Buying a Macbook for Univeristy :)- Few questions

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by sportsfreak, Apr 5, 2009.

  1. sportsfreak macrumors member

    Nov 22, 2008
    Well i have decided to go ahead and probably purchase a macbook somtime in the summer this year for next year university.

    I am going to buy the 2.4 Ghz model of the UB macbook. I just had a few questions in terms of purchasing the laptop.

    1- Where should i buy the laptop from, should i wait until a back to school sale at apple (do they even have one) or should i but it off of kijiji.

    2- what acsessories are a "must" for the laptop. I know i would like a mouse for sure because when i am at a desk i prefer to use a mouse instead of the track pad. And i will ned a case for sure, but is there any thing else.

    3- for a university student, what are the essential programs that i will require in university.

    4- how do i go upgrading the ram- i would like 3G so i just need to upgrade one of the sticks. where should i go to do this and what model is required in the macbook

    Thank you
  2. Tallest Skil macrumors P6

    Tallest Skil

    Aug 13, 2006
    1 Geostationary Tower Plaza
    Apple has year-round discounts for education purchases. They offer a free iPod in the summer only.

    None, really. Get what you want.

    Get what you're told to get.

    You don't want 3GB. You want 4GB. The cost to benefit ratio makes it inexcusable to not get 4GB. Buy from OWC.
  3. Kardashian macrumors 68020


    Sep 4, 2005
    I'd buy it when Apple have the 'Back to School' offer on.

    You'll get a free iPod nano.

    Make sure you get Apple Care, as a student you get a very hefty discount.
  4. arjen92 macrumors 65816


    Sep 9, 2008
    Below sea level
    It could be usefull to have iwork and office on your mac. the rest really depends on your study.
  5. ZunePod macrumors regular

    Apr 1, 2009
    And iLife, although it doesn't come into it as much.

    But if you have iWork, don't get Office.
  6. kindablue09 macrumors regular


    Mar 26, 2009
    Buy Office, iwork isn't really worth it.

    Office (preferably 2008 b/c of the docx format) is an absolute necessary in college (university). At my school students have to download and post documents to a secure electronic course site all the time, and we have to post them in .doc(x) format. On top of that almost everyone else uses office, so when you share files with students (group projects) you would be left out of the loop.

    iwork does have some adaptations for that (exporting in ppt form for keynote) but its not worth buying one suite just to convert it to another suite.

    Office also has better support for other programs, such as endote, that you may use later on in your career.

    Also, check with your university. Some have deals with microsoft where you can buy office very cheap ($50 US) at the bookstore.
  7. Joeski macrumors member

    Oct 26, 2007
    Either go into the Apple Store with your college ID or acceptance letter OR go to the online Apple Store and locate the education store. If you can, wait until June that way you get a free iPod Nano or $100 of another iPod (i think). Even if you don't need the iPod, you can sell it on eBay and make some money :).

    Get some type of bluetooth mouse, since the MacBook has bluetooth built in you don't need anything special. For a case, check out the Incase Neoprene Sleeves. I like them and they take pretty good care of the laptop. If you're going to be living away from home, buy a laptop lock so you can lock it to your bed/desk.

    As for programs, definitely buy AppleCare, so you're protected past the first year. Buy it on eBay though, since thats about $40 USD cheaper than even the educational discount. Also, buy Microsoft Office. Anything else would be decided by your field of study.

    Get 4 gigs of ram, it's worth it. If you don't wanna do it yourself you can have the store do it when you buy it, or can configure it online. If you do wanna do it yourself, check out They have a lot of free useful guides for doing stuff to your laptop. It is extremely easy to do upgrades like this on the new MacBooks.
  8. McKnight macrumors member


    Mar 29, 2009
    There's not a massive amount of software you'll need. I'd recommend Office 2004 for general assignment work. You may need specialist software depending on your course, for example Photoshop for a Multimedia course.

    Your University may also require the installation of 3rd party security software for the use of their network, I.e Cisco Clean Access Agent, however this is typically downloaded once you arrive on campus.
  9. raremage macrumors 6502a

    Nov 21, 2005
    Orlando, Florida
    Small correction - if you need Office, get the latest version (2008) - makes no sense to invest in the older version. There's a Student and Teacher edition that is made specifically for folks in your situation, and priced significantly lower than all the other versions.
  10. dukebound85 macrumors P6


    Jul 17, 2005
    5045 feet above sea level
    id even hold off and use open office aqua if you dont want to pay for an office suite. chances are its adequate for your needs
  11. raremage macrumors 6502a

    Nov 21, 2005
    Orlando, Florida
    The problem with using OOo (even v3) is cross compatibility. As someone highlighted above, there's often a lot of sharing of assignments and exchange of documents - the lack of formatting consistency would likely be an issue.
  12. relativist macrumors regular

    Jan 13, 2009
    I agree on waiting for the summer, see what comes. You don't need it now, so you can buy it when school starts. If your lucky they might bump the speed of the MB and release SL.
  13. dukebound85 macrumors P6


    Jul 17, 2005
    5045 feet above sea level
    yea but the compatibility is better than iwork

    stay away from iwork if you have to collaborate

    get office 2008 or 2004. they both can read the new office formats, though you need to dl a plugin for 2004
  14. sportsfreak thread starter macrumors member

    Nov 22, 2008
    I will be waiting for the summer for sure. I want to make sure i get the best deal i can. I just want to start budgeting the costs of the laptop right now so i can plan for the future. i will be paying for this out of my own pocket unless my parents decide to get a a very nice birthday present (Laptop) :).
  15. The Samurai macrumors 68000

    The Samurai

    Dec 29, 2007
    1) Yes, wait for the 'back to school' promo - you'll get a free iPod touch/nano which you can easily sell on eBay

    2) Accessories - an external hard drive is a must (especially if your a student). Keep it in sync with your Mac (time machine) and its all good. Also, I would recommend Applecare (students only pay £50 for three years coverage - which is an awesome deal)

    3) Essential programs - iWork and MS Office. I would say both are equally important as you may find that you have to work with Office documents and if you don't have Office, theres trouble :D

    4) I would check and see whether you really do need the upgrade. 2gb would be sufficient, however if your planning to do extensive stuff... I won't stop you.

