Computer for College: Buy Now or Wait?

Discussion in 'General Mac Discussion' started by Nawlins, Jun 9, 2003.

  1. Nawlins macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2003
    Location:
    Chicago
    #1
    I have enough money saved to buy a 12" or 15" Powerbook for college in the fall -- starts in August -- but am unsure if I should purchase one now or closer to the start of school.

    I have used IBM-compatible PC's for most of my life, but am ready to switch :) (I have some nightmare stories about Windows). I am pretty familar with computers, but will need some time to get used to a new OS. Plus, I've never had a computer of my own - will a Mac take some getting used to?

    Buy now or later on?
     
  2. me_94501 macrumors 65816

    me_94501

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2003
    #2
    I'm pretty much in the same boat as you, only I'm still saving. I would say that you should hold off a little. Apple will be demoing the next version of OS X later this month, and if Apple follows their typical release pattern, it will likely be released in late August/early September of this year. If your desparate to get out of Windows and are OK with 10.2, I'd say go ahead and buy now. Otherwise, wait.

    btw. What types of Windows nightmares are we talking about?Annoying wizards? The alphabet soup names for disks? (Which drive is the CD burner? D? E? F? AIGH!) Registry disasters? Unrelenting Blue Screens of Death?
     
  3. Nawlins thread starter macrumors member

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    Chicago
    #3
    I use Windows ME at home, and some of my PC-savvy friends tell me ME is the worst Windows OS, and that I should just buy a laptop with XP and my troubles will be solved. I figure I'm going to have to learn a new OS regardless of whether I buy a Mac or PC, and I find Macs really easy to use, so I'm willing to take a chance on them.

    I've had a lot of screen-freeze problems with my desktop at home (Compaq Presario pentium 3, 933 mHz processor, 128 mb RAM, 60 GB hard drive - my family's had it for about 2 years now, I think), which could be related to the OS, or the low memory. Either way, the problems have been persisting for months, and the Blue Screen of Death is not uncommon. I don't get it anymore -- it just seems like so many people work and struggle to understand their PC's, but using a Mac seems intuitive and friendly.
     
  4. Nawlins thread starter macrumors member

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    Jun 9, 2003
    Location:
    Chicago
    #4
    Plus, I'm a huge music fan, and am sick of Kazaa - Steve Jobs is right when he talks about the disparities in sound quality found on it. Paying a buck a song makes sense, and seems easy to use -- I can't wait to use the iTunes Music Store.
     
  5. Computer_Phreak macrumors 6502

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    Jul 15, 2002
    #5
    Definately wait until the 24th of June, the Apple WWDC convention. Apple is expected to release new hardware and software. Don't buy yet.
     
  6. WannabeSQ macrumors 6502

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    Oct 24, 2002
    #6
    also, the notebook and iPod $200 rebate is good until sometime in august, if that makes any different. the iPod is the perfect companion for the iTunes music service. So yeah, wait at least until WWDC.
     
  7. ZildjianKX macrumors 68000

    ZildjianKX

    Joined:
    May 18, 2003
    #7
    Dude, just go to the store, buy a copy of Windows XP upgrade, and all your computer problems will be solved.

    http://www.pricegrabber.com/search_...earch=windows%20XP%20Home/ut=43706cfd0256ef23

    Don't listen to what everyone says... Windows XP is a very stable OS, and I've only had two blue screens ever (both related to my videocard drivers when XP came out)... and I've really been running it for over 2 years.

    Edit, and put another 128 to 256 megs of RAM in your system and your system performance will way jump, you don't have a slow computer... and format your drive first to get all that Compaq slow crap off the PC.
     
  8. shadowfax macrumors 603

    shadowfax

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2002
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    #8
    as long as you aren't a super-gamer, i would recommend OS X as a fun OS to mess around in and to work in. it will take you some time to get used to, but you will always have us here for just about any problem you can possibly conceive of to give you advice and help you fix any problems. i suppose you could find that with windows though.

    i would definitely wait till july to make your decision, and keep an eye on apples. if you get a PC, get a centrino laptop, they sound like they might be worth the money moreso than intel's other blah processors (not to say that apple is used to good processors lately). but hopefully the new stuff will knock your socks off. also, consider the student discount you will get when in college. you may want to wait till you are eligible for that.
     
