Need some buying advice - Newbie

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by wannamac, Jul 19, 2004.

  1. wannamac macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2004
    Location:
    State College, PA
    #1
    Hey. Been looking around here for awhile and this seems like the best place to go for advice on a mac. I have been using a PC for as long as I can remember, my fiance and I recently split and he took the computer (but left all the bills!!). Anyway, I have been using my parents HP for general surfing and email, but am going back to college in August (after a 4 year hiatus) and am looking to buy a laptop. My major is graphic design and my advisor tells me that a mac is the only way to go.

    I am interested in purchasing an ibook for the portability, but can not afford a brand new one. Have been checking ebay and it seems like the prices on a used ibook aren't that much lower than that of a new one. I think I found 800 mhz 20gb 256mb for around $800. I have also noticed that alot of the sellers have no feeback or a low percentage - is there something with that?

    Anyway, I was just curious, I only have about $700 to spend, and was curious what quality ibook I will be able to get with that much money. Is it worth buying anything now, or should I just wait a couple months until I have enough money for a new one? Ideally, I would like at least 800 mhz, 20 gb hard drive, and 128 mb of ram, with a CD burner. What is the fair market value for that computer? I am so lost, and can not seem to find anyone in central pennsylvania that knows anything about macs!!!
     
  2. jsw Moderator emeritus

    jsw

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2004
    Location:
    Andover, MA
    #2
    Are you anywhere near the Apple Store in King of Prussia? The Apple Stores around me have started showing off refurb units for sale in-store, something they didn't do, or at least make obvious, around here earlier. You might find an iBook to your liking there - if it isn't too far away (not sure where you are in PA).

    You can buy something decent for $700, but, once you get accepted to school (well, presumably you've already been accepted), you qualify for the student discount, which would let you get a brand-spanking new iBook with CD burner for $999 plus tax. More than $700, I know. But you might consider saving for it - and I know the $300+ extra is a lot to you now - because you'd be getting a brand new one with much better specs than what you'd get for $700 - $800.
     
  3. jsw Moderator emeritus

    jsw

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    Mar 16, 2004
    Location:
    Andover, MA
    #3
    The Apple Store currently has an iBook G4 800MHz/128MB/30GB/CD-ROM/E/56K/12" TFT-Refurbished for $749.

    No burner, but you could get an external one cheap later on. And you'd need to add a bit of RAM, at least getting up to 340MB as a bare minimum.

    And refurbs from Apple are a lot better than buying from some unknown person over eBay. Keep checking, because the refurb options change constantly.

    Edit: In case you didn't know how to check Apple's refurb sales, go to http://store.apple.com and click on the red "Save" icon, lower lefthand column.
     
  4. wannamac thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jul 19, 2004
    Location:
    State College, PA
    #4
    I live in State College, PA, which is almost the exact center of the state. I think King of Prussia is about 3 or 4 hours from me. Yes, was already accepted to college, and have scheduled classes. Have not heard anything about a student discount. I am enrolled at Penn State University, and when I visited the computer store on campus, all their ibooks (some may have been powerbooks - just scratching the surface of this mac stuff) with cd burners were well over $1000, I am thinking closer to $1300-$1400 and the guy did not say anything about discount because I am a student. Can I check the student prices from apple's website, or is that something through the university?

    Thank you.
     
  5. jsw Moderator emeritus

    jsw

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    Mar 16, 2004
    Location:
    Andover, MA
    #5
    If you go to http://store.apple.com and click on the green apple (lower right hand side column), it takes you to the student discount section. The cheapest iBook is $949, and a better one (with burner) is $999.
     
  6. jsw Moderator emeritus

    jsw

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    Mar 16, 2004
    Location:
    Andover, MA
    #6
    If portability isn't incredibly important, you can get a brand-new eMac for $749 (student discount), which includes a combination CD-burner/DVD player. It's not portable, not by a long shot, but it's a lot faster than what you could get in a used iBook at that price.
     
