Getting ready for college

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Neb154, Jul 16, 2007.

  1. Neb154 macrumors member

    Feb 2, 2006
    So of course I am one of the many soon to be college freshman out there getting ready for the next four years. I am planning on buying a Macbook Pro, and the suitable accessories, and was wondering what people on the forum thought about my choices, and if they had any suggestions.

    Here it goes:

    Laptop: MacBook Pro, 15-inch, 2.2GHz, 160 GB HDD, 2 GB Ram (iWork pre-installed and AppleCare included)

    Laptop Case: Incase Canvas Sleeve for 15-inch MacBook Pro (Olive). I plan on taking a shoulder strap from another bag and clipping it on to this one for portability.

    External Hard Drive: Western Digital Passport 120 GB 2.5" 5400 RPM USB 2.0 (via Newegg)

    Mouse (For dorm and portability): Suggestions? Wireless?

    (For dorm): Suggestions? I've heard good things about Logitech.

    Printer (For dorm): I plan on using the Apple rebate, but I was wondering if there was a consensus on which printer was the best for <$100 from Apple.

    Anything else I might need? I was looking at an Airline Adaptor for longer plane rides.
  2. WannaGoMac macrumors 68020


    Feb 11, 2007
    External drive is small. You can get a 500gb external for about $90 nowadays.
    Oh you want a 3.5" , never mind....
  3. Neb154 thread starter macrumors member

    Feb 2, 2006
    I want a 2.5" (well, just something that is portable).
  4. jamesi macrumors 6502a


    Sep 13, 2005
    Davis CA
    having an external HD is great and all, but do you really need it? i wouldnt bother getting an external unless you want 250 GB or more. i got by on my 80 gig fine. for mice, its really a personal preference but def get something wireless, id just look at the logitech lineup. same thing with the speakers
  5. epochblue macrumors 68000


    Aug 12, 2005
    Nashville, TN
    If you're going to pick up an external drive, and you don't pick up software that automatically backs up your data, you're a fool. I use SmartBackup and only backup my home folder, but you could also use SuperDuper or CarbonCopyCloner and clone your drive.

    Like others have said, it's personal preference. I love my Bluetooth Mighty Mouse, though.

    I think the built-in speakers will do you just fine, unless you're looking to shake your walls. If you're going to college, I'd recommend some nice, sound-isolating headphones instead ;) Dorms are always loud...
  6. NtotheIzoo macrumors regular

    Jan 24, 2005
    Beware...I've read a few forums where the 15" PB and all MBP's could not power this harddrive without a Y-Cable.

    I bought this harddrive (160 GB edition, though) since it was all the local store had and my 12" PB was dying and I needed to back it up quick. It worked fine for my 12", however. I must say, though, this drive is gorgeous.
  7. xparaparafreakx macrumors 65816

    Jul 29, 2005
    Hard Drive: What is it for? You do not want to lug that thing around.

    Mouse: Mighty Mouse if you do not want to carry a dongle with logitech mice. If you do not mind the dongle, MX for the win.

    Speakers: Wait till you get to your dorm a get an idea about the speakers. I did not buy my speakers until I got there and figure out how big and strong I wanted one. As in head phones, I would recommend a few but they cost atlease $160.

    Printer: Please do not go inkjet. You will print black and white A LOT. A nice laser printer will take care of you for a while. I have not replaced my toner for 9 months.

    A few side things:

    Surge Protector/Extension cords.

    Your dorm may not allow wireless routers in case you may have to run ethernet cables around your room. Do not get ripped off by the bookstore and bring your own cable or order them before hand at monoprice. I made ethernet cable at work and used it in my dorm room.

    Eye TV if your not bring a tv. Usually dorms have a cable tv connection and eye tv would come in nice.

    Flash drive to back up your stuff and Mozy for online back ups. Back Up all your University emails, hw, lecture notes, atc on a flash drive and/or Mozy. Use dot mac if you have it.

    Bootcamp your computer. You have some software that runs PC only. As much as you want to run it on X, it does not. Get XP Pro as a Education VL License, about 60ish I checked or if your college/major department has a Campus License Agreement, you may be able to get most Microsoft software free. (server and visio and a few others do not count) That included XP Pro, Office 2007 for windows and Office 2004 for mac and soon 08. Do not bother asking for Vista as they may give you a KMS version of Vista.

