IBook or Inspiron for College Bound Nephew

Discussion in 'General Mac Discussion' started by maclamb, Feb 17, 2002.

  1. maclamb macrumors 6502


    Jan 28, 2002
    Northern California
    Title says it all - my nephew is college bound and I want us to pitch in on a mac for graduation and his Dad (an old IBM'er) is leaning towards a Dell.
    Help me make my case!
    Here's what I am ready to send him in support fo the Apple:
    In my opinion I think the Mac is a better choice. I can give some reasons below.

    1. St. Olaf fully supports an active computer community including Macs PCs , and Unix/Linux machines:
    The IBook runs both the Mac OS as well as Unix

    2. Macs are easier to operate, use and maintain. They also run the same office software as PC and all files work on both. Apple has some additional propaganda on this:

    3. Price. The Mac is cheaper for what you get:

    $1,499.00 IBOOK 12.1-inch TFT XGA display
    600MHz PowerPC G3
    System bus @ 100MHz
    256K L2 cache @ 600MHz
    128MB SDRAM memory
    20GB Ultra ATA drive
    AirPort ready
    Up to 5 hr. battery life
    Only 4.9 pounds

    $1,799.00 IBOOK
    14.1-inch TFT XGA display
    600MHz PowerPC G3
    System bus @ 100MHz
    256K L2 cache @ 600MHz
    256MB SDRAM memory
    20GB Ultra ATA drive
    AirPort ready
    Up to 6 hr. battery life
    Only 5.9 pounds

    Dell Inspirton 4100:
    Price: $1,957.00

    Base: Special! Intel®PIII 1.0GHz-M 14 SXGA+ for the price of 14 XGA Display 100NXHX [461-3961]
    Memory: 256MB,SDRAM,2DIMMs 256M2D [311-6312]
    Hard Drives: 30 GB Ultra ATA Hard Drive 30GB [340-6516]
    Floppy Drive: Modular Floppy Drive FD [340-7047]
    Operating System: Microsoft® Windows® XP Home Edition WHXP [313-7222] [420-0554]
    Network Card: Integrated Network Card INTNIC [430-1292]
    Modem: Internal 56K Modem
    The CDROM +DVD+ CDRW is an extera $250
    3 yr. Onsite service is $100

    Both machines would need extra RAM, an extra Battery and carrying case - say another $250 - 300.

    So, the Mac, which is faster, runs everything he'll need, comes with 2 OSs, CDROM/DVD/CDRW/ENet/Modem/FireWire/Longer Battery life/
    would be $1800,
    The Dell, which is slower, doesn't have firewire, is harder to configure and fix when something goes wrong, and only comes with one OS and is arguably less cool (and harder to use with multimedia applications).
    is $2307 with onsite service, which is nice. I'm willing to bet there is a local mac shop that can fix the IBook under AppleCare as quickly.

    Anyway, just some thoughts to at least keep the mac in the running.
  2. irmongoose macrumors 68030


    Dec 3, 2001
    Sometimes Tokyo, sometimes California
    OS X runs Unix and can also run Linux if you want, so thats 3!

  3. al256 macrumors 6502a


    Jun 7, 2001
    Just ask

    I wouldn't want a windoze laptop forced down my throat, just as much as windoze user wouldn't want a mac. So why not ask him, after all he will have to use it every day. I am a high school student who enjoys his PB G4 very much.
  4. Hemingray macrumors 68030


    Jan 9, 2002
    Ha ha haaa!
    Dell? No, no, a thousand times no!

    That's the only point I'd bring up. ;)
  5. Choppaface macrumors 65816

    Jan 22, 2002
    I'd prolly take the ibook

    but on a side note, I'd bet that the dell is faster. perhaps a G4 TiBook could beat it, but probably not a G3 ibook
  6. AlphaTech macrumors 601


    Oct 4, 2001
    Natick, MA
    Don't go with the Hell... I mean dell... :D.

    Mac OS X has Unix parts, but is not a Unix in the traditional sense. If you really want to, you can install a version of Linux on it, along with OS 9.x, and with VPC run window$ (for apps that must run in that environment).

    Another point that can be made... Mac's are easier to maintain their system helth. If your OS gets forked, you can just install a fresh one on top of it and be back up and running in under 30 minutes (tops). With window$, it's not that easy. Also, installing applications on the mac is a lot easier then the peecee. As well as reinstalling them, to fix corruption.

