Buying Powerbook for School, need help.

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by mangophreek, Jul 11, 2004.

  1. mangophreek macrumors newbie

    mangophreek

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2004
    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario
    #1
    Hi,

    I'm heading off to University in September and I'm looking at getting a laptop. My situation is kind of funky, though. I'm doing a joint program between York University and Sheridan College, so I have to attend both campuses (hence the need for a laptop) and will be taking the GO bus between campuses (40km... this is Canada by the way, in Toronto/Oakville respectively) a few times a week.

    Since it's a graphic design program I'll need more than an iBook. So I was looking at the 17" powerbook with the upgraded video card and 1gb of ram. I also plan to buy an iPod mini and iSight (keep in contact with family/friends back home).

    I was just wondering what some suggestions might be for timelines/deals. I don't see any real point in waiting for the next PB revision, especially if it went to G5 because Rev.A would be pretty buggy. I saw Apple's cram & jam promotion, but I don't think it applies to Canadians. I'm worried the iPod sizes/features will be upgraded within the coming weeks of summer or at Paris. I'll need everything to last for at least 4 years (most likely 6).

    Oh, and any tips on laptop backpacks? I was thinking the Northface Bandwith. It seems pretty discrete (i.e. won't get me mugged). Any help would be great.
     
  2. jsw Moderator emeritus

    jsw

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2004
    Location:
    Andover, MA
    #2
    I think you'll be very happy with either a 15" or a 17" PB. It's up to you to determine the size/cost/screen real estate trade-offs.

    I would agree that you should upgrade the video RAM, but just as - or more - important is that you upgrade the disk to 5400 RPM.

    I don't think anyone forsees being able to buy a G5 PB for, perhaps, a year or so (maybe six months, probably more). Note that PBs hold value pretty well, so you could sell yours in a couple of years and upgrade, should you choose to do so. Hoping for 4-6 year lifetimes is not out of the question, but note that you will probably see very diminished capabilities relative to what others have within maybe 3-4 years. My 5 year old G3 PB still works fine, but it's no powerhouse, and I doubt it will run Tiger.

    Please be sure - promise - to get Apple Care.

    Edit: yes, iPods will get updated, just like everything else, but they're already good.

    Best advice: wait as long as you possibly can for each thing you buy (in case you catch an update), then buy it and don't look back. G5 PBs might take a year, but I could easily see screen resolution enhancements, hard drive speedups, etc., that might make waiting at least a little while for the laptop a good idea - if you don't need it right now.
     
  3. JzzTrump22 macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2004
    Location:
    New York
    #3
    For a graphics major i would definatly recommend a 17" powerbook. You will need the bigger screen. Having the bigger screen will definatly make things much easier switching between different programs and do different things at once. I would recommend the 128 vram and atleast 1 gig of ram. I would say upgrade to the stick of 512 then buy another stick of 512 or 1 gig stick from www.crucial.com and definatly upgrade to the 5400 HD. That is a must.

    For the backpacks you want something that will be very well padded to protect your baby. There have been numerous posts on this topic that can be found through searching. The posts will give you something to think about. I would say buy a pretty decent sleeve and then buy a not-so expensive backpack. That way you get the extra protection needed. Some backpacks don't give the greatest protection, thats why i would say buy a sleeve with it.
     
  4. jsw Moderator emeritus

    jsw

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2004
    Location:
    Andover, MA
    #4
    I second the sleeve/backpack idea. The sleeve can protect the PB, and the non-laptop-oriented backpack can disguise (and further protect) it. Don't want to buy something that screams "laptop inside!".
     
  5. Ryan1524 macrumors 65816

    Ryan1524

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2003
    Location:
    Canada GTA
    #5
    but since you'll be moving around a lot, make sure you're comfortable with the fact that you'll have to carry a quite large bag to handle the large notebook. i would suggest the 15" as a compromise, but if you think you can handle the 17", by all means go for it.
     
  6. JzzTrump22 macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2004
    Location:
    New York
    #6
    I don't think the extra 2 inches is going to make that big of a difference when carrying in a backpack. It weighs slightly more but carrying it isn't too much of a problem. I'm sure the 17" will fit into most backpacks without a problem. Especially if it's a backpack made for a laptop.
     
  7. Artimus macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2004
    #7
    How fascinating, I'm attending York (Film and Video major) in the fall too. I'm also trying to decide between a laptop and a pc. :D
     
  8. PBGPowerbook macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2004
    #8
    I did the "Cram and Jam" in USA last year when it had some other name, and it was a great deal. You should go for it (if it applies in Canada) and not worry about the next ipod. As for backpacks, I'd avoid northface and get something from www.danadesign.com. College rules!
     
  9. Artimus macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2004
    #9
  10. zakee00 macrumors regular

    zakee00

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2004
    Location:
    Anchorage, Alaska
    #10
    the 17" will be PERFECT for what you are doing. ipods ARE going to be updated in aug./september, so i would wait on buying one...and im pretty sure the cram and jam promotion dosnt apply to you. if i were you, diffenately make sure you get airport installed. i think it comes standard, cant remember off the top of my head...but its worth it.
    good luck,
    -nick
     
  11. mangophreek thread starter macrumors newbie

    mangophreek

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2004
    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario
    #11
    Artimus: Haha, that's awesome you're going to York too. Are you in residence or living off campus? I'm in the new Pond Road Suites =D

    I'm definitely going sleeve and backpack over a laptop bag. The harddrive update didn't seem like that big of a deal to me, but when I think about it, it makes sense. Do you find the ram would be better I leave it as the 512 built in and order a 1gig or another 512mb stick from crucial or should I just get it from Apple?

