Help Buying iMac to take College along with PC Laptop

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by nchu429, Sep 12, 2006.

  1. nchu429 macrumors newbie

    Aug 14, 2006
    I've been contemplating a lot lately whether or not i should buy an iMac now.

    My purpose or what i would like to do is purchase an iMac now (senior year of HS) and take it with me to college along with a laptop (Thinkpad or Tablet PC). I was wondering if this by any chance would be suitable enough to last that long, like say 4-5 years from now.

    My Primary purposes:
    -Moderate Photoshop Use to edit photographs
    -MS Office Aps
    -Email, Chatting etc.
    -Listen to Music; Watch Movies
    -and other basic stuff (but with no intention to game)

    the iMac's im considering are either:
    17" iMac 2.0 Core 2 Duo $1199 (Amazon $1099 AR - $50 GC = $1049)
    20" iMac 2.16 Core 2 Duo $1499 (Amazon $1399 AR - $50 GC = $1349)

    (I'll probably buy it from amazon) Do you think for me it's worth the extra $300 for the faster processor, more HD, and larger Screen Size?
    Mostly i want to know if the screen size is worth it, i could always attach a 17" LCD that i have.

    Right now I have a Dell P4 2.4 w/ dual 17" LCDs

    Basically what I want to do is have an iMac in my Dorm for mostly to do work, listen to music, and to watch movies; while I use my laptop/tablet for class.

    Do you guys think the iMac will be adequate enough to last that long (4-5 years) 17" vs 20", and should i wait for the next iMac update (though it seems a long time way and maybe not that large of an improvement to wait for)

  2. milozauckerman macrumors 6502

    Jun 25, 2005
    Over four years you'll appreciate the bigger screen. The processor is a wash, though. Load up with RAM, etc..

    If you're a high school senior now and it's not an absolute necessity, wait a year. Save some more and get that shiny 24" iMac so you can watch 1080p content in all its HD glory.
  3. foxbatkllr macrumors newbie

    Sep 11, 2006
    My last Mac (which I just sold to a friend) has lasted 6 1/2 years and is still going strong. So yeah, a Mac will last you through college.
  4. nchu429 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 14, 2006
    thanks for your response, guys

    Yeah i would love the larger display the more i think about it (a single 17" is too small widescreen even worse for say documents etc.), but then im also thinking about the cost for 2GB of memory and other accessories. :( lol too bad they don't have an ipod bundle that i could ebay off.

    Also i would like to have one now because my computer keeps slowing down a lot more often when i dont have many more things than say itune, thunderbird, aim, firefox, like word/excel open at the same time.

    Anyone else?
  5. FFTT macrumors 68030


    Apr 17, 2004
    A Stoned Throw From Ground Zero
    The iMac Core Duo 2 should have no problem lasting you that long, but I'm reasonably sure
    you'll hand it down to another family member or sell it for an upgrade heading
    into your third year of college.

    In your situation,since you're not really in a hurry, I would wait til you can buy
    your machine with Leopard this spring.

    With your college acceptance letter(s), you'll be able to take full advantage
    of the education discount on your machine and on all your software.
  6. briantology macrumors 6502

    Jun 5, 2006
    Definitely go with 20" at least. I'm currently using dual 19" and I'm getting an iMac within the next week. I've used the 17" before, and it seems frustrating using such a small screen (but if you had two it would be differnent). So the 20" is nice, 24" is nicer. And yea, if you can wait a year, I would do that.
  7. FFTT macrumors 68030


    Apr 17, 2004
    A Stoned Throw From Ground Zero
    This technology is progressing SO rapidly that you could very well be looking
    at a quad core iMac this time next year.

    Then again if you buy an iMac now, your parents may take it off your hands
    before you head off to school. ;)

    They are very popular machines.
  8. zimtheinvader macrumors regular


    Jan 10, 2005
    the capitol
    I vote NO on the waiting. I waited wayyy too long to upgrade from my 12" PB. Actually I'm posting from it right now, waiting for a CD2 update :( sigh...

    The Core Duo2 is a solid piece of kit, miles ahead of the G4 and MORE than sufficient for all that you are talking about doing. Heck I do exactly what you say you want to do on my G4 800 single tower.

