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    Wow thank you all the responses they've all been really useful
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    (Original post by Acsel)
    Contrary to what people are saying a laptop or desktop isn't absolutely necessary. Universities often have computer suites for you to use free of charge. You don't absolutely need your own machine as these will often have everything you need.

    Having your own device is much more convenient though. You won't always be able to use uni machines, you have much greater control over the spec and installed software, more options to use it for personal things and it's just generally more convenient (you want to head into uni to write up a report at 8pm when it's pissing it down?)

    As far as actual specs go, I can't comment on what sort of requirements you'll have as an engineering student. The absolute baseline as far as I'm concerned is something with a modern (gen 4 or later) i3 and 8GB of RAM. That suffices for anyone on a normal course. For anyone on heavy use courses (IT, Engineering related, etc) or even just people looking to game on their devices the ideal minimum is an i5 (again gen 4 or later, also beneficial to get a quad core) and 16GB of RAM. You can run on 8GB but more is nicer. A GPU is optional, depending on if you're really going to leverage it but doesn't really hurt.

    A desktop is ideal for power but the portability of a laptop helps. If you don't think you'll be using your computer outside your room stick with a desktop.

    I'm happy to give more specific advice based on budget and exact requirements, whether you want a desktop or laptop (or both, I'm taking both to uni) and any other important factors like weight, resolution and so on. Just give us a run down on what exactly you're after. Minimum I'd expect to spend here would be £500, assuming brand new decent spec. If you want a really nice device anything from £500-1000 is fair.
    Thanks that was very helpful. From the responses I think it will be almost essential and will make my life a lot easier having a laptop/desktop. Having thought about whether to get a desktop or a laptop I think that although I would get a lot more for my money getting a desktop, practically I think a laptop will be better for me as I will have to move out of my room during the holidays between semesters if I go to Cambridge (fingers crossed😅) so having to transport a desktop won't be overly easy and I think having the luxury to work where I want will be good. However in terms of specs, I'm not "techie" at all so any help would be much appreciated as I just look at the specs and I am completely confused what to look for.
    Thanks again
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    (Original post by josephinemar25)
    Thanks that was very helpful. From the responses I think it will be almost essential and will make my life a lot easier having a laptop/desktop. Having thought about whether to get a desktop or a laptop I think that although I would get a lot more for my money getting a desktop, practically I think a laptop will be better for me as I will have to move out of my room during the holidays between semesters if I go to Cambridge (fingers crossed😅) so having to transport a desktop won't be overly easy and I think having the luxury to work where I want will be good. However in terms of specs, I'm not "techie" at all so any help would be much appreciated as I just look at the specs and I am completely confused what to look for.
    Thanks again
    If I had to choose between laptop and desktop I'd be choosing a laptop too. The practicality aspect of it is huge.

    Some of the main things to look for:

    Intel i5 processor, make sure you get a quad core. This is the minimum you'd want. The exact model isn't too important, higher numbers are generally better. First number relates to the generation. So if you saw a processor called the i5 5500 and the i5 6500 the latter would be a more modern chip. A 5500 would be more powerful than a 5400. You may find a 6400 outperformed by a 5500. These are just made up numbers for the examples by the way. In general as long as you look for an i5 or i7 quad core you can't go far wrong.

    8GB of RAM as minimum, 16GB would be ideal. 8GB will suffice but 16GB is good for when you're doing anything power hungry. As a result you may find 8GB becomes a bottleneck later down the line so aiming for 16GB now would be good. You may see some labelled as DDR3 and some as DDR4. The distinction isn't massive so I won't go into detail explaining. DDR4 is better but this shouldn't influence your decision.

    Storage. Ideally look for something with an SSD. It'll be faster. While you'll have less storage you can make do with external devices and cloud storage. 128GB is the minimum nowadays, 256GB is nice to give you room to play with and 512GB or higher may be outside your budget. If you're not too fussed about speed (manly boot time) get a 1TB hard drive model. Not much else to say here.

    Battery. Biggest possible. Keep in mind that bigger batteries mean more weight but less charging.

