Mac User forced to buy PC

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by Schroedinger, Mar 26, 2004.

  1. Schroedinger macrumors regular

    Schroedinger

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2004
    Location:
    Baltimore, MD
    #1
    I'm off to Law School in the fall, and I have to get a PC Laptop. The major issue is that test taking software only runs on Windows and apparently won't work on an Emulator (I already looked into that option.)

    So, I would love to buy a 12" powerbook. Can anybody tell me the closest I can get to that in the PC world?? I want aesthetics and don't need monster performance. I want small and portable. I want a big apple logo on the top (but I think that'll be hard to do). I'll continue to use my desktop for music making and photos and movies and stuff. This notebook will be for test taking, note taking, use in the library, etc.

    Thanks
     
  2. belf8st macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2004
    #2
    If I was forced to purchase an intel based laptop, I'd go with the thinkpad line from IBM. The T series to be exact. They start at 4.5lbs, offer sxga screens and are work horses. IBM support is actually very good and you get a 3 year warranty on the laptop, which is awesome!

    Fujitsu also makes a really compact laptop that isn't bad either.
     
  3. mrgreen4242 macrumors 601

    mrgreen4242

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2004
    #3
    I might be in a simlar boat in a few years from now with the school I am transfering to when I come home (see sig. regarding military deployment). I am going to start emailing the people now to get them lookign towards Mac compatability! Anyways, doesn't help you much now, so here's some places to start:

    I always loved IMBs thinkpads. Not amazingly stylish, but small and pretty powerful. A bit on the expensive side though, in comparison with other PCs, not so much with Mac's ;-). http://www-132.ibm.com/webapp/wcs/s...=1&langId=-1&dualCurrId=73&categoryId=2072542

    Toshiba has made some really nice laptops the last few years, I loved mine, but it was more of a desktop replacement. However they make some nice smaller models as well. Pretty stylish as far as PCs go. Good prices, usually, for pretty powerful systems. http://www.csd.toshiba.com/cgi-bin/...cgfkceghdgngdgll.0&comm=ST&pfam=Tecra&pmod=M2
    They also have another, smaller, more expensive line, http://www.csd.toshiba.com/cgi-bin/...&comm=CS&plin=Portable Computers&pfam=Portege

    (NOTE: the newer ones aren't as cool looking as I remember mine being!)

    Hm, lastly, if you just wanted cheap and functional, there is always Dell. They catch alot of flack from people, but I have actually liked all the Dell machines I have worked with. And at thier prices, you could probably get both a 12" PB and a entry level PC notenook! http://www1.us.dell.com/content/products/features.aspx/featured_notebook1?c=us&cs=19&l=en&s=dhs

    As for my personal preference, if I were to be just getting one system, and all I cared abotu was quality, battery power and size, with an eye on price as well, and I wasn't looking for extreme power, the IMB's have always been appealing to me. Hope this helps somewhat!

    Rob

    PS Before you buy anything, if it just a single testing application that is holding back you Mac purchase, have you considered contacting the school and asking about testing it under Virtual PC? The PB's are G4's so will run the currently available VPC(6.0 is it?). Could be a solution that lets you get what you want and also get what you need done!
     
  4. techne1 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2004
    Location:
    Highland, IN
    #4
    Unfortunately, from everything I read ExamSoft has no plans on porting their program to OS X and you can't run it in VPC because they don't trust students not to cheat. Supposedly, their program locks you out of the rest of your computer so you can't look things up. However, if macs can run it in an emulator, PCs can too.. they just wouldn't have a big glowing apple giving them away. :) I was worried about buying a PowerBook for law school because of this, but then I found out the school I'll be attending has the option of using their computers for tests. As a result, many people were happily using macs when I toured the campus. I'd call the school and voice your concern about using ExamSoft and wanting a PowerBook, they might just have something similiar. Before I found out about that, I was considering buying a cheap 300MHz Thinkpad off ebay just for tests... the hardware requirements are very low for the program (200MHZ/32MB Ram/30MB HD). I heard of people borrowing PC laptops for tests, but I wouldn't be comfortable having to rely on someone else's computer being available. Overall, I'd vote for getting a PowerBook and picking up a cheap Thinkpad or other PC. I considered a new Thinkpad and they seem pretty nice, but they get exspensive really quick (esp. if you match the PowerBook's specs) and they're still running XP. But if you'd be more comfortable not having to worry about switching notebooks for tests, I would definitely recommend a Thinkpad T40.
     
