Getting ready for the new academic year

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by sebkom, Aug 25, 2010.

  1. sebkom macrumors newbie

    Aug 25, 2010
    Hello everyone!

    My 3rd and final year as a university undergraduate is about to begin and I am getting ready for it by planning my purchases.

    The situation is like this:

    - I have been a proud owner of a MacBook Pro 15'' (10.5.8, 2.16GHz, Intel Core 2 Duo, 2 GB Ram and a hard drive of 150GB) for 3 years now.
    - I study Computer Science and I need a quite strong machine for my dissertation project.
    - I was also thinking that owning an extra screen would be quite cool as I am a movies fan. I desperately need an external hard drive as well.

    So, I was considering these two scenarios:

    - Keep my MB Pro, buy an external hard drive and an extra screen (wouldn't cost more than around 150 pounds/200 dolalrs) and buy the new MB Pro next year for my postgraduate studies.
    - Buy a new MB Pro and use the old one as a media center, an extra screen and a storage medium. The cost is about 10 times bigger but I'll keep this setup for next year.

    I just can't decide what's better though. Any advice/suggestions/personal stories to share?
  2. OutThere macrumors 603


    Dec 19, 2002
    I've had the same external monitor through 3's incredibly useful to have the extra screen real estate, and you can always use the screen and external hard drive with a new computer in the future. If the computer is powerful enough for now, get the addons and upgrade the computer later--you'll enjoy having the hard drive and screen with the new computer too.
  3. sebkom thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 25, 2010
    Truth is that this is the most possible to happen but sometimes I feel a stronger MB Pro would really help.
  4. yoyomaster macrumors regular

    Apr 5, 2009
    I don't know where you are going to grad school at, but you normally don't get approved to do your dissertation until the end of your 2nd year or so(first 2 are normally grad courses and such). If that is the case in your situation I would wait until you needed to start doing your research.
  5. alust2013 macrumors 601


    Feb 6, 2010
    On the fence
    I would say go for the external screen, and maybe some more RAM if your computer can use it. I believe it can use up to 4 gigs, but I could be wrong. You could also buy an external HDD, or throw in a new, bigger, faster internal HDD, and speed up your computer overall a bit too.
  6. LAS.mac macrumors 6502

    May 6, 2009
    Yeah, more RAM if possible; an extra screen, which will last for long time; and maybe an external HD, if your internal one is almost full.
    I normally buy a new laptop when I really need it, to take advantage of as new technology as possible.
    Also, take in mind that as soon as you'll buy a new laptop, Apple will release updates a week later...
  7. npropes macrumors member

    Jul 20, 2010
    The other thing to consider is the resources that your university provides. The school may have powerful machines that you can use during your dissertation.

    My recommendation is to max out the RAM on your current machine, buy an external monitor (make sure it is an IPS monitor) and a good external hard drive. You could also upgrade your internal hard drive to 500GB for very cheap. A 500GB 7200RPM drive is down to $75 on now. If you have a 5400RPM drive, you will notice a 10-15% performance increase in read/write times.

    The faster CPU will benefit you some. However, you're not going to be using a personal machine for work when you get a job. Don't spend the money if you don't need to spend it.
  8. sebkom thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 25, 2010
    I am on my final year and I am doing my dissertation project now.

    The MB Pro I currently have is 3 summers old and I am using it for about 6 hours everyday, I can't see it being able to adequately be with me for more than another year. So I am going to be in need of a new one for my postgraduate studies. That's something like 1800 pounds (as I will be able to use my current MB Pro as the extra screen and the storage machine). If I spend money to buy an extra screen, an additional hard drive and upgrade my current MB Pro, the total cost will go to 2000-2200 pounds.

    That's the way I see it and it gets quite confusing. To me it's either buy a new MB Pro now and use the old one to support it or buy a new MB Pro after two years. The second choice sounds better but will my current one be able to stay with me for two more years of extensive daily use? :p

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