Buying Advice for a Student

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by TheSaint91, Sep 29, 2009.

  1. TheSaint91 macrumors newbie

    Sep 27, 2009
    Hello, I am currently a high school senior and will be attending a university next fall. Like most uni students, I would like to have my own laptop. Although I have never owned an apple computer, I have always been an avid fan and, in my freshman year of high school, mandated that I would purchase a macbook during my senior year of high school. But the question that I have is when should I purchase it? And what model should I purchase?
    At university, I plan on studying some form of engineering, either aerospace, civil, or software, with a minor in film. With that being said, I plan on using iMovie, Final Cut Studio, and Adobe After Effects/Photoshop for editing and publishing; however, I have very little experience with those programs, and, of course, OS X in general. Keeping that in mind, I would like to give my self a sufficient amount of time to become acclimated to everything. Therefore, as of right now, I plan on purchasing a 13" macbook pro 2.53GHz with 4GB of RAM and a 250 GB hard drive on October 9th, one 1/2 weeks from now.
    Would this be a good choice? Will the 9400M be able to handle the applications I plan on using? Will 10 months be an appropriate amount of time to become proficient with OS X? Or am I purchasing it too early? Yes, I might be getting a little greedy, since I've been using an old HP from 2002 with a 40GB hard drive and only 256mb of RAM.
    Thanks in advance
  2. mrgeek macrumors member

    Sep 23, 2009
    Wait till next fall around october when new macbook pro are release, their new features have intel quad,i5 or i7 that could be release next fall. That's good time for freshman students in university to buy macbook pros.
  3. miles01110 macrumors Core


    Jul 24, 2006
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    If you wait until summer/fall you can probably take advantage of the Back to School promo if they offer it again. Usually you get a rebate on an iPod.
  4. stridemat Moderator


    Staff Member

    Apr 2, 2008
    If you can afford to wait then wait until the last possible moment before you go to University so you will benefit from the newest hardware for as long as possible, thus saving money by not upgrading while at university.

    You could also benefit from the free ipod touch deals etc which are generally found around this time.

    If you need a mac now then a standard macbook would suit your needs perfectly.
  5. 1rottenapple macrumors 68000

    Apr 21, 2004
    definitely wait for the summer if you can, like the others have said before me so you can get a free ipod or ipod touch. you can always sell it and get at least $150 back... that mac should last you for the next 4 years.
  6. beala macrumors member

    Sep 25, 2009
    If you're going into software engineering, Mac might not be the best option. I spent a year doing software engineering (changed majors later) and none of my classes offered mac support. The recommended dev environment was MS visual studio, and they provided minimal help with linux, but they never mentioned a word about mac.

    And this was at UCLA, which has a very highly ranked computer engineering department, so it wasn't like the professors were ignoring mac because they were stupid.

    I'm sure people here can answer your questions about mac software development, but it definitely won't make things easier if you're using a different dev environment than the rest of your class.

    But I guess the obvious solution is bootcamp, but it sucks when you can't use mac OS for school stuff (90% of what you'll be using it for).
  7. the vj macrumors 6502a

    Nov 23, 2006
    Agree with all of the above

    Except that you can run XP, Vista and 7 with no problem in the Mac as well. Being an engineer probably you can do more with Mac OSX and Windows than anybody else.

    For video editing and stuff you have a few options:

    1. You can get the 13" but you will have an small screen.

    2. You can get the 15" with a bigger screen.

    3. You can get the 13" with an external 20" monitor, keyboard and mouse and you will be all set.

    Back in 2004 I had a 12" powerbook with a 20" display and I did loads of jobs with it. It kept me alive for 2 years doing video editing using an external 80 GB hard drive just for storage. I had 1.5 GB of ram and 1.5 GHz.

    I believe you do not have to worry too much about your computer. The same lessons you are taking today are the same lessons given 10 years ago when the computers had 200 Mz speed. The pensum does not change at the same speed of technology.
  8. DesignerOnMac macrumors 6502a


    Jul 23, 2007
    As mentioned by others you will probably have issues finding engineering software for OSX, but your fortunate that you will be able to install Boot Camp, parallels, or VM Wear to run windows.

    If I was going to college, I would get the 15" screen, a bigger HD, and max out the RAM. Can never have enough RAM.

    As others have stated, I would wait until next year, if the school allows you too. Hope this helps you.
  9. Tomorrow macrumors 604


    Mar 2, 2008
    Always a day away
    If you're buying a computer for university ALWAYS - and I mean ALWAYS - get input from your academic department before you buy. There may be some software they require you to run, or something. ALWAYS get their input first.
  10. Luba macrumors 65816


    Apr 22, 2009
    I am going to disagree . . . I say get it now to get familiar with Mac OS and to used it everyday. You may not like it!?!? The OS is easy to get around, but you still have to get used to it. Actually, for me I realize I tend to over think things, that the solution under OS is usually something easy. But it takes a while, at least for me, to change out of that mind set. Under most universities you'll be taking math and sciences classes your first year (perhaps one or two engineering courses) so you won't need the most up to date machine. By your 3rd year you would have had your 1st Mac for 3 years so it would be good timing to get a new Mac for your 3rd and 4th year. :) Also, going away to university is a big adjustment and getting familiar with the Mac now is one less thing to learn. Anyway, just MHO.
  11. xparaparafreakx macrumors 65816

    Jul 29, 2005
    Seeing your list of software, im going to assume you do have money.

    With that in mind, buy that Macbook Pro and get used to Mac OS X and all the softwares workflows. Then when school going to start, buy a Mac Pro or iMac to do your heavy lifting. Keep the Macbook Pro 13" as your school machine.

    Shotgunning beer, keg stands, etc.

Share This Page