College '09 Macbook Questions

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by ENY7, Jul 31, 2008.

  1. ENY7 macrumors newbie

    Jul 31, 2008
    Okay a few questions mostly unrelated...

    I'm going to be heading into college next year, but it is starting to become more imminent with all the application processes starting... So me and my parents have begun discussing laptop options for college, my father prefers windows but has no problem buying a Mac.

    I'm going to be heading into Biology/Pre-med with Spanish as either a heavy minor or a dual-major.

    So which? iWork or Office '08? Both are under $50 because family connections in both Microsoft and Apple.

    Currently I am using our family's 2004 iMac 1.25 GHz G4 (10.3.9) and an XP machine whenever I am unable to open an open office document. I know the speed jump is significant but I was wondering if anyone could give me a better idea about that?

    My parents are concerned more about longevity rather than price tag but as far as my uses go I can't see asking them to get the MacBook Pro when it seems in essence "over-kill" for my needs seeing the only gaming I do is a little WC3 and probably SC2 when that comes out. I have had a few minutes at a local Best Buy to type on both machines and I do enjoy the MacBook's keyboard much more. The only concern I have is it degrading rapidly like the iMac which is used as a word processor for school and basic internet, considering it can only barely run Powerpoint now with 64 MB of VRAM.

    I know AppleCare is a necessity and that is a definite for any machine along with adding the laptop to homeowner's insurance to cover accidents, but is there anything else I should know?

    And I know this is very far out but the chances of Apple implementing Nehalem processors into their laptops by the time next fall comes around?

    One more question! Sorry!
    Is it likely that Apple will change the MacBook's to aluminum? I personally like the plastic (it feels much less sticky than the aluminum) and the aluminum does not seem that robust considering my aunt managed to gouge the back of her laptop.

    Thanks you guys! And sorry about all the questions!
  2. Tallest Skil macrumors P6

    Tallest Skil

    Aug 13, 2006
    1 Geostationary Tower Plaza
    Mobile Nehalem is scheduled for Q3 2009. We'll see updates to that around this time.
  3. MacDawg macrumors Core


    Mar 20, 2004
    "Between the Hedges"
    You are going to get a lot of responses and opinions, which is good... you have a well thought out post and lots of good, insightful questions

    I will jump in on only one part... Office 2008... I don't care for it
    I would suggest you go with either iWork or Office 2004
    Even NeoOffice would probably be better and its free
    The next version of Office is supposed to be an improvement and support VBA again

    Good luck! Sounds like you have a good head on your shoulders!

    Woof, Woof - Dawg [​IMG]
  4. patmort02 macrumors member

    Mar 2, 2006
    As far as the Office vs. iWork debate, I feel like you would be safer going with Office simply due to compatibility issues. Many professors require papers to be submitted electronically and you would hate for them to not be able to open a document. I like Office 08 better because it runs much more quickly on intel machines.

    There is a possibility of the macbooks going aluminum since that seems to be the trend Apple has been following lately. Since the iMac is already aluminum it only seems to make sense that the macbook would follow. If you prefer the plastic you could always buy this year's model next year at a cheaper price (although that would probably conflict with your father's longevity concerns). Either way however, macs tend to last a long time, so it should be able to get you through the 4 years of college without too much trouble.

    Hope this helps somewhat.
  5. CalBoy macrumors 604


    May 21, 2007
    I have to say, that the foresight you're bringing to this is very good. :)

    Might I suggest, however, that you hold off on your decision for a little while? Things might change within the next year, and you don't want to buy prematurely if you don't need to.

    Now, one of the things that I feel must be dispelled right now is the rumor that electronically submitted documents can only be done via Office. When you submit documents electronically (and this doesn't happen as frequently as you'd like to imagine, because there are very few "assignments" that you get in college), you should ALWAYS send them as a PDF if they are meant to be graded. You don't want someone changing your work after the fact right?

    Now, as for Office vs iWork, I have to cautiously say Office. Even though you may not need to send Office documents to professors, you will probably at some point or another have to work with others on a collaborative project, and this will undoubtedly require you to use Office, as it is the de facto format.

    Now, you can always use NeoOffice, but I find that to be slower on my mbp than even Office 04 (which I currently use). I think that Office is an all around better bet, but try out both for yourself, and if you're comfortable with one over the other, go for that.

    As for other considerations, before you buy your notebook, be sure to see if your school has special offers on software, Applecare, etc.
  6. iOrlando macrumors 68000

    Jul 20, 2008
    i would buy a base model macbook with memory upgrade. It would cost 999 with $50 upgrade, if you go to some place for memory. If you dont like it after a year, buy a new one. If you buy a pro...that cost would be on the high side, and it wouldnt pay getting rid of it so soon.

    I would wait for the office applications. Try the trial version of iwork. iwork and office are pretty compatable(sp). Neooffice (sp) is also good and free.
  7. sn00pie macrumors 6502a


    Jun 25, 2008
    United States
    I'm going into my first year at university this fall myself, and I am contemplating my purchase of a MacBook at this time aswell. I work at Best Buy so I get to play with Mac's on a daily basis, so I will give you my honest opinion.

    As far as the OS goes, it's very simple and very easy to use. It almost feels childish because it's so simple and easy to use. The only problem I've had is using Pages from iWork. Pages as you probably know is the equivalent of Microsoft Word program. Pages isn't bad but if you're used to using Word like I am, it's very different and feels very unfamiliar. I guess if you used it for more than a few hours like I have, everything would begin to make sense.

    I just wanted to throw that in, make sure you try for 3-4 hours before you buy. :)
  8. macgirl82mjn macrumors member


    Aug 4, 2008

    Office isn't good on the macs, Microsoft doesn't support it very well. iWork exports into office formats (.doc, .xls, .ppt etc). If you are used to the look and feel of office, I'd suggest trying open office- it's free, the only real downside is if you have any problems there isn't any tech support.

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