Surface 3 for grad school and beyond (SPSS, R, SAS)?

Discussion in 'Surface 3 (Atom)' started by 3rdschulz, Nov 28, 2015.

  1. 3rdschulz

    3rdschulz New Member

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    HI everyone, I am on the edge of buying a surface 3. I am in my fist semester of grad school and my google chromebook (which has been awesome for only 200 bucks) is not cutting it. I am unable to download and run software of any kind on google's OS unless there is an app for it in the google store. So using PDF research citation managers such as Mendeley is not possible. Furthermore, its unable to run Java which conflicts with some of my schools online options. I have been getting by with google doc's, but it would probably easier to use office. Lastly, I may need to make some light use of statistical software at a later date. I know SPSS, R, and SAS, will defiantly not run on the chromebook, but will they run on the Surface 3 with 4GB of RAM? Its not really in my budget to get a pro version. I also like the idea of being able to lie in bed and read some literature on the tablet version before I go to bed, which is not very practical on my Chromebook. I am looking for something to carry me through my masters degree including my massive thesis at the end, and maybe if I am lucky into the start of a PhD. Is the Surface 3 gonna work for me?
     
  2. hughlle

    hughlle Super Moderator Staff Member

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    This is my experience at university with an S3. It sucks. The weight and size are really brilliant, but the performance just didn't cut it for me. And i'm not talking about running photoshop, just simply a 30 page pdf files. I try and scroll just a few line, and everything goes fuzzy "processing"...

    The size was great, but i quickly went back to using my SP3 at uni.

    If you really want one and are in the UK (which i doubt) you can always buy my S3 :)
     
  3. jnjroach

    jnjroach Administrator Staff Member

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    While I haven't experienced the performance issues Hugh has, running Data Analytics and Statistical Software on it may be a challenge if you attempt to run it locally (especially if it is on large datasets).
     
  4. Zippy0n

    Zippy0n Member

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    I really love the S3, ive experienced smooth scrolling while viewing PDF's (74 page), use it for work everyday and its never let me down, the typecover is amazing, the weight and size just right. I can even do light video editing using the Go Pro app, for the price I just love it
     
  5. hughlle

    hughlle Super Moderator Staff Member

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    From reading greyfox's posts, and others, it does seem like there is some odd discrepancy in the performance of one S3 to the next. Mine is also worthless for onenote, as if i go into a lecture unprepared and quickly try and insert a pdf file, the thing sits there unresponsive for 5 minutes while it tries to process it.

    I just think that for the price SP3's go for, it's the better choice.
     
  6. Zippy0n

    Zippy0n Member

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    Just tried inserting 74 page doc into one note, took about 2 minutes (never done that before) seems like I got a good one, I never use one note so this isn't a problem for me, its still a great tablet and extremely portable - if you can afford it the Sp3/sp4 are most likely to last a lot longer
     
  7. GreyFox7

    GreyFox7 Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I am certain the Surface 3 would be underpowered for your needs.

    I would recommend an i5 8gb RAM 256gb storage or better. That said, check with you guidance counselor or other senior students in the programs for what works well. It's possible some software may be available on servers for remote access.
    SAS in particular has heavy IO requirements which is the Surface 3's Achilles heal and requires 2gb RAM minimum available to the program i.e (4gb system with little else running minimum). SPSS minimum is 4gb RAM 8gb recommended.

    Lastly I will give the same advice I gave my niece for her work BYOD purchase, don't buy the cool computer, buy the computer with power and resources that will excel in the expected tasks to do your job(studies). Your computer is a tool to rely on, to help you achieve your potential not a piece of jewelry.
     
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  8. jrioux

    jrioux Active Member

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    If you ca
    If you can wait a little, you might see how the newly announced Lenovo MIIX 700 turns out. The base version with the m3 CPU, 4 GB of RAM, 128 GB of storage and keyboard will reportedly cost $699, which is less than the list price on a similarly equipped S3. Faster Core-m chips and more RAM will be available, but there is no information on their prices.

    http://news.lenovo.com/images/20034/ideapad MIIX 700 Spec Sheet.pdf

    If you can't wait, there are both discounted and factory refurbished Surface Pros out there. A refurbished SP3 with i5 CPU, 8 GB of RAM and 256 GB of storage is listed for $959 at the MS store, but is out of stock. However, it is available from others on Amazon. You may also want to consider the i3 SP3 for $699 new (w/4GB RAM & 128GB storage) or $639 refurbished (w/64GB). Check to see whether educational discounts apply.) While not perfect, I think an SP3 with the i3 CPU would be better suited for you needs than the S3.

    Buy the 12-inch Surface Pro 3, the tablet that can replace your laptop. - Microsoft Store
    Buy Refurbished Surface Pro 3 64GB / Intel Core i3 - Microsoft Store
     
  9. 3rdschulz

    3rdschulz New Member

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    Thanks a lot for the replies everyone, they have been very helpful. It sounds from your responses like the Atom processor may not be enough to run stat software.
     
  10. LibbyLA

    LibbyLA Member

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    The stat question's answer is, "It depends..." What size data sets and what types of analyses will you be doing?

    I teach SAS (the data management/programming part, not the statistics part) and I run SAS on a Dell Venue 8 Pro (2 GB RAM, 64 GB storage) and on a Surface 3 (4 GB RAM, 128 GB storage) on the low end. I have a couple of programs that are 600-700 lines of code (including macros) that grade 800-1000 students' responses to 25 questions, detect potential cheaters, and run a bunch of PROC FREQs and that run in 30-45 seconds on the DV8P. I wouldn't recommend that as a "daily driver" for running SAS, but it works and it's very convenient for me when I'm on the road and size matters. I have actually done several hours of coding on the DV8P.

    If you are talking about running complex statistical programs on large data sets (hundreds of thousands or more observations, hundreds or thousands of variables), then look at a Pro or a standard portable.
     
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  11. Steven Du Bois

    Steven Du Bois Member

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    I do agree with these folks that if you have the need for power (not sure what you are studying) either the pro versions (SP3 is heavily discounted now) or the Lenovo Miix 700. I am a Seminary grad student and this works perfect for me...at times a little slow but generally able to keep up with everything I demand of it from research, word processing, PDF viewing and annotating and also studying via kindle and other research platforms such as Logos. At times I would like the bigger faster maching but the portability of this one make it so that I can take to work to read on break or church for sermon note taking, etc...
     
  12. 3rdschulz

    3rdschulz New Member

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    Its really hard for me to answer what size the data bases will be because I don't know. We just started training on SPSS this week.... Its my first semester of grad school, I am in health science studying global health (non-communicable diseases), but I am not yet familiar with SPSS or the size of the data bases I'll be dealing with. I really wanted the S3, but I am thinking I might have to either get a normal cheaper laptop with more processing power, or bite the bullet on a pro version.
     

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