  5. Coca-Cola macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2002
    Location:
    WA
    #5
    I think there are some good deals out there on refurbished IBM thinkpads. I am sure that would get you by for a good price. I am sorry about you having to use inferior technology. Maybe you could go to a different school. ;)
     
  6. vollspacken macrumors 65816

    vollspacken

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2002
    Location:
    Boogie-Down Berlintown
    #6
    just get an old celeron or PIII based IBM Thinkpad like the x20 or the 240. I don't see why you should spend a s**tload of money on an high end PeeCee just for running that certain little piece of software...

    rather get said low-end thinkpad for the test application AND a Powerbook for everything else.

    I had a Thinkpad 240x in addition to my Powerbook and I was very sadisfied with it until my stooooopit eeeeediot roommate dropped it off my desk... :mad:

    bottom line:
    don't spend too much on a machine you will use only for one application (seems to be the case here...)

    vSpacken
     
  7. Schroedinger thread starter macrumors regular

    Schroedinger

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2004
    Location:
    Baltimore, MD
    #7
    Yeah!!! Everyone has rationalized my purchase of a powerbook (or at least an ibook). I hadn't really thought of my need in terms of two separate problems, test taking, and all the other school stuff. I should just get some cheapy laptop for the tests, b/c that is all I'll used it for. I can then get the apple laptop for taking notes and writing papers and going to the library, yada yada yada.


    Besides, if there is anything cooler than a technogeek with two computers, it is one with three computers.
     
  8. absolut_mac macrumors 6502a

    absolut_mac

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2003
    Location:
    Dallas, Texas
    #8
    Defintely not Celeron!!

    Like everybody else here, IBM Thinkpad gets a thumbs up from me too.

    Just stay away from that lousy underpowered Celeron rubbish, unless you like looking at blue screens often, and you won't go wrong!!
     
  9. sethypoo macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2003
    Location:
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    #9
    Stay far, far away from Celerons.

    Trash, through and through.
     
  10. Zaty macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2004
    Location:
    Switzerland
    #10
    If you can afford two laptops, get a cheap Celeron based one. It should be fast enough to run your test taking app.
     
  11. loubapache macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2004
    Location:
    Michigan
    #11
    You cannot go wrong with the IBM Thinkpad line.

    If you have to get an ultraportable, go with an X30, X31, or the new X40. These do not come with an optical drive but is very light. You can get an X30 for about $1150 and the new X40 for $1500.

    For me, I would get a T series. It is a bit bigger but has the optical drive built in. The case is not plastic. It is a Ti composite that is stiffer than Ti alone.

    I just ordered a refurb T23 (model 26479LU) with the beautiful 14.1" SXGA screen (1400X1050 MAX). It comes with a P-III Mobile 1.13 GHz processor, 128 MB (so I'll buy another 512MB chip it is the same 133MHz SODIMM), a 5400 rpm 48GB drive, built in 211b wireless mini-pci, DVD, illuminated keyboard, 90 day warranty for $800. I should receive this on Monday or Tuesday.
     
  12. thejazzman10 Guest

    #12
     
  13. thejazzman10 Guest

    #13
     
  14. Opteron macrumors 6502

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    Feb 10, 2004
    Location:
    South Australia
    #14
     
  15. question fear macrumors 68020

    question fear

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2003
    Location:
    The "Garden" state
    #15
    my roommate has a simialr situation with her school and test taking software being windows only. the other thing to consider is that you'll probably need a floppy disk drive, as im fairly certain most of the software you'd encounter for test-taking utilizes a floppy to store the program and answers to avoid chances of hacking and cheating.
    -c
     
  16. zamyatin macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2003
    Location:
    NYC
    #16
    Even if you're forced to buy Microsoft products (an OEM copy of Windows, for example), you can still stick it to the man by getting OpenOffice and by spreading it among the other Windows users on your future campus. MS' profits on Office are far larger than on pre-installed copies of Windows, and if you can get a large number of students at your university to upgrade to OpenOffice, they'll never go back to MS Office. Break the monopoly on office suites, and like dominoes the other divisions of MS will begin to collapse. Computing freedom is not far off!

