If you're a student, your basic computer routine might consist of Internet researching, word processing, sending and receiving e-mail, or downloading the latest music in MP3 format. You're also likely to want a moderately priced unit that will still accommodate your needs at a tolerable speed. And last but not least, you may be interested in finding this inexpensive, basic system in a portable format, so you can do your researching and composition in the vicinity of other resources, such as the library. If you're looking for portable convenience at a budget price, then you might consider a mid-range notebook. On the other hand, a desktop computer with the same features is usually much cheaper than a laptop. Either way, you'll probably want a fairly fast Pentium® or Apple computer, with at least 64 megabytes of memory, and a CD-ROM or DVD drive for research and games. Many schools offer complementary high-speed Internet access, so check with your school before signing up for an independent Internet service provider. Some schools also have so-called computer labs, rooms with several computers that students can log on to and use to write papers, surf the Web, and run software programs for class. While offering free access to fast computers, many school computer labs are only open certain hours, and may have policies forbidding certain uses of the computers, such as for playing games.
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