Computers for Law School 2011

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haus
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Re: Computers for Law School 2011

Postby haus » Mon Jun 06, 2011 12:45 am

ResolutePear wrote:How is the HDD a bottleneck with office, then?

I just don't see how a memory-resident program can be affected by HDD access directly, without calling upon 500MB office files(.doc, .xls, etc.). Please, enlighten us.


And that bloated program gets read (mostly) into memory from where?

When you opt to have more memory resident programs loaded than you have available memory for, the program is moved from memory to swap space, which reside where?

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gothamm
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Re: Computers for Law School 2011

Postby gothamm » Mon Jun 06, 2011 12:47 am

ResolutePear wrote:
gothamm wrote:
ResolutePear wrote:
gothamm wrote:They are expensive and ridiculously overpriced for sure. But so damn fun. Modern dual core processors are fast enough. So is RAM...4gb is the standard nowadays. HDD is a huge bottleneck for overall performance. My cousin installed an ssd on his 2006 2.0 ghz macbook. It's got a new life. Incredibly zippy overall and outperforms 2011 laptops in general use (non gaming, non encoding stuff)


lol... Do you know how x86 and x64 architectures work?


yes, but relevance?


How is the HDD a bottleneck with office, then?

I just don't see how a memory-resident program can be affected by HDD access directly, without calling upon 500MB office files(.doc, .xls, etc.). Please, enlighten us.


Not sure why you decided to take my argument out of context and apply it to something so specific. Even then, HDDs are indeed a bottleneck when it comes to programs like office. Specifically, I have noted significantly faster load times, snappier performance when accessing things like the office menu bar, far far less beachballing, better scrolling performance on large .pdf files.

what is your argument anyhow?

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Naked Dude
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Re: Computers for Law School 2011

Postby Naked Dude » Mon Jun 06, 2011 1:31 am

Michael Dell is the Sam Walton of computers. And by that I mean Dell sucks.

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ResolutePear
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Re: Computers for Law School 2011

Postby ResolutePear » Mon Jun 06, 2011 10:40 am

haus wrote:
ResolutePear wrote:How is the HDD a bottleneck with office, then?

I just don't see how a memory-resident program can be affected by HDD access directly, without calling upon 500MB office files(.doc, .xls, etc.). Please, enlighten us.


And that bloated program gets read (mostly) into memory from where?

When you opt to have more memory resident programs loaded than you have available memory for, the program is moved from memory to swap space, which reside where?


Well, the argument was concerning 4GB of memory. How many programs do you need to have open for the kernel to move the program into swap? With 4GB, you're looking at everything a law student would need being open.. sans 100+ chrome/firefox tabs without touching your swap.

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ResolutePear
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Re: Computers for Law School 2011

Postby ResolutePear » Mon Jun 06, 2011 10:45 am

gothamm wrote:
ResolutePear wrote:
gothamm wrote:
ResolutePear wrote:
lol... Do you know how x86 and x64 architectures work?


yes, but relevance?


How is the HDD a bottleneck with office, then?

I just don't see how a memory-resident program can be affected by HDD access directly, without calling upon 500MB office files(.doc, .xls, etc.). Please, enlighten us.


Not sure why you decided to take my argument out of context and apply it to something so specific. Even then, HDDs are indeed a bottleneck when it comes to programs like office. Specifically, I have noted significantly faster load times, snappier performance when accessing things like the office menu bar, far far less beachballing, better scrolling performance on large .pdf files.

what is your argument anyhow?


I didn't have an argument. I was just attempting to educate you in the nuances of computer organization. The fact that you're still talking about "snappier performance" and "beachballing" is a regression in terms of this.

There is no way that you're talking about this and claim you know of how a kernel manages memory.

albanach
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Re: Computers for Law School 2011

Postby albanach » Mon Jun 06, 2011 1:23 pm

ResolutePear wrote:
I didn't have an argument. I was just attempting to educate you in the nuances of computer organization. The fact that you're still talking about "snappier performance" and "beachballing" is a regression in terms of this.

There is no way that you're talking about this and claim you know of how a kernel manages memory.


I think it i syou who is struggling to understand how a modern OS works. Something like OSX has thousands of config files saved to disk which it will access as you use the computer. Windows too frequently reads and writes from disk.

To mac load times faster, applications like word load the parts needed initially when you start, then load extra parts as you use them - that's why word on load can use as little as 10MB of RAM. Use the app and it reads from disk. It also does things like autosave, again accessing the disk.