    I had m$ outlook go wacked on a peecee laptop a couple of weeks ago. Reinstalling office didn't fix it, nor did any other normal fix. I had to back up all the user's information, wipe the drive, reinstall all software (including the OS) and load back all the data. The entire process took most of a day. Including all the needed updates, service packs, and security updates. If outlook gets messed up on a Mac, we simply back up the user data files (personal address book and personal folders), remove the preferences and install a fresh copy. That fixes it about 95% of the time and takes all of about 10 minutes (depending on the size of the files).
  7. Jookbox macrumors 6502

    Jan 19, 2002
    you're asking the wrong forum. ask him. what anyone says here shouldn't hold much relevance.
  8. AlphaTech macrumors 601


    Oct 4, 2001
    Natick, MA

    While a computer may be just a tool, there are many different grades of tools. You can either get the ones that last you a lifetime, and can be passed down to your kids, and grandkids (Apple equivalent). Then there are the ones that you use for a few months, and then they either break or burn out (peecee's).

    Mac's are also more stable then window$ can ever dream of being..
  9. CHess macrumors regular

    Dec 13, 2001
    San Francisco Bay Area
    Sure, he should decide on which computer he gets, but there's nothing wrong with giving some suggestions. I don't think the speed differences are that great between the systems you mention.

    Yes, you definitely should add extra RAM, but with the 14" iBook, with its six hour battery, you really don't have much need for a spare battery. On the Dell, it's probably a good idea, thought it's just something more to lug around. On the iBook, rather than an extra battery, I'd go with an aiport network card. They are great when you want to websurf somewhere that's wireless enabled.

    Either way, he's a lucky kid!
  10. krossfyter macrumors 601


    Jan 13, 2002
    secret city
    its very important what laptop this kid is going to get. its an investment. just like a car. look at it this way.... (in the auto analogy) the dell is like the geo prizm (bare with me here) and the iBook is like the Porsche 911.

    the difference between a pretty good average everyday, everyone and thier mother gets who does not know much about cars or computers...vehicle (computer) to a sporty exotic...not to bad on price...vehicle (computer) that will awe the audience and do more than good to its owner.

    dell is a downgrade compared to an Apple
  11. iH8Quark macrumors 6502

    Jan 17, 2002
    Big Shoulders

    It really depends on what he's studying, too. If he's studying I.T. or development, the iBook is the wrong choice.

    But lets face it, by the time he finishes his general ed. requirements, both systems will be ready for a replacement.
  12. evildead macrumors 65816


    Jun 18, 2001
    WestCost, USA

    It depends on his major. If he is IT or Comp sci.. he may have to go with the Dell. I am a computer Sci major and I use my Mac all most all of the time. OS X developer tools come with a C++ and JAVA IDE as well as all the good old command line debbuggers if you prefer print statment debugging. So........ I dont need anything else.... or I wouldnt need anything else if the university didnt insist on using MS visual studio in some most of the labs and a hand full of my professors that like it becuse the dont have to connect to the UNIX lab to run my programs... they just do it from their PC. I do the rest in Virutal PC. The only thing that I cant do on my Mac is program assemboly for the x86.

    He can to 99% of anything he might need on the iBook but it may take a work arround in some majors. Like Virual PC. But thats pretty simple to use ... or at least the mac end of it is :)
  13. mischief macrumors 68030


    Aug 1, 2001
    Santa Cruz Ca
    on-site support:

    This is the case in the US, I'm not sure elsewhere: The Applecare plan allows for on-site warranty service if Apple can find an Apple Certified Technician willing to make house calls within 50 miles. This is good for 3 years.
  14. gbojim macrumors 6502

    Jan 30, 2002
    Agreed that your nephew should have input and it is important to understand what apps and environments are required for the program he is entering.

