Your School Laptop: Needs over Frills

7 Oct

Acer Laptop

While you can save a great deal of money by using the computer lab at your school, is it really practical to commit yourself to that lab throughout your day? Many students make use of being mobile and a laptop gives one that freedom. However, many students are sucked in to the allure of buying a new laptop when a used and less powerful one will suffice. You don’t need to spend your waking moments in the school’s lab if you can pick up a cheap laptop that does what you need. What do you need in a laptop in order to succeed in school?

1. Drive Space

Although a large amount of hard drive space is nice to hold a variety of files, most of the files you will have in school are very small. Unless you are in graphic design, your entire school year can be held comfortably on an 8GB flash drive – as long as you delete unused and old files regularly. Realistically, anything over 100GB for a school laptop is overkill. Sure, you want to play your games. However, is this laptop a gaming unit or a school functional device?

2. Graphics

Aside from graphic design and 3D animation courses, you won’t need a heavy graphics processor. For the most part, you will be writing papers and research material on the Internet – neither use intensive graphics. Keep in mind that the cheap laptop you are going to buy for school is not intended to be a gaming unit. Its sole purpose is to function according to your classes.

3. Memory

Additional memory would be nice in order to multitask, but it’s unnecessary for basic courses. If you buy a used laptop, there is a good chance that the previous owner didn’t upgrade it at

Flash Drive

Photo by: Saruabh R Patil

all. If you really need the extra memory in your machine, it could cost you another $20 or so depending on the type and size you need. Again, it’s an affordable method to add power to your laptop without putting yourself into debt with Mom and Dad.

4. Operating System

Sure, using Windows 8 may be a fancy way to travel through school. However, Windows XP and Windows 7 work just as well for what you need. Besides, new operating systems usually increase the price of a laptop by $150 to $200. If you’re looking for cheap, new is not the way to go. You can always upgrade to the latest and greatest once you land your first job out of school.

5. Screen Size

A laptop was intended to be an easy method to make a computer system mobile. You can make due with a 14 or 15-inch screen. It just makes you appreciate better equipment as soon as you can afford such. A laptop doesn’t need to have a 17-inch screen or larger in order to be effective.

Once you have your courses planned out, you can gauge how much you need for a laptop computer system. The chances are you will not need a heavily equipped system that is top-of-the-line costing you a couple thousand dollars. In reality, you can pick up a $300 used laptop off of eBay or similar websites that works perfectly. It’s not about the frills when you are attending school; it’s about the needs of the classes.

Author Bio:

This article is contributed by Madoline Hatter. Madoline is a freelance writer and blog junkie from You can reach her at: m.hatter12

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