Thursday, May 04, 2006

Got Laptop?

I know that lately I have been using this blog to poll ya'll about various things, so continuing on with that theme I would love to know what kind of laptop you guys are planning on using in school, or which laptop you are currently using if you're already in a program. I am totally conflicted between the Dell 710m and the Thinkpad X60. Given that I will get a two year warranty along with the accidental damage insurance and a similar set of features, here are my thoughts so far:
*about a pound heavier
*service center has a bad reputation
*built in CD-RW/DVD
*breaks down more often
*is cuter than the IBM
*about $400 cheaper
*only 3.5lbs
*more reliable
*CD-RW/DVD is in the docking station
*but I REALLY want it!!!
I appreciate any and all feedback since I am far from a computer guru. Oh, and welcome to my new blog layout :)


Blogger Forrest Gump said...

you know which one you REALLY want. $400 isnt much considering that you will be spending 120 k at school.

this new template looks cool, as does your new snap.

May 05, 2006 12:20 AM  
Blogger FooBarMe said...

Love your new pic and Blog Style:)

May 05, 2006 1:10 AM  
Blogger sghama said...

Don't get a Dell. I use a Dell Latitude D610 for work and it is horrible. I have issues with my mouse pointer floating around and wrong characters being returned when I type. I have a Thinkpad at home and it is sweet. Sooo, I suggest you take the IBM over the Dell. Having said that, I also think that having a built in CD-ROM is pretty crucial cuz you don't want to be lugging your docking station around. Why don't you consider the T series thinkpads? At Tuck we don't have a choice about our laptops - we all have to buy a T series thinkpad through the school. Fortunately they picked a good model. =)

May 05, 2006 1:36 AM  
Blogger Continental Drifts said...

The Thinkpad is the way to go.

That's a lovely snap!

May 05, 2006 5:36 AM  
Blogger AynRand2008 said...

Is that YOUR picture? Nice new layout.

May 05, 2006 7:44 AM  
Blogger Tim K. said...

definitely thinkpad...when i migrated to a dell from a thinkpad at work, the next 6 months were spent establishing an intimate relationship with the support guys. not my idea of fun. plus i think the thinkpads are more physically versatile, which is important when you're lugging it around to classes, bars, etc.

May 05, 2006 8:20 AM  
Anonymous Neha said...

I would suggest - DONT BUY DELL! The service is soo bad that they will drive you to the limits. Of course, this is my personal experience. I got a 600M from Dell which had a bad USB. I sent it for repair and the serive center sent my laptop to an incorrect address!!! For three weeks, they kept promising that I will have my laptop in 48hrs - this is when DHL refused a gauranteed recovery. And then they sent me a replacement - Inspiron 6000, which I dont like at all. They claimed that it is a best for me! After a lot of back and forth, they agreed to refund the money. However, I havent got the money yet, I have got four return lables from Dell and a letter stating that they issued me a replacement (Inspiron 6000) but havent received the orginal (600M) equipment!
When I called the Systems Exchange Dept, they had no idea whats going on!! My case has been escalated to "Special Escalation Team" supposedly the highest in the corporate dell and still no relief. In short - Dell sucks big time!!

May 05, 2006 8:35 AM  
Blogger Patxi said...

I have an alternative plan for my MBA: NO LAPTOP.

As a former intensive traveller, I used to carry the heavy and dumb laptop with me everywhere, in planes, in meetings, in negotiations and ended up sick of carrying it and heavy docs. I plan to avoid that in B School.

Given that nowadays "everyone" uses laptops, schools' PCs are most of the times free. My plan is to buy a desktop with a huge screen (20") for home, use schools PC at will, and carry the information in a 1 Gb USB drive.

The only thing to carry around is the USB drive, only 30gr! (1 ounce)

Still, if you insist on carrying around your computer with you (like a snail carrying its home!) I will definitely go for an apple. They are virusfree and functional. Plus they are sooooo nice! Cooler than any PC, right? And if you are carrying it everywhere, at least you want to look nice and stylish with it, don't you?

But if you want to go for a PC, get a ThinkPad if you want to afford it. I write this comment on a ThinkPad and they Rock and resist everything. And the keyboard is the best you can get in a laptop. Period.

Patxi @ London Business School

May 05, 2006 9:02 AM  
Blogger Brad said...

Dell has not historically made a strong laptop. However, both Thinkpads I've purchased have fried < 30 days from purchase :-) I'd still go with the IBM product.

May 05, 2006 9:39 AM  
Blogger FooBarMe said...

I would definitely not go for Dell. You might want to try out the HP Laptops too..they are in the dell kind of range but defintely a lot better.

