13" MBA & 27" iMac for College. What's your opinions?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by DrJames, Feb 12, 2012.

  1. DrJames macrumors member

    Feb 5, 2012
    Hi There!!!

    I've finally decided on a "Mac Setup" for my first year of college this fall. I believing I will be purchasing a 13" MacBook Air for portability and notes in class/studying outside my room.

    I also decided to get a 27" iMac for my dorm. (Mostly for larger disk space, photo editing, and watching movies.)

    What are your opinions of this? Do you have any advice for a new "Mac Setup" for college?

    Any positive advice would be appreciated!:)
  2. SuperSnake2012, Feb 12, 2012
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2012

    SuperSnake2012 macrumors 6502a

    Oct 11, 2005
    I personally think it's a waste of money. Especially as someone starting college... I would get the 13" Air, an external hard drive, and an external monitor (non-Apple branded) and save the rest of the money. You may not even need an external monitor unless you're studying something where you would actually need that large of a screen. Not to mention dorm rooms are pretty small, so I don't see where you would have room for all that stuff anyway. I personally don't see the point in bringing over $3000 of Apple products in a dorm where they can get stolen or destroyed by beer ;) You'll be happy you saved all that cash.

    And another bit of advice, don't bring your computer to class. It's just a distraction, and I find it better just to use good old fashioned notebooks to take notes. Most people that bring computers to class just end up on Facebook instead of listening to the lecture.
  3. KylePowers macrumors 68000


    Mar 5, 2011
    I have an 11in MBA and 27in iMac for college.

    It's totally awesome and totally unnecessary.

    If I could go back, I'd probably go 13in MBA + TBD + external hard drive. Not that I particularly have any regrets, but it certainly would have been cheaper.

    I live in my own apartment though with no roommates and seldom have anyone over (as an engineer, my only friends are my textbooks and my Ti-89), so I have all the room in the world and nothing to worry about regarding parties/break-ins/etc. Erm, okay, someone breaking in is still possible, but not like when I lived in a dorm and no one ever kept their doors locked.

    Definitely don't take your laptop to class though unless you have to (as in, need to program or simulate circuits or something during lecture), it's an absurd distraction. Definitely go binders/notebooks/pencil. I guess it depends on your major though.

    EDIT- Also, try going refurb if you end up going with both (or any Apple product really). It'll save you a bunch, typically. Amazon and MacMall have pretty good prices too though.
  4. miles01110 macrumors Core


    Jul 24, 2006
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    Buying two computers at the same time just means they're outdated at the same time. Go with one or the other.
  5. spork183 macrumors 6502a


    Jul 30, 2006
    Go with the laptop and a dock, something like this:


    Then you just drop your MBP into the dock and everything is plugged in and good to go.

    Total digression, sorry. Outfitted a 27imac with ssd and 2tb. 16gb ram, 2gb video, 3.4i7. Installed a bunch of programs, selected all programs on the machine and launched everything. All apps opened and a DVD I'd forgotten in the drive started playing in 8secs. So sweet. Broke my heart it wasn't mine...:(
  6. rockyroad55 macrumors 601


    Jul 14, 2010
    Phila, PA
    I use a 15" MBP and an iMac at my apartment. Also totally unnecessary as a law student but I feel like its really convenient for me to have powerhouses all the time. I read a lot so the 13" didn't speak to me for screen size. However, I could definitely have gone with just a MBP and I would have been fine. If you're living on campus, just go with an air because you don't need to deal with the extra space the iMac will take. I don't think you even need an external hard drive too if you're not doing anything serious.
  7. ryannel2003 macrumors 68000


    Jan 30, 2005
    Greenville, NC
    If it were me, I'd get a 13" MacBook Pro or Air and external display and hard drive and save alot of money.
  8. AcesHigh87 macrumors 6502a


    Jan 11, 2009
    New Brunswick, Canada
    I have a 2008 macbook for class and a 21.5" iMac for home but I'm in a film major and needed the power that my macbook just couldn't offer. Plus I'm in an apartment so I have more space / security.

    For residence I would never suggest a brand new air and iMac. The Air would be enough and if not get an external drive and monitor as most people are suggesting. No use using so much money when you don't need the power of the iMac and will be in a place that is known for theft (as all residences are).

    Macbook Air's run great with external monitors and it sounds like you only want the iMac for screen size. No use spending $1800+ for something that you really don't need.

    My Suggestion: Buy the air, buy a dell or samsung monitor, buy a good external drive (2-3TB I suggest since you would want a backup and storage) and save yourself over $1000 on hardware you don't need.


    If you really want a mobile computer and a main one then find an old macbook (2008 or 2009 model) rather than the macbook air and then buy the iMac. Even if you add an SSD in yourself you'll save $500+ and still get your two computers.

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