Need advice on Mac for first time

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by Lathnind, Sep 8, 2005.

  1. Lathnind macrumors newbie

    Sep 8, 2005
    Im a college student and soon due to the work i do i will need a mac. I want to go the notbooke route and want to know when the right time is to but with whatever new is coming out. Also, I understand there is a mac emulator of pc but i heard it sucks. any advice on either would be great thanks
  2. MacRumoron macrumors 6502

    Sep 6, 2005
    yes the mac emulator of pc sucks badly, and would be even worse on a laptop
  3. mad jew Moderator emeritus

    mad jew

    Apr 3, 2004
    Adelaide, Australia
    Emulators will run incredibly slowly, don't bother relying on them for anything above the basic necessities. I have VPC emulating Windows (2000 and XP) on my iBook and it's ridiculously slow.

    What will you be using the laptop for? For most people, the 12 inch iBook is great for college. It offers sprightly performance in a very affordable and very mobile package. :)
  4. jiv3turkey748 macrumors 6502a


    Dec 30, 2004
    if your on a budget go for the 12"inch ibook
    if money doesnt matter or if you need a big screen go for a 15" powerbook
  5. itgoesbuzz macrumors regular

    Feb 11, 2005
    royal oak, mi
    Get Office for mac. All my prof's notes/assignments are done in either word excel or powerpoint, of course u might not run into that.

    I would go with the ibook because of the semi recent updates. powerbooks are great but the price difference is much.
  6. amac4me macrumors 65816


    Apr 26, 2005
    I agree, the iBook is great for a college student. Office for Mac will prove useful as well. Good luck with your decision!
  7. mduser63 macrumors 68040


    Nov 9, 2004
    Salt Lake City, UT
    You didn't say what your major is, but for most college students, the 12" iBook is perfect. Get Microsoft Office for Mac, you'll almost certainly need that.

    As for Virtual PC, it gets a bit of an undeserved bad reputation I think. I've heard some switchers (personal friends) think that they're going to get a Mac, but just run everything in Virtual PC because they "need" a bunch of Windows software. That's ridiculous for a couple reasons. First of all, VPC is pretty slow, and there's no reason to buy a Mac if you're mostly going to run Windows software. The second reason it's dumb, is because usually when you ask people what Windows software they need to run, it's just a bunch of fairly basic stuff for which there are perfectly good Mac replacements. I do have a couple programs that I need to run for school that are Windows only (electrical engineering stuff), and for those programs, Virtual PC runs just fine. I don't use it often, so the slowness isn't really a problem. That's what Virtual PC is for, running the occasional application for which there is no Mac version, and that doesn't really need a lot of speed to run.
  8. Lathnind thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 8, 2005
    MY options on what I can do

    I am in computer graphics classes right now. The programs I will be running are adobe illustrator, photoshop, Macromedia flash, fireworks, freehand and basically any up to sate artsy graphic program. Ive talked with my dad and he says if were going to buy, were going to do it right. So with that said I think we had a price rane up to the 17" powerbook. I appreciate the responses and anymore feedback on what notebook would be appropriate for the programs would be appreciated. Thanks :)
  9. FFTT macrumors 68030


    Apr 17, 2004
    A Stoned Throw From Ground Zero
    The best performer for the usage you've indicated will be the 1.67 GHz 15" PowerBook with the optional 128 MB VRAM. Combo or SuperDrive is up to you.

    You can buy it with the stock 512 MB RAM, then add another 1 GB third party
    from Crucial or Macsales.
    Apple(Samsung) RAM is way overpriced.

    If you already have "licenced" versions of your Adobe and Macromedia software, they will send you the Mac versions for the cost of shipping.
    If not you're school probably can get you bulk education pricing.

    You should be fine with the education versions of MS office for Mac.