    www.openoffice.org for free downloads forever
    www.neooffice.org/java/ for a great developmental version of OOo for OS X
     
  17. question fear macrumors 68020

    question fear

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2003
    Location:
    The "Garden" state
    #17
    yea, but it doesnt sound like he'd be able to use them on his tests...these testing programs are akin to the GRE/GMAT computer based tests, where theres a proprietary word processor and you dont have access to anything outside of what the test program gives you...so open office wouldn't help. but maybe they aren't using ms office as the base for the word processor...maybe.
     
  18. allpar macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 20, 2002
    #18
    I agree with the idea of renting, borrowing, or buying a cheap used PC just for the test. You may even find that you can get one for free with a dead battery. (If you live in New Jersye, I'll lend you one!).

    I strongly recommend if you DO buy a PC to be sure to get the new Centrino chipset. Don't worry about hte low clock speeds...you know the drill. I agree with those who said to avoid the Celeron.

    You may want to consider Sony. The IBM ThinkPad X40 is supposed to be very nice with long battery life. I've found our Vaio SuperSlims at work to e the most hardy computers we've ever had. #2 has been the IBMs. #3 is Dell. We haven't tried HP. IBM...repair costs are stupendous, that's why we moved to Sony. Hitachi was horrible. We tried a few other brands with little success in durability.
     
  19. Schroedinger thread starter macrumors regular

    Schroedinger

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2004
    Location:
    Baltimore, MD
    #19
    So hard to choose...

    Thanks everyone, the info is very useful. I'm quite ambivalent at this point. I guess it'll come down to finances when I make my purchase. I was really starting to think IBM, T40 or so, but after the "side effects" thread I'm thinking powerbook again. (I need all the help I can get :eek: )

    I should clarify that, as others have posted, the software is propriety and locks everything else out.

    The one thing that is pushing me towards the IBM is that running XP pro would mean I would have no problems with the schools network (or at least nothing beyond normal windows fun). With the PB, I get the feeling I would be limited in some fashion.

    In case it helps, I'll be going to the University of Michigan. If anyone is familiar with their set up there, let me know.
     
  20. mrgreen4242 macrumors 601

    mrgreen4242

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2004
    #20
    I live in MI myself... I will talk to a few friends that matriculate there to see if they have any Mac experience on the network.

    Rob

    PS I said matriculate, BAM!
     
  21. allpar macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 20, 2002
    #21
    I have heard 3rd hand that UM is Mac-friendly in general. Also, at my kid's school, they have a Win2000 "only" network but both OS X and Linux are easily able to do anything the PCs can. 10.4 is supposed to have even better PC support. The one problem you could have is if Access is required - I can't see that for a legal program though. (Who would require Access, really? An MBA program?) ... when you have a Mac there are some issues of access and compatability but I find the stability and ease and security are WELL worth the trouble. And of course I have a cheap PC in case of emergency :)
     
  22. JasonL macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2004
    Location:
    Ware, MA
    #22
    If you are a Mac enthusiast and have to get a Win machine just for a test-taking program I would get a cheap, basic machine (preferably a refurb with a decent warranty) that will run that relatively undemanding program just fine. Save the extra for a PB, definitely.

    I'd be pissed if I was forced to buy a Wintel machine! That just isn't right...
     
  23. ZildjianKX macrumors 68000

    ZildjianKX

    Joined:
    May 18, 2003
    #23
    This is an old thread, but I'm in a similar situation now... it really sucks... great thread though, I guess I'll be buying a low end PC laptop that preferably isn't too heavy.
     
  24. Fukui macrumors 68000

    Fukui

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2002
    #24
    Have any of you guys even tried using VPC with the test software? Whats there that would make it not work?
     
  25. yoda13 macrumors 65816

    yoda13

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2003
    Location:
    Texas
    #25
    My nephew went to Michigan with his pb and just graduated this last spring, he never had any problems with networking, email setup, etc, ever. But he didn't need a computer for test taking and he wasn't enrolled in the law school, but I would think that networking would be the same all over campus.
     

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