View Full Version : Desktop+Netbook vs laptop for college

September 23rd, 2012, 04:05 PM
hey guys,
what do you think is better for college? a netbook + desktop or a laptop? I could get a laptop for $800. But i noticed i can get a desktop and a netbook for $750. The desktop is dual core, and the netbook is dual core along with 4GB ram =D. I also commute to college however i never type my essays when im at my college. I mostly just study in the library.

September 23rd, 2012, 04:28 PM
2 half decent computers are better than one all singing all dancing one in my opinion. They all become old in the end.

Lars Noodén
September 23rd, 2012, 04:53 PM
If you start to experiment there are *so* many more things you can do with two computers than with one that I would say that choice wins hands-down. So another vote for the two half-decent computers here.

September 23rd, 2012, 05:01 PM
I would do the latter, dekstop and netbook.

With a laptop, if it gets broken or stolen you're out of luck.

With a desktop/netbook combo you can lose/break the netbook and its not that much of a loss. Netbooks are much easier to commute with than 15-17 inch laptops. Furthermore, with the desktop, you presumably have more options in terms of upgrading your hardware.

That said, I would get a solid netbook. The Lenovo Thinkpad x130e would be at the top of my list.

September 23rd, 2012, 05:53 PM
Desktop + Netbook

You can also upgrade/repair the desktop easily over time. Add hard drives for more space, hook up a dual monitor setup (once you have one for longer than a week going back will feel like its slowing you down so much).

Plus most laptops and netbooks except the very high-end ones won't stand up to 4 years of constant use. At least if you burn through a netbook, you can replace it cheaply.

September 23rd, 2012, 06:04 PM
It really depends.

I did Desktop + Netbook for most of my college life. My brother went Laptop instead.

Desktop + Netbook
- A good desktop and a good netbook are Less expensive than a good laptop able to do the roles of both.
- Netbook is light and small - you can have it in the same backpack/brief case/whatever that you use for books and notebooks.
- Netbooks usually have more battery.
- Desktops have great power vs. cost ratio.
- Desktops are upgradeable and many of their components are reusable.
- Desktops can have much larger screen.
- Two home folders mean your data has redundancy and thus you are less vulnerable to data losses. (Still, make backups).
- If you need to lend your desktop for some reason, you can still use your netbook or vice versa.
- Desktops tend to be a lot more durable.
- Desktops are noisy.
- Lose the netbook, you still have a Desktop to work with.
- Netbook keyboards are uncomfortable.

- If you spend most of the time at college rather than at home/dorm, a netbook's power would be very lacking. Laptops instead, can do many things that Desktops can.
- Netbook can't run heavy-weight apps. If you are in a subject that really needs high end apps, then a netbook is not going to be good enough for a portable computer. Laptops can run higher end apps.
- Same if you want gaming outside of home. A 2012 mid-end Laptop can even play Diablo 3 with decent graphics.
- Lose the laptop, be doomed to a computer-less life.

September 23rd, 2012, 07:39 PM
Why wont you get a good, heavy duty laptop (thinkpad, elitebook, latitude) + dock/extension? 13" would be small/light enough to carry it with and do some light work... and when you would be at home you could connect it with mouse, speakers, monitor (1 or two; you could use both: i.e. laptop's and seperate monitor), keyboard (sorry, nothing beats the proper seperate keyboard). Using one computer simplifies document/setting sharing etc (so you won't have any issue with stuff left on desktop instead of on laptop etc), also you save money on software (if you use commercial one)
you can get good deals on dell/lenovo outlet store.

September 23rd, 2012, 08:29 PM
Another vote for a business laptop (ThinkPad, Dell Latitude, HP Elitebook). You can generally get extended batteries that get 8-10+ hours, they're reliable and durable, have good keyboards (especially ThinkPads), and good screens (at least as an option - you can get up to 15" 1080p on certain ThinkPad, Elitebook and Latitude models).

Having 1 good, comfortable computer to use IMO is much better than having 2 compromises... Especially when you're using them all day everyday...

Copper Bezel
September 23rd, 2012, 08:44 PM
I'm working with a netbook and a tablet right now and looking at getting a desktop. After getting the tablet, the netbook stays at home, but I still don't find it convenient to hook up and unhook the netbook when I want it to be a dual-display desktop and when I want to move to a different room. Annoying, really, for something you're going to do several times every day.