  7. jsw Moderator emeritus

    jsw

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    Mar 16, 2004
    Location:
    Andover, MA
    #7
    One other thing to mention: with computers, it's always a good idea to wait until you need one to buy it, unless you find an amazing deal. Computers with a given set of capabilities will never go up in price, and usually you can either get more for a given amount, or get something for less money later. So... if you can wait a few months, wait a few months.

    Or, at a minimum, keep checking for people near you (and the Apple refurb store) selling something you want. I recomment buying locally - where you can actually see what you're getting, or from a reputable dealer, like Apple. I'd stay away from eBay.
     
  8. wannamac thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jul 19, 2004
    Location:
    State College, PA
    #8
    Thanks. Student discount thing seems great!! I would really like to buy soon, as I think the adjustment to a mac will be a little hard (old dog, new tricks, etc.) and would like to learn before I actually need it on a daily basis! Any particular reason to avoid ebay? I have never had a problem there, ever.

    BTW - Ender has ALWAYS been my favorite, father let me read them when I was young, and to this day, they remain some of my favorite reads!!!
     
  9. jsw Moderator emeritus

    jsw

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    Mar 16, 2004
    Location:
    Andover, MA
    #9
    Ender's always been a favorite of mine as well - I've read the whole series, including the new ones, but love the first one the most.

    Anyway, I just mentioned that I'd avoid eBay simply because you never know what shape the computer's going to be in, you don't know what software will come on it, you can't get a warranty on it through Apple (usually), and there have been scams. Any time you spend lots of money, you risk lots of money. I've also been treated well by eBay, but just am afraid to buy anything that expensive and breakable on it. Perhaps I'm just being silly! Speaking of scams - do not buy from Mac Fanatic Shop - it's a huge scam, and almost every day someone in the forum posts a tale of woe having been scammed by them. See here for details.

    And, while I think you'll be happy getting a Mac ASAP, the learning curve is very gentle - and this forum will help you. A few days, at best, to learn most of what you need to know. So, feel free to get one soon (of course), but don't feel like you need to in order to understand it. They have a reputation for being easy for a reason.
     
  10. Duff-Man macrumors 68030

    Duff-Man

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    Dec 26, 2002
    Location:
    Albuquerque, NM
    #10
    Duff-Man says....jsw deserves the macrumors member of the day award for all the good advice in just this one thread. I will just add to his caution about eBay...to say there have been scams is a bit of an understatement. eBay can be a great deal sometimes, but when you start getting into the higher priced items you have to be that much more careful....too many people seem to forget that old "if it sounds too good to be true...." saying and end up getting burned. and I do think you can do almost as well with an Apple refurb and have a bit more peace of mind after the purchase.....oh yeah!
     
  11. Bhennies macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2004
    Location:
    NYC & Baltimore
    #11
    My rule with ebay is "nothing electronic". I buy everything there from bike handlebars to shoes, but never anything with wires.

    The student Apple discount rocks- I would agree with JSW and tell you to save for that 12" ibook NEW, it's essentially as powerful as last models 12" powerbook, and you're going to appreciate that extra bit of power when you get knee deep in photoshop layers or INdesign, quark, whatever you're going to be using. GOOD LUCK!
     
  12. wannamac thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2004
    Location:
    State College, PA
    #12
    You are probably right about ebay, and for only 300 more dollars, probably better to go with a new one. I was just so excited to get one soon!! But the piece of mind is probably worth the wait. You are all so helpful, I will be sure to keep checking with this site for all my mac questions, and I am sure they will be plentiful!!! Also, I did find the refurb one from apple's website, and was curious how hard (and or) expensive it would be to either replace the cdrom with cdrw or add an external cdrw. Given the choice I would rather have an internal cdrw, and have replaced hard drives and cd roms on my pc, just wondered if it was easier or harder with a mac.

    Or, is the more powerful (new) ibook worth the extra 250?

    So, that is what I am deciding now. Either hold out and buy a new ibook with cdrw for 999 with student discount, or maybe buy a refurb from apple for 749.
     