    However, one more thing to check into that could be a point for the iBook is connecting the system to the network. A friend of mine is a support tech at the local University where Windows, Mac and UNIX are supported. From what he was telling me, about 95% of the time when students show up looking for help because their systems will not connect to the network, they are Windows based - and in busy times it may take 2 weeks to resolve the problem because it often takes up to a day to fix as AlphaTech mentioned earlier.
  15. Xapplimatic macrumors 6502


    Oct 23, 2001
    Re: Depends

    I couldn't disagree more. I'm a Comp Science major currently in school using an iBook for all my C++ programming with the gnu compiler that comes with OS X.. and you'll hear no complains from me.. my PC colleagues at school are too busy fussing with saving their assignments to floppies.. I just email them to myself from class, download wireless over airport and finish the assignments while sucking down a mocha at the local cafe.. life is harsh.. if you're on a Dell that is!

    And oh ya.. I currently maintain five different websites with varying degrees of graphics complexity and programming languages and I have plenty of tools to take care of those as well..

    There's probably a good reason why my schools entire science department just obsoleted their PCs and replaced them will all iMacs (granted the g3 version) and new Powermac 933s.. such purchasing decisions aren't taken lightly!
  16. oldMac macrumors 6502a

    Oct 25, 2001

    Any Comp Sci department worth its salt is going to be running Unix systems and will be spending its time teaching students theory rather than how to run a Microsoft IDE. Therefore, as a comp sci student, you're better off with Mac OS X (or running Linux on the Dell).

    Dell laptops, while quite nice these days, are not known for being as "sturdy" as some of their PC counterparts (IBM). However, they also tend to be a lot cheaper than a Thinkpad.

    Of course, if he's going to tech school or something, they'll probably be teaching him how to write visual basic and ASP or something like that, and then he'll need the Dell.
  17. Xapplimatic macrumors 6502


    Oct 23, 2001
    I would also remind people that the used TiBooks are quite fast and up to par in fact better in most departments than the Dell and can be had for a similar price.. I would also note that teh TiBooks run Virtual PC quite nicely.. in fact, the latest version of Virtual PC runs pretty sweet on any G4 which kind of removes the 'NEED A PC' argument from the buying decision... Why have only Windows when you can have Windows, Unix, Mac OS X, and Linux? Since programming is not a processor intensive task, nobody would really notice any emulation speed penalty most of the time except for compiling, but most time isn't spent compiling... Just a thought.
  18. Taft macrumors 65816


    Jan 31, 2002
    Look around...

    I agree that this isn't the proper forum for getting an objective opinion.

    That being said, I suggest that you look around on the web for advise and reviews. I think the iBook is a heck of a laptop. I know three people that have one and they are all very satisfied. And your usage and needs should figure into the decision.

    If you are doing MS programming exclusively, the Dell may be a better choice. But there are very few situations like this that would require the Dell. In most other respects the iBook will offer you much more flexibility in the platforms it supports. I think the iBook makes a great tool for a computer science student.

    Like other people have said, most CS programs will teach you theory rather than an IDE or API set. And most are still Unix based. This makes the iBook very attractive.

    Look around. I think you'll find the iBook is a better choice, but at least you'll know for sure.

  19. esp49129 macrumors newbie

    Feb 23, 2002
    you've got to face it! PCs are cheaper and faster

    The price comparison between the two notebooks that starts off this thread is quite insincere. The Dell Inspiron 4100 is definitely cheaper and faster.

    Let's compare apples with apples (sorry, horrible pun):

    Take a similar config: 14.1 inch display, 256 MB ram, combo drive, 20 GB hardrive, 1 year warranty... the Dell comes out at 1550$ with a Pentium III 1GHZ, the ibook at 1799$. That's quite a substantial difference.

    These are the real numbers, and they really shouldn't come as a surprise. Apple has never tried to compete head on with Dell on price terms. It relies on quality, usability and sex-appeal to carve out its niche. So let's stop pretending that Apple's prices are competitive, because they aren't.

    As for speed, well, on my campus we have 400Mhz G4 towers. They run achingly slow compared to the PIII-866s sitting right next to them, especially for internet browsing and photoshop. Plus they still use OS 9.1, which is the most crash prone OS I've ever seen, bar none. Windows 2000 is neat and reliable and efficient in comparison (and boring, yes!).

    But obviously, it's Mr. nephew's decision. I have to admit that the ibook and macs in general have some great things going for them in terms of features, but PCs aren't anywhere as bad as people leave it to believe on this forum.

