Being a student is filled with its own set of challenges–whether it’s coursework, interpersonal relationships with other students and professors, or balancing a social life with extracurricular academic activities. Thankfully, there is one item that can help make college life much easier: a computer. However, selecting the computer that is right for your specific situation, with so many different shapes, sizes, and colors, your choices can sometimes start to feel a little overwhelming. Here to help minimize the stress are four major factors to consider when purchasing computers for college.
1. Operating System
Odds are you already have an idea of whether you’re a Mac, PC, or Linux person, but you may still want to consider the available operating system options even if you feel your mind is made up, you never know what insight a little research could yield. Whatever option you decide to settle on solely depends on your individual preferences, needs, and whatever GUI you are comfortable with. Some people enjoy the Mac aesthetic, while others prefer the familiarity of Windows or the openness of Linux.
Whether you’re attending Maryville University or Hofstra University, odds are that your budget is a bit tight and will need to be delegated very carefully. Laptops, despite the essentiality, can become extremely expensive very quickly. Consider the seemingly boundless array of upgrades and special features that drive the price up more and more. One tactical way out of this maze is to know what you need, ignore all the bells and whistles, and deal with using a cheaper computer until you graduate.
Considering the fact that you are going to be taking your laptop almost everywhere with you throughout the day, portability is a key factor to consider. You are not going to want something too bulky, but you also may not want something too light, as something too minuscule may compromise some other necessary features. Personally, I would not recommend going with something over 13.5 inches. Many Macbooks and Ultrabooks are made with slimness and lightness in consideration, and there are plenty of other options on the market to consider as well.
Random Access Memory (RAM) dictates how many individual programs you are able to run at one time and how quickly your computer can access data. At least 4 GB of RAM should be sufficient, though you could potentially get more if you are majoring in something that requires heavy use of multiple programs at once (such as Computer Science or Music Production). Consider both the expense and whether or not you will actually need any of the extra space, as your school may let you use some of their formidable computers for advanced assignments.