College Purchases Next Year

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Cricketman, Apr 21, 2010.

  1. Cricketman macrumors regular

    Nov 30, 2008
    Hi everyone

    I am going to college next year (2011) and will have about ~$2000 to spend on my tech needs.

    This is what I'm thinking of getting:

    13 inch Macbook Pro Basemodel (hopefully i5?) with a HDD bump up to 320Gig@5400RPM (based on current specs) - $1144 with Edu Discount
    - Free iPod Touch
    - Free Printer

    Magic Mouse -$69
    Wireless Apple Keyboard - $69
    Some 20-24inch Monitor (HP? Acer? Dell? What do you guys recommend) $150-$200
    Extra Magsafe (refurb) - $40
    HengeDock for my MBP $59.99
    Some cheap speakers - $20-30

    Dr Dre Tours - $149

    What do you guys think? Is it overkill? Anything else to add? I already have an external HD. Lemme know what yout hink.
  2. xparaparafreakx macrumors 65816

    Jul 29, 2005
    2011 fall? If so, are you buying them right now?
  3. Cricketman thread starter macrumors regular

    Nov 30, 2008
    Well, spring. I'm not buying now but I thought it would be a good time to get a list ready so that I can start working towards it and saving the amount of money that I need.
  4. noooooorie macrumors newbie

    Apr 21, 2010
    free iPod?

    do you know if the free iPod touch/printer deal will make an epic comeback this summer? i'm looking into getting a macbook pro as well and want an iPod touch, but i'm not sure if i should wait and see if the deal pops up over the summer for when i buy the MCP, or if i should just buy the iPod touch now?
  5. thegoldenmackid macrumors 604


    Dec 29, 2006
    dallas, texas
    Buy over the summer to take advantage of the Back to School promo.

    It would be odd for there not to be an update in the next 12 months, whether or not it gets the i5?
  6. xparaparafreakx macrumors 65816

    Jul 29, 2005
    Just save $2,000 for next year. Things are going to change a lot. USB 3.0, Bluetooth 3.0, lightpeak, firewire S1600 and SATA 6. Your screen might be 3D with HDMI 1.4a support.

    Us being serious though, just wait till next year.
  7. Cricketman thread starter macrumors regular

    Nov 30, 2008
    Should I buy an iPad? Would it be too much to have both a MBP (13', so relatively portable) + docking station w/ monitor, kb, and mouse, + iPad??
    Bare in mind I will also have an iPhone.

    I'm actually beginning to think twice about getting the whole monitor often am I actually going to be studying in the dorm, when the library is open till 3AM and the study hall is open all night long?

    I would love some advice from college students.

    btw, I will most probably be majoring in medicine.
  8. guitargoddsjm macrumors 6502

    Feb 25, 2008
    If money isn't growing on trees, don't get an iPad.

    As for a dual monitor setup... For the past two and a half years, I've used two monitors. I started with a 15" Samsung that was leftover from my old desktop, and it was fairly helpful. Then I upgraded and bought an HP 22" screen on clearance last year when I worked at Staples. It's what I use now and I absolutely love it. I had been using a good Razer mouse, but switched over to a Logitech MX Revolution, I bought an Apple bluetooth keyboard, and I bought a Griffin Elevator for my Macbook this year (freshman in college). This setup is absolutely wonderful. I can sit back, the big screen is absolutely glorious to work on, and it just makes working a lot more comfortable. I basically have everything "docked" when I'm in my dorm room. When I want to leave for class or to study in the library (which is open 24 hours), I unhook everything and just take my laptop. I don't mind working on the 13" screen when I'm away from my room, but my current setup is infinitely better.

    Now, people work differently. My girlfriend just has her 13" macbook and she's fine with it (though she has a 23" monitor/tv that she'll be using as a monitor next year. Her roommates just have their laptops and their fine with it. It really depends on how you work. Check out a program called SizeUp (I'll put a link below). It lets you use key combos to order your windows on the screen. It's especially helpful for big displays; for example, if you're writing a paper, you could put Word on the left half and your research material on the right. The guy also makes something called Cinch which is like Windows 7 where you can drag your windows to the top of the screen.

