Macbook or... *Insert other computer here*

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by Robby9279, Jan 11, 2009.

  1. Robby9279 macrumors regular

    Nov 3, 2008
    Hey everyone!
    Alright, I'm going to start off by telling you I'm considering buying a new laptop. In addition to that, I'm also going to tell you what you need to know to help me make the best decision. First off, I want to buy a new computer (obviously). And what I want to know is which computer should I buy? I'm not just talking about Macs in particular, but the assortment of laptops out there, however I am a big fan of the Apple notebook. On that note, you should know that I'm a highschool student, looking for a computer to help me be productive with my schoolwork, as well as something to keep me busy and something to give me something to do while I'm bored.

    You should note that I am not a huge gamer I do not play any video games on my laptops or desktops. I use my xBox for that. This is essential for me, so please don't recommend any "game-based" computers (I.E Alienware). Basically, I want this computer for recreational use and something that I can use to enjoy.

    There are a few main reasons I want a new notebook. Currently I'm using a Lenovo Z61m thinkpad series. It's a nice computer, I've had little problems with it, however it's the family laptop and me keeping it in my room has began to bother the family, especially with two desktops (Dell Dimension e510s) that are currently not working (one has a motherboard issue, the other one we are not sure what's wrong with). The second reason is for my schoolwork. I am really big on being organized. I need a computer that can properly keep me on task and will do what I want it to do, when I want it to do it. Being organized is essential for me, as it helps me be more productive in school. Another reason I would like a computer is this current notebook I'm using doesn't really have anything interesting for me to do something, for example the macs come with moviemaker, which is a fun program to use when I'm bored and have a few videos of my buddies and I that I would like to edit and make fun little clips out of, and also photobooth another great little app. to toy around with. I am not using any heavy equipment, just a little Olympus FE-230, so nothing too serious, although I would like to get into photography at some point or another. I also want a nice looking computer, with a respectable reputation. I'm looking to spend up to $1,400.

    So I've come down to two choices that I would really like the Dell XPS or the Macbook . Both Computers have a very nice design and are respectively affordable. The only thing is, is my dad doesn't really think I need a new laptop, especially not a mac. He continuously says and I quote "Why get a mac? 95% of the business world uses PC" I try to inform him as if he doesn't know, and say I am not in the business world yet, and it will be quite a few years away until I am in it. With that, the computer I buy now is irrelevant to how I interact with my future as I more than likely will have bought a new computer at some point either during, or after college. So I'm asking you here, what is your opinion on what I should buy? Or should I follow what my father says and wait till I go into college?
    Thanks in advance.

    Also, please don't wait for me to buy, as right now I am only getting the research done for what I need to make a decision. And then will follow up with possibly purchasing a computer, so don't wait an ask for pictures of "unboxing" as it won't be for a while until I make my final decision.

    Once again,
  2. Solemony macrumors 6502


    Nov 26, 2008
    I'd say MB they are very nice and perform GREAT and it last a really long time. Since I'm an apple fan of course I'm going to choose the MB :)
  3. bluesTank macrumors regular

    Oct 21, 2008
    I can actually give some good advice on this issue, as my wife has a Dell XPS M1330, and I have the new 2.4 macbook.

    Here is what I would say. A macbook is good for general computer usage, and for people that don't know a lot about computers. It forces you to do a lot of things in certain ways, which is not necessarily a bad thing most of the time. It is is pretty un-customizeable, which again is not much of a bad thing because the OS is pretty good to begin with. Don't expect to be able to change much though. Software compatibility is also a pain, and while yes, you can use VMfusion or whatever, it still is a pain in the ass. A very very useful tool for watching streaming video (if your college does anything like that) called enounce does not work at all with macs. I have to open up a stupid fusion window any time I want to use it, so I end up just using my wifes PC. So yes it is partly true what your dad says.

    Also, you might want to consider what you are going to be doing in college. If you are going into anything to do with science, I know personally that it is a field that is heavily ingrained in PCs. All lab equipment and all that is going to use PCs. I worked in a tuberculosis lab where the PI was obsessed with macs, so he had three macs, and one PC in the office for data processing. Almost ALL of the software that we needed didn't work on the macs, so we always had to fight over who used the single PC. We all complained about it but he was too much of a stubborn mac douche to listen.

