Is a Mac really that great for a new college student?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by NMynarich, Jul 21, 2005.

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  1. NMynarich macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2005
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    Chicago
    #1
    I'm going into college this fall and I really WANT a mac, but I'm not sure if its the wisest choice. I keep having this fear of not being able to find programs or not liking the mac once i've bought it. Its a lot of money to think about and I'm nervous of making the wrong decision. If I do buy one, this will be my first mac. I'm not going into art, or music, or whatever. I'm going into business. I need word processing and internet. I'm sure not a lot of people own macs at school so I wont be able to get help from friends if I don't understand how to use the new OS. So my question is, in this situation, is it worth it? Help.

    P.S.... I was convinced. But now I'm not so sure. :eek:
     
  2. AcousticDoc macrumors regular

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    Jul 18, 2005
    #2
    Honestly, if you're going into your undergrad years it really isn't going to matter. Enjoy your new mac ;)
     
  3. gamestriker macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2004
    #3
    Don't worry! I'm starting college this fall, and I already know my mac will be just fine. I'm majoring in Computer Science in a Windows-centered college and I'm already playing nice with the other PCs. :p A Mac is great for Internet and word processing, and you can find alot of common business apps for Mac like File Maker Pro, or MS Office. If you need to find a specific app, check the Apple website; they have fairly thorough listings for Mac apps.

    I'm confident that a Mac will serve you great in college. :)
     
  4. NMynarich thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #4
    Thanks guys. I appreciate the support. I probably am still going with a mac. I'm just a little nervous because its something totally new for me. :)
     
  5. briangig macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 16, 2005
    #5
    unless you know of a specific windows based program you will be needing (like something the school has), you have no fears. Office for Mac works great...if you even need something that avanced. There are tons of programs out there for the mac, there is very little that cant be done on a mac that can on a pc...
     
  6. TDM21 macrumors 6502a

    TDM21

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2004
    #6
    My advice to you is not to worry. Last fall was my first year of college and I didn't have any problems with having a PB (actually there was one, but that was the schools fault). My major was Computer Science which included programming and learning circuitry. My first semester was fine, but I found myself needing Virtual PC for VB.net and a virtual circuit simulation program. Still I managed through the hard stuff and made it out with my laptop intact. One thing about having a Mac: it will keep 75% of your new buddies from touching it. Friends would always come in chat and jump on my roommates laptop. I think 3 different people touched the keyboard of my laptop in the course of 2 semesters.

    Buy the Mac, you won't be disappointed.
     
  7. QCassidy352 macrumors G3

    QCassidy352

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    Mar 20, 2003
    Location:
    Bay Area
    #7
    if you are in a business program, there could be some software that is PC only. Make sure that isn't the case before buying a mac!
     
  8. Zachariah macrumors member

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    May 10, 2005
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    Earth
    #8
    your college probably sells VirtualPC at quite a discount (so you could run Windows on your Mac, too)
     
  9. NMynarich thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2005
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    Chicago
    #9
    I have to say, you people are amazing. I've always been impressed with the enthusiasm of mac owners about their macs. Makes me feel a thousand times better about buying one. THANKS! :D
     
  10. tsk macrumors 6502a

    tsk

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2004
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    #10
    Someone mentioned Virtual PC. My advice is to avoid this at all costs. It stinks in my experience.

    As far as getting a Mac, unless you expect to run special programs that need Windows, I don't think you'll have any issue. I assume you would also have access to a lab which can help out in a pinch (but obviously, you don't want to be forced to a lab for a semester). I'd check with your department if there are any special programs they require for any of the classes that are PC only.
     
  11. mpopkin macrumors 6502

    mpopkin

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    Nov 14, 2003
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    Chapel Hill, NC
    #11
    a mac is a big jump when you have not used it, but once you have learned it a little, it is not only easier to use, but it will have less trouble down the road with operating system and hardware problems and keeps a pretty high resale value because of its quality. Go for it, it may be a little bit more money, but it will safe you money in the future and stress for that matter

     
  12. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #12
    Forget the Virtual PC (VPC) suggestions.

