Computer Preference

Discussion in 'Military Academy - USMA' started by clamelken2, Feb 16, 2012.

  1. clamelken2

    clamelken2 Member

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    I'm not sure what package to get. The basic package includes the following:
    Laptop
    External USB hard drive
    Backpack
    Ethernet Cable
    Computer Locking Cable

    The optional "peripheral package" has this AND:

    Docking station
    Surge suppressor
    USB external Mouse and Keyboard
    19 inch Monitor
    Multi-function inkjet printer
    Speakers

    Does anyone have any suggestions for which package to choose? Maybe some Cadets from class of 2015 and later? :thumb:
     
  2. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    It simply boils down to - do you want to dock your laptop in your room and use a larger monitor and keyboard (and pay for the privilege)
    or do you want to use your laptop screen and keyboard and mouse in your room. Seems like total personal preference to me, but then I am not a cadet.
     
  3. USMA2016

    USMA2016 Appointee - Class of 2016

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    How do you print things with the basic package?
     
  4. clamelken2

    clamelken2 Member

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    no idea haha, i think they give us no other choice right?
     
  5. hawk

    hawk ButterBar Dad

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    Your bring or ship the printer of your choice after A-day. Ideally after a call to the cadet store and thayer bookstore to confirm they carry the cartridge for it. (They have about ten or more different types)

    Same for monitor. Mouse selected prior to R-day. Surge protector & extra outlet strip.

    We also brought a keyboard & LCD monitor at A-day, but DS chose not to take them. The backup hard drive was available for not much separately, and from memory it was in the extra package. You could get any part of the extra package by itself.

    Speakers many companies will not allow you to use, but that may vary. DS likes headphones, if I recall.

    The above was a fraction of the cost of the extra package.

    It's been discussed here recently, but reports vary on the LCD screen. DS likes keeping his desk clear. Others really like the big screen, and use it for movies, and keeping chat windows open, etc.

    Even the docking adapters can be bought open market once you know the laptop model. If you have a screen/kbd/mouse, you'll probably want the adapter.

    For what it was worth, DS had the only working printer among the plebes in his platoon/floor for a couple of weeks as they ran out of printers.

    He ended up with the smallest HP laser printer, while the issue was a multifunction inkjet. The laser prints nicer than inket, and cartridges last longer. So he trades with his roomies if he needs to print color graphics, or if they need to do letter quality.

    All of this was something we agonized over that turned out to be a non-issue. (Like most plebe R-day/A-day worries)
     
  6. America's Finest

    America's Finest USMA Cadet

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    Shot Answer: Get the extra package. :thumb:

    Unless you have the majority of things in the extra package, I highly suggest it. My class did not get a choice in the matter but I can tell you that the extra monitor is very useful because it allows you to have multiple things open at once (writting a paper on one monitor while having the article you're writting on on the other for example) and you can see videos and websites better. The mouse is also a must in my opinion because using the laptop touch pad is pretty annoying. The docking station saves you a lot of hassle since you don't have to unplug and replug everything to your laptop (and you will be taking it with you everywhere Plebe year). Speakers will probably not be allowed Plebe year in your company but you will end up using them eventually. The printer is extemely valuable as company printers have a tendency to break or run out of paper/ink when you need them most. I suggest always using the library or company printers but still having your own for emergencies. I have also found my scanner to be extremely useful in sending copies of my notes or lab reports to the rest of my group. As far as the surge protector goes, I have never found use of it here and as far as I am aware this is the first year it is being offered.
     
  7. father-divided

    father-divided New Member

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    There are some thoughtful responses to this question. Our DS ended up getting the additional package. Three months in his monitor went bad... The gold coats took care of it right away. Had he brought his own monitor it would have been much more of a hassle. In our situation we were more concerned about making sure DS would get things resolved without the inconvenience, than we were about the type of printer, monitor, etc.

    After saying all that, our DS at USAFA did not have the option of the additional package. He took his own monitor and printer and hasn't had any problems...
     
  8. hawk

    hawk ButterBar Dad

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    These were our concerns as well, but we realized:
    - We can have a brand new printer shipped 24 hrs delivery in for about $100 total cost (HPshopping). And there are also other printers you can use in a jam. (roomies, library, etc)
    - Similar for monitor

    The bigger risk would be tech support if you could not make it "play". So far that has not been an issue for DS, and does not appear to be likely if you stick with a major brand printer (Like HP) as the OS supports them well out of the box. But if your cadet is not computer savvy that would swing my choice.

    I agree with several of the earlier comments, if you think you will want the monitor, then the package makes sense. You'll want the docking adapter and that's not a commodity, you'll have to get it from the mfg most likely.

    I just think it's a bummer that the current cost of the basic is what the total package used to cost. And computer costs have not increased that much, they've largely been flat.
     
  9. tiki

    tiki USMA 2015 Appointee

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    Yep, I would advise going with the extra package.

    First of all, almost everything I have used this year and has been extremely helpful.

    The docking station is a biggie. You will pack up and take your laptop constantly throughout the day to classes and the like, and it's so much easier to just come back and set your computer on the docking station that to have to disconnect and reconnect the internet/power cord constantly.

    I almost always use the extra monitor. Not only is it great for movies, but good for reference when I'm working on papers/homework. Just makes it simpler, and I always miss the screen when I take my laptop home and stuff.

    And with the speakers, yeah, it's very company dependent. For example, my company doesn't allow plebes to have external speakers. As soon as we were issued them, we had to lock them in our issued trunks. But honestly, it's not too big of a deal. Most of us prefer headphones anyway.

    And the printer. Essential. Unless you're wanting to have one shipped out - but beware, the bookstore only carries a select few types of ink.

    Overall, I would recommend the package. I was glad I went with it.
     
  10. BigNick

    BigNick Member

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    Just called my son in the Class of 2015 - short answer - get the extras package. In fact, all of your computer and computer related equipment should be the WP issue due to compatability issues and repair and warrenty issues (if bought from WP it is totally technically supported). Do not overthink this - just buy the WP issued equipment.
     

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