  13. Bhennies macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2004
    Location:
    NYC & Baltimore
    #13
    By the time you spend the money swapping an internal CDRW into your ibook refurb, you'll be over 999 for sure (not to mention stuck with a slower processor). I would DEFINITELY get the new one.
     
  14. 0s and 1s macrumors 6502a

    0s and 1s

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2004
    Location:
    OK, USA
    #14
    Great advice from jsw. Consider purchasing the ADC student discount for $100 which entails you to purchase an Apple computer with a 20% discount. My friend is also a graphic designer and she purchased a 12" PB with the ADC discount for a great price. And, just to reiterate, don't do eBay!!!
     
  15. paulypants macrumors 6502a

    paulypants

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2003
    Location:
    Buffalo, NY
    #15
    Indeed. I just did the same in purchasing my G5, got a great discount.
    If you are tight on funds, but do need a mac for school you can just do
    what i do and take out enough loans to buy you a computer with the
    refund you get and consider it a school expense!! ;)
     
  16. wannamac thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2004
    Location:
    State College, PA
    #16
    What is the ADT student discount? I am having it out with the guy on campus!! I would get extra in my loan amount for school, but with my ex leaving me high and dry with all the bills, my credit is SHOT!! I have finally gotten to the point where I am OK, and have been able to save a little for a laptop, but do not qualify for any sort of loan (because I have the worst credit around), beyond tution and books cost!!
     
  17. jsw Moderator emeritus

    jsw

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    Mar 16, 2004
    Location:
    Andover, MA
    #17
    They're talking about this. It's not going to be all that worthwhile for you, given that you already qualify for the educational discount, and you're not going to buy something expensive enough for the student-developer discount to really pay for itself.

    The discount is discussed here, and, given that you need to choose either that or the standard educational discount (they can't be combined), it's not all that worthwhile - you'd need to save over $100 beyond the educational-discount price to make it worth anything to you.
     
  18. Chip NoVaMac macrumors G3

    Chip NoVaMac

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2003
    Location:
    Northern Virginia
    #18
    I'll second that about the eMac. I just got one as a back-up for my PB (use it for work, and can't be down), and for the other half to have a spyware free system.

    It has the 160GB drive. Not sure how much that affects the speed, but it is a really "fast" system compared to my 1ghz PB 12".
     
  19. rueyeet macrumors 65816

    rueyeet

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2003
    Location:
    MD
    #19
    Apple's Cram and Jam promotion may be worthwhile to look at too....saves you money over and above the student discount, AND nets you an iPod, which you can then sell for extra cash (probably why the mini isn't included in the deal).

    But yeah, don't settle for an old iBook when you can get the new G4-based one. You'll be able to keep it longer, so it'll cost less in the long run. Just think of the larger up-front price being amortized out over the years you'll use it: spend more now and you're done with computer purchases for a nice good while. :)
     
  20. Crikey macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2004
    Location:
    Spencer's Butte, Oregon
    #20
    I too have noticed that iBooks (and Macs in general) don't depreciate much for the first couple of years. Couple that with the substantial improvements in the most recent iBooks, and I would definitely wait till I could afford a new one.

    Doubly so for you. When you get your student ID, you can seize the educational discounts, which will knock $100 off your iBook and a big chunk off your AppleCare too.

    Good luck, with your Mac and your new college experience!


    Michael
     
  21. Chip NoVaMac macrumors G3

    Chip NoVaMac

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    Dec 25, 2003
    Location:
    Northern Virginia
    #21
    I have heard that Apple will take other proof of student status. Not sure what though.
     
  22. Sabbath macrumors 6502a

    Sabbath

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2003
    Location:
    London
    #22
    This is actually a very good idea if you can get the extra money to buy the iPod. The iPod would cost you $99 for the 20Gb which I presume would have a resale value of around $250 on ebay etc (be sure to check out how much you can get for it first). Bringing your new iBook w/ burner down to about $850.

    I would advise against getting an iBook with just a cd rom, not only because you lose the burner but especially because you lose the dvd drive. More and more software is starting to come on dvd and one of the best things with having a laptop is being able to watch dvds whilst travelling.
     

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