Grad student wants a Mac. What do I tell him??


macrumors 65816
Original poster
Jan 31, 2002
Just wondering what you guys would do in this situation. My friend wants to switch to Macs when he buys his next PC. But...

He is a pre-grad-student who doesn't want to spend an arm and a leg.

He wants speed.

He says he can get an AMD 1800 system at about 700.

Says Macs are around half as fast as PC machines with twice the MHz.

What would you tell him???



macrumors 65816
Jan 21, 2002
Tampa Bay Area, FL, USA
To do a search on Macrumors for "convert"... I think there's about 3 of these threads currently in progress... :D

But specific to his situation, I would say that 1) yes, a Mac is going to be more expensive, and if money is his only criteria, then he's SOL, but that 2) as a med student he will have absolutely zero time for crazy Windows crashes which WILL happen without a doubt during finals week, at a rate inversely proportional to the amount paid for the box, and that 3) Macs are the place to be for biomedical research.

Megahertz myth aside, speed should not be the only consideration when buying a computer. Stability, longevity, and quality of support are just as, if not more, important.

Mr. Anderson

Moderator emeritus
Nov 1, 2001
One of the big things is what is he going to use it for? Will the mac be an advantage for him? What's he going to be doing in Grad School? Hopefully the answers to these questions will be of some help.


macrumors 68030
Nov 4, 2001
Kent, UK
processor speeds being what they are these days, is it even necessary for anyone buying a new computer to have to worry about speed? Ok, the iBooks are an exception to that, but they're probably/possibly getting updated any day now, but other than that, what will you not be able to do on the new iMac? If he's going to be running something like Matlab (i know matlab's for programmers, but i can't think of any medical programs off the top of my head) then fair enough with the concern.

If he's a medical student, then he should well understand the concept of paying more up-front for bigger returns later. He might spend more now for a mac, but 5 years down the line he'd probably have saved himself a lot of trouble(-shooting) and money for repairs.

Obviously Duke's comments are going to be most important one's he needs to ask himself though.


macrumors 68040
Oct 28, 2001
San Luis Obispo, CA
Tell him...

To shop at Apple's Developer Store. He wont be spending an arm and a leg.

If he wants the new iMac, it will cost him 1119.

iBook? 1049.

He wants more power?

A 933MHz G4 w/o a superdrive is 1579. 1279 when you subtract 300 for Apples new deal. It will cost him about 2000 if he wants the 17in Apple display also.

Portable power? Try the Powerbook for 1999.


macrumors G3
Feb 7, 2002
i think the main thing is that he WANTS to convert to macs... that being said, all the things other people said applies, but if he's leaning that way, i think that tips the scales.

and macaztec did a good job of pointing out some pretty good pricing for some good power.

imac 700 would be good i'd think. especially full of ram. if they want a portable, that's a bit more tricky, but as someone said, the ibooks should be updated soon. which could solve the "no good cheap portable" problem...


macrumors 6502a
mac vs what?

The new iMac is the way to go, i think.

I havent had one day of down time with this baby.
I do work and play and internet on it, it suits almost every need.
I use a tower for higher end 3d and video.
But i dont think that he will need to do that.

In school , I think he will be writing alot of papers.
The iMac has a great LCD with no EMF.
As a potential doctor he should know abou the possible bad effects of such things and appreciate the low cost of a computer with a great LCD!

There is the student store where he can get a lower cost.

I think that you have to stress to him the differences tween OSX and Winxp!
One is trash, the other is the new frontier, which I am sure he wants to be a part of. Stress this over the cpu differences.

Soon there will be iMAc SE or upgrades coming out which may lower prices across the board on lower units. which it often does.

I say wait till new york then jump on what he can afford, and he will be happy.
He will have enough stress from school, he doesnt need more from a Pcheese!


macrumors regular
Feb 21, 2002
after seeing many people go through medical school I could give some advice. First he should get something cheap like an emac or an imac. Then medical students don't need big heavy laptops they just need a palm to put all thier programs on it. So in conclosuion he needs a cheap desktop and not a laptop but a descent palm.
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