1. crowdaddy macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2004
    Location:
    East Ontario
    #1
    Hello,

    I am about to enter University. I have narrowed my choices to either a 20 inch iMac, or a powerbook (size yet to be decided). As for needs, I want to game, and be able to fool around with iMovie and hopefully produce some nice looking videos. Of course I'll need microsoft office for my work. Keep in mind that I am 100% Windows at the moment and always have been. Are there any students out there who could aid in my selection and provide insight in to what is really needed as far as software and apple peripherials, upgrades for University? Thanks a lot!!

    ALSO...do you students use laptops or desktops? What do you think is better for University?
     
  2. wordmunger macrumors 603

    wordmunger

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2003
    Location:
    North Carolina
    #2
    Powerbook. Much better for working in the library, taking to class, working in small groups. You lose a little in monitor size/superdrive speed, but that's about it. Either computer will run today's games, but probably won't run the new games of one year from now.

    Regarding software/peripherals, it completely depends on your major. Most majors will probably be fine with just MS Office and iLife, but if you'll be doing Web design, you'll need the software for that, etc. Engineering would need its own set of tools. At a minimum, you probably want a decent image editor--Photoshop Elements or even full Photoshop.
     
  3. crowdaddy thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2004
    Location:
    East Ontario
    #3
    ok well i am entering Med-Sciences, eventually applying for Med School. So all I really need is to game and type up labs, and fool around with iLife.
     
  4. Stolid macrumors regular

    Stolid

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2004
    Location:
    Norfolk, VA, USA
    #4
    I'd recommend the powerbook; but I might ask what you have at the moment (if anything). You listed games as your very first requirement, and if thats something you're really into I might recommend you buy an iBook and a console/PC.
    Save some money though; get as little RAM in the box as you can and add it yourself later, Apple's prices are far above market.
     
  5. jxyama macrumors 68040

    jxyama

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2003
    #5
    i agree, powerbook. iMac is not any faster than any of the PBs. you are paying for the screen... for the loss of a little bit of screen real estate, portability will more than make up for it on the PB.
     
  6. jumpman25 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2004
    #6
    I would reccomend a 15" powerbook for your needs. The ati radeon 9600 should be able to run most games, vs the go5200 in the 12" which is lower end and would have trouble running some games. You will most likely want a laptop for college. They come in handy for taking notes, and its just nice to be able to sit in bed or on a couch vs sitting in a chair and being stuck to a desk. I have had beasty desktops over the years and when it come down to it, I end up using my 600MHz celeron laptop 10 times more than the deskop that is sitting right next to me. I just don't like sitting in a chair for five or six hours straight while typing a paper. I am planning on buying a powerbook in the next few weeks for college (still deciding between 12" and 15"), but a desktop was out of the question from square 1.
     
  7. crowdaddy thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2004
    Location:
    East Ontario
    #7
    Well at the moment I am using a 2.6 Ghz PC, Winblows XP. 512 RAM, runs battlefield 1942 fairly good.....I love freewheeling with Adobe Premiere and making movies tho, just for fun not for a professional gig.
     
  8. jsw Moderator emeritus

    jsw

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2004
    Location:
    Andover, MA
    #8
    I'm not a student, but my nephew is, and I can probably at least supply you with a few of the things that led him to get a 1.6 GHz PowerMac (last fall):

    (1) The PowerBook line is great; however, it is also a very tempting target of theft. If you know you can keep it safe, consider getting one. If not, desktops are a lot less of a target.

    (2) PowerBook and iMac video is non-upgradeable. Period. Even, as far as I know, if you're willing to hack a bit. As a gamer, that might be an issue for you.

    (3) Become a student, then buy. Student discount, baby! Actually, I guess you likely qualify already....

    (4) Consider a PowerMac and a cheap monitor. Upgrade the monitor later. Upgrade the video later. Upgrade the hard disk later. All of these things aren't real options for PowerBooks or iMacs. Plus, the sheer heft of the G5 will discourage non-football players from even attempting to steal it.

    (5) Virtual PC does not currently run on a G5. However, all educated guesses point to MS releasing a version which does in a few months.

