Best buy? (still waiting for June/July student discounts)

seenew

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Dec 1, 2005
1,568
0
Brooklyn
Yeah, I've decided to wait until June/July to see if they offer the "Student Union" thing again, and I was set on my decision to buy a new Intel iMac, but now that I see the specs for the new MacBooks, I don't know.. I would be getting the top of the line of either, including wireless keyboard/mouse with the iMac.
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So here's the break down:

>>iMac
2.0Ghz Intel Core Duo
500GB HD
2GB SDRAM
20"
SuperDrive
Wireless keyboard/mouse
===$2359 (without tax/discounts)

MacBook (black)
2.0Ghz Intel Core Duo
120GB HD
2GB SDRAM
13"
SuperDrive
===$2199 (without tax/discounts)

--------

So, they have basically the same specs when it comes to power, the MacBook lacking only in screen size and disk space (however, 380GB is a lot less). The MacBook is $160 cheaper, though.

Is it worth the sacrifice of HD space and resolution for the portability? I will be a student at the Savannah College of Art and design, and using my digital camera quite a lot. The screen size of the iMac allures me, as well as the thought of how many photos and movies could fit on 500GB... However, portability would be great to have, to take on shoots or trips..
Although, it's not like the iMac would be TOO much to pack for a trip longer than a weekend...

I could of course, put all my eggs in one basket and hope to win one of the scholarships from Apple that I applied for, which would throw in a MacBook Pro, and just get the iMac..

So you see, I'm in a gridlock.
Opinions?
 

Nar1117

macrumors 6502
Apr 15, 2006
313
4
Im also a student, and could you remind me what the 'student union' thing was last summer? i didnt have enough money to look into it, so i didnt, but this year i am.

Personally i would go for the portability of the Macbook, as you can always buy an external HDD afterwards if your pictures take up too much room. For $160 im sure you can find a sizeable HDD for more room.

Portability is great, especially for trips when you want to look at your pics on a nice screen such as the mocbook's.
 

ToddW

macrumors 6502a
Feb 26, 2004
655
0
i think having a laptop as a student is a must. when your a student you are constantly mobile, and having a laptop in class will help. i know i wish i would have had a laptop in school.
 

debrey

macrumors regular
May 4, 2006
100
1
Chicago
The student union deal gives students a free $189 (or so) iPod with purchase of a computer (on top of the education discount) or $189 off of another iPod.

I would get the laptop. But then again, I just love laptops. I love using them aorund the house -- lying on bed, etc. I think the extra space saved in a dorm room could be worth a lot, too. I had one the last two years of college and really liked it.

-- David
 

Nar1117

macrumors 6502
Apr 15, 2006
313
4
While we're on the subject, will the printer deal (up to $100 off) that ends on July 17th renew itself do you think? If it does, im willing to wait until late July/august to get a Pro, i need a printer for school.
 

seenew

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Dec 1, 2005
1,568
0
Brooklyn
Thanks for the comments, but I'm still not convinced. I don't think you guys are factoring in that I'll need to be editing high-res images... I just don't know. I work pretty well with 1280X960, so with the MacBook I'd be losing just 60px vertically, but with the extra space on the 20" iMac... It'd be great. The portability to class isn't an issue- any of my classes that I'll need computers for will have them (and they'll be top-of-the-line Macs), this is an art school. Portability elsewhere is where I'm thinking..

I don't know still.
 

debrey

macrumors regular
May 4, 2006
100
1
Chicago
What about buying an LCD screen with the price difference and hooking it up to the MB? People have been pointing to $200 "20 LCD screens. Similarly, you could buy a cheap external drive for backing up digital pictures/movies you aren't using currently.

If your school has a computer store, you should also check to see if they have any sales. Ours had $200 off 20" iMac and $300 off MBP (that's in addition to the education discount)!

-- David
 

smartalic34

macrumors 6502a
May 16, 2006
947
7
USA
what sort of hardware releases are rumored for WWDC in early August (7th-12th I think)... new ipods? core 2 (merom) macbook pros? any other speed bumps? I'm not sure whether to wait for WWDC or not for my college laptop purchase...
 

MRC1487

macrumors newbie
Dec 3, 2005
3
0
Springs, Fla.
smartalic34 said:
what sort of hardware releases are rumored for WWDC in early August (7th-12th I think)... new ipods? core 2 (merom) macbook pros? any other speed bumps? I'm not sure whether to wait for WWDC or not for my college laptop purchase...
I'm in the same situation. I've been using a PC for years and am very excited to be getting a Mac laptop shortly, but I'm trying to figure out if it would be better to buy now, or wait until early Aug, especially because I'll be starting classes by the end of August.
 

