Student needs help choosing computers for school, PM's and PB's

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by letterbox, Jun 22, 2004.

  1. letterbox macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2004
    #1
    Hi All,

    I am going to be buying two new (to me atleast) macs for school. My absolute limit for what is listed here is 3700. Here are the options I am considering.

    -
    Option 1
    Dual 1.8 G5/256/80/8x SD REV B - 1799 edu
    12" PB 1.0 GHZ/256/50/combo Refurb REV A(?) - 1099
    Apple Studio Display 17" - 599 edu

    Total - 3586.95 (inclu. tax on PM, more on that in a sec.)

    -
    Option 2
    Dual 1.8 G5/512/160/8x SD REV A Refurb - 1799
    15" PB 1.33/256/60/AE/combo REV C - 1799 edu

    Total - 3687.95 (inclu. tax on PB)

    -
    Option 3
    Dual 1.8 G5/256/80/8x SD REV B - 1799 edu
    15" PB 1.33/256/60/AE/combo refurb - 1699

    Total - 3587.95 (inclu. tax on PM)


    Now here is the catch, I need one of these computers by tomorrow or at the very latest Thursday. I have extra files that need to get to the admissions office ASAP and all my files are backed up on my iPod because my iBook has died and I don't have another computer I can access these files from. That is why I added in tax for one of the computers on each option, because I am going to go to the Apple store tomorrow to pick one up.

    Keep in mind, both computers will have airport extreme added to them, the PM will get an extra GB of ram, and the PB an extra 512.

    The primary uses for the PM will be for Photoshop/Illustrator/In Design/Quark, plus some 3d software (not sure which yet), and eventually some video editing.

    The PB is just to take to class to back files up to and for carrying around to do work other than in my apartment and for taking notes in other classes if need be, oh and for sitting around the apartment.

    I would love to have a 17" lcd display, it is a bit pricey though (I couldn't afford the new displays if they were any higher), and if anybody else had advice on an ADC 17" monitor for less I'd love to hear, I need the DVI port for my 19" VGA.

    So, I am sorry for the long post, I don't know how else to sum it up though, but here is my shot.


    Would you reccomend...

    A smaller less capable PB and PM with a 17" lcd and a 19" CRT


    OR


    A larger and better PB and an older PM with a 19" CRT


    OR


    A larger and better PB and the newest PM with a 19" CRT.


    ____
    Thanks for any who actually read my monster of a post, I appreciate your help, it is hard for me to make these decisions.

    Jay
     
  2. LeeTom macrumors 68000

    LeeTom

    Joined:
    May 31, 2004
    #2
    A: A smaller less capable PB and PM with a 17" lcd and a 19" CRT

    Portable PB would be nice, and so would the 17" lcd.

    And one more thing... ditch the CRT.. just use the LCD!

    Lee Tom
     
  3. letterbox thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2004
    #3
    One for A, thanks LeeTom!

    I would ditch the CRT, but there are times when it is really nice to have that extra screen real estate, even if it's not for all the time. When my iBook was working I would use it to hold my palette's and such. But yes, you are right, I should ditch the CRT ASAP, and I will when I can!

    Thanks again,
    Jay
     
  4. jsw Moderator emeritus

    jsw

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2004
    Location:
    Andover, MA
    #4
    Going by your estimates of where you'd use it, I'd definitely get the 12" PB. In fact, have you considered a new 12" iBook? Various threads have noted that they are a bit more durable in backpacks, etc., and it'd cost the same as the refurb PB.

    That leaves you with roughly $2500 max. I think the Rev A dual 1.8 refurb is a better deal, again from commentary on other threads.

    That would leave you with ~$600-$700, depending on tax. The 17" LCD is nice, but just remember that it's pretty low-res. You might want to stick with your CRT, or buy another cheap CRT and get an ADC->DVI converter (which you could then use with the provided DVI->VGA converter) to run two monitors. Bigger, yes. But higher res and much cheaper. Just an option.
     
  5. DGFan macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2003
    #5
    I am not a big fan of the refurbs for people who get the edu discount. If no other discount is available, the refurbs are a good price. But compared to the edu prices they just don't stack up IMO.

    For instance, for the Rev C 12" PB the refurb is only $50 cheaper than the edu price. I know they go through a "stringent refurbishment process" but that just isn't enough of a discount.

    So I would go for a Rev B 1.8 and a 14" iBook. If you've got a 1.8 G5 for serious work, I don't see why you need the extra horsepower of the PowerBook.
     
  6. jsw Moderator emeritus

    jsw

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2004
    Location:
    Andover, MA
    #6
    What's in the 14" to make up for the price increase over the 12"? The resolution's the same, and low enough that the 12" screen will be easy to read. Is there another plus to the 14" I'm missing?
     