    Also, the 17" is something I'd prefer because I have a 17" iMac (800mhz G4, 512 ram) so it will make for easy transitions. And yes I'm getting APP and with the EDU discount. My mom works for the public school board so I already used it for all our other Macs. It's just in my name when I order it instead of hers now.

    Anyone know about the cram & jam promotion? I know they usually have a buy a mac + iPod and get a free printer in Canada around this time, but I'd rather cram&jam.
     
  12. atszyman macrumors 68020

    atszyman

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2003
    Location:
    The Dallas 'burbs
    #12
  13. mangophreek thread starter macrumors newbie

    mangophreek

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2004
    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario
    #13
    Thats awesome about Cram & Jam, but I guess that means no mini :(

    So is it better to wait for iPod updates or just order the whole thing? I'd like to get it earlier just in case there are delays in production/shipping. My iMac took 2 months to get here (it was ordered August 2002, got it October) and my sister's iBook took about 3 weeks. My was BTO hers was just off the shelf but both were education discounts.
     
  14. JzzTrump22 macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2004
    Location:
    New York
    #14
    Do not order ram from apple unless you have to. They are way over priced. They charge $300 for a stick of 512. Thats insane when you could get it from www.crucial.com for about $120. When you order the computer get it installed with the upgraded 1 stick of 512 and then go to crucial and buy either a stick of 512 or i would recommend 1 gig. Your field of work requires ram and i would definatly suggest having 1.5 gigs of ram.
     
  15. atszyman macrumors 68020

    atszyman

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2003
    Location:
    The Dallas 'burbs
    #15
    No Mini, but you can get a 40 GB for almost the price of the Mini in the States. After rebate and edu discount it comes to ~$270. $20 more for 10x the storeage.
     
  16. Joeytpg macrumors 6502

    Joeytpg

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2004
    Location:
    Vienna, Austria
    #16
    Well, i can tell you....if you're torn between the 17" and the 15", with money not being a problem...get the 17".....better screen size...... I got the 15 because of Money shortness, but i'm definitely NOT dissapointed...they're great computers!...i can really tell the difference with my old crappy 17" monitor (in size terms) but hey...that's not a problem...i'm getting used to it already.....and maybe latter i can buy an apple display (20" or 23") who know......or maybe i'll get to a point where i'll be so adapt to this 15" that i won't need an external monitor.........

    Just remember that we (humans) sometimes make up "needs" in our heads that maybe we DON'T really need.......... that happened to me.... i spent 4 month reading and investigating to buy the best laptop my money could affort......i was thinking about the 14" 1.25 ibook first.... but after thinking about it pretty well....decided NOT.....i wanted something with more power that would hold me a few more years.... so that took me the Powerbooks option.....which one? 12", 15" or 17".......at first the 17" was a difinite NO, 'cause money shortness.....so....i looked at the 12"...but it was TOO small....and my eyes were used to looking at a 17" PC monitor all day...so...NO WAY.....then i looked at the 15"....great machine....good power, good specs, great size...so now which one of the two? 15" 1.33 or 1.5......DAMN!....don't know!....do i really need 1.5?...(OF COURSE of thought...power's always GOOD..but i just didn't have the money...) so i looked at the 1.33....now which one..COMBO or Superdrive.........damn!..i want the DVD burner........but wait....."am i really going to use it THAT much to spend 200 bucks MORE?..... so after thinking REALLY hard...and being INTELLIGENT....i got the Simple 15"......and with the money i saved i got a 15 gb ipod, Yeah i know new ipods will come out in sept. but hey, maybe they'll be more packed with cool stuff, but who knows if they'll be more expensive......so that's the way i think......i can get it NOW because my wallet can afford it NOW...... you never know what'll happen next. But i can asure you, you'll enjoy it anyways.

    So now i have a 15" 1.33 ghz, 256 ram (getting 512 Ram stick from crucial) Combo drive, 60 gb hard drive..... i could have a better/more complete machine?..YES!..i could.....but i have a VERY FINE computer...and i can later on buy an external hard drive, cheaper, with BIGGER space, i can get an external DVD burner WAY cheaper than the $200 for the Superdrive......and burn faster.......

    ...so dude....think about it.....and don't make up "needs" that may you don't got........there are lots of students out there that are studying the same thing youre going to study, and have a cheaper, less packed computer and are doing fine......so just save some money and get a 15" 1.33 and buy an external monitor if you REALLY need the extra real state, save money to get an external mouse, keyboard (if you need em), save money and get More memory Ram, get an ipod (there you'll have a fine music player and an external Hard Drive, that'll do a great job)

    if i were you i'll get the Base 15" 1.33, and save money for other stuff.
     
  17. Artimus macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2004
    #17
    :eek: Me too! How creepy!
     
  18. mangophreek thread starter macrumors newbie

    mangophreek

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2004
    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario
    #18
    Now THAT'S scary! What room? :| It'd be funny if it turned out you were my unknown as of yet roommate.

    And to the other people talking about money issues for me. I have a TONNE of scholarships ($4000 entrance award, $500 from my old work and $3000 american from winning an international web design contest plus some bursaries...) so it's all within my budget. Thanks for all the help so far.

    Edit: Add me to MSN if you have it, or e-mail me. Haha wow what a coincidence.
     
  19. Joeytpg macrumors 6502

    Joeytpg

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2004
    Location:
    Vienna, Austria
    #19
    dude, it's great that money ain't an issue in your case..........then get a 1.5ghz 17" pbook, with all the goodies..... Esternal Keyboard, mouse, A LOT of ram......a good backpack......good luck! :D
     

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