Broke College Grad + Laptopless

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Agriff, Jun 25, 2012.

  1. Agriff macrumors newbie

    Jun 11, 2008
    Hey all,

    I just graduated college and I'm out on my own. My MBP died about a year and a half ago, and I've been waiting to get another as a grad present. Well, right after the retina came out I got a phone from my parents and apparently they're under more financial stress than they had let on. I won't be getting any grad presents.

    I'm so sick of not having a laptop that I NEED one ASAP! The problem is that I'm literally living paycheck to paycheck. But I'm also the type of person that likes to invest.

    What would a low-end laptop look like? All I really need my laptop to do is to play iTunes and keep Firefox open with a few tabs without any significant lag. And 13" or wider would be great. Would an iBook even be able to browse the internet effectively at this point?

    And I know everyone here is a mac aficionado, myself included, but would a PC be a better investment simply for the price-point? I'm not extremely computer savvy and I hate the idea of messing around with viruses and what-not.

  2. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem


    Feb 19, 2005
    It sounds like you don't need a Mac per se so since money is absolutely an object I would get a PC. An iBook could also suffice in your case I think. Save for a new MBP or whatever you want in the future. The only bad part about the PC is if you're just in love with OS X then you may not enjoy computing as much. I know I prefer to use my Mac over my work PC.
  3. aross99 macrumors 68000


    Dec 17, 2006
    East Lansing, MI
    No question that a low end PC will do what you need. You can get these for under $500. The question is, could you get a used MacBook for a comparable price?

    I would think you could. Any of the Core 2 Duo MacBooks or 13" MacBook Pros would make a good choice for what you want to do. They will be older machines, and may not be very upgradable, but you just need a machine for iTunes and surfing - right?

    My suggestion would be to find one of the late 2009-2010 white MacBooks, a 2008 Aluminum Macbook, or any of the 13" MacBook Pros. If you can't find one of those, then look at the earlier White macbook (try for a Core 2 Duo).

    I would check with other people you may know first, and see if they have older computers they want to get rid of. Always better to get one from someone you know. Then check around online at some of the used/refurb dealers like

    I see a number of machines for $300-$400 that would probably work. I haven't ordered from them before, but they seem like a decent place...

    You can also try eBay, craigslist, etc.

    Like someone else said, I would prefer a used Macbook over a new PC any day...
  4. sergeydgr8 macrumors newbie


    Jun 25, 2012
    Palo Alto, CA
    Here's what I would recommend. Almost any PC out there can be turned into a Mac if you got the will to follow some basic set of instructions and have the patience to keep hitting brick walls until you get it right.

    I currently have a Toshiba A665-S6098 with Windows 7 on one hard drive and Snow Leopard on another hard drive (I swap them when I need to use the other operating system).

    If you live on the west coast, you can check out Fry's and see what deals they have for the laptops there. Usually Toshibas and Acers and Asuses have the most bang for the buck, however they do come with crap that you will want to uninstall in order for things to go more smoothly (such as Toshiba DVD player, Toshiba "service station", etc). Or you can look online on Newegg (also check with Camelegg for the prices) and see what you can scrap off there. Look into refurbished computers as well, because they can get VERY cheap. For your purposes, a basic Intel Core 2 Duo laptop with a couple gigs of RAM should be perfectly fine.

    Also, another recommendation I must give you is for you to look into Lenovo machines. Those are considered to be the best business laptops because they're sturdy, easily repairable, and they don't come with as much junk as their competitors do. Take a look at the ThinkPads and, if you can find one, try to buy a used/refurbished recent model. Plus, these are generally easier to get OS X on them. ( or

    Good luck in getting a new laptop!
  5. Magrathea macrumors regular

    Aug 21, 2008
    2006 mbp ???

    My mom still has her 2006 Macbook, white and if you max out the ram to 4Gb and get lion you have a totally usable machine. She mostly skypes and uses firefox and listenes to BBC. It's an old machine but it works. Anything older than that is asking for trouble in my opinion.

    This one is similar to what my mom has:

    If this site has em for $400 then CL will be less I'm sure. The graphics cards on these models are pretty weak but you can still play youtube videos / Netflix just fine.

    Get a machine that can run Lion and has an upgrade option to 4gb. My brother in law has an identical machine and still has 1gb of ram and Leopard, his machine is very slow and not very usable.

    Ram and Lion are the secret here.

    Then again you could go and look at a site called tech bargains dot com and get an i5 on special. I got an i5 Lenovo for $500 with windows 7. It's a great machine apart from the horrid trackpad that makes it unusable but it has lots of ports a nice 14 inch screen and hdmi port. Problem with windows machine it there are just so many to choose from and lots of them really suck.
  6. HobeSoundDarryl macrumors 604


    Feb 8, 2004
    Hobe Sound, FL (20 miles north of Palm Beach)
    Get a second job to raise the money to buy whatever you want. If paycheck-to-paycheck is basically working now but you want this one extra thing, pick up a second job for a while and save up all of it's net pay so that you can buy whatever you want.

    When I came out of college, I had plenty of gas in my tank to work a couple of jobs for a few years. Plus when you're working, you're not finding other things on which to spend money, so it will accumulate pretty quickly. Do it until you raise the money you want and then consider dropping back to one (main) job.

    However, note that that extra "gas" increasingly fades away as you age. So this is also the easiest time to work like 1.5 to 2 people and build up much more than the cost of a laptop. It's only a matter of time until you want a better home, a better car, and this... and that... etc. It's always easier to get all that leveraging some (peace of mind) cash on hand rather than having to dynamically raise it starting from zero.

    And don't be seduced by credit. It's NOT the way to go. All it offers is immediate gratification for which you'll pay much more than you would if you just used cash. Use your youthful energy to work some extra hours at a second job and you'll quickly accumulate the cash to buy whatever you want.

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