Should I buy a new laptop? opinion, please


Okay, I’ve been using a Dell laptop heavily since I got it about 2 1/2 years ago, as a gift. I use it daily for several hours total. It’s used for notetaking in class at college, for IM (which is my phone, since I can’t really use the phone), for burning CDs (legit ones, from iTunes), working on my many books and stories that I hope to publish eventually, and for everything related to school. So, it is a very crucial piece of equipment for me, and I take it many places with me in an (expensive but worth it) laptop backpack.

But it is wearing out–showing signs of it–both physically and computationally. The case is coming apart slightly. I’ve already had to replace the keyboard. Randomly it will give me the blue screen of death, and the graphics driver had to be reinstalled, and about 1/3 of the time it will refuse to shut down properly. Dell support is not very good, either, and if it dies, then I will have to ship it off to get it repaired, meanwhile, what if it is finals week?
I do have an external hard drive, but I have to back up stuff manually, and I don’t always have time to do that.

However, it is under the Dell warranty for 4 years total.

I did get a loan refund–unsubsidized Stafford loan money that I didn’t need to use for school this summer–to the tune of $2000. (it’s for other school expenses, too, but I live at home, so…) Right now it’s just sitting in my bank account, since I won’t spend it on frivolous stuff. I want to use this money to get a Macbook–it has a DVD burner which I had been hoping to have for the classes I’m teaching homeschoolers (a DVD of some of the performances). A Macbook has better photo editing capability, lasts longer, runs faster (Dell is driving me nuts, after trying out other Macs), and generally won’t act up on me. Also, we have a Apple store in town, so I can just take it over there to get it repaired quickly, under warranty.

The tricky part. My parents. It is my loan money. But Dad’s getting the pinch at work–not allowed to teach so many classes for extra money anymore–Mom said he wouldn’t be able to help me very much. But to be honest, I’ve been paying school costs myself already. I’ve got about 2,500 in loan money left over after all other school expenses, from this last year. And I will be getting even more loan leftovers this school year. Mom said it’s my money, so I can do what I want, but I won’t be getting support from her, and less so from Dad, if I get a laptop, let alone a Macbook.

It does have warranty time left, but I can’t really spare it for so long to mail it in for any repairs. And the warranty doesn’t cover everything, just the basics. However, their argument is that it’s still under warranty. I had planned to give my Dell to my younger siblings so they can use it for schoolwork, and they can use the warranty remaining, and that way I don’t have to worry about it crashing on me. I’d have a new laptop, and save myself worrying during the school year about “is it going to act up on me”?

I guess my question is–sorry for the post being so long–is, is it worth it to get a new laptop with my unused loan money for peace of mind, or should I wait until I have my parents’ full support for spending my money? (which would be only after a serious crash).

I’d appreciate opinions, please :slight_smile: Thanks!


If you get one, I’d avoid Dell.


It sounds as if a reliable laptop is crucial to your work at school. It doesn’t sound wise to me to wait until a major crash. Why would your parents want you to wait?

FYI - I am typing this on my Macbook, which I just love. We are all Mac users in our family, with very few problems, ever. I’ve got to admit I’m very prejudiced in this area.

BTW - you may know this, but, as a student, you can likely get an educational discount on a Mac (I think it’s $200 or so…)


Their reasoning is that if it’s under warranty, I don’t have to worry about major crashes. I’m not sure how to nicely say that that’s not the case, esp. with Dell computers…and I am worrying about that. Warranty means no worries, I guess is their reasoning.

That is exactly the reason why I want a Macbook :slight_smile:

And yep, my boyfriend told me about that, but thanks so much for making sure that I knew of the discounts :smiley: He also said he’d be glad to help me transition from Windows to Macs. So really, I just am not sure about my parents, how to tactfully let them know that I am concerned about the loss of an operaple computer…and that I have plenty of (loan) money for it, so it’s not like I’m going into debt. And even if Dad’s work is cutting back on overtime, I still have plenty of money and I have a job to pay for my own school expenses, even after sinking 1,500 into a laptop. Hmmm…

And thanks, y’all! :smiley:


Frankly I think the stress of worrying if the Dell is going to fizzle out on you at a very crucial time is reason enough to go get a new one.:slight_smile:


Do you really want to be paying off that laptop for the next 10+ years of your life?

You can find a good laptop WITH A DVD burner for far under 2K. If you have your heart set on the Mac, save for it after you graduate.


Dell is horribly overpriced. Get a Mac, as you suggested, or build your own (i.e., tell the computer guys what you want, they put it together, you pay) at a computer store.

I think it’s time to get a brand new machine. You want peace of mind when it comes to a laptop in college.


Over the years I have owned Dell (no problems), HP(some problems), Gateway and eMachine (no problems), and Tosheba (some problems)

Friends have owned Sony (no problems), but too expensive.

Rather than think brand name and rather than have a friend “make” you one… first decide what you want.

If you like to do lots of stuff at the same time, then the popular 2G of Ram might not be enough,… get 3 or even 4. That way you can do all your work, do some writing, surf the web, and have lots of memory to be on CAF all the time … withplenty of room to spare.

If you work with digital pictures, you might want the digital card reader.

If you don’t have a PC, but like to watch DVDs and make or listen to CDs while you work, most better computers have the DVD+/- RW CDRW, Dual layer drive.

As for the hard drive… don’t go overboard- 250 is a lot. Bigger also means heavier. Consider an external, like a 160 or larger. The USB plug eliminates the need for a separate electrical cord…

Then check the battery. Compare battery life if you like to work out on the deck, or away from a plug.

Be prepared to learn Vista… as the days of XP have come and gone…

If you are a gamer be prepared to write a bigger check, otherwise standard speakers will do the job

And if you have friends and family scattered, you may even want to have a built in webcam… standard on many laptops.

Lastly, your internet wireless card should be the latest.

as for paying for it… many offer zero interest if paid off in 2 years ($100/month = $2400 computer)

have fun… and google, google, google for info


Even if you get a new laptop, your Dell warranty is still valid. Why not send it off (save your files first) and have them fix it during summer break (or some other break).

I am using a Gateway tablet (convertible) PC and love writing notes on the screen, etc… and it’s very inexpensive.

If you get a new one, then be sure to try an go through your school for discounted prices.


If it is under warranty force them to honor the warranty.


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