College Computing Costs (and Alliteration!)

I'm so biased here. I love my MacBook Pro. I've had one since 2008 and I feel like I can't live without it. It's fast, beautiful, virus-free, and handles so many programs at once -- she's a sort of Superwoman of computers. I named her Victoria, after Her Majesty Victoria, by the Grace of God, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland Queen, Defender of the Faith, Empress of India.

 
When I look at my MacBook Pro, I see this. (source)
 
But honestly, buying a computer for college (or for anything, really) is a big deal, and one that should not be undertaken lightly. Luckily, eHow.com has a simple, easy-to-follow guide for picking your computer. The specifics can be found here, but here's a quick run-down to get you thinking.
 
1) Decide if you want a desktop or a laptop.
Desktops can be more powerful and offer more features, but laptops are mobile and definitely more popular with college students.
 
2) Figure out what you'll use it for.
For designers who plan on running programs like photo and video editing software or storing lots of media, you'll need a lot of memory and hard drive space. If you're planning on just using it for email, Internetting, word processing, etc. you don't have to shell out the big bucks for the top-of-the-line stuff.
 
3) Compare processors, RAM, and hard drive space. 
You can do simple searches on the Internet to figure out what's best for what you need your computer for.
 
4) Determine your budget.
Once you've narrowed down your choices, the amount of money ca$h you have is vital. Of course, you could put it on your credit card - but ONLY if you can pay it off in a reasonable amount of time! Some retailers offer financing plans as well, which could be an option.
 
Of course, ask around (I'm sure you all have a resident "tech geek" that can help you figure out what you need) and troll the InterwebZ for information. If you're like most students and have a limited budget, this could very well be the computer that will carry you through your college career.
 
Or you could go to a college that gives you a laptop for the duration of your degree, like mine did :)
 
Stay awesome!
 
Janelle