I want to buy a new laptop for my niece who starts college in the fall.
I've never had a MAC but I'm thinking that might be the best way to go. I know it has to include a DVD burner because she's got a ton of DVDs. Other than that, I don't really know what else is important.
MAC makeup has DVD now?
ask her. sure it diminishes the surprise, but you will be sure she is getting what she wants and needs.
or ask others at home what she would prefer. someone must know.
Please don't confuse me as I'm not at all technologically proficient. In other words, please explain it to me like I'm in Kindergarten.
Is this the niece who smokes pot and has a horrible mother who is your brother's ex-wife?
R3, it has to be a surprise because my sister doesn't want me spending that much money and my niece agrees. So they won't tell me anything.
I want to get it before Christmas because she has to go to the library every time she needs to use a computer. I think it will help her with the application process and all that comes with preparing for college.
No, R5. She's a real sweetheart and so is her mother.
Don't all laptops come with a DVD burner?
Amazon gift card - good for Windows or Mac.
Though most classes make use of the web, there's a possibility she may need a windows machine for certain executable programs.
She could go with Mac and use Bootcamp, but that's a lot more detailed information than you want.
OP, I did the same thing for my niece years ago. Go to Dell dot com and use their tools to get everything you need in laptop.
My suggestions: At least 6 gigs of RAM, 750 gig hard drive solid state, ask for help on the best video card available with at least 500mgs, i5 (minimum) Intel chip operating at least at 2.66
R10 "solid state" is for flash drives; I don't think they make them as big as 750GB, and if they did, they would cost more than the rest of the computer.
And OP, she doesn't need a DVD "burner" to play DVDs, only to make them. But, as someone posted above, pretty much all laptops come with at least a player, and probably burning capability too.
Hmmm...now I'm thinking Mac may not be such a good idea.
Visit her school's website bookstore and see what they're shilling.
She should buy, however. She'll get a student discount and you won't.
R12, wake up and smell the coffee grandpa. We now have solid state hard drives.
Sorry, I meant to say DVD player, not burner. Someone told me some Mac laptops do not have DVD players.
What does "solid state" mean?
R12 is full of ignorance and misinformation. OP, please ignore him.
Dell offers the BEST online and phone sales staff to put what you want into your computer and help you with how to decide. Ignore the buffoons here who play on their 2nd hand Commodore computers.
I heard bad things about Windows 8. Is that true?
R15 No, we don't. A hard drive is not the same as a Solid State Drive, although they perform the same function. Hard drives are mechanical; SSDs are not. And a 1TB SSD is over $800. So, no.
DO NOT BUY FROM DELL. Horrible right wing company.
Find out if she wants a Mac or a PC. This is important. What is her major? An art student will have different needs from a finance major.
If you go with Mac, go to an Apple store and ask for help. I'm not a PC person so I can't recommend anything there, but I strongly suggest you speak to an expert in person and don't try to guess at what she wants by buying online.
Um, just ASK her? If you don't, you're going to get her a computer that isn't what she needs. Most schools tell their students the types of computers that work best on their campuses.
R17, there are no moving parts. The old kind of hard drives had a circular disc memory that spinned around at 7,200 RPMS. Eventually the motor that spinned it burned out and your hard drive failed. With SS, you don't have to worry about that.
R15, you are splitting hairs that do not matter. Get a life. And SS drives might cost more, they don't cost as much as you are quoting. GSheez! If you are going to come here pretending to be an expert, just don't.
People please read the post, the niece has not started college yet, she will be in the process of applying, so OP cannot determine what her college recommends.
OP can you determine what she has been using at the library? That should tell you what system she is most comfortable with.
I would think twice about getting her a MAC. She might be emailing assignments in MS Word to her professors and sometimes the document formatting gets messed up if it is opened in Windows.
MAC is makeup.
Mac is a computer.
Macca is Paul McCartney
Mecca is a holy shrine full of dirty people with tuberculosis.
Go to the web site for the college that she is going to. Colleges often recommend what computer they want incoming freshmen to have.
Buy her a Mac. PCs are designed to have problems. Mac are the best. Go to an Apple store and talk to them, they will lead you in the right direction. You will. Not regret getting a Mac.
