First Mac computer....FINALLY PURCHASED

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Vivid.Inferno, Oct 25, 2008.

  1. Vivid.Inferno macrumors 6502

    Vivid.Inferno

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2008
    Location:
    Ottawa, ON
    #1
    I know you guys hate the "What Should I get" threads, but I really do need some advice.

    I've never owned a Mac before, so this is all new to me, and the last laptop I bought ended up really screwing me over (I bought it in August 07, and was told it was really good, and it'd last me until I graduate in 2010...it started not working well last April-ish...takes about 5 minutes to get to the log in screen, and after logging in another 5-10 minutes for Vista to load - I had the RAM upgrade, did a clean install, etc etc.)

    Anyway, I've decided that since I really don't like Vista, time to give the opposition a try. This site was recommended to me by a friend, and I've been addicted to it since July.

    So to the computer. I can't decide between the 2.4 MB, or the 2.53 MBP. Originally I was set on the MBP because of the bigger screen and the better graphic cards. I figure the MBP will become even better once Snow Leopard comes out. That is until I went to Future Shop (where they only had the new MBs), and actually used/held a new MB. The smaller screen size really isn't as bad as I thought.

    I am a college student, taking nursing. I do a lot of slide shows and word processing, I have 17GB of music, a bunch of music videos, I watch movies, do a lot of web browsing, email, msn, light photoshoping when I have the time, and I would love to be able to play some games when I have time.

    Games wise I play Sim City, I want to get Spore (looks so fun lol), and I want to get Sins of a Solar Empire.

    Now obviously with Sins and Sim City I'll need to install paralells and XP, so the computers ability to handle that will need to be taken into consideration.

    I take my computer to classes (Wed, Thurs, and Fri). My current laptop (the dying one) is a 15.4" screen toshiba that weights 6lbs.

    I'm sorry for the length of this post, but I figure the more details I can give you, the better the advice you can give me. If I think of anything I didn't cover I'll post it.

    P.S. I need recommendations on office type programs. Should I get iWork '08 or Office '07? Both? My school uses Office '07, will I have any compatibility issues? And I will need a case. I know from browsing the forums that they aren't any made for the redesigned MB/Ps, but if you could suggest a brand or anything.

    Thanks guys and gals.

    Edit: More info lol

    I don't have an apple store anywhere near me (the closest is in Toront, which is 4.5 hours away), so this computer will be bought at either Future Shop or Best Buy. With FS or BB I can return it if I have a screen issue or battery cover issue, or anything else I've seen listen on the forum. I don't know if I should get the FS or BB warrenty or Apple Care. I don't think it'll make a difference time wise (for me not having the computer), so I'll probably get Apple Care.

    Thanks again
     
  2. scienide09 macrumors 65816

    scienide09

    Joined:
    May 5, 2007
    Location:
    Canada
    #2
    Couple of things:
    -Based on your usage, you'd probably be fine with a MacBook. Except for the gaming, the MBs can handle all those things. Hopefully someone here will be able to provide more info on the gaming side.

    -As for your buying options, purchase online/on the phone from Apple. They'll ship direct (for free), plus, as a college student you'll qualify for Apple's education discount, something that isn't honoured by Futureshop/Bestbuy. If you're considering a warranty, get the AppleCare.
     
  3. Mjmar macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    May 20, 2008
    #3
    I was in the same dilemma, but with the previous generation notebooks... All I can say is that as long as screen size is not the main issue for you, the MacBook is better. The portability of the MacBook is more useful than you think, especially in college. Also, for the games that you mentioned the MacBook will have more than enough GPU power. I went with the MacBook because it was the smartest in my case, and I think it is in yours too. However, if you think that the screen size will be too small you may regret not going with the Pro. I had a 15.4" Toshiba before I switched to the MacBook. It took a little getting used to, but now I enjoy the portability for taking around my house. 13.3" really is the sweet spot for size.

    Edit: If you go to Best Buy you may be able to get a student discount... I got 10% of my Mac when I got it there. I'm not sure about the warranty though.
     
  4. Demosthenes X macrumors 68000

    Demosthenes X

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2008
    #4
    I bought a MacBook when I started university two years ago and never looked back. The new one will do everything you ask it too and more. I would actually go with the 2.0 MacBook - that extra 0.4 Ghz isn't going to be missed when doing word processing or internet, and hardly missed even in Photoshop. I run PS Elements just fine on my 2.0 BlackBook. The form factor is what sold it for me. I used an iBook throughout high school, and loved the size. The MBP is great, but it's not quite as portable, which is important for a student imo.

    RE: Office. There are free alternatives, like OpenOffice.org and NeoOffice. But I think the Student/Teacher version of MS Office is only like $99, and it's worth having just so you don't have to worry about compatibility and stuff. I know some of my courses actually teach to Excel, too, so I think Office is a necessity.
     
