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laptop for Uni

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I'm about to start my next Uni module in Oct and have gone for a IT module. I currently have a 2014 MacBook Air which will remain my main laptop but know I'll need a Windows laptop as the course entai… Read More
littlesheepy Avatar
9m, 5d agoPosted 9 months, 5 days ago
I'm about to start my next Uni module in Oct and have gone for a IT module. I currently have a 2014 MacBook Air which will remain my main laptop but know I'll need a Windows laptop as the course entails Windows only software.
I know I can dual boot or run a virtual machine but I'm thinking about getting a separate Windows only laptop for uni purposes. I was going to get a cheap basic one but starting to think it'll frustrate me if it's slow, which I don't want when trying to work! And also I'm likely to need it for future modules, so might as well get something that'll do.
Ideally I'm after a 13" Windows laptop with a SSD and doesn't run at a snails pace. It doesn't have to have a massive hard drive or super duper screen. I don't mind 2nd hand or refurbs and I have a student card so can get discounts from various retailers.
First glance I was thinking something along the lines of a Lenovo 500s!? Any suggestions or tips what to avoid/go for?
Many thanks :)
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littlesheepy Avatar
9m, 5d agoPosted 9 months, 5 days ago
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#1
I have windows on my mac for accounting software that I need to use. If you use Bootcamp or Parallels you can put windows on very easily. Parallels has the benefit of being able to dual boot so you can flit between the mac side and windows side. You can usually buy it via one of the education links.
#2
Lenovo T420 from eBay. Fit your own SSD. You'll be able to pass it down to your children when they start uni.
#3
As already suggested Parallels or Bootcamp + a cheap windows key would be the best bet.

I'd save the money you plan to spend on another computer and buy yourself another monitor so that you can maximise what you're doing. This should more than cover you and I will guarantee it to be a much nicer experience than trying to jump about between two different laptops.
#4
Thanks guys. I'm just concerned it's going to slow my mac down if I dual boot or run in parallels and I only have a 120gb hard drive. Is this big enough to run 2 Os's and associated software on? I have about 70gb free at the mo.
That's why I'd thought about buying a separate machine...
#5
littlesheepy
Thanks guys. I'm just concerned it's going to slow my mac down if I dual boot or run in parallels and I only have a 120gb hard drive. Is this big enough to run 2 Os's and associated software on? I have about 70gb free at the mo.
That's why I'd thought about buying a separate machine...

Get a cheap portable hard drive and run the other OS from there if space is a concern. Slowing your machine down is not really going to be an issue if you use Parallels as it runs Windows as if its any other program.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C6XK9D-i2dQ

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z3E6q5CdYjY

These videos should give you an idea of what to expect.

If you go the Bluestacks way then it will perform as if you have a laptop of the same specifications using Windows, it's a pretty transparent process and as good as spending £300 on a Windows laptop without the outlay.

As you are concerned, get Parallels and a windows ISO that you want to use and install the trial option to see how it performs for you. You won't need to pay for either to trial it out.

Edited By: Astec123 on Aug 17, 2016 18:03
#6
Actually, that parallels does look pretty nifty being able to jump between the 2 so easily and quickly...
Do you happen to know if I could run that from a external hard drive/memory stick?
Many thanks for your help @astec123 :)
#7
littlesheepy
Thanks guys. I'm just concerned it's going to slow my mac down if I dual boot or run in parallels and I only have a 120gb hard drive. Is this big enough to run 2 Os's and associated software on? I have about 70gb free at the mo.
That's why I'd thought about buying a separate machine...

A virtual machine can slow the main OS down when it's running (just like any other program), but dual booting will have no affect beyond disk space.

120GB is enough for both Windows and OS X but it may not be enough with whatever else you have on there. If you've got 30GB free then that's sufficient assuming the course programs/data sets aren't huge.

It's far more sensible to install the require software on your current PC than buying an entirely new one.
#8
littlesheepy
Actually, that parallels does look pretty nifty being able to jump between the 2 so easily and quickly...
Do you happen to know if I could run that from a external hard drive/memory stick?
Many thanks for your help @astec123 :)

Yes

http://kb.parallels.com/en/122874

Pretty easy to do too.

Another key advantage of virtual machines (effectively what parallels does) is that technically you can install several different instances of the operating system. So if you want a working environment to do the stuff in the windows programs you need you can, then have a separate one to run testing inside of. You can also back up a virutal machine at any particular point in time and revert back to that point. By that I mean you could have windows installed, all the relevant updates required, the software you need to use. If then you screw up you restore to that point.

I'm not sure in parallels but this can even be to the point of restoring what programs were doing at the time of the restore point being created.
#9
What is your budget? You could get a Dell venue pro tablet with an i5 processor, 4GB of ram and a 128GB ssd for £150 and then the keyboard for another £30
#10
EndlessWaves
littlesheepy
Thanks guys. I'm just concerned it's going to slow my mac down if I dual boot or run in parallels and I only have a 120gb hard drive. Is this big enough to run 2 Os's and associated software on? I have about 70gb free at the mo.
That's why I'd thought about buying a separate machine...
A virtual machine can slow the main OS down when it's running (just like any other program), but dual booting will have no affect beyond disk space.
120GB is enough for both Windows and OS X but it may not be enough with whatever else you have on there. If you've got 30GB free then that's sufficient assuming the course programs/data sets aren't huge.
It's far more sensible to install the require software on your current PC than buying an entirely new one.