    So I would say wait. If you are going to be using it for everyday activities, like taking notes in class, sorting through pictures, or listening to music etc, sure Macs are great. If you are going to be doing anything more in depth then you are probably going to want to get the Dell XPS.

    As far as the computer itself, the Dell XPS M1330 is incredible. We got it rigged with much better specs then the macbook for a lot cheaper then the macbook. It came with a discrete videocard, 4gb ram, 2.4 ghz, with a ton of features (SD card reader, built in remote, wireless, fingerprint scanner) HDMI (none of this mini displayport crap) better battery life. The speakers on the macbook ARE significantly better, and the screens are about the same. Dells built in camera is much better with lots more features. It does have vista which is bad, but Windows 7 is on the horizon which looks promising.

    I got my macbook before she got the XPS, looking back I most likely WOULD have gotten the XPS for myself.

    Good luck
  4. tubbymac macrumors 65816


    Nov 6, 2008
    For your needs it seems you're almost perfectly suited for a Macbook. The nice thing about the Macbook is it already comes with iLife which is a bunch of software that you can explore.

    The Dell would require you to go research what software is out there and then go and buy it and install it.

    Also the cost doesn't seem to be a big issue, so I'd recommend the Macbook. The Dell is suited more for gamers and older professionals that need to run some Windows only software. For a high school kid, I think the Macbook would be much more fun.
  5. bluesTank macrumors regular

    Oct 21, 2008
    My final advice would be to wait til college (not sure how long that will be for you) since you may want to see what you will be doing in college.

    If I had gotten a macbook in college I would have been F'ed and ended up being in the computer labs using the PC's long hours into the night.

    But if you are going to be an english, history or even business major or anything like that, an mac would be perfect since they are pretty much made for liberal arts type stuff.
  6. GfulDedFan macrumors 65816


    Oct 17, 2007
    Hmm... I'm not sure about this. My daughter is a senior at Tulane with a major in Cell and Molecular Biology (pre-med). She was excepted to Med School in October and will start in August. She's been using a 12" PowerBook since freshman year and when she was just home on break we went new computer shopping. She decided to continue to use her PowerBook.
  7. drichards macrumors 6502a


    Nov 30, 2008
    The Apple will last longer and keep you happier.
  8. pirategenes macrumors newbie

    Jan 12, 2009
    In my experience, the above statement is 100% wrong. I have a BS, MS, worked in the biotech industry, on the human genome project, and am almost done with my PhD in bioinformatics. All these scientific fields are dominated by Macs.

    The main reason hard-core science types use macs is because Mac OS X is based on Linux and a lot of hardcore science is done on UNIX/Linux clusters.
  9. bluesTank macrumors regular

    Oct 21, 2008
    I guess I mean more hard sciences then that.

    Any kind of chemistry, physics, math or biophysics/biochemistry major will most likely run into trouble. Also, did she do any kind of research? She most likely would have had some kind of trouble there as well if she did.

    And if she is going to medical school, I am in it right now, and I can say it has been fine. If she is going to be watching lecture videos I am sure she will eventually run into the problem of not being able to use a program called enounce (a medical student's best friend) so she will have to use the annoying fusion programs.

    Later in her medical career however, she will have trouble with many of the imaging programs and hundreds of patient analysis programs she may want to use from home in her clinicals.
  10. Alrescha macrumors 68020

    Jan 1, 2008
    Ummn.. no. Not even close.

    (OS X has nothing to do with Linux)

  11. Nik73 macrumors regular

    May 26, 2006
    After a nightmare with my 1st run MB I fell for the "better specs for less money" trap and got a DELL laptop. I'd still say it's the best PC I've had but 2 1/2 yrs later I wish I'd stuck with a Mac as it's really slow and "crashy" now. Even after a full reinstall of XP Media Center.
    I've learnt my lesson and will hopefully be getting a new MB soon. :)
  12. pirategenes macrumors newbie

    Jan 12, 2009
    It's funny you say that- Apple seems to indicate otherwise:

    OS X is actually based on Free BSD, which is a flavor of Linux. So, what exactly do you mean by "Not even close"?
  13. EmperorDarius macrumors 6502a