  5. Hawkeye411 macrumors 68000

    Hawkeye411

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2007
    Location:
    Canada EH!!!
    #5
    Try installing Windows XP on your current laptop. It will be fine for the things you need to do while your in school and it will save you a bunch of money. Then you can treat yourself to a new shinny Apple computer when you finish school and get a job ;)
     
  6. Vivid.Inferno thread starter macrumors 6502

    Vivid.Inferno

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2008
    Location:
    Ottawa, ON
    #6
    Good advice, but I already tried that, and it didn't work (I have no idea why, because I thought it would have).

    I asked at Future Shop and they said they'd give me the Student Discount as long as they could varify Apple Offered it.

    The only reason I'm slightly against ordering direct from Apple online is because if there's an issue I can't take it back and exchange it. From my understanding I'd have to send it back to them, wait for them to confirm there's an issue, then replace it. It's why I'm leaning towards BB or FS (they are next to each other, so which store doesn't matter).
     
  7. Hawkeye411 macrumors 68000

    Hawkeye411

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2007
    Location:
    Canada EH!!!
    #7
    Actually, in Canada, they ask you to take it to your nearest certified Apple repair centre. If you purchase it from Futureshop, you can take it to any Apple repair centre. Ordering online shouldn't make any difference.

    Cheers.
     
  8. Vivid.Inferno thread starter macrumors 6502

    Vivid.Inferno

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2008
    Location:
    Ottawa, ON
    #8
    I mean if there's an obvious defect with the hardware (ie/ dead pixials, defect battery cover, etc), I can exchange it within 14 days (at Future Shop). Other then that I know I'd have to return it to apple. But that is good to know, thanks :D
     
  9. Vivid.Inferno thread starter macrumors 6502

    Vivid.Inferno

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2008
    Location:
    Ottawa, ON
    #9
    So far the general consensus seems to be that the regular macbook should meet my needs? But we aren't sure about the games?

    I should mention that I multitask a lot. I always have MSN open, always have iTunes open, normally have email open, while doing word processing. Or if I'm photoshopping Ill have photoshop, music, msn, and web open.

    Any other advice? I'm still really undecided, and I need this computer ASAP
     
  10. Vivid.Inferno thread starter macrumors 6502

    Vivid.Inferno

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2008
    Location:
    Ottawa, ON
    #10
    I just thought everyone would like to know I just purchased my first Mac. My final decision:

    Macbook Pro:
    2.53 GHz
    4gb RAM
    320gb HDD

    etc, etc...

    I have plenty of questions. I'm on my old Toshiba right now (I haven't unboxed the MBP yet :p)

    So my main question. I have 17gb of Music. I have some DVD + R discs, is the best way to get my music over to backup my library to these discs, and then install the disks in iTunes on the MBP?

    My second, equally as important question. I'm a college student, and my college uses Office '07. What's my best bet, iWork, or Mac Office? I quess the main question is, if I get iWork, will I have compatibility issues? The guy at Future Shop said to get Mac Office, but part of me thinks he just wanted a bigger commission (he was an ass).

    On the bright side. I went to Best Buy first, and he checked the stock at all the stores in Ottawa, and none of them had the MBP 2.53GHz. I went to Future Shop, and they had the only one in stock at any of the FS in Ottawa....SCORE! lol
     
  11. O. Frabjous-Dey macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2006
    #11
    The recommendations that people are making are spot on: a MacBook is perfect for you unless you really want to game. It's an annoying place to be (and I understand - I had to make the same choice for my first Mac in 2006, as a sometimes-gamer).

    The 9400 will handle many games with the graphical settings turned down, including Spore, which has unusually friendly system requirements. I'd recommend a MacBook for your first Mac. You can sell it next year if it turns out not to be enough. Use the extra cash to buy an external monitor and hard drive.
     
  12. O. Frabjous-Dey macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2006
    #12
    Oops, I missed your last post. Guess you made your purchase!

    Copying your music through DVD+R is as good a method as any other. At some point, I think you're going to want to have an external hard drive for storage + Time Machine backup. You could copy the music through that, too.
     
  13. Big Boss Man macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2006
    #13
    Personally I would have looked for help with getting XP running on your old machine. You should still do this so you can sell it and help offset the cost of that nice, new MBP.
     
  14. iwuzbord macrumors 6502

    iwuzbord

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2008
    Location:
    New York City
    #14
    personally, i suggest not using the DVD-R disks for moving the music. it really is a pain. i suggest getting an ethernet cable and linking the two through that. When i had to switch my files, i had TV shows and movies as well (30-50 GB, cant remember exact number), and i just used an ethernet connection and it took me just one day. and the copy was in the background!

    as for the office/iwork issue, mainly its preference. if you do a forum search, you can find dozens o threads on it and a bunch of different opinions. Personally, i love iWork, IMO it seamlessly fits into my mac environment.

    congrats on your purchase! you wont regret it!
     
