Help With Buying Advice

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Bioguy35, Jul 19, 2011.

  1. Bioguy35 macrumors newbie

    Jul 17, 2011
    Hello everyone. I'm new to mac and need some buying advice. My wife and I are both teachers and are looking for a computer/laptop.

    We currently have an HP G62 laptop (AMD Phenom triple core processor, 4GB RAM and 500 GB HD) running Windows 7, which was new at the beginning of the last school year. As well we have an older PC desktop with flatscreen monitor, wireless hp printer, keyboard, mouse; a 500GB external HD, and an older Acer laptop (AMD Sempron 3000+, 2GB RAM and 80GB HD) with hp printer, both running Windows XP.

    I do most of my work at school and am currently carrying the HP laptop back and forth. I also occasionally use the desktop when I need more screen real estate (e.g., putting windows side by side to research/write lesson plans). My wife does all of her computer work at home and is currently using the Acer laptop. She rarely carries her laptop to school. Both schools are windows based with Open Office as the suite of choice, and occasionally use Mircosoft Word.

    We have a fairly tight budget ($1500-2000 max), and are open to buying a new or refurbished laptop/desktop or some combination of the two. We are also aware of the education discount.

    I'm wondering if i could get away with an Ipad2 in a case with a bluetooth keyboard to carry back and forth, with a Mac mini at home using our existing peripherals, an have my wife use the hp laptop.

    I would be using our purchase for lesson plan research(internet) and writing (word processing), picture editing, email, light gaming, and occasional video editing. Since we are keeping the HP laptop, I think it would be best if we could dual boot windows 7 and lion.

    Does my Ipad/Mini idea hold water, or does anyone have a better suggestion?
  2. Tomorrow macrumors 604


    Mar 2, 2008
    Always a day away
    If one laptop is all you need then I think you're on the right track, but if you find yourself with an iPad and a bluetooth keyboard, I can't help but wonder why you don't just get a MacBook instead. An iPad really isn't a computer in that sense; it doesn't excel at document creation. Just my two cents'.
  3. gusapple macrumors 6502a


    Jan 29, 2007
    The alphabetically sixth to last state.
    I am not so sure that an iPad would work in your situation, mostly because it is incompatible with several formats that you would have to work with in OpenOffice. The major player in productivity apps for the iPad is Apple, which uses the Pages filetype. Unfortunately, the only other program that really can read that is Pages. So your current OpenOffice docs won't work too well.

    I would totally agree that the Macbook might be the way to go. I would actually wait until tomorrow and check this page to see if they have the old MacBook Airs on clearance if you want an ultraportable computer. You could then do OpenOffice or even better NeoOffice for Mac.

    Other than that, the Mac Mini sounds fine.

    I would also suggest this for hooking up the Mac laptop to the monitor for more screen real estate while still using the laptop.

    Also, remember to buy from the educational store, so you can get your discount.
  4. Bioguy35 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 17, 2011
    Thank you to Tomorrow and gusapple for your great advice. It looks like the ipad route is not the way to go.

    In light of the newly released MBA's and Mini's, I am considering the following (prices are from the education store)

    MBA 11" MBA 13" MBP 13" Refurb MBP13"
    4GB 4GB 4GB 4GB
    128GB Flash 128GB Flash 320GB @5400 320GB @5400
    Superdrive 8X Superdrive 8X
    SD card slot SDxD card slot SDxD card slot
    GB Ethernet GB Ethernet
    Firewire 800 Firewire 800
    $1149 $1249 $1149 $1049

    I like the portability of the MBA's, but I'm not sure if I'm ready to give up the superdrive. I'm also concerned about having only 128GB of storage.

    Does anyone have any input or suggestions?
  5. Bioguy35 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 17, 2011
    also . . .

    how will the new base model mac mini's compare to the previous generation core 2 duos in terms of processing power. Will core 2 duos still make a decent desktop for a few years?

    Thanks again in advance for any input.
  6. alust2013 macrumors 601


    Feb 6, 2010
    On the fence
    The older minis will still be fine for a good while yet, and as far as the laptop, I would just go with the basic 13" MBP. Definitely the best choice with your concerns.
  7. FrankHahn macrumors 6502a

    May 17, 2011
    Since Apple is going to push the Thunderbolt technology, many peripherals will certainly come out (I think that they will do much better than Firewire 800). Therefore, getting an outdated C2D Mac Mini is not a good investment. Since you have the monitor, keyboard, and mouse to use, in considering that your computing is not that heavy, I think that getting a new MacBook Air and a new Mac Mini for <= $2000 is a very good investment for your computing needs.

    You can then carry the Air between home and school and use the Mini at home. If you still have money to give to Apple, you can then get an iPad2 which is a good piece of electronics for leisure, for surfing the internet, and for emailing. But an iPad2 is definitely NOT a computer (at least not yet). Do not try to do too much with it. In any event, it is nice to have one.
  8. Bioguy35 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 17, 2011
    Thanks to alust and FrankHahn for your advice.

    Upon reading my original reply, I thought i would repost the four choices I was considering in a more readable format (note to self: tabbing to line up columns in a post does not work!).

    MBA 11 inch
    1.6Ghz core i5
    128GB Flash Storage

    MBA 13 inch
    1.7Ghz core i7
    128GB Flash Storage
    SD card slot

    MBP 13 inch
    2.3 GHz core i5
    320GB HD @ 5400
    8x superdrive

    Refurb MBP 13 inch
    2.3 GHz core i5
    320GB HD @ 5400
    8x superdrive

    Thanks for your input.

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