    Hope that helps ;)
  16. sportsfreak thread starter macrumors member

    Nov 22, 2008
    as i was at my local best buy today talked to the tecnical guy. i mentioned i would like to purchase a mac for my next computer. he said asked wat i was studying in uni. I told him i am doing biomedical sciences and business admin. He then proceeeded to tell me he would not advise a mac as the software is not as compatiable with a mac.

    So just truthfully, anyone is university, doing business especially- do youfind and hardware or software limitations with a mac in comparison to a pc.
  17. RiCEADDiCTBOY macrumors 6502a


    Dec 26, 2007
    MacMall isn't a bad option :rolleyes: ...once you send in the rebates.

    I heard Asians are hawt...get one too while in school.
  18. Zman5225 macrumors 6502a

    May 15, 2005
    Tacoma WA
    Im in college right now for Chemical Engineering and I use my Macbook Pro for everything. The Best Buy "associate" should be taken with a grain of uneducated salt.

    Bootcamp the Mac and get a cheap education version of xp or vista and you can run the same programs as the rest of the computer world.
  19. alphaod macrumors Core


    Feb 9, 2008
    These are the same type of people who go around telling you to pay like $100 so they can remove bloatware like iLife :rolleyes:
  20. Burning Radio macrumors regular

    Apr 11, 2009
    Wow. I feel like I'm the OP! lol. It's almost identical to my situation! lol

    I've been wondering about iWork vs. Office 2008. Is one faster than the other? Is the compatabilty really that much of a problem? I have a feeling that I'm going to really like iWork once I get to really use it and I'd be kinda sad to learn that I have to use Office. I just didn't like the interface of Office 2004 (From what I saw in screenshots/demos), however, I DO find the "Ribbon" useful in the Windows verson of 2008. I'm torn. Anymore valid points and advice for one or the other?

    Also, I remember the iPods last year being touches. I would so be happy if they are this year as well. I'm also going to look into applecare. I didn't know that the discount was so generous.
  21. afireintonto macrumors 6502a


    Jul 22, 2008
    i'd have killed someone if they deleted iLife!!!
    it's everything!!!

    and i'm in uni and i have office '08 (provided free by my school) and i have iWork as well, all you have to do is download the free trail, and then search for serials, it worked perfect for me. i have both office suites free:]

    i mostly use iWork (pages mostly) for all of my MLA formatting that needs to be done, cause i found a template online, free:]
    but welcome to the best times of your life! and dont go paying for an office suite! get them free, torrent one if you have to - many of my windoze using friends did this.
  22. crackbookpro macrumors 65816


    Feb 25, 2009
    Om nom nom nom
    do not purchase the UniMB at best buy!

    local apple store will do. I would definitely mention your situation of being a student...Apple usually gives discounts to students going to college/univ/art school/etc. ;)

  23. BrownManUPS macrumors 6502a


    Jul 30, 2007
    First of all, congratulations on getting into a higher-education facility.

    1. You can buy the laptop from the apple store to get a lot of ad-hoc questions answered by people who know their stuff. There is not a whole lot of "customization" ability there though, so if you want a non-backlit version (for whatever reason), you'll have to do this online.

    2. Other than a mouse and case, you don't really need anything else. Some people get "invisible shields", but those aren't necessary and really take away from the beautiful aluminum design. Personally I bought a backpack with a padded area for a laptop, instead of a sleeve in a bag. But you can do both and have maximum protection.

    3. So no one here has said this but 9/10 your university provides very discounted versions of iWork and Office through an internal download or some CD give away from the school. I highly recommend not buying until you have further information (email the school's IT dept. or bookstore). Other than the office sweet, most of the programs you need are on the mac (iCal, mail, browser). I'd download adium for a better messaging client.

    4. Don't do 3GB like many have said; instead, do 4GB if you want to get a great experience (and balance the seeding of memory correctly). Currently the upgrade is (I found) as cheap as $50, and crucial sells for $65. It could go lower within a few months, as ram does get cheaper quickly. Try to install it yourself, but if you are nervous about it, find a friend first. If they can't, then go to the Apple Store and ask someone to do it. If you ask correctly, they may not charge if you just quietly ask for assistance. That may be just the niceness at my store though.

    To your first point, I'd say that Office is way more cross compatible. Another thing is that sometimes you'll need to present your stuff to an audience, and the university computers may not be macs. In this case, you are covered by having .docx files. I do like iWork, but I think Office is just as good (a little buggy though).

    Secondly, last year was an iPod touch 8GB or iPod nano with any purchase of a mac. Also, the free printer rebate always runs. This year it may be different, but probably not due to the high success last year.

    There are no hardware limitations, but there may be proprietary software, like mathematica, that only works on Windows. There are some good substitutes for various other software (e.g. instead of MatLab, use R). Chances are as a business major you'll be doing some heavy excel/access work, so Office 2008 covers you.
  24. crackbookpro macrumors 65816


    Feb 25, 2009
    Om nom nom nom
    Do not let the Apple Store do it. They will lecture you for not buying RAM from them and may mention a warranty issue.

  25. Burning Radio macrumors regular

    Apr 11, 2009
    Very good point.

Share This Page