    Screen. Look for something in the 15 inch range. 13 inches is a little small for serious use, especially when you have multiple windows up. 17 inches is unnecessarily large and will add weight. In terms of resolution 1920x1080 is fine (and ideal). Anything higher eats battery life and you own't really make use of it. 2560x1440 would be okay but unnecessary. 4K is not at all worth it.

    Alternative option with the screen is to get a smaller, 13 inch device (or even a 15 inch) and buy a cheap monitor. Hook the monitor up to the laptop and you've got dual displays while you're in your room but no bulky tower.

    Graphics Card. Not necessary, difficult to say what you'd really benefit from if anything tbh. If you need to compare we can but it's not hugely important. May be an issue if you had dual displays and an older processor but not terribly likely.

    Ports. Nothing much to say here. Make sure you have a few USB ports and if you plan to use an external monitor somewhere to plug it in. May also mean you need something like a USB-C to Displayport or HDMI adapter.

    That covers the majority of stuff you'd be looking for. If you need to check any details feel free to PM me or post here.

    Couple of personal recommendations from me below. They're rather high end laptops (Windows only, a Macbook is also an option) and therefore expensive (we're talking £1000 minimum) but I can guarantee they'll cover your needs, have power to spare and will last you all the time you're at uni with no need to upgrade.

    Dell XPS 15: I personally have an XPS 13. Excellent device but as I mentioned the 15 inch screen is a sweet spot. Official page:

    http://www.dell.com/uk/p/xps-15-9550-laptop/pd

    Look at the £1399 model ideally (i7, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD, GTX 980M GPU). The model down is a little low on RAM and storage (£150 is worth it here) and the model up isn't worth it for 4K and touchscreen (less battery life).



    The New Razer Blade: Can't personally vouch for this as I don't own it but it's the only other device that springs to mind. Packing a lot more power than the Dell but at a higher price. Really you're paying for the GPU and screen upgrade since everything else is pretty similar. Not a necessary upgrade and it's more a gaming machine. But it's an option.

    http://www.razerzone.com/gb-en/gamin...ms/razer-blade


    In either case don't buy direct from these companies. Look around for cheaper deals on eBay or Amazon (student discount anyone?). You can get a brand new device but cheaper.

    If you wanted something cheaper, something along the lines of this would offer what you want:

    http://www.currys.co.uk/gbuk/computi...37574-pdt.html

    However build quality will be inferior to the higher end laptops and it's going to weigh more. Given the choice I'd happily pay almost double for an XPS or almost triple for a Blade. But it really depends on what you want.

    These aren't the only high end devices available and you'll find alternatives via research and recommendations.

    One final thing of note, to get the bare minimum of a decent i5 and 8GB of RAM you're looking at £500 at least. Obviously the more you spend the better you get. After a threshold of around £700/800 the custom option becomes far better in terms of value for money. However in my experience nothing beats the high end build quality, high specs and super lower weight of the high end devices like the XPS and Blade. My XPS is personally the best device I've ever owned and my previous laptop was similarly priced. Spec wise my old custom built laptop massively overpowered the XPS but the weight and size made it impractical as a portable device. Don't underestimate the extra you pay for a smaller, lighter device that's easy to carry with you. These device are high end for a reason and it's completely justified.

    So really if it were me I'd be looking to get something along the lines of the XPS or Blade I mentioned. They're expensive but I personally think they're absolutely worth the investment.

    Hopefully I haven't overwhelmed you, if there's anything else you want to know feel free to give me a shout.
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    Asus Zenbook UX305 is pretty good, very lightweight and thin and stylish
    Asus X555UA has strong performance (i7 processor), 12GB ram but is quite bulky/heavy
    There are so many laptops out there designed for a variety of uses! You should check some of them out (here!)
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    (Original post by josephinemar25)
    Thanks that was very helpful. From the responses I think it will be almost essential and will make my life a lot easier having a laptop/desktop. Having thought about whether to get a desktop or a laptop I think that although I would get a lot more for my money getting a desktop, practically I think a laptop will be better for me as I will have to move out of my room during the holidays between semesters if I go to Cambridge (fingers crossed😅) so having to transport a desktop won't be overly easy and I think having the luxury to work where I want will be good. However in terms of specs, I'm not "techie" at all so any help would be much appreciated as I just look at the specs and I am completely confused what to look for.
    Thanks again
    Personally as a computer scientist I would reccomend novatech as they have sales advisors who can help with all the techie stuff.

