Looking to buy my first Mac within next 45 days..seeking advice.

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by reubs, Jun 30, 2006.

  1. reubs macrumors 68000

    Jun 22, 2006
    I'm going in to my last year of school, and I'm going to need a laptop for our big exams in January and to have as I begin my career soon after. Right now, I'm looking at the mid-level macbook. I'll be using it as my primary music storage center to sync the iPod I will purchase along with it. I'll also be using iPhoto for photo storage/viewing/editing (is that possible?) DVD drive will only be used for viewing DVDs. I don't intend to do any video editing anytime soon, so that's a non-issue.

    Here are my questions: should I get the system with the standard HDD and upgrade myself? If so, what are some good 2.5" drives with lots of storage that go well in Macs? I've done HDs with desktop PCs, but never laptops. I intend to upgrade the RAM, also. I guess I'll let Apple do that in-house because I'm not sure how much RAM normally costs anyway so I'll save myself that trouble.

    Finally, I'll need a wireless network set up for our apartment. We've currently got cable internet w/ the modem hooked up directly to our desktop, and I was hoping I could get an Airport to save some time/trouble setting up a network otherwise. Any suggestions there?

    I also plan to get the Apple Care plan. Is that worth it or a waste of money? I'll pick that up on both the iPod and on the Macbook.

    If there's anything I may have missed, please let me know. I look forward to learning more about Macs and their workings, and I know I've got a steep curve ahead of me. Thanks in advance for the advice, and I'll let y'all know what I decide when decision day comes!
  2. JurgenWigg macrumors 6502


    May 20, 2006
    as to the HD and the RAM - it's a VERY simple proceedure, you take out the battery and everythings there.

    If you're looking at any HD's over 100 gb or want a 7200 rpm hd, do it yourself

    If you're looking at RAM over 1 gb, do it yourself. You'll save at least $100.
  3. it5five macrumors 65816


    May 31, 2006
    New York
    I'd get AppleCare for the Macbook, but remember that you can buy it within the first year of purchasing the MacBook, so if you don't want it right away don't worry. As far as AppleCare for the ipod, personally, I find that a bit of a waste, but it's up to you. Other people may have a different opinion.

    Do the HD and RAM upgrades yourself, you will save some money. Plus it is REALLY easy. You can find the guides to do it on Apple's website and there are some videos floating out around there. Take a look at the guide on Apple's website, and if you don't feel comfortable doing it, then go ahead and just have Apple do it.

    Here it is: http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=303721

    For wireless, I have a linksys wireless router ($50) and I have absolutely no complaints about it. Really easy to set up and no problems.
  4. generik macrumors 601


    Aug 5, 2005
    Why not wait a bit and get a MBP when they get updated?

    Assuming you are a guy (well that's a big assumption!) I don't think a guy will look too.. masculine.. using a tiny white laptop at work :rolleyes:
  5. it5five macrumors 65816


    May 31, 2006
    New York
    They could do that yes, or rather than paying almost twice as much to be cool at work, they could just get the Black MacBook if they are really concerned about their image.
  6. amac4me macrumors 65816


    Apr 26, 2005
    Congrats on the decision to purchase your first Mac. :D

    Considering your wait time of approx 45 days, I say wait for WWDC in August to see if there are any new notebook announcements and/or updates to the existing line of MacBook Pros (I doubt there will be any update to the MacBooks).

    I would recommend that you get a system that can grow with you. The only thing I don't like about the MacBooks is the inability to use an expansion slot. If you will never need the ability to expand, then you can get the MacBook otherwise, I would suggest the MacBook Pro because the ExpressCard slot would prove useful.

    I would recommend that you purchase Apple Care for two reasons.

    1. Peace of mind for 3 years
    2. It's cheaper with the education discount.

    Best of luck with your decision.
  7. reubs thread starter macrumors 68000

    Jun 22, 2006
    Thanks for all of the responses. The 45 day window is to allow for WWDC and whatever happens there. I'm not to worried about looking weak for having a small white notebook, and the extra bucks for the black one isn't necessary for me. A MBP is an option if something reasonable (for my needs) pops up before the education deal goes away.

