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Enjoy Magazine

Student Compatible: Laptops for Students

10/01/2006 02:04PM ● By Brandi Barnett
By Elizabeth Silverstein

In high school, one of my teachers entertained the class by describing how,
in his college days, he had to stand in line to use one of the college’s computers. He said something about having to use a lever and how big the machine was. I was not really listening, mainly because I was trying to understand how students could write 20- or even 50-page papers without the aid of a computer. My hand usually cramps after writing one page with the old-fashioned ballpoint pen.

Computers have indeed become a student’s most vital tool. It not only handles
the research paper through word processing, but also provides the research via the Internet.

High school and college students alike benefit from a personal computer.
College students, in particular, will benefit immensely from a laptop. It is useful
for taking notes in classes and is handy to have in the dorm room. I learned the usefulness of a laptop the hard way. Coming from the East Coast, I was not aware exactly how cold and rainy it would become in Redding during the winter. While my friends were nice and comfortable indoors, I was hurrying, in the rain, across campus to write my papers in the library. This semester, however, I knew I would need a laptop of my own.

Here are some helpful tips on buying a computer:

Decide on what you need from a laptop
The more things you want to do with your laptop, the more it may cost you. If you are looking for just word processing and Internet functions, the computer you end up with will be cheaper than a computer that is needed for graphic design, games, and/or music. Some computers
are designed especially for those things.

Learn (at least some of ) the lingo
It can be confusing if you aren’t sure what you need or how different features will help you. RAM, hard disk space, and gigabyte are the most important terms to understand.

• RAM stands for Random Access Memory. It takes care of your current work while the computer is on. With more memory, your computer runs more efficiently and smoothly as well as running more applications at once. An average and suitable amount of memory is 512 megabytes.

• Hard disk space is your computer’s storage space. The more you have, the more you can keep on your computer. An average amount is 80 gigabytes.

• A gigabyte describes how much information your computer can store. If you are a gamer or really like your music, 120 gigabytes might be better for you.

Decide what your budget is
I decided I want to spend no more than $800. I finally spent $700 for a Dell laptop, getting one of their occasional deals, which did not include a printer or the Microsoft Office Suite (Word, Excel, etc.). Collectively, they should cost me about $175. If you are a student, look for student discounts at larger retail outlets and from the manufacturers. Remember, it is not unusual for a laptop to cost $1,000 or more. Some gamer-specifc laptops can sell for upwards of $6,000. Again, it depends on what you need and how much you are willing to spend to get it.

Check out the companies
Sere are various companies to choose from. Dell is known for coupons that can easily be found online by doing a simple Internet search. Dell also has a section on their website for students. Other major company sites include,, and

Finally, remember that companies generally like high school and college students. They understand that students are usually strapped for cash, and will offer some amazing deals.