    THe 17" models are nice, but quite bulky to lug around.
    You're better off spending the difference on RAM for your 15"
  10. mariahlullaby macrumors 6502a


    Jan 19, 2005
    I LOVE my 12" PB, perfect size for school. I'm glad I didn't go the 15" route. I'd definitely say check out the iBooks (and maybe get an iMac later down the road if you can affourd it) or the 12" PB (just up the RAM!). I use the PB as my main computer and it works wonders; video editing, Photoshop, Dreamweaver, the works. AND it's so portable, especially coming from Windows laptops a la Dell!
  11. DJY macrumors 6502a


    Dec 20, 2003
    Canberra AUST
    I regularly take my 17" around campus!
    Definitely get Office and extra RAM though regardless of whicih size PB you buy - all are great!
  12. bgd macrumors regular

    Aug 30, 2005
    Look at NeoOffice before spending on Office. It may do everything you need, it's free and compatible with Office. I have used the Linux equivalent for years with no problems and the OSX implementation is even better.
  13. Mac_Freak macrumors 6502a

    Apr 22, 2005
    I take my 17" to college pretty often. But it sounds like a 15" PB is everything you need and more, so if you have some extra cash to spend then go ahead. If not, then 12" iBook will suit you well.
  14. Lathnind thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 8, 2005
    Last part: Size and effect

    Sorry i forgot to mention major. Its certified computer graphics specalist. And i just needed to know if screen size will effect my work
  15. wordmunger macrumors 603


    Sep 3, 2003
    North Carolina
    Absolutely it will. You're going to need lots of screen space. But a laptop monitor isn't ideal for graphic design. It might be better to buy a smaller laptop and use the extra money to buy an external monitor. Lots of folks around here recommend the Dell 24-inch monitor, which can be found for under $1000. You could get a 12-inch PB and the Dell 24-inch monitor for less than a 17-incher.
  16. Passante macrumors 6502a


    Apr 16, 2004
    on the sofa
    If you go the 12 inch route I would suggest getting an external monitor. The extra screen space is very helpful in photoshop, keynote, iphoto.
  17. wdlove macrumors P6


    Oct 20, 2002
    For potability sake I would go with the 15" PowerBook. The 17" is just so large. I think that you would really like the 15", good luck.
  18. Peter Griffin macrumors regular

    Jul 10, 2005
    12 inch w/ external monitor is a killer combo
  19. nagromme macrumors G5


    May 2, 2002
    With computers, the longer you wait the better--but you give up HAVING and USING the new machine, so you can't wait forever. It's a personal call.

    Ideally you'd wait (6 months?) for an Intel-based Mac laptop that would almost certainly be able to run Windows at excellent speed, one way or another.

    Until then, a PowerBook G4 is the best laptop on the planet (I won't claim the fastest) and new ones MIGHT be coming this month at Apple Expo (or after--if they have been delayed as some speculate).

    You could also make do with a cheaper iBook, saving up for something faster after the Intel change.

    As for Virtual PC--yes, it's a slow PC (at least until an Intel Mac version comes out, which I expect next year) but it's still a product I really like. Why?

    * Both Mac and Windows without carrying two laptops. Convenience is worth the loss of speed.

    * Easy data sharing between apps on both sides. No network needed, just drag and drop!

    * There's something cool about having apps from two different OS's share the screen :)

    That said, you may find you don't need VPC at all--especially if you keep your old Windows machine around "just in case."

    I thought I would need a Windows PC and couldn't do everything on Mac. First I bought a new Windows PC, and then I bought VPC... and now it turns out I don't really need either. Mac apps do all that I need, and exchange data with my Windows clients just fine.

    Re screens: I use those same apps you do, every day, and I have a 15" PB. A 17" would be an even better screen... but in fact, I wish I had the 12"!

    Because the 12" is just SO much more portable. Then, at home, I'd have a 20" or 23" Cinema Display (or Dell flat display--some excellent deals can be found on their 20" widescreen). Best of both worlds.

    That's what I'd do--get a 12" (if portability is key) or 15", PLUS a second display for home base.

    Good luck.

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