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View Full Version : Buying a Macbook for my colllege bound son




ronross
May 14, 2008, 10:29 AM
Hello and thanks for allowing me to post.

I am getting my son a Macbook or Macbook Pro for when he goes to college this fall. Should I wait or is it OK to get the current models now?

Is Apple planning on any new releases soon which would cause me to wait?


Thanks again.



RSR



killerwhack
May 14, 2008, 10:34 AM
You can check the buyers guide for the mac book pro (MBP)
here is the link:

http://guides.macrumors.com/MacBook_Pro_Buyer%27s_Guide

All the questions are in there . There are buyers guides for all the units available these days.

Good luck and I think it is an excellent choice for a college student.

brn2ski00
May 14, 2008, 10:35 AM
By him a refurbed MB for $999 - $1,200.

More than sufficient for any degree in College.

squeeks
May 14, 2008, 10:39 AM
By him a refurbed MB for $999 - $1,200.

More than sufficient for any degree in College.

agreed, or the lowest referb MBP which i think goes for about 1499, its a great machine also

basesloaded190
May 14, 2008, 10:44 AM
I think you have some time to wait until he will actually need the laptop. If i were you i would just wait until at least July just to be certain that you can get the most bang for your buck. If he wants it now though, there is absolutely nothing wrong with current line-up.

e12a
May 14, 2008, 11:18 AM
If he doesnt absolutely need it now, you can also wait for the free ipod with computer purchase. :)

JCT
May 14, 2008, 11:36 AM
I'm in the same boat -- shipping my oldest off to college in the fall.

I've decided to hold tight until I see whether a major refresh is in the pipeline for the summer. If it's a major revision they are sometimes not immediately available, that way she can decide whether she wants the newest and "greatest" MB or just wants the black MB I promised her.

Chances are large she would hold on to this for the entire 4 years, so I think it is worth the wait-- one advantage is that her school is on the quarter system, so she starts later...

JT

Luzzio
May 14, 2008, 11:59 AM
Don't get it too near his first day at college though... we want the novelty to die off (or at least subside) before he starts, if he's to concentrate in class.

I was stuck to my MB for about two days when I got it. :D

ronross
May 14, 2008, 09:23 PM
I'm going to wait for a month or two. I'll buy something then since I want him to go to college with at least an Intel processor and a dual boot machine.

Used or refurbished is out of the question since it's not a matter of economics. He will use the computer for school since he's been using a PC for school for several years now. He is very PC savvy with some Mac experience, but I want to get a dual boot machine with a bit of horsepower.

Thanks to all for your posts.


RSR

dukebound85
May 14, 2008, 09:26 PM
yea i would really really really look hard whether he needs a laptop or just a want.


i just graduated and never once needed my laptop for mobile purposes


also, make sure he thanks you for the computer. i wish my parents would have bought mine for me lol

ScottFitz
May 14, 2008, 09:35 PM
Same boat here. My son will be a college freshman in august. I agree with comment about horsepower. At this point, we're waiting until July 1 to see what might happen to the current MBP lineup. You just never know. My son is a gamer and I'd like to get him a laptop that can boot into WinXP, plus has a dedicated graphics card in it.

11800506
May 14, 2008, 09:41 PM
Used or refurbished is out of the question since it's not a matter of economics. He will use the computer for school since he's been using a PC for school for several years now. He is very PC savvy with some Mac experience, but I want to get a dual boot machine with a bit of horsepower.