    There might be some business apps that you can't find on the Mac, but I think it's better to use the Uni's computers for those apps. Not the best option if you live at home, but if you live in residence, or close to Uni, then its cool. The Mac will be heaps better to use 99% of the time when you're NOT using Windows only software, so you'll be better off.

    And I know this is a computer nerdy forum, so I may get blasted for this, but the only downside of not having a Windows laptop is that your new friends and fellow classmates can't give you bootlegged copies of software programs you think are cool or you may need. Happens all the time in HS, and will continue at University. If you're not much of a computer nerd, it won't matter though, as you'll be happy with a lot of the software that comes free on your Mac. ;) You'll have to pay for a lot of software now unless you meet some new, dodgy Mac using college students. :p

    Use your Educational Discount at the Apple store, and get the Student Edition of MS Office for Macs. It's cheaper.;)

    RAM? Get it from a 3rd party vendor, not Apple.
     
  13. 20rogersc macrumors 65816

    20rogersc

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    Jun 28, 2005
    Location:
    Brighton, UK
    #13
    I'm going to college next year (not uni), and I bought an iBook in Dec/Jan with college in mind.. There's nothing to worry about, people will just envy you when you pull out your mac, when everyone else is on the college pcs ;) Don't worry about compatibility either, you'll find a way round it, but most things are covered for.

    Oh and to the thread question, yes they are great for a college student.

    ::20ROGERSC::
     
  14. TDM21 macrumors 6502a

    TDM21

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    Jul 7, 2004
    #14
    I didn't anything about buying Virtual PC. I just said I needed to use programs for some of my classes. If you can get by without using it then by all means try.
     
  15. iDM macrumors 6502a

    iDM

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2005
    Location:
    The Commonwealth of PA/The First State-DE
    #15
    You may also have feared that you'll get a biased opinion asking a question like that on this website, as you should be skeptical anytime dropping big bucks on a new comp. A suggestion I would make and this would be the ONLY reason not to get a Mac for school is, check out and see what kinda Mac stuff your university offers. I don't mean they have to be Mac based, but it would be nice if perhaps they had price breaks for students on Mac software like office or maybe even they will give mac software for free.(My school has given every version of OSX released so far including Tiger. As well as Norton even though you don't need it. And Office for Mac 2004, X, and 2001.) If you are also wondering about "alternative" downloading sources then say download.com or versiontracker.com there is plenty of FTP sites, Bittorrent, and Acquistion all work great. Also it would be cool if they offered even some minor kind of Tech support, you will almost definitely never need it, as I have not with my Mac(I used them all the time trying to access new networks when I switched dorms from Frosh to Soph year.)but it would be cool if they could like help you set up say like your Mail program. Otherwise I have found my Mac to be completely Plug and Play in *every* ethernet plug I've used, and the wireless capabilities of these things is top notch easy! That is all I can think of. I wish I had entered school with a Mac I could of had a much better time with music, organizing the thousands and thousands of party, tailgating, and other stupid digital photos I have accumulated.

    Edit: I did forget to mention one huge problem with Mac laptops. The amount of work you get done may drop significantly when you have programs like iPhoto, Garageband, iMovie and the ease of use and integration with Mail. How on earth can you be expected to write a paper, when you have programs like these at your disposal it's ridiculous, professors however will not fall for this.

    Edit2x:Just thought of one more thing, I have heard that with programs like acquisition when downloading music users on Macs are able to get .mp3's that do not have the digital scratch sound that plagues so many .mp3's from programs on PC's like Morpheus, Napster(the old free one), Kazaa, Kazaa Lite. The PC programs have all either been shut down by most universities or only contain the digitally protected .mp3's. Now you must of course delete the .mp3's if you somehow manage to download them with Acquisition, because downloading .mp3's, even if they are high quality 128/bit and don't contain any of the digital scratch sounds that plague PC's are illegal. :cool: ;)
     
  16. ITASOR macrumors 601

    ITASOR

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  17. Billicus macrumors 6502a