    PCs, macs, they're not that different....I can live with either perfectly well. I'll curse Windows and Bill Gates on the first; I'll curse the sluggishness and price tag on the second.
  20. Hemingray macrumors 68030


    Jan 9, 2002
    Ha ha haaa!
    Re: you've got to face it! PCs are cheaper and faster

    Amen to that.
  21. Rower_CPU Moderator emeritus


    Oct 5, 2001
    San Diego, CA
    Re: you've got to face it! PCs are cheaper and faster

    First off, there is no such thing as a similar config between these two machines. Can you say "built in firewire"?

    You can add options (hardware and software) to the Dell, making it even clunkier and heavier, to bring it up to the same level as the iBook. Price: approx. 2500

    I agree that the G3 is sluggish...but at least it won't cook your twig and berries!

    Oh yeah, and one more thing...you can run any version of Windows with VPC on the iBook, so OS capabilities for CS work clearly favor the Mac.
  22. Gelfin macrumors 68020


    Sep 18, 2001
    Denver, CO
    The courses you take in a college CS program should not (and generally are not) bound to a specific hardware/OS platform. I could have gotten through my undergrad education far better with an OS X iBook than with the Windows PC I had at the time (not that the choice even existed back then). If he's going into MIS, Windows may come into play.

    I would prefer the iBook, specifically the 12.1" iBook, primarily because, trust me, if you get the kid an Inspiron and send it off to college with him, it will get damaged sooner or later. In the PC world, laptops are still generally designed and built with the well-heeled executive type in mind, even if that's not who they're ultimately sold to. Durability is not the biggest factor. This is the same reason you don't want to get a college-bound kid a G4 Powerbook. The iBook, however, is built like a rock. It's durable enough, and small enough, to be dropped in a backpack and carried around safely. You'll also get FAR more features for the money with the iBook. It's still the best deal you'll find on a laptop.

    I'm not sure if the iBook is more likely to be stolen than the Inspiron (an unfortunate but necessary consideration in college -- do go talk to your insurance agent), but if that does happen, the iBook is very distinctive. Describing the Inspiron to campus police would be near futile. "It looks like a laptop" you'd say, which narrows it down to almost every portable computer on campus. The iBook, however, gives them something specific to look for.

    I can stretch for other reasons. The iBook, by virtue of being distinctive, will be better for picking up chicks. If you sit in a coffee shop typing on a PC notebook, you look like a nerd. If you sit in a coffee shop tapping away on a Mac notebook, the assumption is that you're writing poetry or something.

    Also, go ahead and chip in the $99 for an AirPort card. It's a feature you won't find so cheap in the PC world, and a rapidly increasing number of college campuses offer wireless networks he could connect to.
  23. jefhatfield Retired


    Jul 9, 2000
    Re: Depends

    i love my ibook, but with a business of fixing pcs and being a microsoft networking techie, i need that darned pc around...but maybe one day a pc network techie could get everything done and administered on a mac

    i did hear of an nt administrator on the apple site who did run his network remotely from his blueberry ibook which is cool...it is just that i have no idea how he pulled that off...just running a pc network from a pc laptop remotely is problematic and server types would love to be able not to have to live in the server room, but right now, that is the reality for many
  24. Gelfin macrumors 68020


    Sep 18, 2001
    Denver, CO
    Re: Re: Depends

  25. Backtothemac macrumors 601


    Jan 3, 2002
    San Destin Florida
    Why in the hell is everyone complaining about the G3's being slow? Look, I run OS X on an iBook 600 combo drive unit every day. It has 384 MB of ram, and it rocks! This little puppy handles everything that I can toss at it. As a network administrator, I run Virtual PC on it. I have Win 95, 98, ME, 2000, and XP installed under VPC, and Mandrake Linux. I use Citrix to connect to a Citrix server. I use terminal to access all of the routers on our network, and to add e-mail accounts in Unix. In addition, I also use it to access the PBS software that resides on a Unix Server. I can print to the network printers using LPR, and I can access the Active Directory on our 2000 server through OS X. I get 4-5 hours of battery life, have 1,000 MP3's on the system, photoshop 7 Beta 43, and Toast 5.1.

    Point is, I can do anything! And all for 1499! The Dull is heavy, slower (yes ESP, it is slower. Run photoshop tests on the two, and you will see), uglier, has been known to catch on fire, far shorter battery life, more expensive, and runs friggin Windoze. There is no comparison. The iBook will do everything that this kid will need it to do, and will be the envy of everyone in his CS department.

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