RSR

Just to note - refurbished machines are new machines that have been returned to Apple for various reasons and have had an extensive look over on them to ensure that everything works correctly. Many people even say that refurbs are better than new machines since they are cheaper and are less likely to have problems since they have been looked over by Apple. Unless a redesign come out this summer, refurb machines won't be substantially different from the current model since the older Merom machines aren't that much different from the new Penryn machines and if not already, Penryn refurbs should be appearing shortly. And the benefits of simply Penryn over Merom aren't that great - namely a *slight* bump in power (most likely not noticeable) and a *slight* increase in battery length. Just something to consider if you didn't already know about them and saving money can be good even when money is not a problem.

noodle654
May 14, 2008, 10:14 PM
Wait until the Summer because there could be updates. Also you can get a free iPod/Printer with the back to school promotions.

ronross
May 15, 2008, 05:55 AM
yea i would really really really look hard whether he needs a laptop or just a want.


i just graduated and never once needed my laptop for mobile purposes


also, make sure he thanks you for the computer. i wish my parents would have bought mine for me lol


It's probably a bit of both. I want to believe he'll use if for school (WashU-StL) but I suspect it will be a gamer box as well, which is why I want an Intel processor.

He studys alot and most likely will travel to the library, although most info is now available online.

And yes, he certainly will thank me. He appreciates everything we do for him.

phatcat
May 15, 2008, 06:03 AM
By him a refurbed MB for $999 - $1,200.



Why buy a refurb, when you can use your son's student status to make a brand new purchase for the same price?

bestthereis27
May 15, 2008, 11:59 AM
All i have to say is screen size, its worth the little extra money. Get the 2.2 Pro model from last year. Should be around $1550 just a little more than the high end macbook. I couldn't imagine typing a paper on a small 13" glossy screen and having to scroll all the time. Screen size was a big factor on my decision as performance is almost the same...

dukebound85
May 15, 2008, 12:04 PM
It's probably a bit of both. I want to believe he'll use if for school (WashU-StL) but I suspect it will be a gamer box as well, which is why I want an Intel processor.

He studys alot and most likely will travel to the library, although most info is now available online.

And yes, he certainly will thank me. He appreciates everything we do for him.

well the mb isn't awesome for games.

what i would do is get the mb and for games have him get an xbox or something

i mean it isnt worth the extra 700 or so to get a mbp with a lil better gaming ability when you could get the mb and xbox for cheaper

All i have to say is screen size, its worth the little extra money. Get the 2.2 Pro model from last year. Should be around $1550 just a little more than the high end macbook. I couldn't imagine typing a paper on a small 13" glossy screen and having to scroll all the time. Screen size was a big factor on my decision as performance is almost the same...

or just get an external display. this would be cheaper than the mbp for sure

mb+external 19inch monitor for 200 bucks is a better option for screen real estate than a 15inch mbp

xhambonex
May 15, 2008, 12:10 PM
I'm a freshman this year, and got the MBP 15.4" before the penryn update. I love it, and the extra power and size is great for my design major. However I think the regular macbooks do everything he'll probably need it to do at WashU (great school btw). Wait for the free ipod, or even better I got a free 3yr applecare through my school.

brn2ski00
May 15, 2008, 12:21 PM
Why buy a refurb, when you can use your son's student status to make a brand new purchase for the same price?

Good point, but I was speaking more to the fact of getting an MB over the MBP. Go the cheaper route of the two...

bestthereis27
May 15, 2008, 03:04 PM
or just get an external display. this would be cheaper than the mbp for sure

mb+external 19inch monitor for 200 bucks is a better option for screen real estate than a 15inch mbp

Its really not convenient to haul around a 19" monitor to the library...

kockgunner
May 15, 2008, 05:04 PM
your son sounds like me lol. I'm going to university this september and i'm going to get a macbook pro. a macbook will probably be fine but i might play the occasional game and i plan on going to the library a lot. I think the macbook pro is a good investment if you intend to keep the notebook for a long time.

hotsauce3868
May 15, 2008, 05:16 PM
I just finished my first year of college with my MBP so I hope I can offer some guidance. I absolutely love my MBP. I personally feel that the white macbook is quite feminine, so I would try to stay away from that (sorry to all the males with the white MB). Not to mention the white MB trackpad and palm rest turns kinda nasty after awhile. My brother is going to UF in the fall and will probably be getting the blackbook for that simple reason.

