Unofficial Advice on Buying a Laptop for UNC Use

By Dr. Gregory Newby

In order to provide alternate viewpoints and my experience with laptop purchases, I have assembled these pages.

None of this laptop information is official documentation or official advice from UNC or SILS. It is simply one individual's attempt to help people in making their laptop purchase decision.


CCI Price Tracking

NOTE: I HAVE NOT UPDATED THESE PRICING SPECIFICATIONS RECENTLY. PLEASE DO YOUR OWN RESEARCH TO MAKE SURE YOU ARE GETTING A GOOD DEAL! THE CCI PRICING FOR IBM LAPTOPS HAS BEEN VERY GOOD FOR THE 2001-2002 ACADEMIC YEAR, FAR BETTER THAN 2000-2001. HOWEVER, OTHER BRANDS MIGHT OFFER BETTER BANG FOR YOUR BUCK. BE AN EDUCATED CONSUMER!

One of the difficulties in the CCI program has been to keep up with rapid changes in technologies and pricing for laptop computers. According to Russ Walker's Secret Guide to Computers and other sources, computer prices drop an average of 10% per month. At the same time, new models are constantly introduced, and comparison across models or brands is not easy.

On this page, I present some simple data that anyone could gather, but UNC has not made available. I have tracked the pricing and models for the CCI laptop computers, and compared them to pricing for comparable or identical models from other sources.

As the CCI pages state clearly, students, faculty and staff are able to purchase computers from sources other than UNC's RAM shop. I believe that the data on this page make it evident, to me, that the price advantage of the CCI models is short-lived, although non-price advantages (particularly on-campus service) may offset the price for many people's needs. (See my Buying a Laptop page for more analysis of price and purchase issues.)

Historically, new CCI models have been introduced about twice per year. For most students, the important price and feature set is that available at the start of the fall semester, since that is when they will purchase.

CCI Model Price Tracking and Comparison
Brand Model Source Price * Date checked Date avail. CPU (MHz) Screen size Memory (MB) Hard drive (GB) CD/DVD OS Ethernet Modem Warranty Approx. weight Thickness
IBM A22m CCI 2242.96 Jul 7 2001 Jul 2001 800 12" TFT 128 20 CD-ROM Win2000 Internal Internal 4-year 6.2 ?
IBM T22 CCI 3014.18 Jul 7 2001 Jul 2001 900 14.1" TFT 128 20 DVD/CD-ROM Win2000 Internal Internal 4-year 4.7 1.3
IBM T22 2647M3U IBM 3014.18 Jul 7 2001 Jul 2001 900 14.1" TFT 128 20 DVD/CD-ROM Win2000 PCMCIA Internal 3-year 4.7 1.3"
IBM T22 2647M3U Outpost.com 3069 Jul 7 2001 Jul 2001 900 14.1" TFT 128 20 DVD/CD-ROM Win2000 No Internal 3-year 4.7 1.3"

* Please note: In 2001, CCI prices include NC State sales tax of 6%. Other prices do not include sales tax. This is important to take into account! If you live in another state, you will need to pay that state's sales tax if you buy the computer there.

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Most recently updated: July 7, 2001