  9. jefhatfield Retired

    jefhatfield

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2000
    #9
    whatever you get for college, now or in august, will not last you four full years...the operating system on it, and the machine's ram limit will be ancient by then...maybe even the top rated graphics card you can get in today's machine may not even be able to handle the most rudimentary graphics program in four years

    but for best results, wait until the next mac os comes out really soon and plan on buying another machine in 30 months or so

    my ibook was touted as being the second fastest computer laptop in the world 42 months ago when i got it and benched better on some things than the 333 mhz powerbook (which was the world's fastest laptop at the time)

    now neither machine, with its 320 or 160 mb ram limit, would be fun trying to run jaguar with two programs open at the same time

    now the only thing my rev a ibook would be good for in a college setting nowadays would be simple tasks, but never any higher level languages in programming or any sort of current graphics like the latest photoshop or illustrator

    the days of relatively slow moving computer technology and any single computer lasting thru four years comfortably/reasonably are over...unfortunately
     
  10. sparks9 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2003
    Location:
    Copenhagen
    #10
    :eek: :eek:

    of course it will...!

    If you are not playing the newest 3d games, there is no need to get a new computer often...we are past that time thankfully.
     
  11. solvs macrumors 603

    solvs

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2002
    Location:
    LaLaLand, CA
    #11
    Even if you are able to take the PC with you, adding XP and RAM will not make your computer problems go away. It won't be as bad, but I've still had a ton of problems with XP (running 2000 on my PC, lesser of the evils). If you can wait for WWDC in a few weeks, there are new Macs rumors to be released (Lap- and Desk-tops, which I'm sure you already know, but I'll reiterate). The 15" hasn't been updated in awhile, and the 12' had a big price cut, so they both look pretty likely to be updated soon.

    Even if they aren't, you can buy one of them at current prices (or lower) by the time you need them. Or, if new ones do come out, the "old" ones at a huge discount. You can always buy a new Desktop, too. Easier to upgrade and hopefully new 970 CPUs ( :D ). Same principal. Lots of options. If you can wait, wait.

    Once OS X.3 (Pather) is demoed, any computer you buy after that will either have it installed or come as a cheap upgrade. Based on what you've said so far, I think you will enjoy 10.3. Slight learning curve, but get AppleCare (and maybe a book with hints for the new OS) and with a little playing, you should be fine. Plus, if you have a problem, you can always come back here for some help.

    If you do go with a Laptop, you'll enjoy the power and longer battery life and lighter weight and style and... well, you get the idea.

    You do know that you can get a student discount right? Apple's Education Store. Or an even bigger discount with Student ADC membership?

    Any questions, feel free to ask. Enjoy.
     
  12. solvs macrumors 603

    solvs

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    Jun 25, 2002
    Location:
    LaLaLand, CA
    #12
    And if you're worried, my Mom's old 400 MHz G3 runs 10.2 just fine.

    You should be good with 10.3 for awhile, and if you want to upgrade to 10.whatever later, you shouldn't have too much of a hassle for awhile (even if IBM comes out with Muti-ULtra-Giga-Hertz CPU). Plus, with AppleCare, if your computer dies in the next 3 years, they'll give you a new one.

    Keep those reciepts!!!
     
  13. springscansing macrumors 6502a

    springscansing

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    Oct 13, 2002
    Location:
    New York
    #13
    My father's 7600/132 is still hauling ass.

    Of course it has a ATI Nexus and a 500mhz G4 in there... but still.

    And btw, it holds 2GB of RAM if I am not mistaken.
     
  14. Wardofsky macrumors 65816

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  15. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    Location:
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    #15
    Get one by mid-July, but no later. You need free time to play around with it when you first get a Mac. Plus, what if something goes wrong, and you need to ship it to Apple because of an immediate defect? Things take time, so make sure you have your laptop ready for September.
     
  16. jxyama macrumors 68040

    jxyama

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2003
    #16
    unless you need a computer now, wait, for three reasons:

    1) the longer you wait, better and/or cheaper machines will be
    2) once you are enrolled, your college may have an even better edu. deal
    3) you may want to test out the campus computing scene before deciding. you'll be ok for the first few weeks just using campus sites.

    the only downside i can think of waiting until the school starts is possible shortage...

    in the meantime, go to a local public library, get some books on OS X...
     
  17. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #17
    But there will always be better machines coming soon, and there will always be some type of discount somewhere.