As far as screen size goes, I think the 15in. is much better for writing on, although I do have a 42in. plasma I hook up to that makes it even better! Writing is made much easier when I am in the library with the 15in compared to my friends 13in MB. Also, you do not have to tilt your head down so far with certain desks that are low. A major bonus because the desks at my library are really low.

Weight is not a problem with the MBP, especially if you are not moving it around very much. I personally like to take notes by hand because I learn better that way and I am not distracted by AIM or Facebook. Although there are some classes where those are a necessity to get through the lecture.

To answer your question, I would wait. Like others have mentioned on here, you can get a free iPod and a decent printer for free. The MBP is much more powerful than what I need it for, but there is something about the prestige and look of having one. Please correct me if I am wrong, but I have seen multiple rumors suggesting that Apple is going to do a complete revision soon due to the new chipset required, perhaps near the begging of the school year, end of summer area after the iPhone dust settles. There is no harm in waiting 2-3 months.

I am pretty computer savvy myself and picked up OS X fully in about 2 days. It was hard to drag me away from the computer in those two days because I was in love lol, but it really took no time at all.

edit: I have had to have Apple replace my HDD in the first month and just had them replace my battery. Bad luck or typical? Your call. I also plan on keeping mine for awhile unless Apple does something drastic with their touch interface that I like. Bring on iPhone v2!

randomdata
May 15, 2008, 07:45 PM
My daughter is also starting college this fall, and I am also looking into buying her a new Macbook. I just want it to be an aluminum case. so I keep waiting for some news...and yes I hope it is before August. Please Steve. :)

Jack Flash
May 15, 2008, 07:51 PM
I'd think long and hard about whether your son or daughter needs a laptop as powerful as the MacBook or MacBook Pro. An iMac combined with an EEE perhaps.

Because when he/she takes it to lecture, he/she will NOT be taking notes on it.

ScottFitz
May 15, 2008, 08:01 PM
I'd think long and hard about whether your son or daughter needs a laptop as powerful as the MacBook or MacBook Pro. An iMac combined with an EEE perhaps.

Because when he/she takes it to lecture, he/she will NOT be taking notes on it.

An iMac ties you to your desk. harder to steal though.

My kid willl have his desktop rig with him, but I see him migrating over to the MBP full time. seems like a good fit, the MBP.

Richie2017
May 15, 2008, 09:29 PM
Hey I was wondering if anyone could offer me some recommendations. I am going to switch this year from PC to Mac for college.

I am looking to Purchase the MBP, 4gb ram, 200gb hd at 7200rpm...
now my main question...

I am also purchasing VMware Fusion and Windows Vista Ultimate......

Should I install Vista Ultimate under my boot camp partition then point VMware to the partition?
or should I do a clean install with VMware? I would want to sometimes run windows alone to get Max. Power using windows. But having the virtulization software is a necessity.

zioxide
May 15, 2008, 09:41 PM
I'd think long and hard about whether your son or daughter needs a laptop as powerful as the MacBook or MacBook Pro. An iMac combined with an EEE perhaps.

screw that, 2 computers is a pain in the ass in college. i have my mbp and an old ibook 12'' that i use for taking notes (actually, more facebook/aim/espn/etc) I find myself using the ibook less and less though. I might not even use it next year.

MB or 15'' MBP is great for college. I take my laptop to class (like I said above, its the ibook but i might just use the mbp next year), in to my friends dorm rooms when we're just chillin in there, out on the quad when its nice out, and even to the library a few times when i was meeting people to work on projects.

Honestly, unless you are majoring in film/graphic design/etc or really want the 15'' screen, the macbook is good. Don't worry about gaming. There's way more **** to do at college than sit in your dorm room and play computer games. Besides, if you're going to be playing anything, its going to be some multiplayer **** on 360/ps3/wii (buy your kid a wii instead, most girls love playing wii :D) with a bunch of your friends, not sitting alone in your room playing wow or something.

