Grad student thinking of switching from PC to Mac

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by LongDistance, May 23, 2011.

  1. LongDistance macrumors newbie

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    Mar 6, 2011
    #1
    The title pretty much says it. I've had my current laptop for four years (got me all the way through college). My PC hasn't given out yet and I don't have extra money to just throw around when I want so I won't be making the leap just yet. However, I've read numerous sites, forum topics, and articles and now I thought I'd take it to the users themselves. There are some obvious draws to the Macbook for me: reliability of apples products, apple support (which I know is good because I've been an iPod user for years), and less malware/virus threat than PCs, etc.

    However, I want your input, preferably from those who have owned both a PC and Macbook (or any Mac really). Is the switch worth it? What are the drawbacks of the Mac? I've only heard positives compared to the PC and I'm sure that switching to a Mac has to have some downside, no matter how small. What are the benefits? Pro, cons... you get it.

    So you know what I'll be using it for: I'm going to be a grad student so I'll definitely need Microsoft Word. Also, I listen to a lot of music and generally a lot of web browsing. I'm not a gamer or anything so I won't be concerned with that stuff. I am concerned with losing access to some programs I use regularly like Youtube Downloader which I'm going to check and see if it's available for Mac but these are minor details.

    Thanks for reading this and I'd appreciate any honest feedback. :)
     
  2. Repo macrumors 6502a

    Repo

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    #2
    Unless you need (or strongly prefer) the OSX platform, I'd say stick with Windows.

    This comparison may help.
     
  3. Apple OC macrumors 68040

    Apple OC

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    #3
    for a Grad student I see no downside to switching to Mac ... for Microsoft Word, get Office for Mac
     
  4. Repo macrumors 6502a

    Repo

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    #4
    A Grad student could start saving money by not buying a Mac.
     
  5. Apple OC macrumors 68040

    Apple OC

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    #5
    with the cost of an education being 10s of thousands ... an extra $500 on a MBP is money well spent
     
  6. TheSideshow macrumors 6502

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    Apr 21, 2011
    #6
    When i bought my HP Envy 14 it was $1100 versus $2600 for a Macbook pro 15
     
  7. Repo macrumors 6502a

    Repo

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    #7
    Increasing debt is not money well spent.
     
  8. LongDistance, May 23, 2011
    Last edited: May 23, 2011

    LongDistance thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Mar 6, 2011
    #8
    No offense, but I don't believe I asked for anyone's input on HOW I spend my money. Thanks for your input but that was totally unnecessary.

    Perhaps I should elaborate. My current PC is slowing down and is a bit of a pain sometimes. Not only that, I'm running Vista which is buggy as hell. I'm looking at the Macbook not the Macbook Pro for both cost and the fact that I don't feel I need the Pro. Thanks for all of the advice so far. Anyone have anything to add? Personal experience perhaps?
     
  9. Apple OC macrumors 68040

    Apple OC

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    #9
    well now you can get a 13 MBP for $1000
     
  10. Repo macrumors 6502a

    Repo

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    #10
    Those weren't directed at you personally, but your overreaction made me lol.
     
  11. TheSideshow macrumors 6502

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    #11
    Can you get a Core i5, dedicated ATI 5650, with a 160GB SSD and 6GB RAM with that $1000 13" MBP?
     
  12. LongDistance thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Mar 6, 2011
    #12
    That was not an overreaction but a response to your unwarranted opinion which seemed directed at the OP which is me. How fortunate that I made you 'lol'. :rolleyes:
     
  13. Apple OC macrumors 68040

    Apple OC

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    #13
    most grad students would do fine with a 13 MBP ... plus the machine you mentioned runs Windows and bloatware
     
  14. Repo macrumors 6502a

    Repo

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    Feb 11, 2009
    #14
    Unwarranted? :rolleyes:

    I believe the entire purpose of quoting in a forum is to avoid the problem of misdirecting responses, a concept you appear to lack.

    After reading your original post I fail to see how your generic, open-ended questions exclude the financial pros/cons of a Mac.
     
  15. LongDistance thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #15
    Wow. Was that necessary? Thank you for again responding. I apologize that someone posted before I could post my response to you and thus screwed up the direction of my response. My first reaction was to act like a child and say something immature to you but I won't. I don't know you and I can't know your true intentions. So I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and believe that you're not really intending to sound rude. This is the internet after all and I'm not interested in pursuing an argument. I apologize if I've given you the wrong impression. However, I respectfully disagree. I'm just interested in different opinions between the two laptops. I have no interest in hearing opinions on the cost differences. If you have anything to offer about the other, I'd love to know. I just wanted some honest input about people's experiences between the two laptops.
     
  16. Repo macrumors 6502a

    Repo

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    #16
    Which is perfectly fine. Just make note of it from the beginning. Please also be aware that in any given thread not every response is targeted towards the OP, as there are often sub-discussions.
     