    As far as my work, I'll really only be using it for word processing, so I don't need a muscle computer. Insecurity is not an issue with looks, but thanks for the thoughts!

    As for an "expansion slot", what would that be used for? I think a two USBs and one firewire will be ample. As far as hardware, who makes some good HDDs? I've used Seagate in the past, and I also saw a hitachi at newegg. 7200 RPM would be nice, but I think I could get by with 5400.

    Thanks again everyone.
  8. bluemouse macrumors member

    May 1, 2005
    Fairfax, VA

    That is a patently ridiculous assertion. There is nothing particularly feminine about a white laptop. And furthermore, assuming he enters a reasonably mature and professional field, he will be judged by the quality of his work and not his laptop. The absolute last thing to be worried about, I think.

    And as for the MBP, I am in the market for a new laptop, and I have already discarded the MBP in favor of the MB. For my uses, the MBP is too big. The aluminum dents and deforms more easily than I am comfortable with. And worst, I seem to be one of the lucky people whose touch corrodes aluminum, resulting in unsightly pitting on the palmrests and track button. A MBP is not the answer to everyone's needs. And should I end up with a white Macbook, will I be worried about appearing effeminate? Absolutely not. Would I care if someone felt that I did? Not in the least.
  9. panoz7 macrumors 6502a


    Nov 21, 2005
    Raleigh, NC
    Thank you. I was about to post the same thing. I have a white macbook and masculinity was just about my last concern when buying it. Is it less manly then a MBP? Maybe, but seriously... if you're that concerned that having a white computer is going to make you look girly you've got bigger problems. I can see if it was pink... but white? Come on.

    On the plus side Girls seem to love it. I've had numerous girls who probably would have never talked to me otherwise walk up and ask about the computer. They seem to think that its cute. I don't see how that's such a bad thing...

    As for the OP's original question... I'd have apple upgrade the harddrive but I'd do the ram yourself. Both upgrades are relatively simple on the macbook... the ram is somewhat tricky, but only because it requires alot more force to put it in then you would ever guess. I'd let apple do the harddrive just to avoid the trouble of reinstaling OS X and being stuck with the original 60gig.

    An airport extreme would work in your situation, but if you don't need the aditional features that it offers, I'd go for any plain and simple G router. The Linksys WT54G router seems to have quite a following on this board. I've got one but stopped using it after switching to a D-Link.

    I consider apple care a necessity for laptops. They break more often then desktops and are much more costly to fix when they do. I haven't bought it for my macbook yet but I will once I'm closer to the first year being up.

    If you aren't planing on burning DVDs i'd go for the lower end model and put the money you've saved into Ram and the HD. I doub't you'll notice the difference between the 1.83 and 2.00 ghz processors and you'll still be able to burn cds and watch DVDs with the combo drive. I got the midrange model because I needed the superdrive to burn backup's, but if you don't need that I'd save your money.
  10. reubs thread starter macrumors 68000

    Jun 22, 2006
    Thanks everyone for all of your help and info. I was about to pull the trigger on the midrange today, but then got to thinking about an external DVD ripper/burner.

    My plan is to rip TV shows (Aqua Teen, Scrubs, and other short comedies) and store them on my existing external HD to upload into the iPod I'll be getting as well. Well, if I go w/ the 1.83 and upgrade to 2 gigs of ram, that'll put me right about at the midlevel macbook in terms of price, but I'll be without a DVD burner/writer. I've got no need to burn/rip DVDs on the fly, so an external is probably my best bet.

    So, I come to y'all know looking for suggestions where that's concerned...internal w/ enclosure? External all-in-one? Does it even make sense to want to rip DVDs so I can watch the shows on my iPod?

    Thanks again, everyone.

    edit to add: I've got the Link-sys ready to install as soon as I get the laptop here. On sale at BB for 50.00 saved $150 off the airport and brought the laptop budget down. Also, I've decided to go freeware open-source for word processing until a universal MS Office arrives.

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