99.98% sure on a mac for college but need some input

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by smurfsgonewild, Jun 23, 2004.

  1. smurfsgonewild macrumors member

    Jun 23, 2004
    Monroe, LA
    Hey guys, I'm seriously debating getting a Mac laptop for college and this will be my first mac. I've about had it with windows. I'm going into nursing so I don't really need a mac for all the video editing hoopla. I just want a reliable computer that will last me through college. I've been browsing around these forums for about an hour or so and I just joined up.
    Like I said before, I don't need the mac for video editing, although, Garage Band will be quite nice to have since I love to mess around with songs just to see what sort of f'd up stuff I can create. I've read that ibooks are great for carrying around in backpacks, but the powerbooks are just so great from what I've read of them. My main choices right now are the 14' ibook with the combo drive and the 15' pbook with the combo drive. I'm gonna go to compusa(closet store that sells macs) soon to get a feel for them and to also look at the 12' models of both of them. Thanks in advance for any advice you guys are willing to give.
  2. russed macrumors 68000


    Jan 16, 2004
    London, England
    well you have made the right decision with getting a mac but make sure you take advantage of the student discount that is available as you will save quite a bit! i have the 12" pb and i love it, i dont really use it for anything other than writing essays doing presentation internet browsing playing a few games etc. it does everything really well (as you would expect) and when i have done the odd processor intensive thing it stands up well. the one thing i would advise what ever you get is ensure that you have a minimum of 512mg ram (but dont get the extra from apple!)

    if you will be writing essays etc i would advise on getting ms office as it is still the best (despite it being microsoft) and it is actually quite stable i have found!

    well whatever you get you will love it. i dont know about how sturdy the ibook is but people say the pb isnt hard wearing etc but i have had mine for about 9 months and it is still in good condition and i take it most places with me. with any piece of electrical equipment you wouldnt throw it about so dont do it with your laptop and it wont dent!

    you have made the right decision with apple! once you get one you will understand why - easy computing!
  3. OnceUGoMac macrumors 6502a


    Mar 3, 2004
    Welcome to the club!

    You should weigh your needs vs. wants and decide how you are paying for it. If you are like me, a poor college student with very little income, I would go for the iBook. I have an 800 mHz G4 and it is great for what I do. I am a film student, so naturally my more affluent compatriates have Powerbooks. If you have the money to pay for the Powerbook and it is not a financial burden, go for the Powerbook. Both are great machines and are good buys for the money. I would strongly reccomend Apple Care Protection Plan (APP) on either machine. My curent iBook actually replaced an older 500 mHz G3 iBook that had APP on it. The G3 had logic board issues and since I had APP, Apple replaced it with the upgraded model free of charge. If I had not had it, I would have been S.O.L. I would also recommend getting Disk Warrior as it makes the machines run so much smoother. My final piece of advice would be to get the RAM maxed on the iBook and at least 640 MB of RAM on the Powerbook as it makes OS X run faster and smoother. Good luck!
  4. Krizoitz macrumors 6502a


    Apr 26, 2003
    Wakayama, Japan
    The idea that Macs are ONLY good for video editing is something that you may have been exposed to but its certainly not true and I'm glad your willing to take a look.

    For everything that the average person needs to do (word processing, e-mail, web, basic photo stuff, watchign DVD's) a Mac is great. They are reliable and easy to use. Not to mention durable! One guy just posted a story about how his iBook got run over twice and still runs (albeit with a broken screen). Talk about tough! If you have any specific questions about college and macs I'd be glad to answer them. I just got my B.S. so I know what its like to be a college mac user, the only snags I hit were in a couple CS classes, but it doesn't sound like that will be a problem for you.
  5. Abstract macrumors Penryn


    Dec 27, 2002
    Location Location Location
    Some people will tell you that the 14" iBook is not worth the extra money over the 12" iBook because the screen resolution is the same on both. While that's true, things will still look bigger on the 14". That's really the only difference, but that won't get you more desktop space (ie: the amount of space on your desktop, the size of each window, etc, will be the same on both) so consider the 12" unless your vision is rubbish. ;)

    You made 2 good choices, but a 15" PB is much more expensive than an iBook. I'd go for the iBook. The performance difference isn't worth it for you. Honestly. The battery on the 14" iBook is twice that of the 15" Powerbook. The iBook is also sturdier. While I have a 12" PB, I definitely wouldn't mind "downgrading" to a 12" iBook, if you can even call it downgrading. I like the 12" iBook because it's more portable, but the 14" screen does it for some people because, again, things look bigger on the 14" screen. I have no problems with the 12", but my 55 year old stepfather does.