  7. letterbox thread starter macrumors regular

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    Apr 13, 2004
    #7
    Actually, not a whole lot...and a quick look tells me a new 12" iBook might be a better option. It is only 999.00 stock, which is all that I really need. Plus RAM of course, and I could either keep my old airport card or get airport extreme, which might be worth it for transferring files (fw target disk mode is a pain) and wires are a hassle that I don't need around my apartment (i may have some ferrets living with me, if you know ferrets you know what i mean).

    Thanks for that pointer.

    The lcd would save lots of space versus having to CRT's, my apartment isn't too big so having 2 CRT's might be pushing it. With one and an LCD, I can have my desk back to the wall and the CRT can just sit off at an angle on the desktop, but with 2 I would need to have it pushed out. I need the room between me and the monitor for ergonomic purpposes, I have carpal tunnel and inflammation of my ulnar nerve., so it is a real issue.

    Also, I don't need a super high-res monitor to work on, the CRT can hold my palette's and it runs at 1600x1200 comfortably so plenty room to spare.

    I would rather not get the 14", it costs more than it is worth IMO, plus the screen res as pointed out by JSW is the same.

    I know it isn't a big difference, but if I can save money anywhere I'd like to. If I get a crap refurb I'll send it back and order the new one or another refurb. But point taken, when money isn't such an obstacle I might opt for the new vs. refurb.

    Thanks,
    Jay
     
  8. DGFan macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2003
    #8
    Yes, it has the same resolution. But the 14" is still a very sharp (to my eyes) screen. What that means is that it shows the same space as a 12" but everything is bigger.

    I am very happy with my 12" PB (my only computer). However, it would be nice if the screen were a little bigger - even if it only meant bigger pixels.
     
  9. jsw Moderator emeritus

    jsw

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2004
    Location:
    Andover, MA
    #9
    Would it be fair to say, then, that the 14" is good for those who find the 12" screen uncomfortably small, whereas the 12" is fine for those who find it quite readable?
     
  10. DGFan macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2003
    #10
    I would say so.

    The thing is, if you can't read (or do detailed photoshop work, or whatever) on the 12" because everything is too small, you need to remember that everything on the 15" screen will be the same size - you'll just see more of the document you are working on. In those cases on the 15" you'll just have to zoom in to make it larger. And doesn't that really defeat the purpose of the larger screen?

    Deciding between the screen sizes is really only something you can do at the Apple Store. Given that letterbox indicated the 12" and 15" powerbooks I probably should have suggested something other than the 14" iBook. I like that iBook because it can come with a superdrive. In this case his PM can have a superdrive so it's not as much of an issue....
     
  11. LeeTom macrumors 68000

    LeeTom

    Joined:
    May 31, 2004
    #11
    How about this, letterbox:

    Get a 12" iBook (or Powerbook) right now, because you're more sure about that. Then transfer your files....

    But then, if you got the 12" iBook (save a little $$$), sold your 19" crt...

    MAYBE you could end up with an iBook, a PowerMac G5, and a 20" new apple cinema display. They are only going to be $999, and be DVI out of the box (according to rumors), so that saves the ADC/DVI Adapter.

    You'd be totally stoked if you had a g5, and small laptop AND one awesome perfect display. That's what I would do. It's already a lot of money, so why not make it a really solid investment. Or at least hold off on the 17" LCD until you can afford the 20". It'll only be a couple hundred more.

    Lee Tom
     
  12. letterbox thread starter macrumors regular

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    Apr 13, 2004
    #12
    I would agree with what both of you have to say bout the 14" screen.

    I don't have much trouble seeing the 12" screen, and I also work at high-res on CRT's so I should be fine in that department.

    I would get the 15" simply because it has more power and of course, for the larger screen if I were doing work outside of my apartment. However, a 12" screen will suit me fine because the majority of the time I will probably prefer the portability over the screen real estate, not to mention the increased wireless reception and durability, albeit the sorta gruffiness of the new matte finish on the iBooks.
     
  13. Krizoitz macrumors 6502a

    Krizoitz

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    Apr 26, 2003
    Location:
    Wakayama, Japan
    #13
    Go with option A, definitely. With a good desktop you'll only need a laptop for portability.
     
  14. letterbox thread starter macrumors regular

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    Apr 13, 2004
    #14
    So that is like 2 in favor of A...looks like tomorrow will be a buying day for multiple items.
     
  15. LeeTom macrumors 68000

    LeeTom

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    May 31, 2004
    #15
    Don't forget my 20" lcd idea! think about it!!!!
     