    Billicus

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2002
    Location:
    Charles City, Iowa
    #17
    I've found that my laptop has performed quite well at college, just be sure that you have a copy of Microsoft Office 2004 for the Mac and you'll be fine. :D Besides, whenever virus outbreaks occur at college, you can just have a snug little feeling that you don't have to worry about it... and trust me, virus outbreaks can be a pain in the rear end. I have also liked having in external mouse for my laptop when it's on my desk at school, in my case I have been using the Bluetooth mouse from Apple, but anything external that fits your needs... just saves from using the trackpad all the time. :p
     
  18. Gregory macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2001
    Location:
    Detroit, MI
    #18
    The Mac is a Great Computer, even for business software, If you can't find a PC program for the Mac, Go with VPC 7 it is not that bad. Even though you don't get full speed of a Real PC computer, it will work fine for most business software.
    Unless you are running games and 3D apps, you will be fine with VPC 7. I use it daily. Even on a 1ghz iBook, it runs good.
     
  19. Gregory macrumors member

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    Oct 1, 2001
    Location:
    Detroit, MI
    #19
    If you don't want to pay for MS Office go get iworks from apple, unless you need excel the spreadsheet program. Pages and Keynote are awesome. . . Pages is Word and Keynote is Powerpoint. iworks only cost $79
     
  20. Jay42 macrumors 65816

    Jay42

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2005
    #20
    I have debated internally about this topic as well. I was in more or less the same position you seem to be. I decided on a Apple PowerBook in the end (although an iBook is also a great choice) and I am SO GLAD that I made this choice. The BEST all-around feature of Macs is the lack of computer related problems when you really don't need them. Example: You're writing a paper much later and rushing it much more than you should be. I have had way to many late-night scares with windows comps., but I have yet to experience something like this with my mac! In fact, I can barely remember the last time I had to do a "force shut-down" (holding the power button) with my mac, something that was a standard procedure on my windows laptop. Enjoy whatever you get!
     
  21. TDM21 macrumors 6502a

    TDM21

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    #21
    And if you don't want to pay for any office suite there is NeoOffice: the Mac version of OpenOffice.
     
  22. devilot Moderator emeritus

    devilot

    Joined:
    May 1, 2005
    #22
    Well, Apple is now offering MS office for Mac 2004 student/teacher edition (meaning a full 3 licenses!) for only $99. As a switcher myself, I feel too ingrained in Word and tried NeoOffice and some other apps but just couldn't get used to it after using Word my whole life-- so MS office was the way for me to go.
     
  23. PBGPowerbook macrumors regular

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    Jan 6, 2004
    #23
    college rules! dont worry about using a mac. also, it will make you MUCH more attractive to the same/opposite sex/whoever
     
  24. Sharewaredemon macrumors 68000

    Sharewaredemon

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    May 31, 2004
    Location:
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    #24
    I feel bad posting without having read every post. But though you might not have anyone able to help you with your computer at school.

    Rest assured that we at Macrumors are one of the best knowledge bases around. And we are always glad to help you answer any questions.

    Just remember though, before you start a new thread, run a search to see if anyone else has had your problem.
     
  25. XNine macrumors 68040

    XNine

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2005
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    Why are you wearing that stupid man suit?
    #25
    Accept Norton sucks. Their Firewall will constantly nag you, telling you someone from some other location is trying to break in when it's just your modem and Mac talking to each other. Norton will also remove your built in OS X firewall, and place invisible files in locations it shouldn't, so when you remove their firewall, your built in will not work anymore anyway. Norton Systemworks is also useless. Don't bother installing it. Instead use Disk Warrior or TechTool Pro 4.

    Acquisition is made by a developer named Dave Watanabe. Do not support this guy. he is a total ass**** to all of his customers, constantly puts them down and ignores or deletes posts in his forum about his lousy customer service or questions he doesn't feel like answering. Instead, use Acqulite. Same thing, but it's FREE just like Watanabe's program should be (since he stole GPL code.) Macupdate.com, Versiontracker.com are your best friends for freeware/shareware.
     
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