looking to buy first laptop

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by e-park, Dec 11, 2011.

  1. e-park macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2011
    Location:
    las vegas
    #1
    hey guys, i came here for some good mac advice. i'm going to college next semester at unlv, for architecture, and for christmas and my birthday, i'm getting $400 for a new laptop. throwing in some personal money that i've been setting aside, i have about $560 to spend.

    i have had pcs in my home all my life, but at my former job as a photographer's aide, i worked with macs. simply put, they are superior, and i've never had one crash on me (whereas my father has to wipe our pc tower every 4 months for some issue or another.)

    what i need to know is how far my money will get me, what is a fair price for certain macbooks, etc. i'm looking, if i can, to get one with a modern trackpad and that will stay compatible for at least a couple of years. any advice would be great.

    thanks guys!
     
  2. KylePowers macrumors 68000

    KylePowers

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2011
    #2
    I'd try to gather up some more money if I were you. Even last year's refurbs (MBP/MBA) can't hit that price point. Are you willing to go used?

    Maybe you can get a grant/loan through your college for a laptop? I know my school does that.
     
  3. r0k macrumors 68040

    r0k

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2008
    Location:
    Detroit
    #3
    I'm pretty sure MicroCenter has the 13 in MBP new for $999 which is slightly better than Apple education pricing. Take a look at Apple refurbs but avoid the older generation MBA as they are not really worth $699 unless you don't mind having the older slower core duo architecture. Microcenter also sells older refurb Macbooks for prices ranging from $499 to $699. Again they are core duo era machines but are a better value than the MBA because they come with more memory and more internal storage. We got my son the lowest model 13 in MBP when he started college and he is quite happy with it. He had the main board replaced once under Applecare when he had a mishap involving a drink. At the time Apple made an exception and fixed it for him under Applecare. It would have been a $900 repair. It's a good idea to include Applecare in your budget or at least save up and purchase Applecare within the first year.
     
  4. aross99 macrumors 68000

    aross99

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2006
    Location:
    East Lansing, MI
    #4
    I would agree with this. Both my kids went to college (in 2009, and 2011) with entry level 13" MBP's. These are great machines.

    You are going to have to get up to $1,000 though to get into that. used machines may be a good option also, but as expected, they aren't going to be viable as long as the most current machines - especially if you are looking to be able to upgrade them over time.
     
  5. js81, Dec 12, 2011
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2011

    js81 macrumors 65816

    js81

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2008
    Location:
    KY
    #5
    I've seen the last model of the white Macbook for around $649 or so a few times.... for the price, that's probably about the best you'll find.

    EDIT: This isn't bad, either, though it is a bit out of your range:
    http://store.apple.com/us/product/FB990LL/A

    Or this, if you want cheap: (but its not perfect)
    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Apple-MacBo...58952682?pt=Apple_Laptops&hash=item3f10739fea

    EDIT #2: Looks to me like there's a ton on eBay for under $500 - not new mind you, but good used ones, many with some sort of warranty. Shouldn't be too hard to find, just don't expect new...
     
  6. Akack macrumors 6502a

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    Mar 5, 2011
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    USA
    #6
    Save up a little more and maybe try craigslist, just try to buy one that still has warranty.
     
  7. Primejimbo macrumors 68040

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    Aug 10, 2008
    Location:
    Around
    #7
    Those seem like great deals. OP, I would check these out over used. You can get Applecare with them and come with a 1 year warranty.
     
  8. e-park thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2011
    Location:
    las vegas
    #8
    thanks for your help, you guys. i've been checking craigslist in my area a lot, since you get the chance to try them before you buy. i don't mind getting a used one, as long as it's not too old (ideally no more than 2 years.) seems like the unibody macbook is a fairly good choice that fits what i would like, would you guys recommend the unibody macbooks?

    my money is capped at about $600 just because of the financial situation i'm in. still waiting to see how much i'm getting from the university. and, also, because my dad thinks macs are a wasteful investment, which no matter what he refuses to change his beliefs, so whatever.
     
  9. wrinkster22 macrumors 68030

    wrinkster22

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2011
    Location:
    Toronto
    #9
    A white unibody macbook is excellent as well as the aluminum ones. The aluminum ones are like the 13" macbook pros (the older ones, but with no FW or sd port)

    I would try to get a Mac!
     
  10. Primejimbo macrumors 68040

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    #10
    I have an Aluminum Macbook and it's great. Had it since they came out and no issues at all.
     
  11. visim91, Dec 12, 2011
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2011

    visim91 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2011
    #11
    I've done a lot of research, and I think this is perfect:

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/DELL-XPS-M1...ptops_Nov05&hash=item3f112d051b#ht_1663wt_860
     
  12. e-park thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2011
    Location:
    las vegas
    #12
    if i were in california it'd be a lot easier, looking at their craigslist, they have a ton of unibodies for sale at my pricepoint. here's hoping, i've got til the first of the year to figure things out.
     
  13. iRCL macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2011
    #13
    This isn't going to be enough money, and if money is that tight and you go with an older used one, you're going to hit expenses like batteries, something failing, power adapter breaking...