    Also, for the $$ difference btw 17"-20"iMac I would instead load up on RAM and get a DVI Dell FP display, since the iMac can now support it and you could use it with BOTH the tablet and the iMac. Also, you can often hook up external components to Dell 20" displays (check to make sure) such as PS2, Xbox360, Dreamcast, TV/VCR/Dvd, ect. which I found handy in college. Plus they are pretty cheap(<$350) by now.

    I myself am looking @ picking up a tablet+imac solution to replace my beloved PB. As for the screen, I have worked 3 yrs so far in college on my 12" screen w/o event, including editing photos. Personally I would never get the bigger iMacs, since anything over 15" you might as well get an external 20" + extend desktop on all Intel macs.
  9. nchu429 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 14, 2006
    hmmm... in continuing about adding an external display, my friend who has the 17" iMac duo core said something that you basically need another display (20" dell)
    but...i think i could pull off a 20" iMac with my current 17" Dell LCD. I want the secondary display for such things as itunes, thunderbird, and AIM. With the primary for Web/Office/Photoshop. I just hope the desk at college are big enough to handle essentially 2 LCD monitors

    I still don't know if i want to wait becasue basically during the late spring (may/june) i would be getting a laptop/tablet for college. lol waiting sucks but what sucks even more is when something new comes out and you have to decide if you should wait for the next update :(
  10. austere macrumors newbie

    Jun 8, 2006
    I just came to college and I can not recommend strongly enough doing what I did; get an external monitor for your laptop!

    If all you want an imac for is the bigger screen, save $1000 dollars and buy a 21" widescreen monitor and a cable from your laptop into it. I got an external mouse, speakers and keyboard as well, and my macbook sits nicely on my desk with my big 19" ws monitor nice and huge.

    It's not just cheaper but it conserves space and conserves materials and it reduces the amount of stuff you can potentially have stolen.
  11. nchu429 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 14, 2006
    thanks, but i want a mac and pc, not necessarily bootcamp. I definitely want a pc laptop/tablet. With that said, i would like a Mac now to use for like say photoshop and related stuff
  12. FFTT macrumors 68030


    Apr 17, 2004
    A Stoned Throw From Ground Zero
    If you are buying now that's fine.

    I'd go for the 20"Core Duo 2 with the 2 GB RAM upgrade.
    @ $158.00 edu it's pretty much at street price anyway.
    If you can swing the faster 2.33 processor do so.

    Any other options are up to you.

    If SOMEBODY in your family qualifies for the education discount, buy your machine
    direct from Apple/education/store.

    Heck, take a class at the community college :)

    Amazon may be selling the Core Duo, not the Core Duo 2

    I buy direct using 1-800-MyApple phone sales to California.
    because any small revisions will be included in their latest shipments.
  13. generik macrumors 601


    Aug 5, 2005
    For this reason I'd recommend the Mini instead. Not only can nchu429 hook the separate display to his PC laptop as required, but when the time comes he can also upgrade it at will! None of this "All in one" nonsense.
  14. Frogurt macrumors member

    Sep 8, 2006
    For what you describe, either machine will do you well. I echo the Macs tend to be usable for a long time. My G3 tower functioned for all the activities you mentioned for 7 years. Photoshop couldn't keep up with new computers, but everthing else ran well. I am currently running a 500 MHz G3 iBook with just 192 MB RAM and I can run Word, Safari, and iTunes simultaneously fine once they are all open. Only a slight hiccup to switch aps.

