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Hey guys,

I'm on the fence about getting a surface pro 4 since the 5 is kind of round the corner. I want the surface for study as it look great for note taking and annotations, i'm currently a student and am a year off studying comp sci at uni. Do you guys think an i5, 4gb version of the sp4 would be enough for comp sci at uni, I'm not going to use for anything much apart from note taking, surfing the web and i guess programming when i get to uni. I can get the surface pro 4 with type cover and master & dynamic me05 earphones for 735.75 GBP or $981.10 (USD), i feel like this is a pretty good deal and the price jump for the sp5 isnt worth it.

 

So overall what do you guys think i should do? Is it a good deal? Should i just get it and maybe buy another laptop/surface halfway through uni if i need to? Is the price jump to the sp5 equivlant going to be worth it? Is it a good laptop for comp sci?

 

I know its a lot of questions but I don't know what i should do :P 

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I was in a very similar position as you about a year ago, and I opt'd for a 64gb i3 SP3, and for note taking and basic school work it's more than powerful enough. I also have a Mac that I do most of my coding on, but I have done the occassional assignment on my SP3. 

 

So, no I don't think you should feel bad about getting an SP4 with the SP5 just about to launch (other than that you couldve saved a bit of money). In terms of power even the SP3 is overkill. (I would personally look into a cheap SP3 even tbh).

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2 minutes ago, dexxterlab97 said:

Should be fine. Get it. Programming is just simpyl writing codes

Or running a VM depending on the assignment. 

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Just now, djdwosk97 said:

Or running a VM depending on the assignment. 

Won't be too much of a problem too though depends. 4GB of RAM is fine

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1 minute ago, djdwosk97 said:

Or running a VM depending on the assignment. 

Do you think 4gb will be enough to run VMs

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1 minute ago, CrustyTissue said:

Do you think 4gb will be enough to run VMs

4 is like minimum. If you can find 8 that would be better

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3 minutes ago, dexxterlab97 said:

4 is like minimum. If you can find 8 that would be better

I just don't feel like the 8gb is worth the $400 price jump

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As a Computer Science student in Uni, I've gotten by with an i3 laptop with 8GB of ram for over two years of programming (C, C++, Java) and running VM to program in assembly.

The laptop itself cost me 350USD brand new...(wasn't even on sale)(closer to 500USD after buying an SSD and ram upgrade)

 

So I don't think you need to buy a Surface Pro, it isn't necessary for Uni, you should probably get a cheaper laptop that performs just as well and re-allocate that money elsewhere. 

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18 minutes ago, CrustyTissue said:

I just don't feel like the 8gb is worth the $400 price jump

4gb should be fine since the VMs will most likely be lightweight Linux VMs (and you likely won't even need to work in the VM for all/most assignments). I just need to work in a VM for my security class (since some standard OS safety features are disabled), and for most other classes I just need to test in a VM (to guarantee that my code will pass the tests when run on the autograders). 

 

But I would definitely consider the SP3 if there's any meaningful price difference. 

6 minutes ago, itsmyjobtoknow said:

So I don't think you need to buy a Surface Pro, it isn't necessary for Uni, you should probably get a cheaper laptop that performs just as well and re-allocate that money elsewhere. 

The SP IS worthwhile if he wants to take handwritten notes. If he doesn't intend to take handwritten notes, then I agree with this. 

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14 minutes ago, djdwosk97 said:

4gb should be fine since the VMs will most likely be lightweight Linux VMs (and you likely won't even need to work in the VM for all/most assignments). I just need to work in a VM for my security class (since some standard OS safety features are disabled), and for most other classes I just need to test in a VM (to guarantee that my code will pass the tests when run on the autograders). 

 

But I would definitely consider the SP3 if there's any meaningful price difference. 

The SP IS worthwhile if he wants to take handwritten notes. If he doesn't intend to take handwritten notes, then I agree with this. 

I would slightly disagree with the whole handwritten notes on a surface Pro thing.

 

A single 5 subject notebook cost around 20 USD at most, now assuming he is going in for a 4 year degree, thus meaning 8 semester (4 Fall, 4 Spring) and having 5 course per semester, that would make a cost total of 160 USD. Now those variable may change (depending on how many course, how many semester, etc) but it shouldn't more than 250 USD just for notebooks. 

 

So 250 USD (worse case scenario) for notes + 500 USD laptop cost less than a 981.00 USD Surface Pro 4.

 

Also for some topics, I find it a bit more cumbersome to hand write notes on a tablet...especially for something like math and in Computer Science, there is a lot of math courses to take.

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16 minutes ago, itsmyjobtoknow said:

I would slightly disagree with the whole handwritten notes on a surface Pro thing.

 

A single 5 subject notebook cost around 20 USD at most, now assuming he is going in for a 4 year degree, thus meaning 8 semester (4 Fall, 4 Spring) and having 5 course per semester, that would make a cost total of 160 USD. Now those variable may change (depending on how many course, how many semester, etc) but it shouldn't more than 250 USD just for notebooks. 

 

So 250 USD (worse case scenario) for notes + 500 USD laptop cost less than a 981.00 USD Surface Pro 4.

