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    Wednesday, June 14, 2006

    Med School Computers

    Oh the headache!!

    I have spent many hours yesterday and today looking at laptops. It's a racket, I tell ya. I have to get a new laptop for medical school ... and because this one is dying.

    Currently I have a Gateway S something. It has:
    Intel Celeron 2.0ghz
    512 MB DDR RAM
    40 GB HD
    integrated graphics/video card
    integrated 10/100 ethernet
    external Netgear WG511T 802.11b/g 108Mbs wireless
    24x/8x CD-RW/DVD-ROM

    Why am I getting rid of it? Well, one of the two hinges for my screen is broken, meaning the screen stays up most of the time, but slips now and again.

    and how come nobody says how hot or loud their notebooks run

    Secondly, my cdrw/dvd-rom is dying. As in not reading things.

    Otherwise, it's been a good comp. I've had it for three years. It's a little hot, and runs a little slow, but it's survived viruses, tons of programs, videos, being dropped, etc.

    What do I need? UT-Houston says:
    Intel Pentium IV 1.5 ghz
    512 MB RAM
    30 GB HD
    10/100 network interface card
    802.11b/g wireless
    windows XP Professional

    Yes, I must have win XP professional. Luckily, it doesn't rule out a mac anymore because boot camp lets me have both OS on a macbook pro. Unfortunately, macs are still expensive, and do I really want to mess with two OS?

    Now I'm seeing AMD vs. Intel all over again. AMD is cheaper, it's faster, but it's 90nm. Intel Core Duo is more efficient than the Turion as a chip, because its 65nm, but not as a system. It's also usually $300 more expensive. Things are making HP and Compaq look more and more enticing with the AMD systems. Does anybody have experience with them?

    AND HOW COME NOBODY SAYS HOW HOT OR LOUD THEIR NOTEBOOKS RUN!!???!! That is freaking annoying. My biggest pet peeve with my current laptop is that when I used to study in the library I felt it was really noisy, and it gets hot fast. I want to know how laptops compare to each other in that dept.

    Ugh...*sigh* I guess I will just have to keep searching.

    (By the way, name means a lot. A Dell latitude cost me $1750, and the EXACT same components in a Dell XPS cost $2400. Crazy, huh?)

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    layered said...

    Triet, if you think you might be loading the upcoming new Windows Vista, you might want to invest in bigger capabilities at this time, like 1gig of Ram. You can find more complete information about this on Dvid Pogue's New York Times blog at
    -- Mel

    Anonymous said...

    You seem very knowledgable about computer for a medical student.
    I suggest anyone buying a new computer now to consider Vista also if you don't want to buy another one in about 6 month to a year. One important thing about Vista is its a 64bits OS. And runs best with a 64bits CPU. Currently only AMD has 64bits CPU and run quiet with lower power then Intel.
    I seriouly would check out AMD Turion 64 or Turion 64 X2 labtop.
    The secret the public don't know is that Intel CPU runs hot and consumer too much power, but their marketing is very powerfull in fooling the public that they have better technology.

    Triet said...

    Thanks for the heads up about Pogue's Posts. It'd s good post. Unfortunately, it doesn't answer some questions. First, to run Vista well, you need 1ghz processor and 1gb ram. Well, the processor is easy, but ram...1gb is doable but often in two 512 sticks, meaning no upgrades. If I leave room for upgrading, it's expensive, and if I get 2gb, it's downright disgusting. I think one laptop I looked at wanted an extra $1800 to upgrade from 512mb to 2gb.

    But you're right, trying to tailor my buy to be vista compatible is annoying.

    AMD vs. Intel ... you are right. Although the things I'm reading say the Intel Core Duo (or Centrino Duo if you have wifi) runs very quiet and efficient, the overal turion x2 system still beats it. Also, from what blogs and things I've been keeping up on, the Athlon dual-core cleaned the clocks of Intel in almost all tests. Probably because of the on-die memory controller. Intel enthusiasts say once Intel has it, they'll be better than AMD. I say, hey, if you don't have it your loss.

    But if the AMD is efficient, is it noisy? I'd love to take my $300 savings and put them into a better graphics card. However, I don't want a noisy comp OR a hot comp.

    Triet said...

    Also, graphics is important to a med student nowadays because we often get to watch videos of procedures, classes, etc. The smoother those run, the better.

    And of course, if it makes blogging better, I'm happy.