Confused student in search of direction: i need a new notebook...


macrumors newbie
Original poster
May 19, 2006
Let me start off with a few disclaimers:

1. I’m too this place
2. I could be a switcher, I don’t hate PC’s but the main reasons I like apple is because everything just looks so damn nice!
3. I’m being given a new computer this year for my high school graduation (I don’t need one, my Acer TravelMate 803 lci is in fine condition but its three years old)
4. As I said mac’s look so nice so there is some sort of style factor for me (I will not buy an ugly computer, I’m sorry, I’m just shallow…)
5. I really wish Mac’s just stayed with the G4’s in the laptops because now you have to buy an intel (because everything is being phased out and on the brink of all the new OS’s and technology).
6. I’m not stupid when it comes to computers but I’m not a wiz…

That all said, I’m being given a new laptop (my acer works fine I suppose but im not gunna turn down this offer). And I understand that Macrumor forums are going to be crowded by mac users but regardless I look to you guys for advice.

Obviously I need a computer that a student going to a major college needs (pretty much some form of Office type software). I do like the occasional video game but I rarely set out and buy a game. I look for free betas online or take games friends give me, I’m not a serious gamer but I want to be able to play a game every now and again (I would label myself a step above the casual gamer). Size matter to me, my computer now is about 6 pounds, 13 x 10.4 x1.2 and I wouldn’t want anything bigger than that really. 6 pounds is the most I’d even consider.

I guess the only reason I haven’t chosen is because of all the tlak about the MacBook (and the pro’s) I don’t wanna deal with the heating thing (my acer gets warm in the front where I rest my palm and I hate it). Furthermore, integrated graphics rub me the wrong way. Are these thin gs going to be obsolete in 2 years? Vista wont run on any graphics card bellow 128mb let alone integrated form what I’ve read. So that takes away all GMA950’s on PC’s. I guess I’m wondering if Apple would dare do this: make an os that can’t run on their own machines.

So far I like the Sony SZ series (although its pricey), MacBook, MacBook Pro (15.4”), asus (although I know little about them) or maybe a dell (but my brother has a dell and I kinda just don’t like em)

Thanks for the help, I’m sure this is a little jumbled but that’s because I’m really confused what I should buy. I’m not picky but I want something that looks nice, is smaller than my current computer, and can keep up (even if its at the back of the pack) with technology…

Thanks in advanced


macrumors newbie
Original poster
May 19, 2006
By the way, i would love to wait if i could but it may not be an option, it being a gift and all...

but if i could wait is it going to be worth it, when does the next Mac OS come out, when does mermon come out, are they going to make a smaller computer anytime soon in aluminum ( i wanted a 12inch pb g4 but then we had to swtich to intel...which will be good if i can wiat i suppose)


macrumors 6502a
Jul 19, 2003
high-rise in beautiful bethesda
Scratch Dell of your list man. The other computers you're looking at are high end machines. Dell doesn't make the cut. Use a Dell for two minutes and you can see what I mean - the build quality just isn't there.


macrumors 6502a
Aug 30, 2004
West Monroe, Louisiana
what's your major? I noticed that you're going to be using the Office suite frequently. I'm a business major and that's why i'm going with the 17" MBP. I run Excel in class all the time on my 4.6lb 12" PB and when i get home its great because of the 26" Samsung monitor its hooked up to, but in class its hell. It will be so nice to have the power and screen presence of a 17 running 2 Excel pages scaled down, but still readable, side by side and Word/internet browser open, it will be great. 17" MBP in T-minus 6 days.


macrumors 65816
Jan 17, 2006
New York City
Mac OSX (Tiger) is the bomb. You think you're happy in the windows world; you're not. I also made the switch just before college (i'm a freshman), and it's been so nice to have a computer at college that is 100% reliable.

Since integrated graphics bother you, I'd go with the 15" MacBook Pro! It's a beautiful machine, i'm typing on one right now, and you can always boot into windows for your gaming.

Advice: RAM = the most important thing on macs, ever. Try to get a minimum of 1 GB in there.

I hope you take the plunge - it's one of the best decisions i've ever made, no joke :)

Sun Baked

macrumors G5
May 19, 2002
Intel or PPC, it's still the OS that matters -- not the CPU.

If you are worried about Vista requirements, and still like the Mac OS -- buy a MacBook without integrated graphics a decent GPU.

As far as becoming obsolete with a future OS 10.6 -- likely it will still run on a machine you buy, but some of the eye candy may not work.

Plus there are always hacks to install the OS on old orphaned Macs.

Most OS X apps will continue to run, since many apps don't require the newest OS releases.


macrumors G4
May 26, 2005
Working for MI-6
I would advise you to go with a 2GHz 15" MacBook Pro (only because it sounds like integrated graphics would not be the best for you). :)

Spanky Deluxe

macrumors 601
Mar 17, 2005
London, UK
If I were you I'd try to reach for a 15" MBP. Its got a great screen, fast processor, good graphic, superdrive, etc, etc.