 

Also for some topics, I find it a bit more cumbersome to hand write notes on a tablet...especially for something like math and in Computer Science, there is a lot of math courses to take.

The only concern isn't necessarily cost. I prefer taking notes on my Surface rather than dealing with multiple notebooks. Plus, there are some classes where it's far easier to take notes if you can just annotate the slides. 

 

I'm a CS major myself, and I have no issues taking notes on my SP3. I bought it specifically for taking notes in Math and CS courses (and that's why I got the cheapest used model I could -- $500 including a pen and a type cover, and I could probably still sell it for about $450 even now), and I have no complaints with it for that purpose. 

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i5-4690k || Seidon 240m || GTX780 ACX || MSI Z97s SLI Plus || 8GB 2400mhz || 250GB 840 Evo || 1TB WD Blue || H440 (Black/Blue) || Windows 10 Pro || Dell P2414H & BenQ XL2411Z || Ducky Shine Mini || Logitech G502 Proteus Core

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2 minutes ago, djdwosk97 said:

The only concern isn't necessarily cost. I prefer taking notes on my Surface rather than dealing with multiple notebooks. Plus, there are some classes where it's far easier to take notes if you can just annotate the slides. 

 

I'm a CS major myself, and I have no issues taking notes on my SP3. I bought it specifically for taking notes in Math and CS courses (and that's why I got the cheapest used model I could -- $500 including a pen and a type cover, and I could probably still sell it for about $500 even now), and I have no complaints with it for that purpose. 

While yes, some classes it would be easier to annotate slides, there are some professors that don't provide the slides, and some that don't even let you use a laptop in the class. (Not talking about CS classes, but rather speaking about the "non-important" courses the University makes you take) 

 

And for me personally, it doesn't feel natural to hand-write something and have no feedback. (But that is my personal opinion)

 

But if we were talking about a brand new SP4 at 1000USD, I can't bring myself to buy something like that where I can get a laptop (for the same performance) and notebooks for cheaper. And textbook cost aren't cheap..so I rather put the money I saved on a SP4 into the cost of textbooks. 

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1 minute ago, itsmyjobtoknow said:

While yes, some classes it would be easier to annotate slides, there are some professors that don't provide the slides, and some that don't even let you use a laptop in the class. (Not talking about CS classes, but rather speaking about the "non-important" courses the University makes you take) 

 

And for me personally, it doesn't feel natural to hand-write something and have no feedback. (But that is my personal opinion)

 

But if we were talking about a brand new SP4 at 1000USD, I can't bring myself to buy something like that where I can get a laptop (for the same performance) and notebooks for cheaper. And textbook cost aren't cheap..so I rather put the money I saved on a SP4 into the cost of textbooks. 

A tip about textbooks, most you don't actually need, and the ones that you do need you can occasionally find a For-India published edition for a fraction of the cost (and almost always they're identical).

 

Anyway, to each their own (I wouldn't spend $1000 either, that's why I got myself the cheapest I could find -- for $500).

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i5-4690k || Seidon 240m || GTX780 ACX || MSI Z97s SLI Plus || 8GB 2400mhz || 250GB 840 Evo || 1TB WD Blue || H440 (Black/Blue) || Windows 10 Pro || Dell P2414H & BenQ XL2411Z || Ducky Shine Mini || Logitech G502 Proteus Core

Spoiler

FreeNAS 9.3 - Stable || Xeon E3 1230v2 || Supermicro X9SCM-F || 32GB Crucial ECC DDR3 || 3x4TB WD Red (JBOD) || SYBA SI-PEX40064 sata controller || Corsair CX500m || NZXT Source 210.

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2 minutes ago, djdwosk97 said:

A tip about textbooks, most you don't actually need, and the ones that you do need you can occasionally find a For-India published edition for a fraction of the cost (and almost always they're identical).

 

Anyway, to each their own (I wouldn't spend $1000 either, that's why I got myself the cheapest I could find -- for $500).

Well if you are talking about cost measuring for textbook, there are ways to get it for no price at all, but we don't talk about that here on this forum. And I personally don't condone it. 

 

But I am aware some courses don't even require a textbook...for the "non-important" courses I usually wait it out until I actually need to do something in the textbook to buy it. 

But thanks anyways for the tip. 

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Currently using the surface pro 4 as my laptop for collage and i cant be happier. the screen is just amazing for normal web and documents ( i have the i5 4gb ram one) . for programing it works perfect with IDE's like Netbeans and visual Studio and more. i have not run VM on it as i did not have the need for it yet. THe keyboard typecover is way better then most laptops i have used and even prefer it to most cheap desktop keyboards. the battery life is good not amazing i get around 4 houres on 50% screen running with Wifi on and 2 IDE's open but the charger is so small i don't mind taking it with me. it can even run older game or indie games perfectly in off time ( the performance does dip down when its not plugged in but that's only in really intensive games and it can even run 4k youtube without being plugged in. if you want to play games i would suggest you install intel drivers and add the custom resolution of (1368x912) this is the native resolution/2 so it looks really good when you want to play games.

 

But i am really happy with the surface pro 4 and i think the screen is the prefect size for portable. 

Needs Update

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