    Jan 2, 2009
    The MB. Even if you have better hardware, the Dell will start getting slower and slower. It's just the way windows works. I tried many windows computers and it's the same. They're great at the beginning, but start slowing down after installing every program, start making errors, registry corruptions, and many other problems. Plus that it's very hard to keep a windows computer safe, even if you have one of the bests antiviruses. With the MB you get a new OS (with new features and improvements) every year and a half. Ok, it costs 130$, but it's worth if it will give you noticeable performance improvements (like Snow Leopard).:apple:

    Just my thoughts.
  14. trekkie604 macrumors 68000


    Feb 25, 2008
    Vancouver, Canada
    Linux != Unix.
  15. bluesTank macrumors regular

    Oct 21, 2008
    With the amount of money you are almost FORCED to spend on a mac, you could buy a new Dell when it starts getting slow, as you said. I have had to pay hundreds on top of an already overpriced machine in order to do what I normally did on a PC:

    VMware Fusion or Windows for bootcamp (or both), a dongle for that useless mini displayport, had to buy office AGAIN, and now they are telling me I have to pay another $100 to get an updated iLife, and then another $100+ to get the new OSX? Give me a break. I am a poor med student, I am trouble affording just having my macbook.
  16. Alrescha macrumors 68020

    Jan 1, 2008
    FreeBSD is not a flavor of Linux. FreeBSD is a variant of UNIX. Linux is a "UNIX-like" operating system. It is not UNIX ("Linux Is Not UniX").

  17. cherry su macrumors 65816

    cherry su

    Feb 28, 2008
    I would recommend a ThinkPad X200. It's inexpensive, small, and light. Plus, it is rugged and reliable.
  18. KFujiwara macrumors member


    Dec 16, 2008
    Even though I personally just purchased the Macbook Pro described in my signature, based on what you wrote I would have no problem recommending a Dell or HP laptop. The only thing you would need to keep in mind is with Windows Vista, you will want at least 2 GB of RAM to run it efficiently. As far as programs go, there are a lot of options that you have, even many that are free. AVG is a free virus-scan program that works well at protecting your computer (unless you open a lot of suspicious e-mails and go to a lot of potentially harmful sites).
    I will say I am very happy with my new Mac, especially with how well it allocates memory from program to program. I am also in the art field, so memory usage with Adobe programs is very important to me. However, your father is right in saying that Windows is very prominent in the business world. Since the laptop you go with would have little relevance when it comes to college, you would probably be okay going with either a Windows-based laptop or it might even be a good idea to wait it out.
  19. frogcat macrumors member

    Nov 9, 2007
    This thread got reached by some wrong people.

    Do not go for the XPS. Even if you are computer savvy or business savvy, you are enabled to learn how to use a mac. Don't listen to what others tell you that it would be harder to learn how to use a mac, just because 95% of the world uses PC. I'm sorry but for lack of a better quote, "would you jump off the bridge if your friend did?"

    First off, I used a desktop COMPAQ PC for a year in college, and one thing I learned is that no college student actually needs a laptop. It is actually there just for your degradation of your studies.

    Second, I am an IT major at the University of Texas in Austin. I am both enamored by computers and business. I am actually in the business school there. I use my mac for everything: entertainment, programming, some photoshop, and music. I can't even begin to tell you the perks of the OS that will just enthrall you. If you know how to use PC, great, then learn how to use a mac because it makes you ambidextrous.

    Third, if you are in sciences, I've noticed that most of the lab workers use macs. My girlfriend is a Chem major in the UT labs, and she uses a Macbook Air. Let me repeat that... a macbook air. The computer with the least processing power, the least everything, and she is in a "hardcore science" lab. She uses chemsketch, KaleidaGraph, and whatever it is that chemists use to study the AIDs virus. I'm telling you man, it doesn't matter what you are doing because people generally enjoy macs, even in profession.

    Man, you can't go wrong with a mac, and you can't knock it until you've tried it. I have friends who complain about their XPS computers all the time. I convert them. I converted a recruiter at an oil company while I was interviewing. I converted my girlfriend, and my girlfriend's mom. I'll convert your mom. Seriously, if I could just show you what you could do using a mac, you wouldn't worry about this PC compatibility crap.

