week before finals started. thought i was going to lose all my outlines/notes/etc. luckily i was able to get all that shit off it and transfer to another laptop.

im thoroughly convinced HPs are now pieces of shit (i had one for four years before i bought this one and i loved it, NEVER had any problems with it in like 3 1/2 years). so yeah, don't get them for school, imo. another classmate of mine had her macbook go down a week before finals as well and i think she had to buy a new laptop. if i could do it over again, i'd buy a thinkpad, probably.

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ResolutePear
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Re: Computers for Law School 2011

Postby ResolutePear » Fri May 13, 2011 8:48 am

traehekat wrote:bought an HP about a year ago for law school. thing died on me a week before finals started. thought i was going to lose all my outlines/notes/etc. luckily i was able to get all that shit off it and transfer to another laptop.

im thoroughly convinced HPs are now pieces of shit (i had one for four years before i bought this one and i loved it, NEVER had any problems with it in like 3 1/2 years). so yeah, don't get them for school, imo. another classmate of mine had her macbook go down a week before finals as well and i think she had to buy a new laptop. if i could do it over again, i'd buy a thinkpad, probably.


HP's are made in the same factories that Macbooks are made. :lol:

I'll look for my post on this, because I made this prediction about a year ago.

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ResolutePear
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Re: Computers for Law School 2011

Postby ResolutePear » Fri May 13, 2011 8:55 am

viewtopic.php?f=4&t=122434&p=3240470

ResolutePear wrote:For the sake of reliability, I'd recommend a Thinkpad.

Imagine your 3 year old laptop failing on you the night before or the morning of finals. Could happen to anybody, but perhaps you should look into how rugged Macbooks are. :P

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coldshoulder
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Re: Computers for Law School 2011

Postby coldshoulder » Fri May 13, 2011 11:39 am

Lenovo Thinkpad v. Toshiba
Which will truly be more reliable? Budget of about 1500 max (including 3-year warranty).
Also, does it take getting used to the button touchpad type thing on the Lenovos?

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geoduck
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Re: Computers for Law School 2011

Postby geoduck » Fri May 13, 2011 12:47 pm

coldshoulder wrote:Lenovo Thinkpad v. Toshiba
Which will truly be more reliable? Budget of about 1500 max (including 3-year warranty).
Also, does it take getting used to the button touchpad type thing on the Lenovos?


You don't have to use the nub, but I used to have one on my Dell Inspiron in '01 and I loved the damn thing. It's still way nicer than any non-Apple trackpad I've ever used. And even then, the Apple trackpad only wins because of multi-touch. The nub's really accurate.

bartleby
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Re: Computers for Law School 2011

Postby bartleby » Fri May 13, 2011 12:49 pm

got a thinkpad this past week. hate the function/ctrl swap but everything else is cool. put 8 gb ram that i'll never use in it.

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kalvano
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Re: Computers for Law School 2011

Postby kalvano » Fri May 13, 2011 12:51 pm

coldshoulder wrote:Lenovo Thinkpad v. Toshiba
Which will truly be more reliable? Budget of about 1500 max (including 3-year warranty).
Also, does it take getting used to the button touchpad type thing on the Lenovos?



Thinkpad. No question.




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