Buying Advice for Africa

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by SenatorBen, Jul 12, 2007.

  1. SenatorBen macrumors newbie

    Jan 5, 2007
    hey all, I will be leaving shortly with the Peace Corps in West Africa, and one of the items they suggest we bring is a laptop with wireless access...I'm not looking to spend too much (I'll basically be using it for Microsoft Office and internet), so if I went Mac it would be a Macbook...I've had an iMac since January, unfortunately it can't come, but I've been pretty happy with it so far. I know it's hard to predict, but how reliable are Macbooks in general? I'm going to be out in the middle of nowhere, far from any Apple repair shop, so reliability is a must...what about battery life? If not a Macbook, are there any good Windows laptops any of you would recommend? Finally, I'm going to be leaving the iMac at home with the family...right now it has 2 GB of ram, 2.33 Core 2 it possible to buy a 1 GB Macbook (or Windows laptop), take out 1 GB of ram from the iMac, and move it into the laptop? Since I don't think my family cares all that much about how much RAM is in the iMac...Thanks again for the help!
  2. Tumeg101 macrumors 6502a


    Jun 30, 2007
    Orange County, California
    You can buy a 1gb MacBook, and if you are planning to take the 1gb from the iMac, and wanting to ADD it to the 1gb in a MacBook, you can't do that, a MacBook only has 2 ram slots, and a 1gb MacBook comes with 2, 512mb ram sticks, so if you add a 1gb stick, you will only make it have 1.5gb, and from what I have read, the .5gb wont make a difference, only full gigs(1, 2, 3 ect.) will make a difference.

    Also, how long will you be in Africa?
  3. SenatorBen thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 5, 2007
    I will be there for two years...therefore reliability is a big issue, since shipping it out of country to get fixed would be expensive and long. Battery life is also a concern, since access to electricity might be on and off.
  4. Vidd macrumors 6502a


    Mar 7, 2006
    The 512MB will of course make a difference! Some people use machines with only that amount

    If you get a Macbook you could switch the sticks around so that you'd have 1.5GB in each.
  5. mpw Guest

    Jun 18, 2004
    I've had my MacBook for just over a year. It's had two logic boards, two optical drives, two lower cases and I'm sure I've forgotten something:( But you should be happy with the battery life :)
  6. Tumeg101 macrumors 6502a


    Jun 30, 2007
    Orange County, California
    I read somewhere saying the apple suggests you use full gig memory, (1, 2, 3) otherwise there is no affect, so maybe they were wrong? :p
  7. Vidd macrumors 6502a


    Mar 7, 2006
    No, it's just you. ;)
    Maybe you're thinking of dual-channel benefits?
  8. Kaiser Phoenix macrumors 6502

    May 12, 2005
    I suggest you get the laptop, put it through some testing BEFORE you take it with you as it may have defects from the start.

    Otherwise maybe an Thinkpad...
  9. elfin buddy macrumors 6502a

    elfin buddy

    Sep 16, 2001
    Tuttlingen, Germany
    If I were going to Africa for two years, I would buy a cheap PC laptop for beating around. Blasphemy, I know :eek:
  10. ktbubster macrumors 6502a


    Jan 20, 2007
    take the 2 gig out of the imac and put that into the macbook and take the two 512s out of the macbook and put them in the imac. Memory problem solved.

    Every type of laptop could have some unforseen problem with it some day. Macbooks aren't any less reliable (or so it seems to me) then any others. If this is just for basic stuff though, I'd think about getting a refurb as you don't need the newest and greatest and those "should" have undergone ANOTHER look through etc since coming through apple.

    I would suggest maybe getting a second battery? As you will be there for while and like you said battery life could be useful. Get a second and then when you do have power, charge both of them while you can that way if you don't have power for a while you will have a backup source. AND if one dies, you will always have an extra (as i know that COULD be a potential problem within two years.

    Get a really good sleeve. Preferably something that is water proof and easily cleanable, and one that you can keep on while using it (the kind that open all the way) That might be a useful thin to have too.

    GOOD LUCK! :)
  11. kumbaya macrumors regular

    Jan 12, 2005
    First of all, major kudos to you for putting time into a worthy activity ie Peace Corps. Hats off to you!

    Here is a list of countries that currently has Apple Resellers in Northern Africa:

    Algeria, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Congo(Brazzaville), Congo(Democratic Republic), Cote d'Ivoire, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Madagascar, Mali, Morocco, Mauritania, Mayotte, Niger(Niamey), Nigeria, Réunion, Rwanda, Senegal, Somalia, Tanzania, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda.

    I know you said West Africa, but I couldn't resist! If your country is there, have a look at this website: where you can choose which country you want to look at. Under "where to buy" or "ou acheter", it will list Apple Resellers in those countries.

    Here in Kenya, the resellers are pretty good, international warranty is honoured, but any major issues will result in the computer being sent to Europe for repairs. This may have changed recently, but you could look at being without the computer for up to 2 months. PCs generally have the same sort of repair/support situation.

    Thinking out of the box, have you considered taking some of the $100 laptops with you, one for yourself? I understand that they may even have a manual wind-up battery charger. Although not on sale to the general public, if you contact them, there may be a case to take 5 or so with you. I understand about a million will be going to Nigeria this summer.

    Hope this helps.

  12. firestarter macrumors 603


    Dec 31, 2002
    Green and pleasant land
    Do you really need 2G?

    I'd put 2G in if you're using a lot of Rosetta (MS Office) or you're using Photoshop. If neither of these, then what are you planning to run that woudn't be OK with one?

    I would buy a 2.5 inch laptop hard drive the same size as your MacBook internal one, and an external USB or Firewire powered case for it. Use SuperDuper! to do regular backups, so that:

    - If your MacBook is stolen, you still have your data (keep it separate!)
    - If your MacBook HDD dies, you can swap the backup one in as a replacement and boot up from your last backup. Take the 2 types of screwdriver you need with you to do this.

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