Question for current Carleton ID students

i’m incoming 1st year for fall 2011 and currently looking to buy a laptop.

  • what laptop do most people use? (when i visited UCincinnati almost everyone had a MacBook Pro, for example)
  • is it useful to have a laptop powerful enough for rendering? or is that done on desktops in the labs?

i’m basically looking at a MacBook Pro or a PC laptop that has a lot more graphics power but is slightly bigger.

any insight is appreciated. thanks

What is with people not capitalizing their I’s?

Its really up to personal preference and budget.

The new MBP are pretty powerful machines and will be able to handle mostly everything you throw at it and you can get an equally powerful PC for much less. You just need to determine if you want to use OSX or Windows.

If you happen to find your laptop bottle necking you. You can always use the labs for rendering if you need. The best thing is setting up multiple files and taking over a few machines. That way you can have 10 renderings going at once.

But more than likely as a first year student you probabbly won’t be doing too many crazy things. The need for super powerful machines will come later on when you start mastering programs and really demanding things from the software and by then it might be time to upgrade.

My biggest advice is to buy RAM and HDD from 3rd party retailers. Much cheaper to buy RAM from Newegg than to have Apple or Dell install it. Same thing goes with Hard drives.

The “shift” key on the keyboard is not working properly :wink: I sometimes think that capitalising “I’s” is a very egotistical thing, because then I’m making emphasis on myself, rather than than the subject matter. it’s OK to capitalise a person’s name, because you show respect for it, but capitalising myself is a bit too excessive. :wink: The OP must be a very humble and modest person as he knows that he isn’t great enough yet to introduce himself with a capital letter.

Just kidding, but you get the idea :wink:

Speaking about your laptop, i would rather consider a totally alternative option: first of all, ask the Carleton College IT department if it runs virtual desktops (read about it here: Virtual desktop - Wikipedia) In this way, you can control a powerful computer in college from your laptop, provided you have an internet connection. So you can use any laptop, even the cheapest one, to control the rendering package on the college computer remotely.

I have used Citrix virtual desktop to run SolidWorks and Cinema4D from my home, because my laptop was not powerful enough for these programs. I’ve never been to Carleton, but it MUST have powerful desktop PC machines for rendering.

Speaking about Photoshop, you need a really good display, rather than a graphics card. Photoshop needs a lot of memory and processing power, but not necessarily a good graphics card. A really good display represents colours accurately. Some cheap laptops contain really accurate displays. Your task is to find out which ones do and which ones don’t.

In conclusion, you need: presence of virtual desktops in Carleton AND a cheap laptop that has an accurate display. If you have only one of these things, I’d consider buying something like a MacBook, because you need two of these things to produce high quality work on a cheap laptop.

thanks for the replies guys

I agree with the above.

Also I would urge you to consider that you in your time of study will probably spend a lot more time than you think on things not rendering related such as writing, editing, researching, composing collages, styleguides/moodboards and so on.

So considering if you would like to use OSX or Windows is really important, not just the muscle. For me personally, a MBP was the only option as I feel that it simplifies my day-t-day tasks a lot. Browsing, typing and researching in Windows makes me crazy. Every time I use Bootcamp for CAD and renderings, this becomes painfully obvious.
But again, personal preference. Find out what is important to you.

Double post!

I’m going into my 3rd year at Carleton’s ID program, so I’ll probably see you there in a few months!

A few thoughts on the whole laptop thing:

  • It’s not a MUST in first year. A lot of your time’ll be spent on studying up for non-ID courses, taking notes, and maybe the occasional Ai/Ps work. CAD and renderings aren’t taught in depth until 2nd year, and until then the studio computers are capable of anything you might want to tinker around with.
  • I managed with a 4-year old Thinkpad X41 in my first year just fine. Consider the fact that if you can resist the temptation of a shiny new laptop for a year, you’ll have something a bit more future-proof down the road.
  • Macs are a good way to go (as about 90% of my colleagues have 'em), but I’m a happy minority of having a PC. I have a Thinkpad T410 that’s kept me going for the past year. The biggest benefit I see of running a PC is to avoid the potential headaches I’ve witnessed my friends have running the back-door solutions to running Windows/Solidworks, which theoretically shouldn’t be a problem - but they do. I get a little hint of schadenfreude when I see a Macbook uncomfortably running Solidworks whilst I’m happily modeling along.
  • But it’s really personal preference. I haven’t met a person regret buying a Macbook Pro, and that’s a real testament to the product you’re getting.
  • You might want to consider the benefit of portability over having a powerhouse of a laptop. All that power is nice to have, but when it means lugging a huge, hefty machine to studio everyday, the benefits of having a compromise start to show (especially in 1st year, and in your elective classes where you’ll be using your laptop to take notes rather than do some intensive renderings.)

That’s all the advice I have for now, but feel free to message me if you’ve got any q’s about this or about Carleton ID in general. See you in the fall!

I was a Carleton 1st year ID student back in 1995 and we didn’t even have our own laptops. We had share our computer lab with Architecture students, other ID students- most of whom didn’t have a PC at home. We had to come in in the middle of the night to do our renderings- which took 3 hrs each. I also had to walk 5 miles through 5 ft of snow to school, blah, blah, blah… (yes, literally because it’s Ottawa).

As a 1st year ID student I would be less concerned about PC or MAC or the amount of RAM you have for rendering. I would spend more thinking about Mass Production and/or how to pull decent grades in CompSci, Physics, Statics/Mechanics, Calculus, Economics, etc.

very helpful guys.

phiso thanks for the info. i can’t handle a laptop that’s flimsy when you hold it, so it was between a MB Pro and a Thinkpad. I think I might get a cheap Thinkpad for 1st year and then sell it and get the new gen MB Pro in 2012 when it comes out.

Sorry off topic but,
hey koolyt, I’m joining Carleton for Industrial Design too. There’s a facebook group if your into that kind of thing. PM me.

It says I’m too new to PM!

Well, I have my good old Vaio with 4 GBs of RAM and a 2.53 GHz Core 2 Duo Processor and it works just fine for whatever basic rendering I need it to do.