    Also, do you have an idea what software you're going to need to run for architecture projects? Your Mac may end up being booted in to Windows quite a bit. (Or maybe not but..)
     
  14. westmeadow, Dec 12, 2011
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2011

    westmeadow macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2011
    #14
    I hate to break it to you, but unless you find an extra-fantastic deal, you're either gonna want to save up a bit more or get a solid PC. Obviously I'd suggest the saving up a bit more. I definitely recommend getting something FROM Apple (as in not another person or website), simply for the warranty - especially if you go used. Their customer service is legendary and their coverage is amazing, and you're going to want that if you get a pre-owned one. The worst thing that can happen (and well may happen) is to spend all that money on a beautiful computer, only to have it bite the dust with little to no coverage. When you have enough money, look into it for yourself as far as what to get, but it sounds like a Macbook Air would be a good fit for you.
     
  15. shyam09 macrumors 68000

    shyam09

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2010
    #15
  16. visim91 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2011
    #16
    I was kidding. That machine is hideous.
     
  17. aross99 macrumors 68000

    aross99

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2006
    Location:
    East Lansing, MI
    #17
    I just saw this one today:

    http://www.midnightbox.com/?dealboxtabs=3

    At least it isn't from Craigslist, or eBay...

    $500 for a used 2.1 Ghz Core 2 Duo, 1G Ram, 120Gb hard drive, and OS X 10.4 (Tiger). Note body of the page says comes with 10.5 (Leopard), which makes more sense, but you should investigate...

    Spend you extra $100 and upgrade the ram and the OS, and maybe the hard drive.

    Comes with a 90 day warranty...

    It looks like this is one of those lightning deals that has been running for a bit, and isn't on much longer though...
     
  18. bosco2012 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2011
    #18
  19. r0k macrumors 68040

    r0k

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2008
    Location:
    Detroit
    #19
    That guy was kidding, bosco2012. He was kidding. And yes that machine was pretty awful.

    It's a core duo 2.16 Ghz running Windows XP. I have a core duo 2.4 Ghz white Macbook at home that is almost 4 years old. There is no way I'd consider spending so much on a PC that was core duo. Microcenter does have the white Macbook and a few black ones, refurbished for $499 - $629 and while they are old machines, they are a much better value. We have two of 'em. Mine was bought new and I picked up my daughter's Blackbook for $629 a couple of months ago. I do think the new MBPs are a better value if you can afford one, but if money is a problem, consider a refurb Mac before you consider a PC.
     
  20. e-park thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2011
    Location:
    las vegas
    #20
    just wanted to thank you all for your help. unfortunately, i'm not going to be able to pull the trigger on a mac, its too much of a risk buying used, especially after looking at some of the programs i will need. probably going with this instead : http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16834131178

    it has some of the great qualities of macs, like the multigesture trackpad and a great keyboard, plus it will be powerful enough to run 3d designing programs. for the price, it seems like the best option.
     
  21. Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2008
    Location:
    The Far Horizon
    #21
    I'm sorry to hear that, but best of luck with it; at the end of the day, only you know what you need, and more importantly, what you can afford. However, I would advise that while at uni, keep your eyes open, and - somewhere down the line - you might be able to get an Apple refurb, or a used Apple, at a decent price.

    Cheers and good luck
     
  22. shyam09 macrumors 68000

    shyam09

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2010
    #22
    heh and i was just being nice :p

    ----------

    oh. well have fun :)
    and i'm also sorry. you have to live with those hideous stickers *tears tears*
     
  23. Bob Coxner macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2011
    #24
    If you're going refurbished, as the one you list is, then I would recommend the Dell Outlet. There were i5 15" laptops there today for around $500 and i3 ones for around $400. Dell refurbished units carry the same warranty as their new units (1 year). Your Newegg one has a 90 day waranty.

    The Dell Outlet inventory changes minute by minute. If you don't see what you want, check back every couple of hours/days and eventually something great will show up. You also need to check both the Dell Home and Dell Business Outlets, they have different inventories.

    For example, here are some that available at the moment (they will be gone by the time you read this). Based on past experience, you can beat these prices by quite a bit if you're patient and check the inventory frequently.

    Inspiron 14R - N4010 $469

    Processor: Intel Core i3-330M Processor (2.13GHz, 4Threads, 3M cache)
    Genuine Windows 7 Home Premium
    500 GB SATA Hard Drive (5400 RPM)
    4 GB DDR3 SDRAM 1333MHz (2 DIMMs)
    8X DVD +/- RW Drive
    Intel Graphics Media Accelerator HD

    Vostro 3550 $599

    Processor: Intel Core i5-2410M processor (2.30 GHz with Turbo Boost 2.0 up to 2.90 GHz)
    Genuine Windows 7 Home Premium
    320 GB SATA II Hard Drive (7200 RPM)
    4 GB DDR3 SDRAM 1333MHz (1 DIMMs)
    8X DVD +/- RW Drive
    1GB AMD Radeon HD 6630M

    I don't know if it's still going on but there was a 10% off coupon available yesterday for Outlet laptops, so you would take 10% off these prices. Shipping is free. Dell also has a good return policy.
     

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