R29, that is bogus! Can you provide an example?
The problem with MACs are that they only command 5% of the market. As such, newer programs first come out equipped to work on PC and then later, much later, a workable MAC program comes out.
Stop fucking capitalizing Mac, you idiots.
Laughing at R33 capitalizing of Mac.
Hey! He's too stupid to know what he's doing!
R34, capitalization implied the entire word, not an initial cap for a brand name. Fuckface.
Obviously R35 is the fucktard on this thread. If you don't like MAC or Mac, just go away and fuck yourself with a thumb drive.
Get her a MacBook Air with a DVD drive peripheral. You will be the best Uncle in the world.
Get her the cheaper of the 2 models of the 13" Apple MacBook Air. Small and light enough to fit in the backpack, but it still has good screen size- unlike the 11" MacBook Air. It has a SSD, instead if a hard drive, but doesn't have an optical drive for DVDs. Instead you can buy an external USB DVD player to replace the missing internal optical drive. You'd plug the DVD player into the USB port on the MacBook Air in order to use it. When not using it you just put the DVD player away in a drawer and be left with toting around a laptop that's lighter because it's minus the optical drive. It's the best of both worlds.
The optical drive weighs 6 ounces.
Optical drives are becoming more and more rare. I just ordered a Lenovo Yoga Pro 2, which doesn't even have the OPTION of a CD/DVD drive.
The MacBook Airs don't have such drives.
Many "ultrabooks" in the Windows/PC world don't have CD/DVD drives any more.
It won't be long before they're just not an option anywhere.
I just got a Lenovo and I love it. Don't buy a Dell they are built really cheaply and all customer service involves calling India. My last one was a Dell and lasted only two years.
I would follow r38's advice, OP. Or get the Lenovo Yoga Pro 2 that r40 mentions. I'm a Mac person and while it pisses me off that none of the new Macs have built in DVD players anymore, you can always get an external player for her to use when she needs it. If she's going to be doing anything in the arts fields she'll probably want a Mac, especially if she already has other Mac products like an iPhone or iPad or iPod. Otherwise, steer clear of Mac stuff because it's much more expensive than PCs, and get a Lenovo. You sound like a great uncle btw.
Give her a note (in a gift-wrapped box if you like, or enclosed in a card) saying that you will pay for the computer of her choice. Let her shop for what she wants & you won't have to guess or deal with technical issues.
OP: ASK HER!!!!
[quote]my sister doesn't want me spending that much money and my niece agrees.
OP are you stupid? Listen to your sister, if you insist on giving your niece a gift, write a check.
You'll get the wrong color.
They'll all LAUGH at her!
Lenovo are cheap laptops made in CHINA! Is this what you want? Go google Lenovo problems.
R31, when I started university and especially when I started grad school, we were told what was needed in a computer - not the actual brand but what it needed to have in regard to power, storage, programs, etc.
I'm virtually certain this is troll bait. A high school girl, in this day and age, "has a ton of DVDs"? Please. I don't think I know a single person under the age of 25 who watches TV or film via any means other than streaming or DVR.
I'll provide some advice regardless, particularly since it appears that a number of posters on this thread are, to put it mildly, out of touch:
1. In the "real world" 90% of the computer market consists of PCs, but in the college market, PCs are for the STEM kids. (And if you don't know what STEM means, you're *really* out of touch.) The "cool kids" almost all, without exception, use MacBooks, particularly now that MacBook prices are roughly on par with Windows laptop prices. (Yes, I am well-aware that you can buy a cheapo laptop at Best Buy or whatever for under $500. Those systems invariably have older technology that's at least 2-3 years out of date. Apples to apples, however, MacBook Air laptops are about the same as comparably equipped "ultrabooks," and ditto for MacBook Pros and higher-end laptops.)
2. MacBook Air laptops lack internal DVD players (ditto the 13" MacBook Retina I'm typing this on) because almost no one *needs* one these days. Seriously: I haven't had a computer with a DVD drive for nearly three years. People download nearly all of the software they need to install. They store most files "in the cloud." And on the off chance they do need to install something on their computer, they can do it via thumb drive. (OP, many colleges these days allow kids to take exams on their laptops, via a program called Electronic Bluebook. It self-installs via flash drive and blocks all Internet access and usage of any other program while it's on. At the end of an exam, students save their exam file on the same flash drive, which encrypts all the data before the end of the "save" process.)