An iMac ties you to your desk. harder to steal though.
theft is made out to be a much bigger issue than it actually is (at least at my college). I don't know anyone who's ever had anything stolen from their dorm room... even the kids that leave their rooms unlocked all the time. As long as you lock your door you'll be fine.

My kid willl have his desktop rig with him
he'll probably never use it

I personally like to take notes by hand because I learn better that way and I am not distracted by AIM or Facebook. Although there are some classes where those are a necessity to get through the lecture.
qft.

vchalupa
May 15, 2008, 09:51 PM
I'm also looking forward to the update on the MB and MBP. I am going to college in the fall and I need a new laptop.

I don't mean to be a pessimist but does everyone really think that an update for the laptops are actually going to come out? I was looking at the buying guide that Macrumors has up and if you look at it, Apple hasn't had a release for laptop updates in June/July in a while and it hasn't happened very frequently. I am really looking forward to this update but I'm worried it may never show up.

Any thoughts?

zioxide
May 15, 2008, 09:54 PM
Apple hasn't had a release for laptop updates in June/July in a while and it hasn't happened very frequently.

MBPs got an update in June last year :p (MBs were 2 weeks earlier in May)

Anyways, if you're just doing the normal college **** (papers, aim, facebook, downloading music, watching movies) then just buy one. Any update that comes out won't really matter. You don't need that extra 5% of performance to write a paper..

vchalupa
May 15, 2008, 09:59 PM
MBPs got an update in June last year :p (MBs were 2 weeks earlier in May)

Anyways, if you're just doing the normal college **** (papers, aim, facebook, downloading music, watching movies) then just buy one. Any update that comes out won't really matter. You don't need that extra 5% of performance to write a paper..

Well I'm going into engineering and I do a bit of photo editing and video editing. And I'd like to get more involved in the video editing in college so there's no doubt that the update will be useful for me. I need any power boost I can get for engineering programs and video processing. And what's the possibility of getting a blue-ray dvd player/burner in the new update?

Jack Flash
May 15, 2008, 10:14 PM
screw that, 2 computers is a pain in the ass in college. i have my mbp and an old ibook 12'' that i use for taking notes (actually, more facebook/aim/espn/etc)

You gave a great argument for a desktop computer.

Your laptop distracts you in class. You take it to your friends' dorm, but you prefer to do things that aren't being on the computer with them and you work on projects in the library where there are already computers.

rscott505
May 15, 2008, 10:29 PM
My experience is that Apple usually upgrades or redesigns during the summer for back-to-school. Add that to the fact that historically Apple does a free ipod deal at back-to-school time, and it makes sense to wait at least until mid July.

However, one big caveat is that if it's a complete redesign of the macbook pro (which I recommend macbook pro over macbook), then you run the risk of having a first generation machine. The problem with first generation is that I cannot think of an Apple computer that did not have a problem in the first generation. Others may disagree, but the first generation is always a challenge early on. I know that I own four Apple Computers, and I bought an end of life iBook nearly three years ago and an end of life iMac G4 over four years ago, and knock on wood, I have not had a problem with either. However, I bought a first generation iMac G5 and a first generation macbook pro, and both had problems and I had to replace the mother board on both.

Good luck.

zioxide
May 15, 2008, 11:41 PM
You gave a great argument for a desktop computer.

Your laptop distracts you in class.
Well, gen ed requirements are boring. if I didn't have my laptop to take to class I probably wouldn't go to class.

You take it to your friends' dorm, but you prefer to do things that aren't being on the computer with them
Yeah, but while we're watching the game/hanging out/listening to music/playing video games/whatever, I can have my laptop there in case anyone IMs me or if I want to check random **** on the internet.

and you work on projects in the library where there are already computers.

Which are always taken by commuters who don't bring their laptops to school every day. The library computers are also much slower and generally a pain in the ass (plus they run windows). Also, if you have your laptop in the library instead of using one of the library computers, you are always going to have all of your files with you for whatever you need.