    Edit: I didn't really address the iPad originally. The iPad is great. Our college Barnes & Noble has a few on display and they're really fun to use; I think replacing a backpack full of textbooks would be amazing. Despite this, there isn't a whole lot out there for the iPad yet in terms of textbooks/notes/etc. If you don't have the money, your best bet is to wait until the second or third generation before getting one. If you have money, then get it. My roommate's setup is a 15" unibody MBP, a 24" cinema display, an apple bluetooth keyboard, and a wireless mouse. His 32gb 3G iPad should be here by the end of the week.

  9. InfoSecmgr Guest


    Dec 31, 2009
    Ypsilanti, Michigan
    What do you need for college? A low end plastic 13 inch MacBook. Not trying to burst your bubble, but I've been doing this awhile and you don't need anything else.

    I'm working on my Ph.D, so I'm not blowing smoke up your rear end.

    Edit: I'm JUST talking about the computer itself, not any peripherals. It is a good idea to get a bigger screen, keyboard/mouse and speakers :) and of course an HD for backups.

    Edit 2: Here is my "complete" list:
    1) 13 inch plastic MacBook
    2) 1TB external HD
    3) ~20 inch monitor (Dell or the like)
    4) Keyboard
    5) Mouse
    6) Kensington lock
    7) External speakers
    8) Headphones (just get a $25 pair from BestBuy, anything as pricey as the Dre's you are talking about are a huge target)

    So, your list is pretty good I'd say. Just don't go overboard on anything. Tuition is enough as it is. I see so many undergrads running around with 15 and even 17 inch MBP's...excessive to say the least. I posted in another similar thread today, and I will say the same thing here. During my undergrad I had a 13 inch plastic MB, for my graduate work I had a 13 inch aluminum MB, and now I'm eyeing the 17 inch for my Ph.D work. One thing I "couldn't live without" would be a second display for the laptops. It gets old working on a 13 inch screen, but as others have pointed out, you get used to it if that is all you have. Hope this helps.

    Very true. Between your roommate getting it on with his third girl this week, the party down the hall, and other distractions, you won't want to do much studying in your dorm room. So, this is something to consider when you are thinking of purchasing a monitor. However, I still found mine very useful.

    BTW...docking station as in: ?
  10. Apple-Man23 macrumors regular

    Sep 3, 2007
    Not yet. Wait for 2nd gen to come out. Until you get to school and see what works for you as far as note taking, highlighting, reading, etc. goes and then if the iPad is appropriate buy it. But if I was you (and I am thinking about getting one...) I would wait

    You won't use it as often as you think. I have a set up at my desk with keyboard mouse etc. that I hardly ever use. As I am sitting here writing this my computer is on my lap and I am in an easy chair. Later I am going to study at the library and finish a paper and then tomorrow I will be away from my room all day. I hardly ever use my set up as it is. I would suggest waiting till you get to school and seeing what works. Unless you have money to burn and it sounds like you don't I would wait to decide on a monitor. Oh and I would suggest 15" i5. You will appreciate the screen real estate!!!

    I am one. :D
  11. InfoSecmgr Guest


    Dec 31, 2009
    Ypsilanti, Michigan
    Seconded. Tech changes so fast you should wait. I know you are anxious! It is an exciting time getting ready to head out for college! :)
  12. rlav macrumors member

    Mar 25, 2009
    He is probably correct in saying this, I find that I use my computer a ton in school but my white 13" MB which was the mid range MB at the time.(2 years old, 2.4 Ghz C2D, 2GB DDR2, SuperDrive) has always been more than enough. that being said I think that the 13" MBP would be appropriate for school, and would probably be what I would get if I bought today.

    On you list though I would skip the extra Magsafe unless you find you need it after starting.

    Some sort of headphones are a must. Mine are kinda cheap, but that being said I could use some nicer ones.

    For a mouse I have a MS Bluetooth Notebook Mouse 5000, doesn't kill a USB port and is very portable.