That's the annoying thing. For my next module (can't say about further modules) there's only 2 programs that are Windows specific, the other couple are available for both :/
Pretty much everything else I do will be Mac based.
As long as the virtual machine only slows down my mac in the same way using a program would, I don't mind so much, thanks :)
#11
Astec123
littlesheepy
Actually, that parallels does look pretty nifty being able to jump between the 2 so easily and quickly...
Do you happen to know if I could run that from a external hard drive/memory stick?
Many thanks for your help @astec123 :)
Yes

http://kb.parallels.com/en/122874

Pretty easy to do too.

Another key advantage of virtual machines (effectively what parallels does) is that technically you can install several different instances of the operating system. So if you want a working environment to do the stuff in the windows programs you need you can, then have a separate one to run testing inside of. You can also back up a virutal machine at any particular point in time and revert back to that point. By that I mean you could have windows installed, all the relevant updates required, the software you need to use. If then you screw up you restore to that point.

I'm not sure in parallels but this can even be to the point of restoring what programs were doing at the time of the restore point being created.

Maybe I should have a little more faith in my trusty mac running parallels OK. I suppose plenty of other people manage perfectly fine!
Plus, saving a couple of hundred potentially on a new laptop, I could always save that and treat myself to a new macbook down the line if it starts to get tired :)
#12
SilenceOfTheBirds
What is your budget? You could get a Dell venue pro tablet with an i5 processor, 4GB of ram and a 128GB ssd for £150 and then the keyboard for another £30

I was thinking up to maybe £300/£350 but looks like it might be a better idea to run parallels on my mac after all. At the end of the day, I do love using my mac, so it does make sense really.
Just need to have a go at sorting parallels and deciding which version of windows to use now. Oh, and deciding if I need to update from OSx 10.9/Mavericks!
#13
littlesheepy
SilenceOfTheBirds
What is your budget? You could get a Dell venue pro tablet with an i5 processor, 4GB of ram and a 128GB ssd for £150 and then the keyboard for another £30
I was thinking up to maybe £300/£350 but looks like it might be a better idea to run parallels on my mac after all. At the end of the day, I do love using my mac, so it does make sense really.
Just need to have a go at sorting parallels and deciding which version of windows to use now. Oh, and deciding if I need to update from OSx 10.9/Mavericks!
Fair enough :) I had the same issue as you, I have a MacBook Pro but for the uni module I've chosen for the coming year, I need some software for my course that only runs on windows so decided to get the Dell Venue.
#14
SilenceOfTheBirds
littlesheepy
SilenceOfTheBirds
What is your budget? You could get a Dell venue pro tablet with an i5 processor, 4GB of ram and a 128GB ssd for £150 and then the keyboard for another £30
I was thinking up to maybe £300/£350 but looks like it might be a better idea to run parallels on my mac after all. At the end of the day, I do love using my mac, so it does make sense really.
Just need to have a go at sorting parallels and deciding which version of windows to use now. Oh, and deciding if I need to update from OSx 10.9/Mavericks!
Fair enough :) I had the same issue as you, I have a MacBook Pro but for the uni module I've chosen for the coming year, I need some software for my course that only runs on windows so decided to get the Dell Venue.
Ahh, snap! lol
You're not by any chance studying T215 with the OU are you, 'cos that would be funny..
#15
littlesheepy
SilenceOfTheBirds
littlesheepy
SilenceOfTheBirds
What is your budget? You could get a Dell venue pro tablet with an i5 processor, 4GB of ram and a 128GB ssd for £150 and then the keyboard for another £30
I was thinking up to maybe £300/£350 but looks like it might be a better idea to run parallels on my mac after all. At the end of the day, I do love using my mac, so it does make sense really.
Just need to have a go at sorting parallels and deciding which version of windows to use now. Oh, and deciding if I need to update from OSx 10.9/Mavericks!
Fair enough :) I had the same issue as you, I have a MacBook Pro but for the uni module I've chosen for the coming year, I need some software for my course that only runs on windows so decided to get the Dell Venue.
Ahh, snap! lol
You're not by any chance studying T215 with the OU are you, 'cos that would be funny..
It would be haha! Nope I'm not
#16
SilenceOfTheBirds
littlesheepy
SilenceOfTheBirds
littlesheepy
SilenceOfTheBirds
What is your budget? You could get a Dell venue pro tablet with an i5 processor, 4GB of ram and a 128GB ssd for £150 and then the keyboard for another £30
I was thinking up to maybe £300/£350 but looks like it might be a better idea to run parallels on my mac after all. At the end of the day, I do love using my mac, so it does make sense really.
Just need to have a go at sorting parallels and deciding which version of windows to use now. Oh, and deciding if I need to update from OSx 10.9/Mavericks!
Fair enough :) I had the same issue as you, I have a MacBook Pro but for the uni module I've chosen for the coming year, I need some software for my course that only runs on windows so decided to get the Dell Venue.
Ahh, snap! lol
You're not by any chance studying T215 with the OU are you, 'cos that would be funny..
It would be haha! Nope I'm not


Well best of luck :)
#17
SilenceOfTheBirds
What is your budget? You could get a Dell venue pro tablet with an i5 processor, 4GB of ram and a 128GB ssd for £150 and then the keyboard for another £30

Hi, where can you get a dell pro tablet and ssd for £150 from?. Thanks.
#18
phoenix4102
SilenceOfTheBirds
What is your budget? You could get a Dell venue pro tablet with an i5 processor, 4GB of ram and a 128GB ssd for £150 and then the keyboard for another £30
Hi, where can you get a dell pro tablet and ssd for £150 from?. Thanks.
Here: http://mcscom.co.uk/product/dell-venue-11-pro-7139-tablet-intel-core-i5-4300y-1-6ghz-4gb-ram-128gb-ssd-hdd-smartcard-reader-10-8-full-hd-touch-panel-win-8-1-1yr-wty/

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