    Do not torrent or limewire on school campus. If you plan to do any of that, try getting through megaupload or rapidshare. They check your upload to see you are not doing anything crazy.

    If you are a person that locks their computer, then get a lock. Sadly, student do lock it in the beginning but start getting lazy about it after a few days.

    If you are going to UC Davis, I can help you out since Im going to be a 2nd year and been working in their IT department.
  8. Neb154 thread starter macrumors member

    Feb 2, 2006
    I wanted one for backing up important documents / music files. I don't plan on "lugging it around" all the time, but I think it'd be nice to have a small portable HDD around.
  9. Neb154 thread starter macrumors member

    Feb 2, 2006
    The Hard Drive would be a portable way to back it up.

    How do you charge the Mighty Mouse if it doesn't have the dongle?

    Good idea on the speakers.

    I'll look for a laser jet one on Apple. I head that Cannon makes good ones, no?

    I'll buy an ethernet, but I think my roommates and I, in a quad, will probably get a TV for the common room.

    Not sure whether I will get a lock or not, I don't think, if you are reasonable, it is that bad of a problem at my school.

    I'm staying on the East Coast, but thanks anyways.

    I'll look into that, thanks.

    I'll check that software out, thanks.

    Hopefully though, Time Machine will work once Leopard comes out.
  10. killerrobot macrumors 68020


    Jun 7, 2007
    Almost every university requires you to have "anti-virus" software installed in order to connect to their network -- not sure how or if they ever really check that as far as macs, on pc's they'll disable you in three seconds.

    I recommend getting ClamXav. It's free, and you tell it what folders to search and it basically uses no system resources.

    Good luck and remember to balance partying with studying. :D
  11. wwooden macrumors 68000


    Jul 26, 2004
    Burlington, VT
    change the batteries. :). They last a while though.
  12. xparaparafreakx macrumors 65816

    Jul 29, 2005
    The univeristy might have a site license for you to get a copy of an antivirus. I do not think they check macs but PCs they always check because I am the one who goes out when a server finds a computer that does not have it.

    HP and brother make good laser printers.

    Since you are in the dorm, read the contract and what housing may screw you in. I knew one person that was screw by housing. Water was leaking and damaged his laptop. Housing said that he sign the contract saying that housing was not responsible.

    As for the mouse, I think you will stop bring that around with you unless you plan to play games during lecture.
  13. EricNau Moderator emeritus


    Apr 27, 2005
    San Francisco, CA
    Not sure if you meant "change" or "charge" but keep in mind...

    The batteries supplied with the Might Mouse are not rechargeable. Do not try to recharge them. :)
  14. killerrobot macrumors 68020


    Jun 7, 2007
    The problem is that it's either going to be Norton or McAffee, and those are the worst viruses anyone could install on any computer IMO -- there are lots of free good ones out there that don't hijack your OS and resources and I suggest using them over anything the school has to offer if it is required to have something installed.
  15. thebrain74 macrumors regular

    Feb 25, 2006
    I'm going to college with a MBP next year and I'm not here to tell you what to do, but this is what I'm bringing.
    I think for portable storage, a high capacity (2/4/8gig) flashdrive is suffient and this is what I am using. I am using the external HDD (250 gig, wish it was a little larger) for backing up my system and this HDD way stay in the dorm at least 90% of the time. It has a FW800 port on it so I get to use the one of the MBP for a superfast connection. USB really isn't a good HDD connection.
    For speakers I am bringing a set of Creative I-Trigue (3300 I think) for movies, public listening. However I am also bringing a pair of Shure e4c's (probably out of your price range, hell, they were outta mine too) for private listening/studying when the dorm is loud, etc.
    I saw the incase sleeve at the apple store and was not impressed with its flimsy nature, opted instead for a Booq Vyper sleeve, much more durable.
    Also bringing an eyetv (200/250 I can't remember which). The evety hybrid seems like a much nicer, smaller, convenient solution, but I already have one so...
    I would agree with the opinion here that the Trackpad's good enough for portable uses.

    last thing, I would highly recommend a powered USB hub because 2 usb ports really doesn't cut it
  16. xparaparafreakx macrumors 65816