  17. 63dot macrumors 603

    63dot

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    #17
    It all depends what you study.

    The first year I went to law school was the first year the school was able to interface with Macs on the wireless network and a lot of proprietary legal software only came compatible with Windows XP. The next year some students made a huge stink (apparently nationwide) and just about everything also worked with Mac OS X. Unfortunately, some legal tutoring software which helped greatly with test question outlines still only worked with Windows XP (and 98/2000).

    I found that some graduate engineering students from smaller schools had the same problem if they had a Mac.

    I hope by now, mid-2011, all schools should be able to interface with Macs with OS X as well as Windows. But there was a time many years ago when Macs ruled in the education world and colleges and secondary schools made sure everything was friendly with Apple.

    It kind of defeats the problem if the only way you can use a Mac at school is because some issue, or software titles, force you to use Microsoft Windows.

    One good thing is I don't hear anybody calling Macs just toys anymore. Most who have a PC would love to have a sleek Macbook Pro.
     
  18. aleXXXps macrumors member

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    May 4, 2011
    #18
    I just graduated college and I bought a macbook white. Upgrading the ram to 4gb was necessary, but now it runs like a charm. I had a high end gaming PC from Dell (XPS M1710), which finally junked out on me. It was a fast laptop, but always being bogged down with windows errors, poor battery life, overheating, etc. Plus it was clunky to carry around. Since I graduated, I have become a teacher and now love to carry my laptop around. It's fast, lightweight, battery lasts a long time, and it gets all my stuff that I need it to done. Every once in awhile, I play a few games on it in my free time (which isn't much) such as Counter Strike Source, Red Alert 3, Age of Empires 3, Sims 3, Civ 4, etc. It handles them fine. I didn't want a MacBook pro just because I liked the white macbook. You can say what you want, but I preferred to have the white macbook over the silver macbook pro. Maybe if I were a heavy user, I'd think differently, but for what I need I am content. The programs on Mac are mostly the same, but some stuff like games you'll notice don't really work for Mac. I have Windows 7 installed through VMware Fusion, but haven't really used it yet as I discovered that I am content with Mac OSX once I spent some time learning it.
     
  19. vistadude macrumors 65816

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    #19
    Don't bring any laptop to work. Then your advisor has to buy you a desktop or laptop so you can do work. Then buy whatever you want for your home/personal use and you will only need it occasionally when you give talks and conferences, etc.

    I found a PC way more useful than a Mac because my group's software was all for windows. However, I made the compromise to get a mac later on because it was thinner and quieter for frequent travel. I still rarely use Mac OS X for anything work related, but it is nice for occasional personal use when I just want to browse the web or listen to music, as the battery lasts a little longer in snow leopard.
     
  20. chrismacguy macrumors 68000

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    #20
    Personally Id say it matters more what other software youll need to get work done (ie Statistical Analysis tools, Mathematica/MatLab, Simulation Software, Creative Tools etc) and what that runs on. If it runs on UNIX/Mac OS X Id get a Mac. If it runs on Windows Id get a PC. The whole Macs vs PC cost basis argument can go away, because its rather irrelevant I mean, lets face it, $1000 extra on a Mac, if it saves the OP a lot of time and makes them more productive will easily be worth it in the context of the overall cost of graduate studies - say it saves them 10hrs a week - then over the course of graduate school thats $1000 well spent, if it costs 10hrs a week, then it would be a silly decision.
     
  21. bruinsrme macrumors 601

    bruinsrme

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    Oct 26, 2008
    #21
    I agree with repo.
    OTOH vista sp3 is very stable and is nearly as reliable as win7.
    I think it comes down to a couple of things other than price.
    The resolution on an the 14.1 hp is much better than the 13 mb. You'll appreciate it even more so on an external monitor. The extra inch display is huge eith minimal weight and overall size.
    USB ports: make sure you thumb drives and peripherals fit on the mb. With the nearly all 14 inch winbooks you get three.
    Battery life: your need may require 8 hours with out a recharge.
    Software I prefer windows office over the Mac version.
    With the mb you can dual boot.

    I have had 13, 14.1, 15+ and 17 notebooks. The 14.1. Is my favorite.
     
  22. LongDistance thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Mar 6, 2011
    #22
    This is where I'll end up making my decision, I think. I forgot to mention that my battery in my current laptop went after about the first year so it's been a pain for the mere fact that I can't use it unless it's plugged in because it only lasts about 30 min. I like the Windows operating systems as for how it's organized but that's likely just because that's what I learned on growing up. Who says I can't adapt and relearn?

    I was going to let this thread die after the other night. Thanks, guys, for the input and it's definitely something to think about--especially the issue of programs.
     

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