updating my gear - Med students please weigh in!!!

Hey current med students!

I currently have a 2011 15 inch Macbook Pro. I love it, but it is so DAMN heavy!! I have a little windfall coming, and am looking for something that will handle the DEMANDS and SOFTWARE for med school, but is portable, and fairly light.

What are you all using these days? What would be a good idea to invest in?

What is a reasonable amount of memory, ram, etc. to handle what you are doing in Med School???

Thanks folks!!

A lot of my classmates have macbook airs.

A lot of my classmates have MacBook Airs as well.

I already had a fairly new 13 inch MacBook Pro that I got for my postbac, so I ended up just buying an iPad when I started med school (recommended by the school). Having the two has worked out nicely for me – I mostly leave the Pro at home to be my “desk top”, and tote the iPad around to lectures/the gym/library/hospital. In retrospect, if I had originally gotten the Air, I probably wouldn’t have gotten the iPad and I would have been fine with just the one device (although I really love the options/convenience allowed by having two devices!)

I too plan on using my MacBook Pro plus iPad combo. My school tuition includes a computer + IT support as well. Rumor is we’re going to be getting some sort of tablet-like laptop (my guess is it’ll be the Surface or something like it) to log into the school network and run all of the school software. I’ll check back here in a few weeks and let you know what we get.

Debating on buying a widescreen monitor to hook up to the laptops while I’m at home. Read somewhere that it makes studying easier…also it’s tech and I love tech…

I used dual monitors and it was awesome! you can watch a lecture on one screen and look at power points or practice questions on the other. I also use an ipad mini that fits nicely into my white coat during rotations. I use it to look up stuff and I had the hospital IT guys hook it up to their system so if we’re rounding and a lab result comes back I don’t have to fight for the floor computers, (also during that weird time between 6:30 and 7:30 am when everyone needs to use the computers) Love it!

As an IT professional who owns a Retina MacBook Pro (~$2200) I would advise everyone to stay as far away from the Macs as possible. They can be quite nice, but they are horrendously overpriced. The only reason I bought the above Macbook is because I’m a resolution whore (and I had money to burn at the time), and the retina displays are the nicest ones money can buy in a laptop currently. Also I wanted to be able to play modern games on it when I was away from home.

Pretty much any laptop on the market will more than powerful enough for what you will be doing in college, Med School or otherwise. I’ve had a lot of success with HP laptops, but Toshiba & Lenovo make good stuff as well.

As far as specs go:

  • For the CPU or Processor, I personally recommend the Intel chips over their AMD counterparts. In the Intel line avoid Atom & Celeron chips like the plague, but anything else will be solid. An i7 is massive overkill, and an i5 likely is as well, the i3's are very good chips for this kind of work.

  • 4GB of RAM is sufficient, but 8GB will future proof the machine quite a bit.

  • For the hard drive, you want an SSD (Solid State Drive), this by itself will give you a massive performance boost. Unless you plan on keeping your massive music/movie collection on it, 128-256GB will be plenty of space.

For the record, I also have an incredibly powerful desktop computer that I built for gaming, and it has 3 24" monitors that make studying an almost enjoyable experience.

@prodigal, My desktop (with the dual monitors) was built for gaming too! The whole set up worked really well for school too (of course, since it was an awesome gaming computer). I can’t take credit for building it though, my fiance did, so I’m not sure exactly what graphics card we put in there or processor. It’s held up well, I got it a year/ 9 months-ish before I started school. I realize this is totally off topic, but what games do you like to play on your desktop?

@OP I mentioned the macbook airs because my HP laptop I bought for school I always felt was a little too heavy, and it started to annoy me 2 year having to constantly lug it around campus, so I wouldn’t recommend what I have currently. But there are some great, also light weight, PC laptops out there. I just don’t happen to have one.

As far as games go, it really depends on the day. EVE Online is something I play reasonably frequently as I’ve found an amazing group of people to play it with. Lately I’ve been playing a lot of XCOM, but my collection is massive and I tend to get sidetracked between games pretty frequently.

As far as heavy laptops go, that is becoming less and less of an issue these days. Almost everything on the market is an ultrabook now, and they are quite light. Not quite macbook air light usually, but they won’t cost nearly as much either.

My school issued us HP EliteBook Revolves. I don’t know the specs on it, but it’s handy because it’s touchscreen and transforms into what is essentially a tablet when you want it. I still don’t like Windows though…

Personally I’d go for at least 500GB of memory, I tend to download a LOT of PDF articles.