|Q:||Should I purchase a desktop or laptop?|
Desktop and laptop computers are roughly equivalent in speed, so the choice comes down to personal preference.
Desktops are generally less expensive and easier to upgrade than laptops. They can offer more in terms of hard-drive capacity, memory and sound quality. They also accommodate larger monitors. Students living in residence halls or small apartments may want to consider space-saving, flat-screen liquid-crystal display (LCD) monitors.
Laptops can be more expensive and are less upgradeable than desktops, but are obviously more portable. Students can keep laptops in their backpacks and do homework or check email between classes by plugging in or using Purdue’s wireless network, Purdue Air Link. (Purdue is currently upgrading the wireless network across the campus, with plans to increase the number of access points to more than 6,000.) Internal components and add-on drives for laptops are sometimes proprietary and costly to repair. Because of their portability, laptops carry a higher risk of theft and damage.
The lack of space in residence hall rooms might also be a factor in opting for a laptop.
|Q:||What should I think about when buying a desktop?|
Computers range from budget-friendly to high-end. Most models will meet the following suggested minimum configuration of 1 gigabyte of RAM, a DVD writer and a memory card reader. Before you decide based on price alone, think about how the computer meets your current and future needs. In other words, buy a computer with capacity to spare so that you extend the machine’s useful life. Some considerations to keep in mind:
You also may want to check user ratings in consumer and computer publications for such aspects as reliability and quality of technical support.
|Q:||Should I buy an inkjet or a laser printer?|
Printers should be selected based on the type and volume of tasks. For instance, laser printers are best for fast text printing. Inkjets are required if you want to print photo-quality digital pictures. There are also multifunction inkjets that permit you to print, scan and copy all on one machine.
Before you buy a printer, check the costs for paper and ink or toner. Also, check to see if supplies can be purchased generally or if you need to buy from a specific vendor. These outlays may, over time, exceed the initial cost of the printer. Look for high-quality output and low per-page costs.
|Q:||Should I upgrade my current computer or buy a new computer?|
Coming to college in possession of a computer they’ve used in high school, many students wonder if they can get by with the existing computer, if they should upgrade or if they should buy a new computer that will see them through four years of college. Here are some guidelines for specifications and features that may help you make the best decision.
|Q:||What should I think about when buying a laptop?|
Prices and sizes of laptops vary, so consider other needs before deciding on these factors alone. Tablet PCs are a special subset of laptops that you might also want to consider. Tablets sit in your hand like a tablet of paper and include hand-writing recognition capability.
Most laptop models will meet the following suggested minimum configuration of 1 GB of RAM and a CD burner/DVD player. Before you decide based on price alone, think about how the computer meets your current and future needs. In other words, buy a laptop with capacity to spare so that you extend the machine’s useful life. Some considerations to keep in mind:
Keep in mind that you do not need a modem for use in Purdue’s residence halls as each room has wired network connectivity. However, most laptops come standard with a modem and network card and those would certainly be convenient when traveling off-campus. Make sure that you order a laptop with an 802.11n wireless card so you can access Purdue’s wireless network. As part of the ongoing Purdue wireless upgrade, 802.11n access will be available, and the 802.11n wireless card is compatible with an 802.11g connection.
You may also want to check user ratings in consumer and computer publications for such aspects as reliability and quality of technical support.
|Q:||What is the difference between corporate and consumer-class computers?|
The computers on display in ITaP Shopping Offline are mostly corporate-class machines that you are likely to see in Purdue's faculty and staff offices. What’s the difference?
Corporate machines tend to be more expensive, but more rugged. They are more durable and designed to be on 24 hours a day, seven days a week. They tend to be more upgradeable than consumer-class machines. They also are more consistent, with stable images and components.
For instance, the Dell corporate-class Latitude provides these benefits over the Dell consumer Inspiron:
Consumer-class machines tend to be less expensive and have more “glitzy” features, such as the latest software. Components are less consistent as the vendors select, for instance, the current inexpensive drives to keep prices down.