    It probably comes down to monitor size for watching movies (after all you said you had another 17" you could add if you needed more desktop space). So is a 17 inch monitor good enough for your movie watching? I'd recommend finding a Apple store and seeing how much bigger the 20 inch seems. And remember, if you are living in dorms, you won't be sitting 30 feet away from it. Probably more like three. One more thing, remember you will probably be moving it eight times. How much room is there in your car/suv/truck? In your dorm room?
  15. miles01110 macrumors Core


    Jul 24, 2006
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    Argh,, another one. I really need to make an "alternatives to MS Office" thread.
  16. Chupa Chupa macrumors G5

    Chupa Chupa

    Jul 16, 2002
    Why take two machines to school? Having already been to school, seems like it would be a PITA keeping up with both. Why not just buy a MBP and using Boot Camp or parallels? If you need a bigger screen for the dorm just get an ext monitor. They are pretty inexpensive these days up to about 20".
  17. Frogurt macrumors member

    Sep 8, 2006
    I'm guessing here, but (s)he said he wants a portable to take to class and mentions tablets. Apple only makes mainstream portable laptops; five and a half pounds with a few hours of battery life. Some PC ultraportables can hit sub-three pounds with eight hours of battery life. That's a big difference to lug around everyday. Some people don't mind, but (s)he might.
  18. nagromme macrumors G5


    May 2, 2002
    Yes, for those tasks an iMac will serve well for a LONG time.

    And I agree with the suggestion to buy one computer instead of two--that way you can afford even better/faster.

    Wait for Merom (Core 2 Duo) to be in the MacBook Pro, and get one of those. Then you will have your Mac AND your Windows laptop, all in one. And you can plug in one of your Dell displays, plus the internal display, and have dual displays. That would let you aim smaller/more portable (15" instead of 17"--or maybe something even smaller that Apple has yet to release?)

    Just curious--why do you want to avoid Boot Camp? Boot Camp is simply an installer--once you have Windows installed, a MacBook IS a Windows PC, just like any other.

    If portability is the concern (I WISH Apple offered a really small subnotebook!) I can see that--but for a given level power, MacBooks tend to be thinner and lighter than PCs. Going ultraportable with a PC means making sacrifices. Look into what you get with a MacBook Pro, and consider that it might be a VERY good Windows machine to serve you for a long time.

    And Apple HAS been hiring people for tablet computing. Something might emerge--maybe at MWSF in January. Same goes for a smaller MacBook Pro--it's always possible.
  19. nchu429 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 14, 2006
    It's not that i want to avoid bootcamp it just that i don't think i necessarily want a mac laptop. If anything i would get the MBP as MB screen is too small for a main computer (my dad has 12" dell which is fine for like web and stuff but not really for all general work)

    I guess mostly want something like now to use ask my dell is slowing but quickly dying on me and i don't want to wait like 8-9 months because i wouldn't buy a laptop now.

    Does anyone here have an experience with tablet PCs for college classes generalized around economics and business classes? Would you say that tablet PCs are very nice to use in those situtations or would u rather have/live with a regular notebook?
  20. ModestPenguin macrumors 6502


    Mar 5, 2006
    Hell, for $1100 why not by my siggy imac? 20" intel core duo 2.0 radeon ati X1600 256Mb vram, 1.5GB of sytem ram. It's a great computer. just got all its innards replaced because my house was struck by lightning.

    this is just a suggestion.

    sorry if it seems like a sales attempt but I want a 24" imac for HD purposes.

  21. mrgreen4242 macrumors 601


    Feb 10, 2004
    Seems like a 15" MBP coupled with a Dell 24" LCD would be perfect for this situation... Ya, the MBP is a bit large (not ultra portable that is) but it's quite powerful, runs OSX and Windows, is light and thin for it's size, and will hold value will (unlike a Windows laptop). Add in the 24" Dell LCD which you can plug the MBP into while in the dorm, as well as connect a video game system, HD movie playback device, etc etc.

    I know you commented that you weren't sure you wanted a Mac laptop, but it just seems like the best choice given your requirements.
  22. FFTT macrumors 68030


    Apr 17, 2004
    A Stoned Throw From Ground Zero
    The MBP's are very nice machines, but that's quite a lot to spend for a notebook
    when in a year's time the Penryn models will run far cooler and have much longer battery life.

    An iMac Core Duo 2 is a powerful machine at a very reasonable price.

    With everything leapfrogging so rapidly, I think a conservative purchase is the
    best plan to get this poster into a great system without going off the deep end.
  23. miles01110 macrumors Core


    Jul 24, 2006
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    I would only get one computer- maybe a MBP with an external display. Transferring files is a pain.

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