    All in all, I'd spend the bucks on a G5 - dual 1.8 if you can afford it, or wait for the (supposedly) impending announcements to see if something better comes out. The PowerBook is a remarkable system (any of them), but they aren't great gaming systems, they aren't expandable internally, and they're G4s. That said, if you can ensure its safety, a PB can go with you to class. A desktop can't.

    The iMacs are great. My brother has a new 20", and I've got an older 17". By far, these are the best-looking Macs. However, they are also non-upgradeable, and only fair at gaming. And you're screwed (as with the PB) if the screen gets smashed; college can get rowdy, and you never know when a football might come sailing in.

    I don't think you can go wrong with either a PB or an iMac. But, for what you said (gaming, iMovie), a G5 is probably a better buy. If it's too expensive, a dual-G4 PowerMac would at least give you expandability and replaceable video cards, a gaming must. :)

    Edit:

    I agree about laptop portability. Just keep in mind that, if your priority is gaming and iLife, you're going to have just enough power now, and likely not enough later. However, portability is a definite plus. If you get a laptop, look into insurance (AppleCare, of course, but that doesn't cover theft, dropping it, etc.). Laptops are much more likely to get broken. No insurance? You're screwed.
     
  9. crowdaddy thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2004
    Location:
    East Ontario
    #9
    Thanks for your time for that lengthy reply. All this helps!

    Well come to think of it if i was going to go desktop I would get a tower, and mash the iMac idea because I need my gaming and always am buying the latest and greatest games

    I guess the only issue with me is that if I buy a desktop, will i regret it later when I can't be bombing around with a laptop...ie. to the library or home (PC dominated)? Any thoughts on this?
     
  10. KershMan macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2003
    Location:
    VA, USA
    #10
    My vote is with the PowerBook as well. You can't beat the portability. It will come in handy. Also, look at http://www.academicsuperstore.com for software. It is a great place to find all the software you need at academic prices. Mac titles abound.
     
  11. jsw Moderator emeritus

    jsw

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2004
    Location:
    Andover, MA
    #11
    Have you ruled out a cheap (sub $1000) laptop, possibly even refurbed (Mac or PC) for note taking? Then you'd have what you need at "home", but you'd be able to take notes anywhere. If you're just going to do note taking, just about any notebook will work.
     
  12. crowdaddy thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2004
    Location:
    East Ontario
    #12
    Well that seems like an interesting idea however would you think that 1000$ or so would be much better spent in the main tower?
     
  13. Stolid macrumors regular

    Stolid

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2004
    Location:
    Norfolk, VA, USA
    #13
    A box that fast will probably be about on par with any Mac machine (you could get better with a 'dual 2.0 G5 and 8 gigs of RAM' and all but you know what I mean); I have a 2.2 GHz Laptop (P4m) which I use for all my games and have not found much that will 'choke' her -- in a desktop where replacing the video card (the real bottleneck more oft than not) is easy so you're set even more.
    Perhaps get the PowerBook and /promise/ yourself not to put ANY games on it beyond Chess and turn the PC into your game machine? That's what I'm doing when I get my book and hopefully it'll improve my time management skills :)
     
  14. jsw Moderator emeritus

    jsw

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2004
    Location:
    Andover, MA
    #14
    Maybe eventually, but you'd have plenty of fun with what you got until a new graphics card came out. I don't think, for example, that the 9800 is worth the $300 premium - I think something better will be out soon.

    However, you can buy a cheap laptop (used) for $500 or less - more than enough for note-taking. In fact, you might even know someone with an old one they'd sell to you. For example, you can usually buy a G3 Pismo (which runs 10.3.3 and is newer than the G3 Lombard PB I own) that'll work quite well, and I'm guessing a PC notebook would be even cheaper. All you need is a screen, a keypad, and something for a hard disk.
     
  15. crowdaddy thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2004
    Location:
    East Ontario
    #15
    ok...well what do you think about this idea:

    -G5 dual 2.0ghz, 512 RAM, 9600 ATI Card, Superdrive etc. etc. (this is my gamer)
    -Cheap Monitor
    -A garbage laptop for notes and study groups and such.

    Probably amount to around 4500-5000$ Canadian i imagine.
     