The processor is easily fast enough for all this. RAM is cheap and for most of us more than 4GB will have little to no return on investment. The one remaining bottleneck on a modern computer is the disk drive, and an SSD is much much faster.

Practically everyone, form Tom's Hardware to The Register have run articles evangelizing for the benefits of an SSD as you use your computer.

There's no doubt they are expensive, but if you're going to make an upgrade, it is without doubt going to provide a consistent and noticeable improvement as you use your computer.

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Gemini
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Re: Computers for Law School 2011

Postby Gemini » Mon Jun 06, 2011 2:17 pm

--ImageRemoved--

lsatextreme
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Re: Computers for Law School 2011

Postby lsatextreme » Mon Jun 06, 2011 2:34 pm

do most schools now have mac supported exam software or is it still mostly boot camp

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beach_terror
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Re: Computers for Law School 2011

Postby beach_terror » Mon Jun 06, 2011 2:35 pm

lsatextreme wrote:do most schools now have mac supported exam software or is it still mostly boot camp

Most schools use Exam4, which works with OSX. Just check with your school.

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gothamm
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Re: Computers for Law School 2011

Postby gothamm » Mon Jun 06, 2011 3:35 pm

Resolutepear:

Are you like this in real life :?:

Clearly, you have never, ever experienced a computer with an SSD in your life. And you do have an argument, whether you realize it or not. It is as follows: SSDs are not necessary for the average law school student.

No kidding.


I am simply pointing out that SSDs make things much snappier, and that it is a premium upgrade. Your posts are awkward.

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ResolutePear
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Re: Computers for Law School 2011

Postby ResolutePear » Mon Jun 06, 2011 5:07 pm

gothamm wrote:Resolutepear:

Are you like this in real life :?:

Clearly, you have never, ever experienced a computer with an SSD in your life. And you do have an argument, whether you realize it or not. It is as follows: SSDs are not necessary for the average law school student.

No kidding.


I am simply pointing out that SSDs make things much snappier, and that it is a premium upgrade. Your posts are awkward.


It's cool. I don't think you know what I'm talking about, that's why you're reading them awkward. That's all.

This thread is "Computers for Law School 2011," not "Computers for MIT 2033." So, GTFO with that "Oh, it's not for lawschool student.. durp. No kidding. der."

Yes, GTFO is good. I think I will say GTFO with talking about SSDs. Law school students have more to worry about than access times measured in ms.

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gothamm
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Re: Computers for Law School 2011

Postby gothamm » Mon Jun 06, 2011 5:25 pm

No, you are awkward because you are all over the place. I make a post praising the benefits of SSDs and your response: "lulz do you know how x86 and x64 architectures work?", followed by a lengthy irrelevant discussion on kernels. Not to mention that you conveniently ignored albanach's post and a few others.



Good luck in life, sir :P

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timmna
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Re: Computers for Law School 2011

Postby timmna » Wed Jun 08, 2011 4:01 pm

So I'm considering a MacBook Pro vs a Thinkpad T420S. Any thoughts?

Sorry if this has already been asked. I muddled through the thread and didn't see it.

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Re: Computers for Law School 2011

Postby bk1 » Wed Jun 08, 2011 4:04 pm

timmna wrote:So I'm considering a MacBook Pro vs a Thinkpad T420S. Any thoughts?


You prefer OSX or Windows? You prefer Apple or Lenovo aesthetics? But the real kicker: are you doing anything on these machines to justify paying so much for a laptop when you could get something for far cheaper that would work just as well for what law students need?

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Re: Computers for Law School 2011

Postby geoduck » Wed Jun 08, 2011 4:27 pm

bk1 wrote:
timmna wrote:So I'm considering a MacBook Pro vs a Thinkpad T420S. Any thoughts?


You prefer OSX or Windows? You prefer Apple or Lenovo aesthetics? But the real kicker: are you doing anything on these machines to justify paying so much for a laptop when you could get something for far cheaper that would work just as well for what law students need?


Not everyone's down for netbook/underpowered crap that runs slower than my 1st gen iPad.

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Re: Computers for Law School 2011

Postby Stringer6 » Wed Jun 08, 2011 4:31 pm

Not everyone's down for netbook/underpowered crap that runs slower than my 1st gen iPad.


uber-pwnage

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bk1
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Re: Computers for Law School 2011

Postby bk1 » Wed Jun 08, 2011 4:47 pm

geoduck wrote:Not everyone's down for netbook/underpowered crap that runs slower than my 1st gen iPad.