You mentioned you don't play games much but sometimes you play the occasional beta or something. The integrated graphics in the MacBook will be fine for stuff like that right now, just don't expect any miracles. However, you're going to want this laptop for at least three years, I'm guessing, so if you want to have any kind of reasonable performance in three years times in any form of game you're going to want an MBP. You're going to want at least 1GB of RAM too.
Also, although other manufacturers might have tempting and also very nice looking machines you have to bear in mind that with the new Apple laptops you can run OS X AND Windows. So if push comes to shove and you hate OS X and can't live without Windows then you can always run that. You won't want to but at least you *can*. You should also factor in that Apple stuff holds its value far better than anything else. This is likely to continue even with the Intel chips, they won't hold their value as much as they did in the past but they will still hold their value way better than Dells for example.

One last thing, you can get a nice 10% discount(ish) if you're a student, so the people buying you the 'gift' might be interested in that!! ;) Get Applecare too. Always get extended warranty on laptops. *Always*


macrumors member
Oct 5, 2004
Hi Jnkm32.

I understand your dilemma and here are my two cents as an Asus owner.

Last year my wife needed a new computer and we decided to get an iMac G5. It has been awesome for a gazillion number of reasons, one of them is the fact that nowadays I do not waste my time fixing/cleaning/patching this machine as I did with her dead PC. Also, it worked out of the box and it has been truly perfect so far.

Then, by the beginning of this year, I needed a new laptop for my work (simulation and visualization of 3D proteins and its drug bindings). It was not easy to resist the release of Macbook Pro but I decided to get an Asus (model Z70Va 2.13GHz, 15.4" WSXGA+ (1680x1050), 1Gb RAM, 100Gb 5400rpm, ATI MOBILITY™ RADEON™ PCI-E X700 w/128MB, 5.7 Pounds, I bought from it was an awesome experience). There are some of reasons why I kept myself far from these new Apple models and here are a few of them :

a. Heat. Yes, I agree with you. My laptop is not warm at all. I really do not like the heat from the keyboard and after stopping by at Apple store some times, it was not pleasant to realize how hot their lappies are. Too bad. I will wait for the next revision when this will be hopefully fixed.

b. Construction. Well, there is nothing much to say other than "solid as a rock". Dell is nowhere close to most Asus machines. I almost got one Sony but I did not like the cheap wireless switch and the bunch of crap software they install on every new computer. IBM/Lenovo were excellent but too expensive to be considered. I could not be happier than today. This Z70Va (also known as M6N) is light and solid. Its video card is also excellent.

I know how to handle/avoid pitfalls in order to keep my laptop safe.
Yes, my PC is still prompt to be doomed with all sort of problems but using common sense and precaution you can do it. If not, you would be happy to know that Kubuntu (the KDE version of Ubuntu Linux) runs completely fine, out of the box, no tweekings needed. The installation was so easy that I even thought I had OSX for some seconds...well, to tell you the truth, here is something that you might be interested to know. I followed on tip (check youserlf this on the last Linux Journal) that allows to setup a common area for my Firefox/Email/whatever settings for BOTH windows XP and linux. Therefore, I do not have to move or update my bookmarks, emails, whatever from one place to another. In other words, if I am using Linux today and add a new bookmark, when I reboot to Windows this bookmark will be there. No duplicated information means more disk space. This is not possible with the dual boot solution provided by Apple or the virtualization scheme by Parallels.

Ok, time to wrap up : this is just my opinion, of course. I think OSX is awesome BUT I would not be happy to buy any Macbook to use as Windows machines since they will be cripped (forget using its integrated webcam and prepare yourself for the driver hunting) and their heat is horrible. I can not support the blind faith that style wins over confort. I feel sad to say this but Macbooks are not worth yet (OSX is). I recall that I was unsure about getting an Asus (there were not display models anywhere around my place) but I jumped right after seeing one model by myself. You may want to check some opinions at even though everybody agrees on this point. Even Apple does.

Good luck,



macrumors Penryn
Dec 27, 2002
Location Location Location
An Asus wouldn't be a bad option. Dell's 12" model (the 610m, I think) is pretty sweet, but for the same price, you could get a 13.3" MB. My friend's older Dell can run CounterStrike, and it has an integrated video rather than a dedicated GPU. It's also older and slower than the MBs out today. I'm guessing you'll be able to play most games on a new MB, just not with all the detail and not at full res, and especially not games made in 3 years (2009).


macrumors newbie
Original poster
May 19, 2006
hey thanks for all the insight in a short amount of time...

its not so much that im worried about liking OS X or playing games. My main concern is if i should try and hold out (as i said it may not be a choice) because my curretn computer is fine. I know i like OS x and i like dual booting and thats great, i want an apple, but if i have to buy now i may be looking at asus or sony.

i know technology never stays in one spot (damn thing) but i mean my current computer works ok...should i try and hold off untill say septemebr?

by the way ill be a math major and economics major but ihave no idea...i got 2 years to chose that and i'm not to worried...


macrumors 6502a
May 10, 2005
Congratulations on graduation. I just graduated from Uni today. Gooood feeling.