    Its a good point about the Educational discount, but can s/he get the discount once his/her student card is received. Can you not take advantage of the discount in July if you get your student card gets to you by July? :confused:

    Sorry, I don't know how it works in the US.
     
  18. jxyama macrumors 68040

    jxyama

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2003
    #18
    from my experience (undergrad and grad), i didn't get a student ID until the orientation. in fact, getting an id was one of the first thing i did once i got on campus. i don't think you are technically a student until you are enrolled and start paying the tuition. :D

    i'm now at michigan and the computer store here got a better deal than online Apple store, even the education section.
     
  19. sjjordan macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2003
    Location:
    United States
    #19
    I certainly wouldn't buy one now. First of all, it seems pretty sure that the 970's are coming out at the end of June. Don't buy before then. There'll probably be a rush on them, in which case the current G4 models will be cheap.

    wait for that. I'd even wait till Panther comes out. That way you won't have to upgrade later.

    Good luck
     
  20. Nawlins thread starter macrumors member

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    Jun 9, 2003
    Location:
    Chicago
    #20
    I've figuring out the potential savings buying it through the store of my school (Loyola University-New Orleans) through Apple's website - I'd save about $150. Although I do not have a student ID and am not taking classes there, I am a registered student, so I can take advantage of the college store.

    I don't want to wait until Panther comes out in August/September to buy the computer - Is it going to be substantially different from OS X?

    Has there been any solid info on when the 970's will be released?

    Thanks for the help everyone :)
     
  21. Nawlins thread starter macrumors member

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    Jun 9, 2003
    Location:
    Chicago
    #21
    One other question - I don't do any digital video editing, so my only use for a SuperDrive would be if I could download full-length movies and then burn them to DVD's. I know this is possible on PC's with Kazaa and other file-sharing software; Is it possible on the Mac?

    I wish there was a version of the iTunes Music Store for movies - now THAT would be cool.

    Also, it's interesting comparing the 2 different 15" Powerbook models. If you try customizing the SuperDrive version on Apple's site, and select a ComboDrive instead of the SuperDrive, upgrade the RAM, and leave most of the other settings the same, you'll have a much more powerful computer than a full-featured version of the Powerbook with the standard ComboDrive. Kind of interesting.
     
  22. Schiffi macrumors 6502a

    Schiffi

    Joined:
    May 22, 2003
    Location:
    Missouri
    #22
    I was in the same boat, though I went ahead and got a pBook on credit during that 2weeks or so when they had the 6 months same as cash. I figured in 6 months I would have an on-campus job to pay for the thing so I'll be a'ight. Personally I'll be in the Fine Arts division so I'll be using Photoshop and Illustrator. I do work with video as a hobby, but still, I'm expecting this computer purchase to last me the 4 years at college. Sure the thing will be extremely outdated, but since you cannot really advance image editing I doubt there will be a need for me to upgrade. Though if I were you I'd still wait for the WWDC. Then you could think about whether OS9 booting or OSX 10.3 is better (with the 15 that is).
     
  23. Dont Hurt Me macrumors 603

    Dont Hurt Me

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    #23
    Nice post.
     
  24. jefhatfield Retired

    jefhatfield

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2000
    #24
    let's say i enrolled in college in september, 1999...when the rev a ibook came out...there were very few things faster on the mobile end at the time, and the rev a ibook had 4 mb ram graphics...and mobile agp to boot...quite nice for the time and for the price of $1599 usd... a nicer pc laptop would have cost well over 2 grand at the time

    now, four years later i would be finishing up in june of 2003 where a comparably priced ibook for $1599 has a larger screen, eight times the video ram, more than three times the speed in benchmark tests, and a hard drive which would be ten times the size...could you see me using a 300 mhz, 160 mb ram, 4 mb ram agp graphics card, 3 gb hard drive rev a ibook now as i was finishing up college?

    no laptop can reasonably last any student four years of college without being painfully outdated for the student in the last 1 1/2 to 2 years, depending on if the student engages in any high level programming languages, graphics, or scientific computing calculations
     
  25. ZildjianKX macrumors 68000

    ZildjianKX

    Joined:
    May 18, 2003
    #25
    I think we are past that time with new computers in the PC world... but not yet in the mac world. If MUCH faster mac processors come out, then I'd agree.
     

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