This is the second in a series of tips for new law students wondering what computer to buy for law school:
Size can relate to many things, such as the size and weight of the laptop, screen size, memory, and hard drive space.
Size and weight of the laptop and screen size.
Since you will be carrying your laptop, the smaller the better. But since you may be using the laptop a lot, the bigger the screen the better. Obviously, you can’t have a small laptop and large screen, which means you will need to determine which matters more to you, or find a middle point.
I suggest a 14 to 15 inch screen because it is big enough for word processing but still can be fairly light and small—try different sized screens in a store to decide which you prefer. Once you decide on the screen size, you will need to decide the physical size of the laptop: the lighter and thinner the laptop, the better—but you will also pay more for a lighter and thinner computer.
My advice is don’t worry too much about physical size because one additional pound won’t be very noticeable in your backpack, so it isn’t worth an additional $300-400.
How much RAM to have depends on whether you intend to have many applications open at once (such as a music player, Outlook, Word, OneNote, and PowerPoint) or do video editing or 3D gaming. Most computers come with 512 megabytes of RAM. Having more RAM, such as one gigabyte of RAM, will noticeably increase the speed while using your computer, especially when you have many applications open at once.
My advice is to get a minimum of 512 megabytes, but 1 gigabyte is best.
Hard drive space.
A 20 gigabyte hard drive is large enough to hold all your law school documents. However, most students enjoy having music, and possibly videos on their computer. It takes about 4 gigabytes for 1,000 songs. Video uses much more space. So most students will want a hard drive with 60 gigabytes.