    Last thing, just remember that the biggest perk I have had with Apple is their Apple Stores. Yes the geniuses are douchebags, but handling warranty issues in person is way better than on the phone. I've dealt with Dell and IBM over the phone many times, and I have nothing to complain about their warranty. But I do love me some Apple Store.

    I don't want you to think that I am a mac fanboy either. I use dell products in conjunction with macs because it combines a feature-filled product(Dell) with a more streamlined machine. I just hate when people don't give things a chance. They'll never know what they're missing out on. Sorry this was so long, but feel free to PM me about anything.
  20. bluesTank macrumors regular

    Oct 21, 2008
    frogcat, I physically have both of the computers in question. I am pretty sure I know what I am talking about.

    Besides, I never said macs were bad. I just said if I could go back, I would have picked the Dell.

    Especially with Windows 7 on the horizon
  21. frogcat macrumors member

    Nov 9, 2007
    I did not mean to offend you specifically bluesTank. To each his own, of course. My main point is that I think people should give macs a chance. The new XPS looks like a wonderful machine however.
  22. pirategenes macrumors newbie

    Jan 12, 2009
    Ohhh, gimme a break with all this nit-picking. My point is that Mac's are better for science because the OS is *similar* to many high performance research computing environments.
  23. EmperorDarius macrumors 6502a

    Jan 2, 2009
    As I know you get discounts on office if you are a student (or you can get iwork, or a free alternative), and no one forces you to buy iLife. No one forces you to buy the newest os either, it's for your own benefit.

    Sorry but I'd rather go for a hassle-free OS and pay more when I'm sure it'll be still there after 5 years.
  24. morrisman1 macrumors 6502

    looking at your signiture, you arent 'poor' as such. the iphone is now one hell of an expensive phone to have, theres heaps of cheap ones you could have bought instead. if you were that poor you would have just bought the 2.0ghz macbook to save money, the only real difference is the keyboard.

    you arent forced to spend money on a mac, if you dont want to then just dont! go get one of those beloved POS dells.

    the m1330 is not a good computer: it feels fragile, has bottom vents so overheats very easily, actually is quite thick, inferior graphics card, its pretty noisy compared to a macbook, has a damn aweful trackpad and runs windows.

    yes the macbook has its disadvantages and some of those may effect some more than others (read firewire) but in general is twice the computer that a m1330 will ever be
  25. VPrime macrumors 68000


    Dec 19, 2008
    London Ontario
    I dont see how any of this is good information at all. All of your "issues" could be solved with bootcamp. There run bootcamp not OSX. No need to launch a vmware window. Run windows all the time.

    And what do you mean by "customization" on the operating system or the hardware? If you mean the OS... Boy are you wrong. I have only used OSX for 4 months and still have not played with every thing. There is tones of things you can do to customize the OS. Any where from looks, to behavior.
    Apple script, and terminal are just 2 small (powerful) tools included to help.
    Just because YOU do not know what you are doing DOES NOT MEAN that the operating system is good for people who have no clue what they are doing.
    The OS is highly advanced, and very "fun" when you get behind the interface.
    Afterall it is built on a UNIX enviorment. I dare you to go and tell a unix user their operating system is for people that have no clue what they are talking about ;).. Just because Apple made is easy and pretty does not change the fact that it is still Unix underneath.

    Any ways.. I would personally get a mac.. If you plan to do any thing with computers or science int he future it is the better way to go.

    1) You can install Windows on a sperate partiton. Learn about windows, and windows based software etct.
    2)Then you can go the OSX (unix) route and see whats on that side. Different servers, different software (some good and some bad), Cluster computing.. plus what ever else.

    With the mac you have the freedom to run both windows and OSX. So why buy a dell or IBm or what ever else and be stuck with windows, where with a mac you have an option? (Though technically you can install OS X on a "PC".. that is what I am currently doing but its not as easy to reliable as running windows on a mac.)

    Any ways, thats just my input. I am not some apple fanboy, I dont even own a mac.. I just have the operating system running on my computers. I am a long time windows and linux user.. Just dont let some people who don't use OSX to its fullest potential lead you away ;)

Share This Page