3. The only people who need large hard drives are nerds and Internet porn obsessives. (In other words, 99% of DataLounge.) A college-age girl has *zero* need for a 750GB hard drive.
4. As already noted, optical drives will soon be as obsolete as the cassette player. Get solid-state. PERIOD.
[quote]If she's going to be doing anything in the arts fields she'll probably want a Mac, especially if she already has other Mac products like an iPhone or iPad or iPod.
Wow, I'm not sure you could be more cliche if you tried. Macs aren't just for "emo kids." You'll find they're owned by the majority of today's b-school and law students, for one thing. Again, only STEM geeks even consider Windows to begin with, and many of the ones I know personally have Macs anyway but dual-boot with Windows and OS X.
[quote]Otherwise, steer clear of Mac stuff because it's much more expensive than PCs, and get a Lenovo.
Again, the "Apple is more expensive" meme died about years ago now.
[quote] A high school girl, in this day and age, "has a ton of DVDs"? Please. I don't think I know a single person under the age of 25 who watches TV or film via any means other than streaming or DVR.
Sorry, R49, my sister is a single mom supporting three kids and my niece is not your typical entitled 18-year old, and maybe, not as in touch as, apparently, you are and obviously, I'm nowhere near as in touch.
R49 is incorrect. Streaming movies are available much later than the published DVD of the same movie. And much of what is available for streaming is total shit as evidenced by Netflix, Hulaplus and all of the other providers of endless zombie films.
Hey Uncle Elderbottom, get her one of these. Retro is cool.
[quote]Sorry, R49, my sister is a single mom supporting three kids and my niece is not your typical entitled 18-year old
So: instead of downloading shit off the Internet for free, like nearly every other teen, she BUYS DVDs at twenty bucks a pop? Uh-huh.
I don't think every kid risks jail and a hefty fine downloading copywrited material for free.
[quote]R49 is incorrect. Streaming movies are available much later than the published DVD of the same movie.
R53, my precious, sheltered buttercup: allow me to introduce you to a wondrous thing called BitTorrent...
Agree with the posters who say you don't need a built in DVD drive - needless bulk. Get a cheap external drive and a lightweight computer - Macbook Air is a great option.
Tandy 1000. Considered groovy to have one on campus.
[quote] Macs aren't just for "emo kids." You'll find they're owned by the majority of today's b-school and law students, for one thing.
R50 - where did you get that info.
Last time I Apple had less than 10% of the market.
I don't believe R41 at all, not at all. Dell are quality products with the best support around bar none.
Next R58 will be telling us how to hot-wire cars. Theft is morally wrong you swaggering shitstain.
R30 = monotonous meme repeater. Yes, go to Apple and get your pocket picked.
PCs and Macs do the same thing, OP.
OP, beware of the Windows 8 troll @r68.
Windows 8, Windows 8.1, whatever.
Wow, look at the Anti-Apple Fanboy at R67! Tres amusant. Repeating the same talking points as if they were coming straight out of Steve Ballmer's mouth! (See link.)
Nevertheless: as always there's lies, damn lies, and statistics, and then there's real life. And in real life, college kids overwhelmingly prefer Macs. But, please, don't take it from me: you can walk right into any college classroom in the country and see for yourself. (I'd recommend one of the better schools. Kids at prole colleges in Bumfucke might have laptops banned in class because their attention spans are too easily diverted by Facebook.)
College kids? Really? You think any decision in life should be made by what a bunch of college kids who all try to dress alike think?
What a fucking fool you must be!
R67 - Significantly less? What number is that?
I also thought Microsoft had only released information on the number of Windows 8 licenses sold - not the the number of users.
Speculation being more people are downgrading to Windows 7 that Microsoft would like to admit.
I'm a student and have a macbook air. Most students seem to have a Mac where I study. The macbook air is compact and light and unlike my previous hp laptop not a hassle to take it with me.
The most important things in a laptop for a student is the weight and battery of a laptop.