    Also what is your price range and what programs do you need to run I will have a hunt round for a laptop for you if I know this
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    (Original post by josephinemar25)
    Hey there, I'm going to university in September (hopefully😌). I got through my a levels with my iPad. I also have a desktop but with a tiny car to pack all of my stuff in and the fact that I share it with my sister, I can't bring the desktop. I an studying chemical engineering at either Cambridge or Birmingham and wandered if there was any current engineering students who could give me advice on whether they could have survived using a mix of an iPad and uni computers??? I was considering getting a chromebook as they are cheap but not sure how useful they would really be??
    Thanks in advance
    Obviously you WOULD need a Laptop. Check out Argos or Currys for Laptops. I'd recommend you to look for a Laptop that is high, in terms of the hours of the Battery (Did that make sense? Lol). Or if you like to be interactive, then I suggest you take a look at the "2 in 1" Laptops. It's basically a touch screen laptop. Some of them you can take the screen off if you wanted to use it like a Tablet or an iPad. Or you could buy a Macbook. But they're quite expensive. However, they do give student discount if you decide to buy one. Hope that helped! (Somehow)
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    I got a desktop which i carry with me everywhere


    pcmasterace tho
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    (Original post by TSR Mustafa)
    I got a desktop which i carry with me everywhere


    pcmasterace tho
    Honestly with high performance NUC's becoming more common this isn't actually infeasible.

    Not to mention you can build a pretty high spec ITX sized device which is easily portable.
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    You will need a laptop/computer to do your work on at home/uní accomodation but you won't be required to bring a laptop into uni each day unless you want to. Most uni's have libraries where you can do your work on computers if you don't have one of your own.

    Posted from TSR Mobile
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    (Original post by umar39)
    Asus Zenbook UX305 is pretty good, very lightweight and thin and stylish
    Asus X555UA has strong performance (i7 processor), 12GB ram but is quite bulky/heavy
    There are so many laptops out there designed for a variety of uses! You should check some of them out (here!)
    Thanks will check them out 😀
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    (Original post by Acsel)
    If I had to choose between laptop and desktop I'd be choosing a laptop too. The practicality aspect of it is huge.

    Some of the main things to look for:

    Intel i5 processor, make sure you get a quad core. This is the minimum you'd want. The exact model isn't too important, higher numbers are generally better. First number relates to the generation. So if you saw a processor called the i5 5500 and the i5 6500 the latter would be a more modern chip. A 5500 would be more powerful than a 5400. You may find a 6400 outperformed by a 5500. These are just made up numbers for the examples by the way. In general as long as you look for an i5 or i7 quad core you can't go far wrong.

    8GB of RAM as minimum, 16GB would be ideal. 8GB will suffice but 16GB is good for when you're doing anything power hungry. As a result you may find 8GB becomes a bottleneck later down the line so aiming for 16GB now would be good. You may see some labelled as DDR3 and some as DDR4. The distinction isn't massive so I won't go into detail explaining. DDR4 is better but this shouldn't influence your decision.

    Storage. Ideally look for something with an SSD. It'll be faster. While you'll have less storage you can make do with external devices and cloud storage. 128GB is the minimum nowadays, 256GB is nice to give you room to play with and 512GB or higher may be outside your budget. If you're not too fussed about speed (manly boot time) get a 1TB hard drive model. Not much else to say here.

    Battery. Biggest possible. Keep in mind that bigger batteries mean more weight but less charging.

    Screen. Look for something in the 15 inch range. 13 inches is a little small for serious use, especially when you have multiple windows up. 17 inches is unnecessarily large and will add weight. In terms of resolution 1920x1080 is fine (and ideal). Anything higher eats battery life and you own't really make use of it. 2560x1440 would be okay but unnecessary. 4K is not at all worth it.

    Alternative option with the screen is to get a smaller, 13 inch device (or even a 15 inch) and buy a cheap monitor. Hook the monitor up to the laptop and you've got dual displays while you're in your room but no bulky tower.

