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    So, to put what I hope is a little more original spin on the age old question of laptop versus desktop for university...I searched the forum/wiki but there wasn't too much advice on this:

    I'll be going to university next October and I would very much like to build a new desktop for it since it'd be a fresh start and my current PC is over 5 years old anyway. I'd also much rather build a desktop because of how much cheaper it is compared to a laptop of the same power. I like gaming and do some photo and video editing so it'd be pretty pricey in laptop form.

    My problem is I live in Northern Ireland and the University I'm hoping to attend is Cambridge, so I'd have to completely vacate my room at the end of each term. I don't know how practical it will be to drag a desktop back to NI every few months! (Talk about a first world problem, I know. Sorry.)

    Basically I am trying to avoid buying the laptop. So, is there an easy, safe, reliable, cheap way I can transport my desktop each time I leave? (For example I will be transporting myself via Ryanair). Alternatively, are there likely to be safe places I can leave the desktop either at my uni, in the city (pay for storage?) or even with a friend? (assuming I can find one over there ;P)

    Other than when moving it back to the old homestead, I see no advantage to the laptop that will benefit myself particularly that can't be replaced by buying a cheap, light notebook on top of the desktop.

    Also, assuming I can somehow leave the desktop there I'd like to just take my graphics card as I'd like to use the one from my current PC for some time (it's decent since I upgraded) and hope to use it for both PCs. Any problems I might run into with fairly frequent transportation of a graphics card, provided I keep it padded/safe and in an antistatic bag + box?

    I'm pretty experienced with computers so I'd have no problem taking it apart or anything but I don't see that helping. Got the screen and everything to bear in mind (and possibly more than just mind) too.

    Thanks in advance for any advice.
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    Oooooo, that is an interesting one. I would say it really depends on what sort of budget we're looking at, because if it's sufficiently high there is the ASUS laptop coming out where they will fully support upgrades of the GPU for two generations, or, alternatively, there are the external GPU options. It's also worth considering that they aren't quite as bad as they used to be in terms of relative price and so that stops being so much of an issue.

    As far as taking the GPU back and forth, just keep hold of the original packaging and you should be fine. I took my old GPU out to replace it with a 980, and just left my old card stood on the shelf since it looks so nice, dropped (and caught it) a couple of times, took it back home, and then decided to bring it back to uni and install it, just wrapped in bubble wrap and it was fine; if you intend to just take the GPU back and forth just keep the old box.

    But, if you're taking the GPU back and forth, unless it's relatively low budget and your current hardware won't be too much of a bottleneck (would expect it is) you're surely looking at having two sets of new hardware, at which point you may as well just go for a decent laptop.

    Same goes for dekstop+cheap notebook, if you can handle the extra weight of the better laptop you may as well just go for the laptop.

    If you were going down the desktop route what sort of thing would you be looking at, either specific hardware or general budget?

    The thing about hauling it back and forth, is that surely, even if you go SFF, it will be expensive on a budget airline, even if you're only doing it once each way per year? I'm fine doing it with a full tower but that's because there is more than enough room in the boot and I'm driven to and from uni.
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    (Original post by Jammy Duel)
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    Thanks for the quick reply.

    Yeah I agree. Don't like the idea of hauling it. Budget isn't really finalised because it's dependent on some other things happening xD but should be in the comfortable region of £1000 give or take (if everything goes my way call it £1400. Minimum £800.). I also need to buy a new monitor though. Components not too sure on. I have a friend who can get me a good i7 for near wholesale among other things so I'll definitely take advantage of that.

    I have been considering buying just a strong processor and motherboard ie a very "upgradeable" pc for cheaper and getting a decent laptop, then upgrading the rest of the PC as time goes on. Given that I'm home for a good portion of the year this could probably work too.

    Don't really like the idea of a big heavy laptop, I do appreciate they've come down in price somewhat. My big brother has a massive one (granted it's excessively massive - 16GB RAM among other things in a laptop!) and it's a definite pain to transport.

    My PC at home is still decent for what I want (will still run new games on ~mid), but I see the point that if I'm leaving the expensive one in Cambridge half the year it sort of sucks! xD

    I think I'm leaning towards upgradeable pc + decent laptop.
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    (Original post by Thorsas)
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    There was a laptop at CES, inclined to say Gigabyte, but not too sure, where it's a pretty darn light and thin laptop and I think it might be passively cooled as well, but it has an external GPU enclosure with it that accepts up to 10.5" or something like that, so pretty much any desktop GPU so in essence you can carry around a nice light laptop, that still has some decent power and then when you get home you can dock it with the GPU and have full, desktop grade graphics which is pretty much a compromise between the two, can't remember the wattage limit, is definitely fine with all 900 series GPUs.

    I think it might be a bit above the budget, but the first laptop in this video is the sort of thing you can do now

    And the second laptop too, and it sounds like that may be the sort of thing you might be wanting if you go down the laptop route.

    And my mistake, was MSI, not Gigabyte for the external GPU
    [VIDEO]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WrPIqYpq1E0 (Will only let me have one video embedded so I guess I will just have to give the link
    Alienware have their version too, but who the **** wants an alienware?
    And it's $2000, so what's that likely to translate to? Maybe £1500 or so, and that I guess is before adding the GPU too, so a bit over budget

    Inclined to say SFF desktop
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    (Original post by Jammy Duel)
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    Love Linus. Thanks a lot for all the info. Suppose I'll have to research it all a bit and finalise budget before making a decision.
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    (Original post by Thorsas)
    Love Linus. Thanks a lot for all the info. Suppose I'll have to research it all a bit and finalise budget before making a decision.
    I think it will ultimately come down to budget, what's available for what at the time, and how much it's going to cost to shift stuff about, which could have a huge impact on what you do.
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    Some small ITX desktops / cases are tiny and small enough to carry around in a carrier bag, so you won't necessarily have to lug a heavy ATX size PC around.

    You can also use your existing components and just buy an ITX motherboard, or you can go for all new latest components which you can use in a future build.

    If you want even smaller, you can get one of those new Intel NUC kits, all you need is to add RAM and SSD/HD and you've got a mini PC... If you decide not to play games and just want to surf and write, you can't get smaller than a Raspberry Pi!
 
 
 
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