    Jul 29, 2005
    thats why you go with the 17" MBP, 3 USB ports. But yes, a hub would be nice since you wont have to plug in your printer, hd and eyetv everytime you come back from class.
  17. thebrain74 macrumors regular

    Feb 25, 2006
    frankly I don't think 3 cuts it either (added I'm all too jiggy with the aircraft carrier size of the 17''). I have an 8 port hub at home hooked to my iMac. iMac ports are full most of the 6 back ports on the hub are used. The two top are left empty for quick plugins/outs and flashdrives.

    my .02
  18. MikeyTree macrumors 6502

    Jan 5, 2007
    For the bag, bear in mind that the inCase sleeve won't actually protect your MBP much. It's protect it from scratches, but not from bumps, drops, and being crushed by other books. The most protective probably the Brain Cell by Tom Bihn.

    There are some good quality noise-cancelling earphones for reasonable prices. I'd recommend the JVC HA-NC100 headphones, which you can get for about $50 on Amazon or If you want earbuds, I'd recommend Shure e2c ones, which are $65 on Amazon. Whatever you do, don't use Apple's earbuds. They let in so much exterior noise that you have to play them at an ear-damaging volume to hear anything, and you'll annoy everyone around you with sound leakage.

    While I agree with this, the Apple discount deal doesn't include any laser printers. If you plan on printing a lot of photos or color pictures, get a Canon pixma iP4300, otherwise get a HP combo printer/copier/scanner.

    Absolutely. Get a decent surge protector for your dorm, and get a portable one for when you're using your laptop away from home.
  19. xparaparafreakx macrumors 65816

    Jul 29, 2005
    When it comes to headphones, I mind goes to DJ headphones thus why they cost so much.
  20. wwooden macrumors 68000


    Jul 26, 2004
    Burlington, VT
    I meant what I said, change out the batteries as the die. I have a ton of rechargeable AA batteries that I use for everything ( keyboard/mouse, game controllers, remotes, toothbrush :) ). It's a good system for me and I have a couple each sets always charged and ready to go if any run out.
  21. Neb154 thread starter macrumors member

    Feb 2, 2006
    I have heard good things about the Western Digital MyBook. That one has Firewire 800, no?

    I was also looking at the Brother HL-2070N Laser Printer for a printer. I decided that I really don't need the ability to print color pages, and that I'd probably want a laser jet, as it would be both fast and cost efficient. Has anyone used that brand/model?

    I think I've also just decided to bring my wireless Mx mouse from home, and also get the Kensington Pocket Mouse to bring around with me (Great reviews, and even greater price).

    For a case, I think I have actually decided to get the Incase Nylon MacBook Sleeve 15-inch Black. Looks to be a good compromise between portability and protection, with the ability to hide the straps and fit into a bigger bag.

    Any suggestions on good USB hubs? Should I look into the wireless ones?
  22. fart macrumors regular

    Jul 7, 2007
    The Nation's Fartland
    get a decent monitor and an apple keyboard/ a real mouse

    the Dell 24 inch is a GREAT monitor, and you can use it with a game console too (you ARE taking a game console, right?!)
  23. Izzy macrumors member

    Dec 3, 2002
    Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
    I have an HP Officejet 7130 and I can't recommend it. HP's software doesn't work well on the Mac. I have to reboot into Windows every time I want to scan. The printer doesn't feed paper very well either.

    I have the Booq Vyper and I am happy with it. It has protected my Macbook from scratches over the past school year. It doesn't have a strap but I just put it in a larger bag with my books.
  24. zioxide macrumors 603


    Dec 11, 2006
    Mighty Mouse ****ing blows, get a bluetooth Logitech v270 for 35 bucks off newegg. (it's silver so it matches MBP perfectly)
  25. sain macrumors member

    Jul 17, 2007
    Not to hijack the thread, but on the topic of mice. Which of do yall recommend. Or are they essentially the same

    Kensington Ci65m
    Kensington Ci75m

    Right now Best Buy is having a deal on the Ci75m for $20 and the Circuit City the Ci65m for $10.

    Figured I'd get a response on here first. Mainly going to be used on a MBP for graphic design work. Not sure if that makes a difference.

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