BTW: Thinkpads are no longer made by IBM.. it was bought by the chinese company Lenovo:)

May 05, 2006 9:43 AM  
Blogger i_will_make_it said...

Hi sexy. ;-)

IBM babyyy!!

I will be using a Dell @ b-school since that's what I bought a couple months back. I regret it already...

Go Lenovo.

May 05, 2006 9:56 AM  
Blogger MGalBlue said...

X60. Trust me I am a computer architect. I make those damn processors at Intel.

X60 is $400 costlier coz it has TWO processors in it rather than one as in Dell 710m. It is far superior in performance than Dell 710m and more advanced in its feature list. Remember you would be using the laptop for next two years. So buy the best you can get in the market. And two processors working for you are much (almost 1.5x) better than one. Better graphics, better media, better battery life.

Now when you graduate ofcourse, you should chuck this out and buy the latest one in the market. (I am one of the designers for that :))

May 05, 2006 12:43 PM  
Blogger MJ said...

ill just go sit in a corner while ya'll fawn over your IBMs.
just me and my Dell (which i love).

May 05, 2006 2:15 PM  
Blogger Marina said...

Neha - your Dell experience sealed the deal and I am now ordering the Thinkpad as I type this!

Thanks everyone for your comments!

May 05, 2006 3:55 PM  
Blogger Fritz said...

go with a thinkpad. do you know an employee at IBM who can give you the employee discount? if not I can give you the log in info. just let me know. your new blog template inspired me to change my crappy green template.

May 05, 2006 5:59 PM  
Anonymous Neha said...

Great! Which one of the Thinkpads did yo u settle for?

MJ - Even I have had a Dell for a long time. And this was my second Dell.. However, after this experience I dont think I want to buy a Dell.

May 05, 2006 8:34 PM  
Blogger Marina said...

Neha - I got the X60 and I actually got the external CD drive with a USB port. This way I can carry it with me when I need it. I cannot wait to get it!

May 05, 2006 9:00 PM  
Anonymous Christian, CA said...

ok i know you already ordered it but i congratulate you are my 2 cents!!!

I have a Thinkpad bougt it 3 yrs ago and love it. I have it running an average of 8 hrs a day so i would say it is pretty durable. I have T40! I was always happy with IBM Customer Support but I can't say that for Lenovo. Just make sure you have a good warranty. I would also recommend to anyone to make sure that everything is working great before the warranty expires. My USB ports stopped working (freezes up the comp) and my warranty literally ran out 3 weeks ago. Other than that I have nothing against the Thinkpads.

On a personal note it seems to me that Macs and Pcs are getting more and more compatible and therefor I would have chosen a Mac. Because over the yrs I have really started to hate Windows and all of its little faults. I would love to have the whole Thinkpad package but with the reliability of a Mac. Also, what really kind of sucks is that Windows just delayed their release of the new Win Vista for at least another 3 months which means everyone who orders the comps will get the old Win XP. I know there is nothing you can do about that but that's just what angers me. They know noone can do a thing against them.

woooohoooo i guess i gave you my 2 whole dollars here. Anyway congrats on the purchase and if I would get a PC again then only a IBM/Lenovo.


May 05, 2006 11:50 PM  
Blogger Marina said...

Hey Christian!

I got the two year extended warranty along with accidental damage protection so hopefully that will be enough!

Macs are great but I am still intimidated by them. I think I would have to have one at work and get used to it before actually paying for one myself. As far as Vista, from what I understand there aren't any significant changes other then in the graphics sense and I don't really care for those. By the time I am done with school perhaps all computers will be on the Vista platform (though I doubt it will be the professional choice for companies) along with Office 2007 (now THAT I am excited about!)

May 06, 2006 12:01 PM  
Blogger Fritz said...

The X60 will be awesome but you won't get as good of a workout as other people with heavier laptops. I guess your pilates will make up for it. I have been using a T series at work for a of couple years and I think I will just get another one. I can't wait to get a new one. I am planning to move up there at the end of July or early August. I think Haas has preorientation classes starting Aug 7th so I will for sure be up there by then. When are you planning to leave the Bay Area for NYC?

May 06, 2006 12:55 PM  
Blogger SugarRumCherry said...

I don't know, I'm not quite understanding all the love for Thinkpads. I think I'm still going to go for the Dell... Congrats on your purchase, though! Maybe you can tell me about it before I buy mind and sway my decision ;-P

May 06, 2006 6:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've used ThinkPads at 3 different companies over the last 10 years. They have been durable, if not a little heavy. The last one I used was a Lenovo and seemed to have the same level of quality as the previous true-IBM ThinkPad's I've used. If you are looking for a durable 2-year machine, a ThinkPad should be sufficient. That said, I'm buying two Dells for the office in a few minutes because I'm more interested in the 17" screen for increased productivity.