Acehigh

macrumors 6502
Mar 5, 2006
356
0
seenew said:
Yeah, I've decided to wait until June/July to see if they offer the "Student Union" thing again, and I was set on my decision to buy a new Intel iMac, but now that I see the specs for the new MacBooks, I don't know.. I would be getting the top of the line of either, including wireless keyboard/mouse with the iMac.
--------.
Opinions?

I think they did that student union lasy year to increase sales and get rid of the Ipod Mini they were about to get rid of. I think with the demand of the Macbook they do not need to do that this year.
 

DylanJ

macrumors newbie
Nov 4, 2003
7
0
I'm thinking about upgrading my Powerbook and you totally read my mind when it comes to the student union deal, so here's my advice to you.

The new Macbook has user replaceable ram and hard drive. Both these upgrades are pretty simple and if you've ever been in a computer case before you'll probably figure it out. If not, now is always a good time to start because it will save you lots of money. And if you are worred you could always ask a more knowledgable friend.

Okay so you're calculation was $2200 for a Macbook with 2GB of ram and a 120GB hard drive. Of course it would actually be less since you'll get an education discount, but will work with that price to keep things simple. Okay now let me change around your order a bit. First of all I'm going to assume that you're dropping the black. If you really want to pay the extra $150 premium thats your preogative, but I'm going to pretend like you don't.

Okay so let's pretend you buy the upgraded white macbook with 2GHZ processor and a dvd burner. This is $1300. Don't purchase any additional upgrades through Apple.

USER UPGRADES

2 Sticks of 1GB RAM ($100 x 2) = $200
160 GB Hard Drive =$250
Firewire Hard Drive Case =$50

Total Price $500.
Originial Price $1300.
Final Price 1300 + 500 =$1800.

Okay so replace the RAM by yourself and save a lot of money. You can sell the old sticks of ram on eBay for a little bit of cash. Replace the 60GB hard drive with a massive 160GB hard drive from Seagate that uses the new perpindicular method of storage. This is 40GB more than you'll get from Apple. Then buy a portable firewire or usb case and stick that 60GB drive you don't need anymore in that case to give you an extra 60GB of convienent, portable storage.

REPCAP:

APPLE UPGRADED MACHINE
2GHZ
2GB RAM
120GB INTERNAL HARD DRIVE
$2199

USER UPGRADED MACHINE
2GHZ
2GB RAM
160GB INTERNAL HARD DRIVE
60GB EXTERNAL HARD DRIVE
2X256MB RAM (SELL ON EBAY)
$1799.

Hmm I wonder which is the better value? Sure you could aruge that its more risky to go with the non-apple upgrades, but for a little more money you can buy the exact same RAM apple uses in its notebooks. (Though my Powerbook's been running fine on the generic stuff for almost a year). I also don't see any reason why the Seagate hard drive would be more likey to fail than the Apple provided option, but again you could always go with 120GB option from the same company that provides Apple with their hard drives and save even more money.

Also with the $400 you save, I hear that Dell makes a pretty good widescreen 20 inch LCD that is often rebated down to right around $400. Thus you could have:

MACBOOK PRO
2GHZ
2GB RAM
220GB STORAGE
20 INCH LCD
$2199

Throw in a wireless keyboard and mouse and a 250GB external hard drive and you're right at about $2359, which is what you quote the iMac at. At this point you basically have the same systems except the iMac runs a little faster and has a much better video card. But I'd sacrifice that for portability, and the flexability of having an extra screen.

How do I come up with all of this? It's my personal plan except subsitute 2GB of ram for 1GB. I think it's a pretty damn good deal. User upgrades are well worth it and you won't violate your warranty.
 

ddrueckhammer

macrumors 65816
Aug 8, 2004
1,181
0
America's Wang
I'm in the exact same boat as you. I am a student and just recently sold my 2 year old 12" Powerbook on Ebay. I am in Engineering and use some CAD, 3D Modeling, and Math applications on occasion. Before the release of the Macbook I had decided that I should get the 17" iMac and upgrade the Ram and Harddrive. But since the release of the Macbook I find myself torn, as I would like to maintain the portability of my Pbook. Personally, I never really liked using the 12" screen though as I found myself squinting a lot. Since they have increased the resolution and screen size a bit though the Macbook may be acceptable.

The three cons that everyone is complaining about apply to me too. The glossy screen, in most cases, makes notebooks unusable outside or in brightly lit rooms. Unfortunately, it’s hard to tell this in the store and the color saturation on the screens looks better when they are glossy.