I use Dropbox for syncing, and it's effortless to access my files between the tablet and the netbook. I don't have to think about where my files are, because my work documents are all mirrored, and it's not even something I have to think about when I'm working with both devices in tandem and save a .pdf to the desktop and then open it up for reading on the tablet. Adding a desktop PC to the mix isn't going to complicate anything.

I work primarily with documents, of course, so they're small files. I don't have to worry about media files. (My music is synced free through Google.)

September 23rd, 2012, 11:35 PM
In my personal opinion, I would definatly get a netbook. After trying to travel on business trips with a laptop I was finally convinced to get at netbook. Carring a heavy laptop all day long from the airport, to the rental car, to the hotel, to the rental car again, to the customer's offices, etc., made me reconsider a netbook. I thought I wouldn't like them, and I was wrong. I got one and I am happy with my decision. Weather you combine the netbook with a laptop or desktop depends on what you can afford, what you will use them for, weather you plan to keep them for a long time by upgrading the parts, and the space you have for setting them up.

September 24th, 2012, 12:11 AM
Save some money. Netbook with an external monitor. Using one now with arch xfce and man it's plenty fast.

September 24th, 2012, 03:46 AM
Seeing how I went through college with only a desktop, I can see how having a portable option would have benefited me back then and it would have saved me a ton of trips between the library and my dorm/apartment! This was circa 2001-2005, and its not like laptops weren't around on campus, just didn't see too many folks with them - had to use the ol' pen and paper!

But given how prevalent Wi-Fi is nowadays, its hard to go anywhere that doesn't offer it. That said, I think having a netbook/laptop/tablet to take with you for note taking and possibly even e-reader functionality plus having a desktop at your dorm/apartment would be the best way to go. And like another member said earlier, having the ability to sync all of your files via drop box would ensure that even if you lost the laptop or if the desktop crashed, your files would be safe and accessible anywhere with an internet connection.

I got my Asus Netbook just a few years ago, originally ran Windows 7 on it for awhile, now its running Ubuntu 12.04 and I'm on it all the time. Its so small and easy to carry plus it holds a charge forever. I wish I would have had it when I was back in college, I think I would have been more organized and more motivated to get work done rather than making multiple trips back and forth to the library!

Hope that helps!

September 24th, 2012, 03:54 AM
I have a Desktop (specs in sig) plus a $399 laptop that's quad core and 4 GB RAM, etc (not a netbook though, 15" screen). I'd rather have both than have one more expensive laptop, but I've always been a desktop fan, so it's up to you. Keep in mind that I'm a CS major, and doing CS work on a netbook didn't sound ideal, so I went with a cheap 15" to make those things pleasant to do on both.

Copper Bezel
September 24th, 2012, 06:49 AM
Save some money. Netbook with an external monitor. Using one now with arch xfce and man it's plenty fast.

Yeah, do anything but this. = ) I tried to have just one device to rule them all like this - portable! Real OS! Dual displays at home! And it's really just a big heap of hassles and compromises I'd never suggest to anyone.

A 10" screen is plenty of room, and my 17" external is great - together, all of the inches I could ever want! Now combine that with a graphics card and LCD that can display just 1024*600 and 1024*800 on them. Any decent 13" display, notebook or desktop, is a more spacious working environment than a typical netbook video card can provide.

September 24th, 2012, 09:47 AM
I'm a desktop and netbook kind of guy. Laptops kind of seem to combine the worst features of both, without the advantages of either IMO. They're not terribly portable, don't have particularly good battery life, aren't upgradable, have patchy Linux compatibility and aren't very powerful.

The only advantages of a laptop are that they're more powerful than a netbook and use less power than a desktop. So if you need more power on the move than a netbook will give you, go for a laptop. Otherwise it's netbook+desktop all the way IMO.

I agree that netbooks make reasonable desktop machines too. I'm typing this on an Eee PC plugged into keyboard/monitor/mouse. The graphics card in my Eee 1000HG can quite happily push out 1280x1024 for a 19" monitor. In the name of saving power I only fire up the big machine under my desk if I need the extra grunt (eg: gaming). Not sure if I'd want to have one as my only machine though, sometimes you want more power!