For my personal use while doing the Berkeley-Columbia MBA program, I am going to be using my trusty Mac Powerbook. There are few if any reasons to worry about incompatibilities between Macs and Windows boxes these days. Microsoft Office on one is compatible with Office on the other. On almost all measures, Macs beat Windows boxes. The Mac UI is more elegant. The Mac UI is not overly modal. Mac apps are more consistent in their human factors compatibility. The underlying operating system is more stable on the Mac. The hardware quality and reliability are excellent. (Yeah, I'm a Mac weenie).

Good luck at CBS.

May 07, 2006 1:29 PM  
Blogger Marina said...

Anon -

Thanks for the comment. I actually thought of getting a Mac and then chickened out since I never owned one before.

Congrats on the Executive program admit, from what I learned about it at the Haas events it sounds really great.

May 08, 2006 9:22 AM  
Blogger KV said...

Here are some coupons that might make your choice easier:,14581,.shtml

I got my Dell laptop through a similar deal last year ($750 off $1,500 or up)

May 08, 2006 10:25 AM  
Blogger Bschool Diva said...

I say, "cuter is better". Go with the Dell.

May 08, 2006 12:15 PM  
Blogger ZhiLuv said...

I always thought cuter was better. This explains my darling tiny laptop and my darling skinny sony digital camera.

However, the laptop hard drive lasted about two years and now my dvd drive won't play movies which is annoying, and my camera lasted about a month before it needed repairs.

I'm starting to rethink my fashion over function philosophy.

May 09, 2006 2:46 PM  
Blogger MBA Pundit said...

The Thinkpads are top of the line solid performers. I have been using them for 4 years and love them. You've made the right choice.

May 18, 2006 9:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Follow up on the laptop comment I made above about using a Mac....

My plans have been thwarted.

After working through material prior to the first EMBA-Berkeley classes, I noticed some minor descrepancies between Excel on the Mac and on Windows. That put me on alert. Next, the text book for Managerial Statistics came with an add-on PHStat2 that appears to be windows specific. Then I became aware that we would get software to install. A little investigation revealed this to be Crystal Ball and Microsoft Project. I'm not sure if Crystal Ball will work on a Mac, but the copy of Project they provide is for Windows. That broke me. I decided with work and school work, I don't want to be spending time working around problems which arise due to Mac/Windows differences.

The upshot is I'll be using a Dell laptop from work. It worked fine. Configuring for the Berkeley-Columbia environment last week was easy enough.

On a different subject... the first block of classes for the EMBA-Berkeley program was last week. Since we have four Columbia professors this time, I'll give you my first impressions of them individually and as a whole.

The best of the group is David Juran, who is teaching Mangerial Statistics. From the first few minutes of the class, you know this guy is not just a professor, but a teacher. He has a dry subject, one that is difficult for many of the people in the class. He doesn't rush through material throwing equations at you. He motivates the topics well, tries to develop the student's intuition, and punctuates his points with humor. He has a very engaging style. If you have an opportunity to take a class from the man, jump on it.

Other instructors....

Ray Fisman for Managerial Economics (Microeconomics): His voice is a bit monotone. His personality is mild, if not a bit professorially quirky. And none of that stands in the way of making his class a joy -- the little eccenitricities actually enhance his presentation. What he says is very interesting and he motivates the material with diverse examples and good humor. Fisman is a thoughtful and good man. It is easy to like him. It is easy to enjoy his class. I'd give the same recommendation for this guy as for Juran. Given an opportunity to take a class from him, take it.

Bjorn Jorgensen for Financial Accounting: Jorgensen is very good. His enthusiasm for his subject and his high-energy personal style seem the very opposite of what accounting is about. But the contradictory juxtaposition works and students are the winners.

Neil Capon for Marketing Strategy: Capon is a harder read for me after the first couple of classes. I'll go out on a limb and say he is very good. His classes were stimulating, but I was a underprepared for the class and intimidated by the subject. Capon reminds me of some marketing "idea" people I've worked with. He has a destination, but he is very comfortable with non-linearity while making his way there. So, if you haven't read the case material, you'll be lost within minutes.

My overall impression... this is the best lineup of Professors I've had in a single semester, with a couple of them already early contenders for going on that short list of Professors I will recall with fond admiration for the rest of your life.

May 28, 2006 3:07 PM  
Blogger Marina said...

Anon -

WOW! Thanks for all that information. I think our first year we have no choices over which professors we get, but I am hoping to end up with at least one of the fantastic people you have!

May 31, 2006 9:34 AM  

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