College Student Looking for the advice of the mac community

Micrll

macrumors member
Original poster
Aug 28, 2006
38
0
OK heres the deal!
I have been looking to get a mac for a while now (since July) and I decided to wait for the latest updates to the Macbook. I was originally looking at a Black Macbook with a 1gb of ram and the rest standard. The cost with the 3 year applecare comes out to $1,672.00 with the educational discount.
But darn the increases to the Macbook pro's are EXTREAMLY tempting to cough up the extra money for. For just a base model with the apple care it comes out to $2,038.00:eek:
A difference of $366 :( :(

I have the money if needed to afford it but I can't decide if its worth it or not.

I will be a new mac owner (excluding an old preforma I got for free, though never really used) though I used the Mac lab at Highschool all last year so I am extremely comfortable with using them.

Here is my situation. (broken down into bullet points becuase I am tired :p )
I am a freshman college student majoring in Computer Science.
I am currently taking intro java.
The computer was originally supposed to be for taking notes inclass.
However, I would consider myself a poweruser of any computer. (I generally push them to the edge and back over time.
I have a decent compaq desktop that I got for last year.
I had a compaq laptop and it broke 5 times (big long saga)
I have access to free copies of winxp pro through my school. (for bootcamp and such)

I REALLY want a computer that "will just work" with low matiance, as I am getting sick of windows updates and virus scanners etc. More importantly this computer would have to last for 4 years. Would I be better off paying now and getting the extra power and perks of a macbook pro? Will it still be with me and up to speed in the next 4 years?

Also my biggest concern was price, but I also liked the smaller form factor of the regular macbooks...Soooo again im torn. and the lack of user replace able ram and HDD in the pro is a big disadvantage.

I hope this message makes sense and someone can respond to it...
 

DXoverDY

macrumors 6502a
Apr 19, 2005
810
0
I was a computer science major when I got my current PowerBook. It's about 2.5 years old and still works great for that. If anything, it needs more ram. It's not so hot for a full on desktop anymore, but the new ones with an additional screen would be nice I imagine.

I'd go with the MBP... My 1.33ghz PowerBook G4 was my first mac ever... unless you count the iPod I got 3 months before the PB.

I've since changed majors, but still develop for the Mac... Just purchased a Mac Pro for some heavier lifting through the ADC Hardware Store. Something you can consider... join ADC for $99 and get a deal on the MBP.

Let me see what the base 15" is ... $1599... Without applecare (which I would recommend purchasing through the Student store... not the ADC store). It's $349 on the ADC store, I think it's $249 or $299 through the student store.

You can join ADC as a student on http://connect.apple.com

Takes a few days for them to verify your student membership (you have to fax your schedule and student id in). The thing to remember is you only get 1 hardware discount as a student.. but if the machine is going to last you 4 years, then by all means use it now since it only works as a student and you only get 1 hardware discount purchase.
 

Aztechian

macrumors member
Mar 2, 2006
37
0
Colorado
I was a computer science major also, and had an iBook for most of my time in school. It was a G3 500, and was even a bit weak for the time (graduated in '04) but I really will say that it was sufficient for what I needed.

I think your two key points are:
Smaller form factor of MB
I would consider myself a poweruser of any computer.
I would agree that the smaller dimensions of the MB are a big plus when you have to fit it in your backpack with a lot of other stuff. The other thing I think is important is the durability of the MB (or fragility of the MBP). For 4+ years of campus abuse it might be an issue.
The poweruser thing could be a deciding factor for you, but you might want to elaborate more on what you mean by that... does that mean you are compiling multiple programs simultaneously, while listening to iTunes and editing in photoshop or is it more like you use expose regularly. I'm not trying to slight you at all, just that "poweruser" is a bit ambiguous.

So to sum up, I would say go with the macbook and save the $300 for beer... or external storage.
 

Micrll

macrumors member
Original poster
Aug 28, 2006
38
0
Aztechian said:
I was a computer science major also, and had an iBook for most of my time in school. It was a G3 500, and was even a bit weak for the time (graduated in '04) but I really will say that it was sufficient for what I needed.

I think your two key points are:


I would agree that the smaller dimensions of the MB are a big plus when you have to fit it in your backpack with a lot of other stuff. The other thing I think is important is the durability of the MB (or fragility of the MBP). For 4+ years of campus abuse it might be an issue.
The poweruser thing could be a deciding factor for you, but you might want to elaborate more on what you mean by that... does that mean you are compiling multiple programs simultaneously, while listening to iTunes and editing in photoshop or is it more like you use expose regularly. I'm not trying to slight you at all, just that "poweruser" is a bit ambiguous.

So to sum up, I would say go with the macbook and save the $300 for beer... or external storage.
Well for me its a combination of running itunes, firefox-20 or so tabs,word, skype, java editing/compiling, all at the same time and then frequently using expose to control it all.
 

bit density

macrumors 6502
Mar 5, 2004
398
2
Seattle
The truth is, I *never* notice the speed bump on the black mac-book. I would never buy one again, cuz I am cheap, and other than the blackness, there is little value.

Get the cheapest one available, really ask yourself the superdrive question (can you live with an external dvd writer). Buy ALL the ram you can.

If you really do need more, then seriously get more, the core 2's are better. They are faster, not just by clocking up faster, they are truly faster. But If I was in college, I would seriously be checking out the refurb macbooks, get ram, and update harddisk in a while. And then get on the annual upgrade wagon.
 

xfiftyfour

macrumors 68030
Apr 14, 2006
2,573
0
Clemson, SC
bit density said:
The truth is, I *never* notice the speed bump on the black mac-book. I would never buy one again, cuz I am cheap, and other than the blackness, there is little value.
... were you under the impression that the blackbook was supposed to be more powerful than its white counterpart?

the blackbook has the exact same specs (minus an extra 20gbs of HD space standard) as the high-end white macbook.
 

bit density

macrumors 6502
Mar 5, 2004
398
2
Seattle
xfiftyfour said:
... were you under the impression that the blackbook was supposed to be more powerful than its white counterpart?

the blackbook has the exact same specs (minus an extra 20gbs of HD space standard) as the high-end white macbook.
Sorry, I was comparing black v. cheapest. And if you discount the drive and superdrive differences (and I think you can), by upgrading harddrive memory and ignoring the optical (by cheap firewire version for those times you absolutely have to burn a DVD) then the 400 bucs is worth it, because the speed bump isn't. I don't believe that to be true with the C2D, where pretty much everything is going to be benefiting from the 4MB cache.
 

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