[quote]College kids? Really? You think any decision in life should be made by what a bunch of college kids who all try to dress alike think?
As amply demonstrated by all the oldergays on this thread touting calcifying technologies like Windows and optical hard drives, the kids are alright, and they know a FUCKTON more about tech than the geezer generations ahead of them.
My niece is 19 and at university. All her friends who bought their own laptops or who got to select their own have Macs (including her). You won't go wrong with one, whereas you could easily go wrong getting some other random junk. It will do everything she needs it to, plus it's fun.
If your niece isn't up to date with technology, she soon will be. She's 18, FFS.
Chromebook is fun.
Chromebooks are fine for what they are: an extension of Chrome. Period. If you never use *anything* on your laptop *but* your Web browser, you'll be fine. Otherwise, be very careful. Chromebooks are designed to be used in conjunction with "the cloud," and consequently designed to be used 99% of the time with an open wi-fi link.
Chromebooks really don't work for college kids, however. For starters, they're only built to connect Google's own media systems. (Translation: you're screwed if you have an iPhone, because you can't install iTunes on a Chromebook. You're also screwed if you want to stream torrents, because you can't install a torrent reader/decoder on the OS.)
Is OP the same Uncle Bottom who previously wanted to give his niece a hope chest? Maybe stick with that.
There is some seriously shit advice on this thread. OP asked for simple advice, not babble about solid state drives and amounts of RAM.
OP, ignore all the idiots fighting about Mac vs MAC vs PC, that is an argument for basement dwellers who need to get out more.
The fact that your niece is still using DVD's suggests to me that she isn't very tech savvy. She would be illegally downloading if she was. If that is the case then the Mac book air would be a good choice. Apple deliberately makes their products so that the amount of customisation you can do is limited. It makes them less vulnerable to viruses and will keep the software stable for longer. But it frustrates anyone who likes to have a lot of control about how the computer works or if they have special needs, like gamers for instance. They are light too, hence they are popular for students.
If she is tech savvy, or for whatever reason doesn't like Apple products, then as someone mentioned PC's made by Asus have a good reputation and will come with a DVD player/burner.
Either of these should last her through a degree if she takes care of it.
Sounds to me like the Mac would be the better choice with an external DVD player. Anyone who has only ever used library/school computers is unlikely to be exceptionally computer literate and probably just knows the basics. Once she gets used to it she will find it easy to use and great for college.
You sound like a good Uncle OP. Your niece and sister sound like good people too if they are actually trying to turn down your generosity rather than trying to milk their wealthier uncle/brother for everything they can get.
Hi OP. Whichever laptop you decide to purchase for your niece (And wow, how awesome are you btw!), please make sure that it has the Microsoft Office suite of programs installed on it. This suite incorporates Word, a program you're probably familiar with, and one that your niece will need to write assignments with. Usually it costs extra to install Office, so maybe you could take that into account as you're shopping around (Never fear, there's a mac version as well). Trust me, she will absolutely need this software for her college life.
In terms of other types of word processing programs, I've heard mixed stuff about Pages, and I'm not such a fan of OpenOffice. Maybe others could weigh in here.
R78 points out the major reason to wait and buy your niece a computer for high school graduation.
It is more than likely that what ever college she attends will have a campus license for MS Office. If she has to pay anything additional for the software it will be far less than what you would spend. You could put more money into the computer itself.
There is no doubt that Apple has a larger share of the college student market than they have of the entire market.
The majority of entering freshman are coming to campus with a PC not a Mac.
The majority of college students who say they plan to purchase a laptop within the next year say they plan to purchase a Mac. That doesn't mean that happens.
The least expensive MacBook Pro, even with the higher ed discount, is $999. You can get a PC laptop for under $400.
That's a huge savings for a college student. In many cases the $600 saved today is worth far more than any savings down the line - whether it is ease of use or actual dollars.
I suspect many college students are happy enough to save on their PC so they can buy an iPhone.
The posters upthread who said to give her a giftcard are right (even if the sister will throw a sweet fit). At the colleges at which I've taught (and this includes in design), the students need computers that run Microsoft Office for assignment submissions to D2L or Blackboard. Most have HPs or Dells. The laptop I've linked is popular because it's cheap. With Microsoft Student software, it runs under $500.