  15. Mackilroy macrumors 68040

    Mackilroy

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2006
    #15
    Good choice with the MBP, especially regarding gaming. Though I wouldn't try Sins of a Solar Empire under Parallels, you'd be better off running it under Boot Camp.
     
  16. Vivid.Inferno thread starter macrumors 6502

    Vivid.Inferno

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2008
    Location:
    Ottawa, ON
    #16
    I actually do have an external hard drive somewhere....thanks for the tip =]

    I already have a buyer :p

    I just finished copying everything to the DVD-R. I only have the 16gb of music, no movies or anything to copy. As for the iWork thing, I'm good ith iWork (it's cheaper :p), my only worry is it won't be compatible with the files coming from my college.

    Thanks. I was going to ask about Boot Camp vs. Parallels.

    Thanks everyone!
     
  17. mathcolo macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2008
    Location:
    Massachusetts
    #17
    Yeah. OP: My experience with graphics-intensive applications in Parallels has been... very bad. I wouldn't suggest doing it. Boot Camp would be a much better solution.
     
  18. borjasanz macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2008
    #18
    There will be no compatibility issues, unless you really use Excel a lot, which I doubt by your career. If you have to use Excel, I think most of the simple things can be handled by Numbers.

    Good luck with your MBP
     
  19. budkid macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2008
    #19
    Buy the 2.4 Macbook at a bestbuy. You can still get the student discount there.
     
  20. ditzy macrumors 68000

    ditzy

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2007
    #20
    If you only use windows for gaming I wouldn't bother with parallels. I've found that it is pretty much the only thing that you can't do with parallels.
    Boot camp would work better for your needs and it wont cost you any more than you have already spent. (Apart from having to buy a copy of windows which you would have had to do with parallels anyway.)
     
  21. Vivid.Inferno thread starter macrumors 6502

    Vivid.Inferno

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2008
    Location:
    Ottawa, ON
    #21
    Which leads me to one of my many new questions. My old tosihba came with a Vista Home Basic disk....can I just install that? I want it to be a legit version of windows, keep that in mind.
     
  22. LotusLord macrumors 6502

    LotusLord

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2008
    Location:
    The Capital of the Land of Cheese and Beer
    #22
    No, because it's almost definitely not just an install disc, but a restore disc.
     
  23. dXTC macrumors 68020

    dXTC

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2006
    Location:
    Up, up in my studio, studio
    #23
    No, you can't; during the activation process, Vista will notice that the particular copy of Vista you're attempting to install has been installed already on a substantially different machine.

    When XP or Vista is activated, it sends the Product Key and a string of bits indicating your computer's basic installed hardware (called a "hardware hash") to a Microsoft server. The next time XP/Vista is activated using that product key, Microsoft checks it against the previous hardware hash. If enough bits are different, Microsoft won't allow activation.

    LotusLord makes a good point about the restore disc issue. Most brand-name computer manufacturers (including Apple) bundle a restore disc tied to that model, rather than a universal Windows install disc. Your MacBook Pro's discs are tied to that model and will not install on other Macs.
     
  24. snberk103 macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2007
    Location:
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    #24
    Congratulations! Once you get it setup the way you like, you should be very happy.

    Regarding Office suites. It really depends on what your college demands are. My wife had to get MS Office for Mac because the Masters course she was in had very stringent formatting and styles requirements. She tried to fight this MS tax, but in end had to get Office. For high end writing and document sharing, MS Office will likely be your best bet. However, if your work is not quite so complex, then iWork and NeoOffice will likely be all you need. Its what I use. Everyone is going to weigh in and give you advice, but really the best idea is to use the trail versions of MS office and iWork. NeoOffice is free, though they ask for a donation. Check around your school for other Mac users and see what they have had to do.

    There is also an Apple store in Montreal. I'm on the west coast, but I believe its not really closer than T.O. However, it does give you options.

    Good Luck
     
  25. Vivid.Inferno thread starter macrumors 6502

    Vivid.Inferno

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2008
    Location:
    Ottawa, ON
    #25
    Thanks, Montreal is closer. It's about 2.5-3 hours away. Either way not worth the gas lol.

    Ok, this topic has been beaten to death, but I did a search and couldn't find anything :confused:

    I used msn on my other computer, which is my best bet for a mac option? I downloaded MSN Mac, and it froze my MBP! I went to apple.com and went to apps, tried to download Aidum, and the link didn't work.
     

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