First time mac buyer

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by William7, Jan 16, 2012.

  1. William7 macrumors member

    Jan 16, 2012
    Ok so im going off to college next fall and probably wont buy anything until then but i have some questions i liked answers because i like to do a lot of research before i buy something expensive. I was looking at and have decided i want a macbook pro over any other mac for the portability.

    ive been reading forums here at macrumors and have seen that noone likes to buy their RAM from apple. Why? (i have never opened a computer though its something that interests me greatly) i would buy it from apple so as to not break my computer and void my warranty in one fell swoop but is it that beneficial?:confused:

    Second while looking at the apple care i saw that if i bought it with my mbp it would also cover a thunderbolt display if i bought them together for no extra charge but first i need to know is apple care worth it? and second is the tb display worth 1k extra?:confused:

    Third i can buy a time capsule for automatic backup and i beleive it would also be covered by AC. but first is tc worth it?

    Finally i priced out the high end 15' mbp and the 17' and realized i can get the exact same specs for the same price minus the extra 200$ or so for the base 17' any suggestions?:cool:
  2. lolwut89 macrumors member

    Jan 13, 2012
    I carried my Toshiba laptop around with me a lot (~5.4 pounds) in college. I graduated last spring. From that I honestly can say that I wanted a lighter laptop which is why I got the Macbook Air, which I will need a new laptop when I head to graduate school next fall.

    That being said, remember that with the 15 and 17 inch laptops, the weight increases. I almost was thinking about getting a 17" gaming laptop from ASUS, but if you go to a best buy and actually pick one up (for a good reference pick up any 17" laptop) you'll realize it will be too heavy to carry.

    Apple tends to overcharge for RAM. RAM Kits can be bought online a lot cheaper. From my usage on my Macbook Air, it seems that 4GB is "just right" for what I need. If you wanted to do video editing I would recommend 8GB. Whether you buy it from a configuration or do it yourself is up to you. I only use this laptop for general use, nothing like video games and such and I've used around 3.1GB at one point.

    Applecare you can buy later down the road before your original warranty expires. I'm going to buy it because Apple support is very decent and I'm unsure of the reliability of the Macbook Air. When tech fails usually it happens very early or very late. Macbook Air is more of an "unproven" tech to me so I think it'll be worth it. For you it might be worth it because if your laptop breaks in college you won't need to pay an arm and a leg for repairs. You might even get a discount. Because I'm a government employee I get the same discount as education users do and for me it's only an extra $184 instead of $249. I think you need separate applecare for a thunderbolt display.

    Time machine can work with ANY external HDD.. though I'm not sure what features you will lose. I think time capsule is a bad deal.
  3. jj48 macrumors regular

    Oct 15, 2011
    Make sure you've given consideration to the MBA as well, they're great machines too. The SSD in them is brilliant.


    I got extended warranty of 3 years with my recent education purchase for free. I didn't get applecare because for me I don't think it's worth it. Others do. It's a matter of choice.

    With regards to the TB display, it depends on your usage of it and how much money you're willing to blow on a display. I bought a cheapish Samsung 24" monitor/HDTV for about £150 and for me it's perfect because I can use it with my xbox and the screen is a better size for my use. Then again if you like glossy displays and want an aesthetically pleasing piece of tech to go with your MBP then go for it!

    Same story as the TB display. There are cheaper alternatives. I got a 500GB external drive for Christmas, and for my usage it's perfect as a time machine backup. I'm guessing it didn't cost much either.

    If you're interested in 'portability' as you say you are at the top, I would seriously think twice about getting the 17". It's not a light machine if you're planning to carry it around with you to classes etc. Especially if you get a TB display (or any display) on top of that. You won't need that extra screen real estate most of the time, and when you do you'll be in your room with your display at the ready!


    To add to my earlier post, I would also urge you to think about throwing down nearly $4000 on apple stuff. The chances are that you will love Macs and OS X and everything about your new toys, but what if you don't? Maybe start off just with the MBP and think consider TB display + Time capsule when you get to university and you know what your usage will be.
  4. Consultant macrumors G5


    Jun 27, 2007
    17" Apple MacBook Pro weights the same as many 15" PC laptop. I carry the 17" around every day.

    TB display is worth it for some people, especially those with TB MBA who want to access firewire drives.
  5. William7 thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 16, 2012
    Apple hardware coverage

    The AppleCare Protection Plan provides global repair coverage, both parts and labor, from Apple-authorized technicians around the world — perfect whether you work at a desk or travel with your Mac. Apple hardware coverage includes:
    Your Mac computer
    Included accessories such as the power adapter
    Apple memory (RAM)
    AirPort Express Base Station, AirPort Extreme Base Station, or Time Capsule2
    MacBook Air SuperDrive (for MacBook Air only)
    Apple display purchased with your Mac

    i have copied this straight from the apple website. and it is 349 without education pricing. and it appears the only way to get education pricing is if i buy it at the time of purchase of mbp and it is then 239 dollars
  6. Consultant macrumors G5


    Jun 27, 2007
    Students and teachers can receive education discounts.
  7. robbie12345 macrumors 6502

    Nov 5, 2011
    United States
    so what u forgot to tell us is ur price range considering ur willing to buy ram and a tb display it us probably somewhat high

    the mbp will probably be updated by then with a new case and ivy bridge so i would hang in for that

    the tb display isn't really worth it with much higher es displays and oled coming to the market
  8. Rokeneer macrumors regular

    Sep 27, 2011
    I would say go with a 15" Quad Core (Wait for the new model to come out in the spring due to much better processors).

    Apple Care is worth it, but the display isn't. If you want a larger display, pick up a $200 tv on black friday.

    Time capsule may be worth it. If you want to have the wireless network and hard drive capability, go for it. Your call.

    Finally, for the memory, order it from Other World Computing (OWC aka They have great instruction videos that will show you everything you need to do step by step. Note though, that when you order the memory you should also order their $5 toolkit for the screwdriver you will need.
  9. emac82 macrumors 6502

    Feb 17, 2007
    NB, Canada
    I would recommended saving your money and buy a monitor from Samsung as opposed to a Thunderbolt display...There are many great monitors out there at a fraction of the cost...

    I like the Western Digital external hard drives..I have a 500GB MyBook and it has treated me well (knock wood)...

    I have a 13" MBP, personally I would never buy a 17", too big for my lap, and to take around....

    Applecare is a great investment, especially for a University student who might not be able to fork out tons of cash to fix a computer...I had it on my last MacBook, and it got me a new battery when the other one bit the dust, and a new screen....easily worth it...
  10. jmpnop macrumors 6502a


    Aug 8, 2010
    If you don't need a 27" monitor, you can look at Samsung/Dell which cost a fraction of TB display. They may not have the same quality as Apple or high-end Dell monitors, but they offer great value for money and is sufficient for general use.

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