Other reasons why a laptop is better:
They take up way less room than a desktop. Dorm rooms are small enough, and if you're trying to deal with a huge tower + monitor setup, it's a pain in the ass.
They're much easier to take with you if you go home for a weekend/thanksgiving/break.

Jack Flash
May 16, 2008, 12:03 AM
Well, gen ed requirements are boring. if I didn't have my laptop to take to class I probably wouldn't go to class.

I can agree with the notion that these classes can be boring, but you need to pay attention.

Also, if you have your laptop in the library instead of using one of the library computers, you are always going to have all of your files with you for whatever you need.

USB drives are very inexpensive.

Other reasons why a laptop is better:
They take up way less room than a desktop. Dorm rooms are small enough, and if you're trying to deal with a huge tower + monitor setup, it's a pain in the ass.
They're much easier to take with you if you go home for a weekend/thanksgiving/break.

An iMac takes up relatively little space and is not portable in the sense that you might bring it to the library, but it can easily be repackaged in its original box and brought home.

e12a
May 16, 2008, 12:10 AM
I'd think long and hard about whether your son or daughter needs a laptop as powerful as the MacBook or MacBook Pro. An iMac combined with an EEE perhaps.

Because when he/she takes it to lecture, he/she will NOT be taking notes on it.

I wouldn't generalize the OP's kid quite yet.

As a college student i take notes perfectly fine and I bring my MBP everywhere. I also use Office's audio recording function to capture stuff I miss. Also its easy to take notes on Powerpoint slides on the computer, at least at my school its not uncommon for teachers to post up .ppts.

if i'm feeling extra studious its also convenient to bring your MBP/MB so you can go to the library and get some work done.

Jack Flash
May 16, 2008, 12:22 AM
I wouldn't generalize the OP's kid quite yet.

As a college student i take notes perfectly fine and I bring my MBP everywhere. I also use Office's audio recording function to capture stuff I miss. Also its easy to take notes on Powerpoint slides on the computer, at least at my school its not uncommon for teachers to post up .ppts.

if i'm feeling extra studious its also convenient to bring your MBP/MB so you can go to the library and get some work done.

I should have been more specific in that I'm generalizing most college students. When you see laptops pop open in lecture, most of them aren't diligently taking down notes.

But, why would they? Taking notes by hand makes it much easier to remember the information. Studies have been done that strongly support this notion.

hotsauce3868
May 16, 2008, 07:29 AM
According to the front page, the new rumor is new MB in quarter 3.

Prometheus2000
May 16, 2008, 10:16 AM
I realy wonder how helpfull it is to take notes on a laptop in class since its good for text notes but what about graphics and sketches?

If you want to fully digitalize you son :), I would say a Macbook + a goot slate tablet with MS OneNote. I love my HP TC1100 which you should find on Ebay for maybe $600, I bought mine for around 350 here in the UK. Maybe Apple gets into gear this summer and brings a tablet to take notes (I pray to the lord every morning that this happens :)).

Otherwise I would say Macbook Pro, for me (an owner) its the all-in one replacement, its not that heavy (2,4kg or so? My "subnotebook" from 2004 weighted 2kg...), its rather compact even for a 15,4" Laptop, it has a great performance and a high quality graphic chipset which allows occassional gaming in windows.

And that its portable is a big plus over a desktop, since students come home for summer/weekends, might go away for internships etc. Also, even when I have my MBP set up as a desktop with external screen and keyboard, I find myself working on the laptop itself most of the time, so ergonomic compared to my older PC Labtop, its a great "work comfortable anywhere rule them all" device for me. Sit on the bed, lie on bed, sit on couch, lean against couch, sit on kitchen table, sit on chair in garden, sit on grass in garden.... :) Its just that a find nothing I can't do with the Pro. Well besides writing with a pen on it,...

The only think which might be a bid difficult is to use the Macbook Pro in small spaces like on public transport. But I am sure students in the US rather travel by car :)

Andreas