Lifespan of a College Student's Laptop

Discussion in 'OT Technology' started by JustJeff, Feb 9, 2010.

  1. JustJeff

    JustJeff www.youtube.com/thisisjustjeff

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2006
    Messages:
    1,651
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Long Island // Virginia Tech
    With the new tablet coming out from Apple, and the (4th?) generation of Tablet PC's, a professor and I were talking about a computer requirement at my school. We were discussing the fact that my freshman year had a requirement to buy a Tablet PC (Toshiba, Fujitsu, and Dell were the forefront companies). Looking back at this 4 years down the road, most students have bought new computers, or are using low quality 4 year old tablets that barely work.

    Most students, as well, did not replace their Tablet PC with a new Tablet PC and opted for a netbook, macbook, or standard laptop.

    My professor asked me, as this is a big issue that is going around my school right now: The school is trying to spec our a 4 year computer, but do computers last 4 years in college?

    What do you think the lifespan of a laptop is? Can it be 4 years? Or do you think we recycle these computers every 2-3 years for the next big model?

    Do you think it's possible, as of right now, to spec out a Tablet that will work for 4 years for Engineers?

    My personal belief is no: In college, we treat our computers like shit, installing large amounts of software, and using them 5-7 hours a day, if not more. With this long term use, the quality of the product will be in question after 2 years of use. The school itself should spec our requirements for a 2 year laptop (under $1000) that WILL DEFINITELY last 2 years, and maybe more depending on usage. Trying to spec out a computer to last 4 years is impossible... the market changes too fast.

    What are your thoughts?


    -CLIFFS-
    Do you think it's possible, as of rightnow, to spec out a laptop/tablet that will work for 4 years in a College level Engineering Course? (Installing large amounts of software, lots of programming in multiple OS's, dual booting, etc.)
     
  2. dissonance

    dissonance reset OT Supporter

    Joined:
    May 23, 2006
    Messages:
    5,652
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    KS
    The PC I bought when first starting college in 2002 still runs just fine. It was around $800 then (open box, previous model). It was my sole PC until about 2 years ago and averaged being on at least 10 hours per day. Since then it's been my HTPC until I built a new one less than a year ago. Now, it's my friend's sole computer.

    My gf's laptop, bought in 2002 (don't know exact price but was < $1k), still works fine with the exception of the battery. She was still using it up until 2 years ago as her sole computer.


    Neither of us were engineers though....
     
  3. thekraft

    thekraft New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2005
    Messages:
    710
    Likes Received:
    0
    Depends on what you're using it for. The hardware may last 4 years, but I'm guessing you're talking about whether the specs will be up to snuff, right? If you're using tablets, you're probably not doing heavy computing and/or have demanding hardware requirements, which means that, with proper maintenance, a computer can definitely last 4 years.

    Honestly, solong as you're not dropping them, getting tons of viruses and trojans, or installing stuff that will mess up your computer, you should be fine. Unfortunately, I wouldn't expect a normal user do be able to follow that, so I would suggest a reformat at 2 years. No different than getting a new computer, excluding the cost and hardware upgrade.
     
  4. Corp

    Corp OT Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2003
    Messages:
    28,201
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Providence, RI
    The college I attended started a laptop program the year I started. They gave out laptops on the first day of our first year, we returned those our second year in exchange for brand new laptops, and we kept the second laptops we were given. The first laptop we were given were IBM T40s, the second were Lenovo T60s.

    I'd say for the vast majority of students two years was about the limit. I could've kept my T40 and been perfectly happy, but I was also a computer science major and actually took care of mine. Even with the robust design of the IBM/Lenovos, most students managed to destroy theirs by being absolute idiots with them. The line in the tech support office was almost always out the door. They would have students bringing in their laptops for hardware damage (broken keyboards or screens mostly), software updates, and system reformats (we needed to use the school's image of Windows XP or Mac OSX to get full use out of the school network).

    The whole program worked pretty well, but I don't think most of the students would have been able to keep a laptop running for four years...
     
  5. Chris

    Chris New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2003
    Messages:
    14,711
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Texas on my mind
    For engineering computing to spec something today that will still be usable hardware wise (not even considering the battery, and its lifespan) I would think it would cost prohibitive. You would need something thats going to cost probably well over 2K and then there is still no guarantee it wont be obsolete. With GPU assisted computing a high end P4 or even a Core2 that doesnt have the video horsepower is not useful today.

    I would think it would be best to have freshman students get something low to mid grade upon arrival at school since they will mostly be using it for facebook and writing English papers anyway and then when they hit year 3 and their major starts for real then you upgrade to the high end machine. Plus that way if a student decides engineering is too hard during the beginning of their career they didn't waste money on high end workstation that they now don't need.
     
  6. 7960

    7960 New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2004
    Messages:
    60,415
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    New England
    the plan for my niece's was 2 years, so she got a new one every 2 years....of course she paid for it through tuition, so we really shoulnd't be pretending that they're "free"
     
  7. thekraft

    thekraft New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2005
    Messages:
    710
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thinkpads are pretty solid machines, too ...
     
  8. thekraft

    thekraft New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2005
    Messages:
    710
    Likes Received:
    0
    Bullshit. If anything, the people that really need the powerful laptops are graphic designers/animators. Most engineering programs aren't lightweight, but they can easily be handled by most computers, and you sure as hell aren't going to need a powerful GPU. There are only rare, rare cases where an engineer needs to compile a shitton of code, and 1. they'd do it on a lab computer, and 2. they wouldn't do it on a c2d or a P4 anyway, since the Intel I5s are affordable enough.

    Now, the worst I've ever seen is rendering 3d animations. That would easily take hours on CLUSTERS, and you're sure as hell not running that on a laptop, let alone an engineer's laptop.
     
  9. Corp

    Corp OT Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2003
    Messages:
    28,201
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Providence, RI
    :werd: I never had any issues with mine, so that leads me to believe the majority of my fellow students were fucking retarded :o
     
  10. trouphaz

    trouphaz New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2003
    Messages:
    2,666
    Likes Received:
    0
    i bought a refurbed Dell Inspiron 1520 laptop for about $500 2 years ago with a 2.2Ghz core2duo proc, 150Gb hard drive, 2Gb of memory, a DVD+-RW drive and an nvidia 8600GT graphics card. that's pretty much identical to what they're selling now for about the same price (though they've since dropped the discrete graphics and bumped up the memory and hard drive space). it isn't top of the line, but it does what it needs to.
    on the other hand, we're on the cusp of the new i3/5/7 processors coming to laptops. it seems like another big leap like the C2D procs were and it might take some time for them to settle into a typical laptop setup.
     

Share This Page