Also, the integrated graphics is a concern for me. I plan on keeping the laptop for two years or more, and while not a hardcore gamer, I find it a hard pill to swallow that the Macbook will not even get very good frame-rates on an older game like World of Warcraft. I wish they had WoW or Call of Duty or something loaded on the Macs at the Apple Store so we can see performance.

The 2x256 Mb of Ram is at best a stupid deal by someone at Apple to save a few bucks (one less olive I guess) or at worst a gimmick to try to make people upgrade with their overpriced memory.

Finally, is it just me or should the Black color option be include on all models and be free? IMO the top of the line Black one would acceptable at its price if it included a dedicated GPU...

I am waiting to see if there will be a Student Union promo and probably for Merom iMacs as they will follow within a month or so most likely. If the Macbooks are updated to fix some of these shortsighted deficiencies then I will purchase one of them.

Anyway, just some food for thought. Good luck with your purchase!
 

h0e0h

macrumors 6502a
Aug 30, 2004
761
0
West Monroe, Louisiana
MRC1487 said:
I'm in the same situation. I've been using a PC for years and am very excited to be getting a Mac laptop shortly, but I'm trying to figure out if it would be better to buy now, or wait until early Aug, especially because I'll be starting classes by the end of August.

If I were you I'd get one when you can afford it, lets face it, i bought a Rev. C PB and its still relatively cutting edge for what i use at school. PC to Mac is a different experience and I would go ahead and get used to it ASAP. When i switched i did it in May to go to school in August and found that the shortcuts and things are different in the Mac world and I'm glad i switched when i did.
 

smartalic34

macrumors 6502a
May 16, 2006
947
7
USA
another question related to college laptop purchases... let's say I wait until WWDC on august 7th and Core 2 (Merom) macbook pro's are released. I leave for college august 29. What would theoretical delivery times look like for a core 2 MBP ordered the day of/day after release? I'm in NJ... is 2-3 weeks enough lead time?
 

joebells

macrumors 6502
Oct 24, 2005
425
0
Well for one I believe they did a similar promotion years before with money off an ipod during the same time period. But called it somethign different like cram and jam or something.

Two rumors have said higher capacity nano's are coming so maybe they will want to get rid of stock on the current nano's?
 

Nate4747

macrumors regular
May 7, 2006
131
0
Missouri
ddrueckhammer said:
The 2x256 Mb of Ram is at best a stupid deal by someone at Apple to save a few bucks (one less olive I guess) or at worst a gimmick to try to make people upgrade with their overpriced memory.
They do matched pairs so it operates in dual channel mode. This is important with the MacBook because of the shared video memory architecture. If they put it at 1 GB it would be even better than the low end MBP, so that was definitely not an option.
 

Nate4747

macrumors regular
May 7, 2006
131
0
Missouri
Sdashiki said:
The Student Union was solely to get rid of the iPod mini stocks.
Giant letters, bold too. It must be true.

It is worth waiting for though, because if they do it again it will be a great deal.
 

milozauckerman

macrumors 6502
Jun 25, 2005
477
0
The macbook does not perform nearly as well as the imac.
I'm not sure where you get that.

The numbers are near-identical, except for three areas: Unreal Tournament, MPEG2 rendering, and a benchmark. If you play games or output DVDs on a regular basis, yes, the iMac performs much better. Or if you run a lot of benchmarks, I guess.

Other than that, looks like a wash to me.
 

ouphe

macrumors regular
Jun 12, 2005
130
0
Los Angeles, CA
Here are a few comments for the OP, coming from a dual emphasis graphic design/illustration student about to enter his senior year:

-by this time, most people in all of my design classes have laptops, which are VERY nice for working on projects during classes that aren't help in computer labs and doing research as the teacher is lecturing (googling a typeface they mention that you aren't familiar with, for example)

-on the other hand, if you will be working with RAW images, a Macbook wouldn't be great because of the intergrated graphics (I have Aperture on my Dualie G5 that has 3.5 gigs of RAM and the workflow is smooth...some of my fellow students have tried using it on their Macbooks, however, and found them a bit lacking in that department)

-something that I've found to be a nice middle-ground solution is to have a powerhouse desktop at home and carry around a 2.5" portable harddrive (mine is a 40 gig laptop drive I put in a case, which can be bought for around $75 put together, or closer to $40-50 if you buy the drive and case separately. Look around at sites like www.dealnews.com to find good deals on such things)

-someone above also mentioned that the price would be significantly lower if you upgrade the computer yourself. DO THIS. From what I've seen, the Macbook is ridiculously easy to upgrade, and I would imagine the new iMacs have similar upgradability.

I hope this helped. Whichever route you take, enjoy your new computer and take everything you can from school!

-Colin