Advice on what mac setups to buy

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by george.dye, Mar 13, 2009.

  1. george.dye macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2008
    #1
    I have looked into several setups for my rapidly approaching college deadline. I have been indecisive over what computer(s) to purchase.

    The usage- I am a graphic design major, the machine will be used for photoshop, illustrator, indesign, itunes, and frequent dvd ripping/burning. The computer(s) should last through all of college; I will be a sophomore so at least three years.

    The budget- between 2000-3500 tops. Money is not exactly a factor, but in this economy if I can save it will be nice. I have the money saved now, im just waiting as late as I can for an update.

    So two machines is an acceptable idea, I have looked quite a few options. I do love larger monitors, and nice big displays.

    So if anyone would like to post a theoretical setup and some reasoning behind it I would be most appreciative.
     
  2. Eidorian macrumors Penryn

    Eidorian

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2005
    Location:
    Indianapolis
    #2
    MacBook + Dell i7 XPS Studio for HandBrake and other heavy processing + 24" LCD
     
  3. iTzChasE macrumors 6502

    iTzChasE

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2008
    #3
    15" Macbook pro, Both models should be fine. Portable, and powerful.
     
  4. Dmac77 macrumors 68020

    Dmac77

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2008
    Location:
    Michigan
    #4
    15" MBP either one is fine, and a low end 24" iMac. Approx. Cost, $3500 + tax.

    Don
     
  5. Amblydoper macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2009
    #6
    First option: Get a 15" MacBookPro, and get a 24" - 30" monitor (not an Apple display, they are horribly over priced.). Having a laptop at school instead of a desktop is very convienent. You can take it to class, to the library, to a friends place, or take it home with you over weekends/breaks. A Macbook won't have the graphics power you will need to run CS4 effectively, so the MBP will be a better choice. When you need the screen real estate, plug it into the 24" screen.

    Second Option: Get a 24" iMac and a MacBook. The MacBook will be useful for all the reasons above, and can run one or two CS4 apps at a time. When you need more a more powerful graphic design solution, fire up the iMac. With two computers, you will need to keep track of which computer has which version of which files, and that can be more tedious then it sounds!

    Bonus! Third Option: Get a 17" MacBookPro, and utilize your school's computers when you need a larger workstation. This is of course dependent on how good your school's computers are, and what type of access you have to them.

    ETA: Remeber, don't upgrade your RAM through Apple, buy it from a third party retailer. Also, don't wait for new releases, the entire Mac lineup was refreshed within the last 3 months or so.
     
  6. u6crash macrumors member

    u6crash

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2007
    Location:
    DeKalb, IL
    #7
    I'm going to say less is more. Don't buy two computers right off the bat. Get one and see how you're getting along. It is usually at the 18 month mark that a new computer starts to look appealing. I'd say go with something like a 15" MBP, look around and see what your options are for refurbished models and academic pricing. Consider adding an external hard drive and monitor, but I think the MBP would have enough power to get you through without needing a dedicated desktop.

    Save the rest of your money for other school costs and get yourself a new system when the time is right.
     
  7. MattZani macrumors 68030

    MattZani

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2008
    Location:
    UK
    #8
    Mac Pro.

    Just get the Most Powerful thing you can, you will be using this thing for Work after College anyway, then if need be, pick up a Refurb MacBook in a few months.
     
  8. george.dye thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2008
    #9
    Wow, there are some varying opinions. I am leaning towards either the higher 15 model, or the 17 inch mbp and a larger display. I have been a lifelong pc guy, and I am aware of the pros/cons of Windows/Macintosh. I do computer repair for my university, for faculty and staff in specific. You can guess what types of machines there are that need to get fixed. I always spend so much time prepping and fixing my windows machine it often kills the momentum and creativity.
    However I am still wanting the mac pro, after seeing the benchmarks and what-not I am very convinced with nehalem. Two machines would tap out my budget though, so mabye the MBP is the better buy?
     
  9. Eidorian macrumors Penryn

    Eidorian

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2005
    Location:
    Indianapolis
    #10
    If you're willing to settle for just a laptop...
     
  10. george.dye thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2008
    #11
    Well I work on dells every day at work, both new and old. I am not a fan of their product for several personal and professional reasons. I think having two machines would be quite nice, but not many beneficial arguments or points have risen to the top so to speak. Any ideas?
     
  11. automan98 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2005
    #12

    One computer. Not worth having two computers with your situation. Not really a need for it either. I would suggest: MacBook Pro 15 inch with whatever external monitor you can find to meet your taste and budget. Consider upgrading laptop to 7200 hard drive with Apple You may want to consider an external hard drive with Firewire 800 (400 would work as well). Something like a Western Digital MyBook is decent and priced right. Upgrade memory to 4 GB on your own through sites like macsales.com. Buy Applecare through Amazon or other 3rd party to save some additional dollars. Lots of different ways to approach.
     
  12. miles01110 macrumors Core

    miles01110

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2006
    Location:
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    #13
    Buying 2 computers just means you'll have to replace them both at the same time. I wouldn't recommend it...
     
  13. george.dye thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2008
    #14

    That is an excellent point. Sound as if you speak from experience, I will follow your advice. It seems as if i will buy a MBP now, I just need to decide between 15 and 17. Question though, can the MBP be hooked up to two displays with the lid closed?

    Or is it only one external display with the lid open/claosed?
     
  14. Eidorian macrumors Penryn

    Eidorian

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2005
    Location:
    Indianapolis
    #15
    I have two computers. I haven't touched my Macbook's hardware since 2007. It works fine otherwise with 4 GB of RAM and the 320 GB drive I installed back then. It still manages to keep pace with the current MacBooks as well in CPU power.

    I have my Windows Q6600 system for Handbrake, games, and other computation intensive stuff that would just be to ridiculously expensive to get a Mac for. I'm lucky to spend $200 on upgrades to my desktop every year to keep it up to date.

    The last major purchases being a new motherboard, video card, and hard drive. I don't see anything new for my tower until 2010. Apple hasn't released a worthy replacement for my MacBook so I might not replace it until it dies.
     

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