    I don't have a monitor now, but I will next semester mainly for movies. (I personally find that I don't really need it) If you want one though I would recommend looking into a TV w/ a PC input unless you need the extra refresh rate, dorm rooms are small so saving space is always a good idea.

    Also, the MBP keyboards are very easy to type on, so that might be something else to wait on before purchasing. It is also one less thing to have on the desk.

    The dock seems unnecessary to me, I find that I am always grabbing and taking my MB places, whether it the common room or a friend's room, so the dock would rarely get used. However, this will greatly depend on your study habits.
  13. InfoSecmgr Guest


    Dec 31, 2009
    Ypsilanti, Michigan
    And it pretty much comes down to this. The OP now has some pretty good suggestions from people who have firsthand experience with higher education. So, it just depends on what you (the op) feel you need to succeed in college.

    rlav has a good point about the docking station. I've found myself using my 13 inch MB "as is" for a few months now. In fact, I am typing this on my bed with the MB and watching Family Guy :), so portability is a big factor.

    Like I said before, I am "eyeing" the 17 inch, but wow, what a massive machine!
  14. mikes63737 macrumors 65816

    Jul 26, 2005
    I have finished one year at university, so these suggestions are from experience:

    Your laptop is your most important possession while in college. At my school, all my work is assigned and submitted online, and 90% of it is done entirely on the computer.

    I would strongly advise against wireless keyboards and mice. I have the Apple wireless keyboard and magic mouse, and they EAT BATTERIES. Partly because sometimes stuff gets put on top of them accidentally, but it's just generally not a good idea. Plus, they could "disappear" pretty easily. Get a silicon keyboard cover for your laptop to prevent crumbs and liquids from getting in there. Personally, I cannot type with a cover on the keyboard, but if you can then it is a very good investment.

    You will be doing very little work at your desk. Depending on your major, you could not do any work at your desk. The only reason I work at my desk is because I am majoring in Computer Science, and when we have large programming projects we often have lots of windows open at once.

    Speaking of Windows.... download VirtualBox and buy Windows from your university. Check with the bookstore, and your individual academic department for the best pricing. My university does not offer a discount on any software, but the school of engineering offers all Microsoft software for free. You will probably have that one class that has a piece of software from 1992 that only runs on Windows (if you are taking statistics, you will use MiniTab, which is Windows only. If you take digital circuits, you will use LogicWorks which is Windows only, etc).

    Get a wireless router if your school allows. The university's WiFi is pathetic, so it is a necessity here. If you get your own router, you should also get a network printer so you can print from a few rooms down if you are working on an assignment with a friend or something.

    Get 2 extra MagSafe adapters - that way you have 1 for your room, 1 for your backpack, and 1 at home. Trust me... you don't always think about power adapters.

    Pass on the dock. It's just easier to get knocked over. And like I said... you will not be working at your desk.

    Get 2.0 speakers, or if they are 2.1 they must have a bass adjustment knob. If you want to listen to music (or you are having a mini-party in your room), chances are your RA/CA/DA/whatever will not appreciate the bass at midnight if they have an exam at 8am the next morning. Headphones - get something that is noise canceling but not too expensive.

    Also, here's a few general tips: Always lock your door if no one is in your room, lock your laptop to your desk until you trust your roommate, and get a good backpack that has a laptop sleeve in it but doesn't specifically scream "There is a $1800 laptop in here".

    Finally, remember - roommates pee on things. So put everything away when you're not using it.
  15. Cricketman thread starter macrumors regular

    Nov 30, 2008
    Wow, I am overwhelmed with the responses!

    Give me a second and i'll reply to each post more thoroughly. thanks again guys
  16. Cricketman thread starter macrumors regular

    Nov 30, 2008

    Here's what makes me say 'Go for the Monitor!' I don't have much experience with 13' machines (my sis has a macbook), as I have a 22' Acer Monitor for my Mini and a 16.5' Vaio Currently. I just think that writing papers, doing research, notes etc would flow so well with a large monitor to use. However, how often am I going to be in the dorm, and is the whole setup really worth the ~400 I am going to be spending on it?

