iMac vs. MBP for college

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Nayyirsq, Jun 16, 2008.

  1. Nayyirsq macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2008
    #1
    Hi,

    Last week my Dell Laptop died on me, out of warranty. The motherboard is fried, and so after weighing my options, I think I'd like to get a new computer rather than repair a motherboard, and possibly incur more problems later. I bought it 2 years ago, and I was planning on keeping it for at least one more year. I wasn't planning on spending a large sum of money on a new computer anytime soon.

    I'm in college, as an engineer, going to be a junior. I want a Mac. That is pretty much decided as I am pretty much fed up with PC's. Having said that, I do plan on using Boot Camp to run XP/Vista on whatever machine I get because some of the software I use is not available on Mac. (Chemical Engineering software).

    I am in college, and so I do not have much money sitting around, otherwise I would pick up a MBP in a second.

    Here is my situation:
    - Willing to spend around $1500 max...the more I spend, the more locked in I am keeping the computer for a longer duration.
    - I need a good graphics card for gaming and productivity (Macbook out)
    - I currently have a 24" monitor (can sell for $250-$300...?)
    - I don't want to downsize my monitor, so if I buy an iMac, it's going to be a 24"
    - I am planning on purchasing an iPhone 3g
    - I can *maybe* salvage $200 for my old computer if I part it out
    - I can get the student discount, and "free" iPod (which I think I would turn around and sell right away)
    - I want extended warranty, not going to deal with expired warranty again
    - I would like to make a decision in the next week or two (I am currently using my laptop at work)

    Really what it is coming down to is the portability issue, and cost. Portability is very nice in college, but so far, I havent used it that much. I go to the library with it sometimes, and I take it to friends dorms to game from time to time, or do work, or I take it on campus for a presentation. Do I really need to have a MBP (laptop)?

    The other thing is I will have an iPhone. So I think I'll have sufficient access to the internet and email and so forth. What is really killing me, is that I don't want to be tethered to my dorm/apartment when I really need to move somewhere. Basically IF I need to move it, I would like to be able to. Will the iPhone 3g make up for a loss of portability of a desktop?

    Ideally I want a MBP, but will the iMac be sufficient?

    Help?

    NQ
     
  2. digitalnicotine macrumors 65816

    digitalnicotine

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2008
    Location:
    USA
    #2
    I honestly think you'll do fine with a 24" iMac. If your friends want to game, invite them to your room instead of going to theirs. Use your iPhone for on the go net access. I'm sure your library has terminals should you need them while there? And if you absolutely had to, you could unplug your iMac, and move it to another location much more easily than if it were a PC desktop or Mac Pro (although people will likely point and giggle).

    I think you'll easily adjust to not having a laptop, especially with the iPhone. Good luck to you. :)
     
  3. Eric. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2008
    #3
    Apart from the video card (which I'm not really sure of), a base 24" iMac should outperform the MBP in most cases. You do sound biased towards the MBP, and I think you should go for it if you can afford it. You may want to keep the external monitor in that scenario unless you would need to put that money towards the cost of the MBP. I don't think you'll notice the performance difference of 400Mhz, and coming from a 2 year old Dell you probably don't require any more power than that.

    In the end you're looking at $100 difference with education pricing.
     
  4. BKF macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2006
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    #4
    I know this isn't your first choice but it might be worth saying anyway that if you can live with the video card on the MacBook, you could use it at the dorm with the monitor you already have, still gain portability, and save a lot of money. They're good little machines.
     
  5. tMac85 macrumors 65816

    tMac85

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2007
    Location:
    in a great place
    #5
    Go with the MBP. you sound like your decision is already made up. The mbp runs like a desk top, and when it comes time for some portability you will love the design and battery life, not to mention be able to take it out of your dorm.

    Good luck and welcome to the world of apple. you will not regret it.
     
  6. tMac85 macrumors 65816

    tMac85

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2007
    Location:
    in a great place
    #6
    i second that. I dont know what the specs were on your old dell, but the macbooks are pretty awesome.
     
  7. Nayyirsq thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2008
    #7
    well i dont know if the macbook's graphics card will be good enough for

    1) using dual monitors
    2) current and future gaming
    3) watching tv using a tv tuner (i have a usb pc tv tuner, can i use that on a mac? if not, can i run it in windows?)

    also, isnt the macbook due for a facelift?
    ---

    having said all that, the way i calculated it out
    iMac
    2000 (after upgrades and edu disc)
    -250 (selling ipod touch)
    - 200 (parting old laptop)
    - 250 (selling 24" in LCD monitor)
    ----------
    1300 total

    MBP
    2600 (after upgrades and edu disc)
    - 250 (selling ipod touch)
    - 200 (parting old laptop)
    ---------
    2150 total

    thats a pretty significant difference

    (my old laptop was a core duo, 100gb HD, 1.5gb ram, ati x1300)
     
  8. Brianstorm91 macrumors 65816

    Brianstorm91

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2007
    Location:
    Cambridge, UK
    #8
    I'm in the same position as you, I'm getting an iMac (20") and then I'll keep this 12" PB for portability (upgrade when some lovely Alu MacBooks come out).
     
  9. KelchM macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2007
  10. BKF macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2006
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    #10
    Dual monitors on a MacBook shouldn't be a problem. The specs page claims support for "Extended desktop and video mirroring: Simultaneously supports full native resolution on the built-in display and up to 1920 by 1200 pixels on an external display, both at millions of colors." But how that card works for gaming, I don't know.
     
  11. digitalnicotine macrumors 65816

    digitalnicotine

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2008
    Location:
    USA
    #11
    The MBP seems out of your price range. If you can give up the gaming, future gaming, etc, then a MB would work.

    If you can find the extra money for the MBP, that'd be ideal. If not, then it looks like your finances have decided for you? :)
     
  12. DarkRevenant macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2008
    #12
    You could always check refurbs out.

    Also, you insist on getting a MBP model worth 2600...instead if you got the low end model (Which isn't that far off from the mid or high range) its 1800 with edu discount, minus the iPod touch (roughly 250) and your old laptop (roughly 200) and its in the 1350 range. Also, make sure you are not upgrading the RAM through apple.

    Have a nice day.
     
  13. Fabreze macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2008
    #13
    entry level MBP. AMAZING notebook, and should handle gaming fairly well.

    I am buying a new MBP before school starts, I currently play WoW, and will definitely be getting myself addicted to Warhammer in the fall.
     
  14. steeler macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2008
    #14
    I was thinking this exact same thing after reading that you're looking at a $2,600 MBP. Get one of the refurbs (or at least seriously consider it).
     
  15. sclough macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 23, 2008
    Location:
    Kansas City, MO
    #15
    I would second this post. Get the base model MBP with the discount and the iPod touch which you can ebay. The performance is going to be fine (and worlds ahead of what you're used to). That's what my brother in law did and it beat out the current refurb prices. In the long run an MBP will be a little more flexible for college life than an iMac IMHO.
     

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