That is hyperbolic.

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Re: Computers for Law School 2011

Postby geoduck » Wed Jun 08, 2011 4:50 pm

bk1 wrote:
geoduck wrote:Not everyone's down for netbook/underpowered crap that runs slower than my 1st gen iPad.


That is hyperbolic.


To be fair, my 1st gen iPad is fairly snappy.

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timmna
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Re: Computers for Law School 2011

Postby timmna » Wed Jun 08, 2011 5:08 pm

bk1 wrote:
timmna wrote:So I'm considering a MacBook Pro vs a Thinkpad T420S. Any thoughts?


You prefer OSX or Windows? You prefer Apple or Lenovo aesthetics? But the real kicker: are you doing anything on these machines to justify paying so much for a laptop when you could get something for far cheaper that would work just as well for what law students need?


I was looking for some advice outside of my own preferences, which can honestly go either way on both issues. I switched from a mac workplace to a pc workplace, and I found both very workable. I have no justification, other than I'd like a quality laptop, I like both of these models in particular, and these two were also the computers recommended by my school.

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bk1
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Re: Computers for Law School 2011

Postby bk1 » Wed Jun 08, 2011 5:14 pm

timmna wrote:I was looking for some advice outside of my own preferences, which can honestly go either way on both issues. I switched from a mac workplace to a pc workplace, and I found both very workable. I have no justification, other than I'd like a quality laptop, I like both of these models in particular, and these two were also the computers recommended by my school.


It really depends on how much you want to pay and what you want to do. What do you mean by quality? As in it is reliable and won't break or that it is closer to top of the line? What screen size do you want? Do you want to pay more for slightly better or would rather pay less for something that is just about as good at doing law school things (word processing, browsing, watching videos, etc)?

I mean other Thinkpad lines that are almost half the price of the T420S still have i5 processors and are still reliable machines.

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haus
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Re: Computers for Law School 2011

Postby haus » Wed Jun 08, 2011 5:22 pm

bk1 wrote:I mean other Thinkpad lines that are almost half the price of the T420S still have i5 processors and are still reliable machines.


Generally speaking these other models have lower build quality, the frames are not nearly as solid, the keyboard do not have the same feeling, while they often have similar (or close) processors the cheaper models, the end result has a noticeable different result when compared side-by-side. For many, these issue will not be deal breakers, and that is fine. Personally I spend 10-14 hours a day in front of computers (most of it my laptop), small things mean a lot to me.

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timmna
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Re: Computers for Law School 2011

Postby timmna » Wed Jun 08, 2011 5:22 pm

bk1 wrote:
It really depends on how much you want to pay and what you want to do. What do you mean by quality? As in it is reliable and won't break or that it is closer to top of the line? What screen size do you want? Do you want to pay more for slightly better or would rather pay less for something that is just about as good at doing law school things (word processing, browsing, watching videos, etc)?

I mean other Thinkpad lines that are almost half the price of the T420S still have i5 processors and are still reliable machines.


By quality, I mean both. I've had a string of shoddy laptops and I'd like to have a nice one for a change, especially when I will likely be living on it for the next three years. I know a lot more about Macs than Thinkpads, but I looked at the T420S because the school recommended it. I'm also flexible on screensize. I guess I'm mainly asking if anyone knows if either the MBP or Thinkpad perform better, or if they're roughly equal.

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haus
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Re: Computers for Law School 2011

Postby haus » Wed Jun 08, 2011 5:27 pm

timmna wrote: I guess I'm mainly asking if anyone knows if either the MBP or Thinkpad perform better, or if they're roughly equal.


In my experience, these systems have very different feel, I happen to prefer the Apple products, but the mid-to-high end Thinkpads are well build, quality machines. If you have not has a chance to spend time on one of the Leveno systems you are considering, I would suggest trying to find a way to spend a little keyboard time with one, some people dislike the layout. If this is something that you think that you can feel comfortable with, then the question will come down to preference of OS.

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Re: Computers for Law School 2011

Postby geoduck » Wed Jun 08, 2011 5:34 pm

timmna wrote:
bk1 wrote:
timmna wrote:So I'm considering a MacBook Pro vs a Thinkpad T420S. Any thoughts?


You prefer OSX or Windows? You prefer Apple or Lenovo aesthetics? But the real kicker: are you doing anything on these machines to justify paying so much for a laptop when you could get something for far cheaper that would work just as well for what law students need?