    Thanks for the help :). The only reason I am going with the MBP is because of the unibody design. Not only does it look good, but it seems to be far more durable and less prone to scratches, and from what i've found on my sis's White MB, stains. The screen is brilliant as well.

    Docking station is:

    Cheers. I would think by the time I am going to be pulling the trigger on all these purchases the iPad would have been upgraded. But, with a 13inch laptop I really don't see a need for such a device now that I think about it. Plus, how douchey would I look walking around campus with a MBP, iPad, iPhone, and a full fledged setup at the dorm? :eek: Seems like overkill to me. But who knows?

    15" vs 13"... here is the big question. Now, I know this question has been asked MILLIONS of times, but not often has it been answered by nice COLLEGE FOLK like you guys. How much do you walk around with it, how less portable is the 15" than the 13"? Is it honestly worth the 300$ jump from the lower level model?? And is it really hard to lug around or are those just whiney 13" fanboys? :p

    Here is my thinking... if I end up getting the 13" I may feel the size to be cramped as the years go on, and I would have to purchase the external monitor stuff, costing me close to 200$. But with 15", I don't think I would need to. BUT, I was at Yale university last weekend and was sitting in those classrooms - those 'desks' are TINY! How well does a 15" fare on those?

    Hmm. I think I see your point here. Even if I went with another monitor It would make sense just to have an elevator or something and connect it, allowing me to utilize both the MBP screen and the larger display.

    Yeah, portability is a big deal for me. I have a fairly large Vaio (16.5") and it is a PAIN (literally) to lug around. Terrible for travel.

    Cheers for the input. Yeah, I have noticed from universities I have visited that it is almost 'etiquette' to leave your dorm room wide open. If I have to leave real quick for some reason I can easily see wireless mice and KBs being stolen.
    I will check with Windows. I have a few programs that I like to use myself that are Windows only and haven't been able to figure out how to get them working on a Mac. Hopefully they should have some heavily discounted price on 7. :)

    My sis's college also does not have Wifi in dorms. Ethernet cords are flying everywhere. I'll make sure to pick up a cheap router when I head out next year.

    Thanks everyone!! You guys are awesome. :cool:
  17. heesey1010 macrumors member

    Jan 6, 2006
    Be aware that some universities don't allow wireless routers at all because of DMCA at the University of Florida (UF) they have a draconian network called DHNet (sounds like Skynet's father or something, I know) where any sort of P2P/torrent activity can be detected and the computer can be shunned from the network and denied access.

    That being said, I'm in a really similar situation. I'm surprised and disappointed that textbooks haven't made it on to the iPad like I thought they would. I'll probably just end up with a iMac (or Mac Mini)/netbook combination or MBP or MBA.
  18. rtay macrumors regular

    Feb 16, 2010
    i dont know about the macbook yet, im getting mine as the back to school special starts, but i can give you some input on the ipad. The second gen. should be out, so i say yes. Honestly, i find the 1st gen worth it. I get ALOT of pdfs, and i am always printing them off, taking notes on them, losing them, then i am effed. This keeps them all there and there is more than enough apps for it that are of high quality. Pages is nice to sit back after you write that 8 page paper and review what you wrote. You get endless entertainment from it between your movies, netflix, abc, and soon to be hulu, this will be awesome for trips home or when you just need to relax. The ipad isnt perfect, it has really annoying issues, namely that you have to have a laptop for pretty much everything, adding pdfs, printing, adding your music and movies, and syncing takes forever, but it really is pretty useful. I decided to upgrade to a 64 gb 3g, and with evernote you can have your notes on your ipad, computer, and most phones, in my case my droid. Hopefully that gives you a little insight on that.
  19. thegoldenmackid macrumors 604


    Dec 29, 2006
    dallas, texas
    Regarding your audio purchases:
    1. Don't get Beats
    2. The aforementioned advice regarding bass and noise is a good one. Swan M10s were my college choice given the midwoofer.

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