    Get your extra RAM from www.crucial.com, not Apple. Get AppleCare, and also see if you can get your new laptop covered under home insurance. It should only be an extra $10 per year or so, and there may be no deductible for repair if your iBook is accidentally dropped or stolen.

    And yes, take advantage of the student pricing from Apple. That'll save you heaps. :) No other company gives you the features in an Apple laptop for the same price. Some will try, but their design and materials strength is poor.
  6. x86isslow macrumors 6502a

    Aug 10, 2003
    Welcome to the Mac community. When I was shopping for a laptop for college, Compusa told me they did not have a Student Discount on Apple goods- that is something only offered through the Apple store:

    Good luck!
  7. 2A Batterie macrumors 6502a

    2A Batterie

    Jun 9, 2004
    Out of a Suitcase, USA
    About Garageband on a laptop

    If Garageband is a factor in your laptop decision, be aware that it is a major CPU hog to run! You'll want to upgrade your RAM for sure. If it's just a program you want to "doodle" with any laptop should be ok, so long as you don't do involved songs that have many tracks w/many effects.
  8. BornAgainMac macrumors 603


    Feb 4, 2004
    Florida Resident
    I have a iBook G3 (600Mhz) and I love it. I dropped it at least twice from about 5 feet and it was still running and it works fine. Even the screen was fine. I upgraded it to the maximum of 640 MB. People that have PCs always notice how fast the iBook is compared to their P4 desktop.

    My G5 does all the heavy lifting with video so I use this iBook for normal PC type tasks like email, office, internet, chat, downloading photos when on vacation.
  9. smurfsgonewild thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 23, 2004
    Monroe, LA
    Thanks alot guys for your responses.
    About the ram update, I looked on apple's website at there how to and it didn't look very hard at all. I've got a question though, can you change out both sticks of ram or are you just limited to one like some other laptops are, and does osx recognize the ram automatically or do you have to do something else? Two 512mb sticks from crucial would be quite nice to have. I won't be really using garageband heavily that much at all but that gig of ram will just be nice to have. And also, will the airport extreme card work with any wireless router or just with the aiport system? Thanks again for the help guys.
  10. wordmunger macrumors 603


    Sep 3, 2003
    North Carolina
    That is your major difference between the iBook and the Powerbook--in the iBook only one of the sticks is removable--the other is soldered onto the board. So PowerBooks have a higher memory capacity. Changing memory is a snap--just pop it in and it works--this is something you'll need to get used to with a Mac :)

    Yes, the airport Extreme works with any wireless router, but the new Airport Express is a great deal and also allows you print wirelessly and stream audio to any stereo--great for iTunes or watching DVDs.
  11. FuzzyBallz macrumors 6502a


    May 2, 2003
    Home of Al-Qaida
    iBooks have 1 onboard soldered RAM and 1 open RAM slot. PBs have 2 RAM slot. There's not special program or proceedure. Just pop it in and Panther will recognize it, especially w/ good RAM like crucial's.
  12. goodknight411 macrumors member

    Jun 14, 2004
    MiddlaNowhere, Arkansas
    hi, i'm starting nursing school too and just ordedr a 15" powerbook (1.5 ghz, 80gb, 512mb, 128 graphics). :D :D :D :D :D :D I know that's a pretty powerful computer for a student (especially a nursing major) but i want it to last til i finish school and a few years after.
    Hope you find a mac that works for you. :)

    Oh yeah, If you don't want to spend the extra $$ for M$ Word, try Open Office it's a great replacement.
  13. Whigga Spitta macrumors 6502

    Apr 21, 2004
    Can you say Chi-City??
    Most school's actually have contracts with Apple and Microsoft, so before you drop the $150 or so on Office, check with your school. Office v.X only cost me $18 through my school.
  14. FightTheFuture macrumors 6502a