    Graphics Card. Not necessary, difficult to say what you'd really benefit from if anything tbh. If you need to compare we can but it's not hugely important. May be an issue if you had dual displays and an older processor but not terribly likely.

    Ports. Nothing much to say here. Make sure you have a few USB ports and if you plan to use an external monitor somewhere to plug it in. May also mean you need something like a USB-C to Displayport or HDMI adapter.

    That covers the majority of stuff you'd be looking for. If you need to check any details feel free to PM me or post here.

    Couple of personal recommendations from me below. They're rather high end laptops (Windows only, a Macbook is also an option) and therefore expensive (we're talking £1000 minimum) but I can guarantee they'll cover your needs, have power to spare and will last you all the time you're at uni with no need to upgrade.

    Dell XPS 15: I personally have an XPS 13. Excellent device but as I mentioned the 15 inch screen is a sweet spot. Official page:

    http://www.dell.com/uk/p/xps-15-9550-laptop/pd

    Look at the £1399 model ideally (i7, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD, GTX 980M GPU). The model down is a little low on RAM and storage (£150 is worth it here) and the model up isn't worth it for 4K and touchscreen (less battery life).



    The New Razer Blade: Can't personally vouch for this as I don't own it but it's the only other device that springs to mind. Packing a lot more power than the Dell but at a higher price. Really you're paying for the GPU and screen upgrade since everything else is pretty similar. Not a necessary upgrade and it's more a gaming machine. But it's an option.

    http://www.razerzone.com/gb-en/gamin...ms/razer-blade


    In either case don't buy direct from these companies. Look around for cheaper deals on eBay or Amazon (student discount anyone?). You can get a brand new device but cheaper.

    If you wanted something cheaper, something along the lines of this would offer what you want:

    http://www.currys.co.uk/gbuk/computi...37574-pdt.html

    However build quality will be inferior to the higher end laptops and it's going to weigh more. Given the choice I'd happily pay almost double for an XPS or almost triple for a Blade. But it really depends on what you want.

    These aren't the only high end devices available and you'll find alternatives via research and recommendations.

    One final thing of note, to get the bare minimum of a decent i5 and 8GB of RAM you're looking at £500 at least. Obviously the more you spend the better you get. After a threshold of around £700/800 the custom option becomes far better in terms of value for money. However in my experience nothing beats the high end build quality, high specs and super lower weight of the high end devices like the XPS and Blade. My XPS is personally the best device I've ever owned and my previous laptop was similarly priced. Spec wise my old custom built laptop massively overpowered the XPS but the weight and size made it impractical as a portable device. Don't underestimate the extra you pay for a smaller, lighter device that's easy to carry with you. These device are high end for a reason and it's completely justified.

    So really if it were me I'd be looking to get something along the lines of the XPS or Blade I mentioned. They're expensive but I personally think they're absolutely worth the investment.

    Hopefully I haven't overwhelmed you, if there's anything else you want to know feel free to give me a shout.
    That was incredibly helpful can't thank you enough. I'd probably be looking at a budget more of £700/800 however as I'm going to be keeping it for many years, I might hold out till Christmas and ask for the XPS as a present. Thanks again.
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    (Original post by josephinemar25)
    That was incredibly helpful can't thank you enough. I'd probably be looking at a budget more of £700/800 however as I'm going to be keeping it for many years, I might hold out till Christmas and ask for the XPS as a present. Thanks again.
    No problem

    £700-800 is a solid budget (got my XPS 13 for £800 off eBay) so you'd definitely be able to get something decent at that price.
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    Go to Novatech.co.uk

    Their laptops are very good build quality and they get a 9.5 out of 10 on trust pilot for similar Specs they are much cheaper and made in Britain
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    http://www.novatech.co.uk/laptop/ran...liten1632.html

    Have a look at this

    Customise

    Increase ram/memory to 16GB

    Remove the basic HDD keep the SSD

    Choose your OS

    Comes to 842.3- cashback from topcashback

    Comes to 815
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    Or their is this from PCworld

    http://www.pcworld.co.uk/gbuk/comput...37574-pdt.html

    But the SSD is crap
 
 
 
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