Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Perfect Computer

This blog post comes to you from the keyboard of my first laptop. It is amazing to think I have made it this far without one. The upgrade from a 4GB desktop to a 250GB laptop is a huge technological advancement I am learning to appreciate very quickly.

Many institutions of higher education are requiring their students to have laptops and medical schools are no exception. Had it not been mandatory, I am certain by the time I graduate, I would have a tree or two sitting in storage from all the paper I would have used.

Choosing a ComputerLike the desktop I used, computer technology becomes obsolete in no time at all. Knowing that medical school is at least four years and another three to four for specialization, I opted to purchase a laptop that would have the latest technology to meet these long-term needs.

With all the features a new computer provides, you can imagine the difficulty in finding 'the perfect computer.' Most schools will provide a list of minimum requirements which the majority of newer models fulfill. After a little searching, I found Best Buy's laptop discovery tool, that helped narrow the options easily (Under the 'compare laptops' tab).

Although the models offered did not include everything available on the market, it was an useful way to see a variety of brands and features in one place. It led me to the HP Pavilion series. After a little in-store shopping, I found the dv6838nr model seen above.

Computer Deals

It will not take long for you to find that computers come at a hefty price. Obviously, some are more affordable than others, at the cost of less technology. Below are some suggestions for getting more bang for your buck:

  • School discount programs - Many schools offer discounts to their students when they purchase computers from them rather than other corporate entities
  • Online discounts - Companies offer significant discounts when items are purchased online because there are less retail expenses involved. Circuit City, CompUSA, Best Buy and Frys are some of the major vendors that have a large selection.
  • Online stores - Some companies solely operate online and can therefore charge less for their products. Consider buy.com, overstock.com and tigerdirect.com
  • Used Computer - Both used and refurbished computers can offer significant savings
  • Listing Services - You can save when you buy from craigslist, ebay, and amazon, but know that the product is not always guaranteed.
  • Free Shipping - Vendors that offer free shipping can help keep money in your pocket.
  • Student Discount - Many companies offer discounts to active students, be sure to ask about available savings.
  • Mega Stores - Sam's Club and Costco offer member savings that are generally lower than competitor prices.
Buying a Computer

Once you have found the right computer, try to find a local store that carries that model or one similar. Actually handling the computer before you purchase it can have a lot of sway in your decision. Some stores offer competitive discounts as well if you find the same computer elsewhere.

Check out some of the discounts on computers and accessories available at Amazon that can be shipped right to you.

Touro University, as well as other medical schools that require notebook or desktop computers, account for this purchase in their first year student expenses. TUNCOM specifically assumes a $2000 allotment will be sufficient for this investment which tends to be more than my total computer expenditure. It is considered a school expense and therefore loan money would be used appropriately in this purchase.

Above all else, know that you and your computer will have to become very good friends during the medical school experience. Take some time prior to the start of school to use some of the programs, find where things are located on your computer, and set up your software before classes start. This will save you the headache of trying to learn it at the same time you are learning course material and improve your classroom efficiency.


  1. good to see that you have chosen the same computer that i have! at least of the picture u used is correct its an HP series 9000 (17") or 6000 (15,4")! Happy writing!

  2. At least it works great when it works. Just a couple months ago the motherboard was having problems and the video stopped displaying image and keys would freeze up.

    Thanks to HP warranty and customer service, this was easily remedied, despite not having a computer for the better part of a few weeks.

    It's back up and running now and ready for another semester.

  3. my question is - which is the best laptop brand for a medical student ?

  4. Great question anonymous. First make sure your school doesn't require a certain model. If you are free to choose, go with something you trust. The majority of information you need to work with is in power point, word and excel format. You will need access to the internet. If your computer can do that for the price you are comfortable with, you should be fine. Many students have moved from a PC to Mac simply because there are less problems. Many students I know have had to reformat their PCs at least once due to the amount of use they get. I still use my HP and after my first reformatting, I have been OK.

    The most important thing is that you are comfortable with what you are using and that it meets your financial situation.


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