  16. rueyeet macrumors 65816

    rueyeet

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2003
    Location:
    MD
    #16
    Regarding your admissions stuff and time limit....Any Apple store, and probably some other places like CompUSA etc. would probably let you hook up your iPod to one of the display Macs and print out the stuff you need. Just in case. ;)
     
  17. letterbox thread starter macrumors regular

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    Apr 13, 2004
    #17
    Thanks for all your ideas!

    LeeTom, for some reason your 20" post didn't show up until just now...odd but true.

    I was actually thining about doing the opposite of what you said. Tomorrow, I would buy the 17" and the 1.8 G5, and if newer things come out in let's say...6 days, then wouldn't I fall within the 10 day period of product updates? That would leave me with enough money to make sure I can get the 1 Gig of ram and let me see how much money I have closer to the school year to buy a laptop. I thought that iBook's, being aimed at students partially might get some sort of deal closer to school. Plus, there is a chance they could be updated between now and late august...i guess prob. not and more likely in Paris.

    Would you say that it is fair to half-way assume that a new 20" with a price of 999 would come down to 899 after edu discount? That does make it only $200 more, and yes if this is an investment it might as well be a solid one. My reason for wanting to buy the PM and Display now is so that down the road a few months I can pony up the 199.00 for AppleCare and get my display covered. If we do see new displays at an affordable to me price point then couldn't I return both and then buy another 1.8 and the 20".

    I'm sure I have some of this wrong, please correct me.

    Thanks,
    Jay
     
  18. letterbox thread starter macrumors regular

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    Apr 13, 2004
    #18
    After redoing the math...I am going to buy the 1.8 and 17" as planned tomorrow. The ability to have AppleCare on both products outweighs the unlikely scenario that I could get a 20" for anything near what the 17" retails for right now.

    As it is, with the 1.8 and 17", and iBook, with all the additional things I plan to purchase, 1GB for PM, 512 for iBook (crucial, not apple) and an airport extreme card for atleast the PM (i have an airport card for my old ibook i could use, but the ram won't work) I am already pushing the limits of my funds by around $270. I can come up with that much in the next few months but I can't find $475.

    Plus,
    So, if there are updates on Monday, then I can get the money back on whatever they might drop the 17" price to, if they should do that.
     
  19. Krizoitz macrumors 6502a

    Krizoitz

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2003
    Location:
    Wakayama, Japan
    #19
    Since you just need to get your files off you might be able to make due with any old VGA or DVI monitor rather than buying the 17" and then going through the hassle of replacing it. I'm sure you can find someone you know who has a monitor you can borrow.
     
  20. letterbox thread starter macrumors regular

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    Apr 13, 2004
    #20
    It is the AppleCare issue I am concerned with.

     
  21. letterbox thread starter macrumors regular

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    Apr 13, 2004
    #21
    I got the 1.8 and 17". I might consider getting a 20" and returning the 17" if I can figure out where the money is coming from.
     
  22. lefty111 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2004
    Location:
    Philadelphia
    #22
    my 2 cents

    I would go for the least expensive iBook.... which will be suitable for portable tasks such as email, writing papers, IM, surfing the web, etc... and dump as much as you can afford into the best desktop/LCD combo, which you can use for gaming, graphic design, etc.
     
  23. lefty111 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2004
    Location:
    Philadelphia
    #23
    better yet...

    Maybe your iBook that just died can be revived for a small fee, then put all your money into a dual 2Ghz desktop and 20" cinema display.
     
  24. letterbox thread starter macrumors regular

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    Apr 13, 2004
    #24
    That's my idea. If there are better displays that I might be able to afford on Monday...which I doubt, then I will go for that and pick up a low end iBook. Right now, that looks like either a 779.00 refurb 800 or a 949 refurb 1ghz. I will add a 512 dimm to that.

    The small fee is $400 unfortunately, and I would still have a 2 year old G3 iBook. However, I have managed to arrange a sale for $250, and I am selling my RAM on ebay and will probably keep the airport card for the new iBook.

    A dual 2 would be nice, but I don't really need it, and when I upgrade this machine in 2 years or so I doubt it will be completely outdated, no more so than a Dual 2 would be I don't think. Like I mentioned above, I may return the 17" on Monday if something better becomes available in my price range.
     
  25. puckhead193 macrumors G3

    puckhead193

    Joined:
    May 25, 2004
    Location:
    NY
    #25
    The thing is that a laptop is less upgradeable. Once you get more cash you can add more ram, bigger harddrive, new video card etc on the G5. On a laptop all you can do is add more ram, so don't waste so much on a laptop that your gonna get rid of in 4 years. The G5 will last you longer because you can upgrade it a lot more.
     

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