R85 - I don't know where you taught - based upon your comment unless you want to harm their reputation I suggest you keep it secret.
Obviously there is a Mac version of MS Office. The only missing program is MS Access - which some students may need.
Blackboard and D2L and every other learning management system works just fine with a Mac or a PC.
Neither are limited to just accepting documents in MS Word, Mac or PC version.
Buy her a lapdog instead.
R24 [quote]you are splitting hairs that do not matter. Get a life. And SS drives might cost more, they don't cost as much as you are quoting. GSheez! If you are going to come here pretending to be an expert, just don't.
750GB SSD on Amazon: $500. Put up or shut up.
I teach 6 classes at 2 different universities, and can say from experience that the Mac/PC split is about 50/50.
Ultimately, OS doesn't really matter. Making sure that it has Office DOES matter greatly. My deciding factor would long battery life, especially for a student that is carting a laptop around all day.
if you buy her the wrong computer you will ruin the rest of her life
R88, you merely proved that poster's point.
The other poster said the SS hard drive cost a whopping $800. Your quoted $500 is a whopping 25% off.
You weren't very good at arithmetic in 7th grade, were you.
R91 Neither are you. The other post quoted $800 for a 1TB SSD; this is for a 750GB, as per the original specifications.
Why do the students need Office, r89?
R93 - I think we both know they don't.
It's not unusual to see faculty requiring students to purchase something they don't need.
They kinda do, R94. If you're going to any kind of word processing, Office is essential. Kids in college should be doing word processing. I personally don't require any particular brand, but Office is the best out there.
Excel, if used properly, can be fantastic for organizing notes, and OneNote is a powerhouse. University students can also get Office at a steep discount.
iWork can read and write in MS Office apps.
Comes free now with new Apples.
Just download the free OpenOffice, which replicates all of the functions of Office and can open Office documents.
R95 - I agree college students will need a word processing program. Probably also a spreadsheet program.
But if they don't have to have MS Office. There are open source alternatives to MS Office which they can use. I find it hard to believe that the open source versions are more than enough for college students.
I appreciate the fact you claim not to require a brand - but you have to admit that your original post came pretty close.
You have to be running Windows to use OneNote. It is OneNote and MS Access that keep me using a PC. Tried both Boot Camp and Parallels on my MacBook Pro and was never satisfied with the way MS Access performed over our network.
As an aside and off-topic. When I gave up my MacBook Pro I switched to a Dell Optiplex. Not being able to put a my laptop in my bag to continue my work at home as been great. All of sudden work I took home with me - I manage to finish during regular work hours.
[quote]Hi OP. Whichever laptop you decide to purchase for your niece (And wow, how awesome are you btw!), please make sure that it has the Microsoft Office suite of programs installed on it. This suite incorporates Word, a program you're probably familiar with, and one that your niece will need to write assignments with. Usually it costs extra to install Office, so maybe you could take that into account as you're shopping around (Never fear, there's a mac version as well). Trust me, she will absolutely need this software for her college life.
Let me nip this in the bud immediately, before it festers further: ABSOLUTELY DO *NOT* BUY MS OFFICE. My brother is a college professor. Every student AND professor at his university can purchase a licensed copy of MS Office, for either PC or Mac, for $15. No, I am not kidding in the least. Virtually all software is available for students at a substantial discount, but Microsoft literally almost *gives* Office away because they're desperate to hold onto their overall Office business (which is their biggest cash cow by far).
Also, the ONLY substantive difference between Office for PC and for Mac was already stated by R98: a program called OneNote is only available on PC (why, I have no idea). While many find it useful for note-taking in class, it's far from essential, plus there are several Mac-only alternatives. The three programs it's *critical* for a college student to own, regardless of major, are Word, Excel and PowerPoint. Regardless of whether you're studying business or English lit, most universities have a core curriculum for undergrads that requires them to take at least one or two classes in any given area. An English lit major will likely have to take at least a couple math and/or science classes that he/she may need Excel for, for instance.
No R53, it is you who is wrong. Movies on iTunes begin streaming on the same date as its DVD release.