    Oct 19, 2003
    that town east of ann arbor
    apple support

    besides hardware another thing you should consider is service and support. there was a survey a while back at what kind of computer you should get based on support and each one from dell, hp, and apple stunk. but apple did get the highest grade at a "C". as a 2 year mac home user, and a 4 year mac business user, not once did i have to call to apples support. meanwhile, when it came to dell - i would have to sit on the phone for 45 minutes+ waiting for some guy in india to give me tech support. for microsoft, i've had to make 30+ minute waits. the sad part is that for dells support - i found most of the solutions on their clusterred community forum. thats not something you want to do to just get your audio drivers back on. not once did i have that kind of problem with my ibook, powerbook, powermacs, ipod or airport extreme.
  15. rueyeet macrumors 65816


    Jun 10, 2003
    The other difference with the iBook is that memory capacity is supposedly limited to 640 MB. However, that's plenty for what you'd be using it for.

    Other than that, the only stuff a PowerBook can give you that the iBook can't:
    • Gigabit Ethernet
    • PC card slot
    • Spanning over dual displays, without a hack
    • Nifty glowing backlit keyboard :D
    That's about it, really....
  16. amake macrumors newbie

    Feb 19, 2004
    Madison, WI
    People have recommended MS Office, but you should really see if the free alternatives meet your needs before shelling out that much money. NeoOffice/J (based on OpenOffice.org) is very good, free, and compatible with Office documents. If you want to get a bit more hardcore there are a couple different ways to do LaTeX, all of them free.

    There are many more word processors out there, many of them free or cheaper than Office. I know I won't be buying any future versions of Office now that I know about alternatives.
  17. smurfsgonewild thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 23, 2004
    Monroe, LA
    Well, I think I'm pretty much set on a 15' pbook. Just a basic model and I'll up the ram myself with some ram from crucial. The 12' ibook or pbook wouldn't be too bad but I'm a pretty big guy and they might be too small for my personal preference, but that might change once I see one. I'm basing that on the other 12' models of sony just looked so tiny in the stores. Another thing, is making the switch from windows to osx very hard?I've messed around with at the library of a local college and it didn't seem too bad but I've never really sat down and played with it before. Also, is there a better time to buy a mac, I mean, do they have specials or anything around August for school starting or just any type of special?It'll be around the middle of July before I order one and I was wondering if I should wait as long as possible. Final question. I believe my school is pc based, I'm gonna call up there soon to find out for sure, will it really be a problem getting a mac? I don't think there will be but if you've been to a pc based school with a mac lemme know how it was. Thanks for the help guys.
  18. csubear macrumors 6502a


    Aug 22, 2003
    You best bet for school is a 12". I bought the 14" ibook, over a 12" pb, and while the 14" ibook was a great computer, i really wanted the 12" later on. It is just so easy to carry around.

    Get the 12" and extra lcd for the dorm room. it is a great combo :)
  19. goodknight411 macrumors member

    Jun 14, 2004
    MiddlaNowhere, Arkansas
  20. oreo macrumors member

    Jun 19, 2004
    Kent, UK
    I'm a recent switcher & haven't had any problems, or have I managed to crash the iBook either. :D :D

    Just wanted to say I'm also a nursing student. Which area are you hoping to go into? Nursing here in the UK is so different to the USA, we have to pick which area we want to work before starting, eg med/surgical, pediatrics, or mental health. I'm planning to do med/surgical, & once I'm qualified work in a surgerical setting. How long is the course you're doing? Here is it 3 years only two more to go, if you've got any questions about nursing feel free to ask.
  21. smurfsgonewild thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 23, 2004
    Monroe, LA
    I've still got to call my school and find out for sure what they mainly use but I think I'll be fine with a mac, if i ever need a pc, i've got a bunch of friends going to school with me and there's plenty of labs around.

    Right now, I'm just looking into becoming a registered nurse. You can get an associate degree in 2 years but I"m going for my B.S. so that'll be 4 years. I'm thinking about becoming a Nurse Anesthetist which will be another 2 years or so. You've gotta have a year of clinical experience before you can apply for Anesthetist school so I'm looking at becoming a traveling nurse for that year. The nursing department head said that you could go to some part of Alaska for 6 months and pull in a hundred grand or so, which wouldn't be too bad at all.
  22. Don't panic macrumors 603

    Don't panic

    Jan 30, 2004
    having a drink at Milliways
    the remaining 0.2%

    just in case you needed the extra push...

    you'd be using Safari anyway... ;)

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