  16. jsw Moderator emeritus

    jsw

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2004
    Location:
    Andover, MA
    #16
    Looks good - but arguably the 1.8GHz dual is a better deal - only marginally slower, and the price difference is enough to buy the "garbage" laptop outright - and you could still buy a better graphics card later.

    I've got the dual-2, and it kicks butt, but, if the dual 1.8 had been around when I bought this (it was just a single 1.8 then) I would likely have gotten it. The performance delta just isn't worth the cost, I don't think. Maybe others feel differently.

    If you can, I'd wait a bit to see if the fabled announcements occur. If not, make sure you get that student discount!
     
  17. jsw Moderator emeritus

    jsw

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2004
    Location:
    Andover, MA
    #17
    Forgot to mention:

    Be sure to save some money to buy 3rd party RAM (never buy extra RAM from Apple!!!). And be sure it's right for your system. Apple G5's are very picky about their RAM. I'd recommend at least going up to 1GB (extra 512MB).
     
  18. jsw Moderator emeritus

    jsw

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2004
    Location:
    Andover, MA
    #18
    If you do go with the G5, I just wanted to make sure you knew that they come with a DVI->VGA adapter (and ADC and DVI on the graphics card), so basically you can plug in any monitor you want.
     
  19. crowdaddy thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2004
    Location:
    East Ontario
    #19

    At the university my brother currently attends i can get the G5 dual 1.8 for 2949$, reg price at apple.ca 3499$...I guess then i could get a better video card, more RAM and a monitor I guess I would get a cheap PC lappy, it wouldn't really matter what kind of laptop it is would it?
     
  20. jsw Moderator emeritus

    jsw

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2004
    Location:
    Andover, MA
    #20
    I think any laptop would do - the Mac would be able to read/write its files (and you could either network them or use a USB flashdrive - just make sure the notebook has a USB port).

    Definitely upgrade the RAM (not via Apple). Consider waiting on the video card upgrade until someone announces something better. $300US is a lot to pay for the 9600->9800 upgrade for a relatively old card.
     
  21. ionas macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2003
    Location:
    Old Europe
    #21
    here we go - that is what you need

    1. use a notebook and a home computer or a notebook; dont just use a home computer; if you can only finance one, get a PowerBook 15"; take the cheapest variant, and put in some RAM from 3rd party (like crucial) if you need more speed.

    2. get a apple developer connection student account and purchanse an "ADC Student Membership Gift Certificate" - that will cost 99 USD/$ - you will be able to purchase a powerbook with 20% off then!!1111111111111111111

    (thats huge!)

    here you will find more information

    usa:
    http://developer.apple.com/students/#enroll

    europe:
    http://developer.apple.com/membership/europe.html#COUNTRIES

    http://developer.apple.com/students/gift/index.html
    http://store.apple.com/AppleStore/WebObjects/ADC?qprm=38839

    have fun :)
     
  22. Stolid macrumors regular

    Stolid

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2004
    Location:
    Norfolk, VA, USA
    #22
    A hint: if you're getting something this big look into getting an ADC student membership ($100 and proof of enrollment). ADC student members get 1 purchase at the ADC price; which is insanely low.
    For more information:
    http://developer.apple.com for the ADC
    http://developer.apple.com/membership/usa.html - for the store. Click on the "US Hardware Purchase Program Store"
     
  23. jsw Moderator emeritus

    jsw

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2004
    Location:
    Andover, MA
    #23
    EXCELLENT idea(s) about the ADC membership - I forgot that you students got them so cheap!
     
  24. crowdaddy thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2004
    Location:
    East Ontario
    #24
    Does anyone have that membership and what it is exactly, i went to the Apple site and it is a bet sketchy as to what it is all about
     
  25. jsw Moderator emeritus

    jsw

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2004
    Location:
    Andover, MA
    #25
    The best thing about ADC is the discount - which is really only worthwhile if you can get the student price (otherwise, it's $500US or more).

    See here for details on the hardware discount and here for overall info.

    If you're truly a developer, the membership is worth it for advanced peeks at what's coming, but, for you, the discount part is a no-brainer.
     

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