I was looking for some advice outside of my own preferences, which can honestly go either way on both issues. I switched from a mac workplace to a pc workplace, and I found both very workable. I have no justification, other than I'd like a quality laptop, I like both of these models in particular, and these two were also the computers recommended by my school.


Ignoring the advice to go cheap, here's what I think about that exact lineup.

The T420S is a 14" model right? With the 1600X900 screen? That's a nice screen. You'll only get 1440X900 (15") or 1280X800 (17") with the MBP. That said, the touchpad on the MBP is simply amazing and will ruin all other touchpads for you. Both keyboards are pretty comfy and quick, so not a worry either way.

Powerwise, the MBPs are quad-core for the 15s and dual-core for the 13s. The T420S seems right between the two models in performances. Any of the three should blow through whatever your law school needs are. The T420S uses the integrated graphics as does the MBP13. The MBP15 has a separate video card, so there's that.

Expandabilitywise, the MBPs have the amazing but not yet much use Thunderbolt. The T420S has the less amazing USB 3.0, but there are actually peripherals for that at the moment. You probably won't really need either thanks to DropBox and (if you get the MBP) iCloud. The Lenovo also wastes space with a VGA port, two PCI express ports, and an expresscard port. The Lenovo has a 4-in-1 card reader while the MBP has an SD card reader. This is close to a draw. The Lenovo has more, but most of it is rubbish. Thunderbolt vs USB 3.0 is a battle of toddlers. I would choose the MBP for this because the Lenovo has no firewire and the MBP has Firewire 800, but that's because I have external FW800 drives already.

Both laptops have HD webcams. The Lenovo has the fingerprint reader, so it gets a nod in security. Importantly, the MBP has significantly higher battery life than the Lenovo. 7 true hours on the MBPs vs a rated 5.5 and more like 3 hours on the T420S. Also the MBPs are lighter, which is a minor concern.

I'd personally choose the MBP because I like OSX better. I'm about to get a T420 regular because of UMN, however, and am not all that saddened as it is the one I would choose if I were forced to go Windows.

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timmna
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Re: Computers for Law School 2011

Postby timmna » Wed Jun 08, 2011 5:40 pm

geoduck wrote:Ignoring the advice to go cheap, here's what I think about that exact lineup.

The T420S is a 14" model right? With the 1600X900 screen? That's a nice screen. You'll only get 1440X900 (15") or 1280X800 (17") with the MBP. That said, the touchpad on the MBP is simply amazing and will ruin all other touchpads for you. Both keyboards are pretty comfy and quick, so not a worry either way.

Powerwise, the MBPs are quad-core for the 15s and dual-core for the 13s. The T420S seems right between the two models in performances. Any of the three should blow through whatever your law school needs are. The T420S uses the integrated graphics as does the MBP13. The MBP15 has a separate video card, so there's that.

Expandabilitywise, the MBPs have the amazing but not yet much use Thunderbolt. The T420S has the less amazing USB 3.0, but there are actually peripherals for that at the moment. You probably won't really need either thanks to DropBox and (if you get the MBP) iCloud. The Lenovo also wastes space with a VGA port, two PCI express ports, and an expresscard port. The Lenovo has a 4-in-1 card reader while the MBP has an SD card reader. This is close to a draw. The Lenovo has more, but most of it is rubbish. Thunderbolt vs USB 3.0 is a battle of toddlers. I would choose the MBP for this because the Lenovo has no firewire and the MBP has Firewire 800, but that's because I have external FW800 drives already.

Both laptops have HD webcams. The Lenovo has the fingerprint reader, so it gets a nod in security. Importantly, the MBP has significantly higher battery life than the Lenovo. 7 true hours on the MBPs vs a rated 5.5 and more like 3 hours on the T420S. Also the MBPs are lighter, which is a minor concern.

I'd personally choose the MBP because I like OSX better. I'm about to get a T420 regular because of UMN, however, and am not all that saddened as it is the one I would choose if I were forced to go Windows.


Thanks for all of your advice. Very helpful. I was leaning toward MBP, and I actually did consider weight an issue because I'm a fairly small person. I thought I read that the Thinkpad was 4 lbs, whereas I know the MBPs more than that so that gave me pause. Battery power's also a good issue to bring up. I saw that the Thinkpad had another battery you could add to extend life, but I'd rather not have to bother. Anyway, I'm officially leaning toward MBP. Now, if only the back to school promo would start...




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