MacBook this Xmas? Is Mac good for students?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Degradable, Dec 12, 2007.

  1. Degradable macrumors member

    Dec 12, 2007
    Hey, I have a few questions which I'm sure you guys can help answer :)

    Some Background:

    I am a 17 year old student from UK, England going to university next year and I'v always wanted a Mac and have heard they are very good for university and student work. I'v been a bit of a windows geek since I was like 8 and i HATE Windows Vista, I even downgraded to Windows XP because it was so poor.


    I would like to use my macbook for:

    • Student Work
    • Surfing the Web
    • Some Gaming

    But mostly I want a light, portable laptop which has great usability. Is the MacBook right for this?

    Which MacBook should I go for, for university life? I know this sounds snobby, but how much the model costs is not an issue as I have savings and Christmas/18th coming up. Is the Macbook right for me or the Macbook pro?

    Your recommendations please.

    Also, one more question.

    When should I buy whichever model you recommend? It says this site to buy it because its just been updated, but then I've read the rumor about an ultra-portable macbook being released this Jan?

    Should I buy the Mac for Christmas? Or wait till Jan Sales? Or wait for my birthday in May?

    Thank you in advance,

  2. psychofreak Retired


    May 16, 2006
    I'm a 16 year old student and the Mac is definitely the way to go...the Macbook is fantastic, and the new graphics will handle light stuff...

    Remember to get the education discount :)
  3. Degradable thread starter macrumors member

    Dec 12, 2007
    Hey, cheers for the quick reply.

    Where do you get the education discount from??

  4. Schtumple macrumors 601


    Jun 13, 2007
    I'm 19 and bought a mac specifically for my final major project at college, seriously paid itself, without it I would've just passed the course, with it I got double distinction and a merit :D
  5. psychofreak Retired


    May 16, 2006
    You can choose Education on the Apple online store, or bring in evidence of being a student (school bills etc) to the Apple Store...
  6. Degradable thread starter macrumors member

    Dec 12, 2007
    Ok, thank you.

    But still - which mac is for me?

    Macbook or Macbook pro?

    Or the new one coming out in Jan?
  7. iMpathetic macrumors 68030


    Oct 7, 2007
    Well, it really depends on what exactly you do. From what you say, the MacBook (not pro) should be fine, speed-wise. The ultra-portable MBP I'm not so sure about, but it'll likely be around $1700ish, so keep that in mind. How light is the gaming you're gonna be doing?
  8. Schtumple macrumors 601


    Jun 13, 2007
    Macbook, easily, I can't see any reason why you'd need a Macbook Pro.
  9. Degradable thread starter macrumors member

    Dec 12, 2007

    Gaming would to be honest not be a big issue at all. I've got a desktop which I can use for that and at Uni I'm not planing on doing any gaming at all.

    So I take it the Macbook Pro is simply for high-end video editing etc? If thats the case then there is no reason for me to get it, as the macbook is lighter and more portable isn't it?

    I did think the macbook would be better.

    Also, when should I get it? I would love to buy it for Christmas - but if it is likely to be upgraded soon then I'm happy to wait till May.

    And finally is the mac fine at connecting to wireless connections and can it save in windows word format to send to a PC? Just checking lol.
  10. dalvin200 macrumors 68040

    Mar 24, 2006
    Nottingham, UK
    another vote for macbook - and again, do not forget the edu discount, makes a huge difference in cost..

    also, max the ram too :)

    it should last your entire uni days and then some!
  11. Degradable thread starter macrumors member

    Dec 12, 2007
    Thank you all for the quick replies :)

    Macbook seems to be the winner!!

    I've been reading other threads and it seems I should buy the macbook now as it won't be upgraded in the foreseeable future?

    Time to customize my macbook :D

    EDIT: By the way, Black or White? Which is cooler? :p
  12. Eski macrumors newbie

    Oct 15, 2007
    yep, Macbook

    I teach at a UK Uni, and have seen a marked increase in the number of students walking around with their own Macbooks. Even more useful with the free wireless access to the Uni network (standard stuff at Uni these days). I have a Macbook Pro but would say a Macbook is fine, battery life is twice as long.
    Games is always dodgy on a Mac (tip of the day - Halo Mac demo).
    Final thing. Are you doing anything that requires special PC applications. If yes, you may need to put a copy of Windows on Bootcamp to run these apps. Check with the Department you hope to join.
    Fianlly which model? Not the base one as it doesn't have the DVD writer, the middle white one seems best option, unless you want to pay extra for black. Stretch to 2 gig ram if you can. Oh and you'll want mac Office.
    As others have said, don't miss the student discount. You can use your student card (when you have one) in the Apple shops.

    Have a great time at Uni and work hard :)
  13. Degradable thread starter macrumors member

    Dec 12, 2007
    The perfect response, thank you very much :)

    My course is Business Management and Marketing so doesn't need need any specific applications I don't think, I'll check to make sure.

    I've gone for the high-end white macbook, does this have a dvd burner/writer? I naively thought this was default.

  14. stomer macrumors 6502a

    Apr 2, 2007
    Leeds, UK
    It's worth pointing out that you don't necessarily need to use Bootcamp in order to run the odd PC app. Both Parallels and VMWare can run PC apps, but with the advantage of not having to reboot your Mac. They aren't free though.
  15. dwright1974 macrumors 6502


    Aug 13, 2007

    I agree with the others - MacBook is the way to go.

    Yes, the mid-range White MB would be perfect, I personally don't see the point in spending the extra money for 40Gb of extra drive space and the colour black! As others have said, max out the RAM but don't get it from Apple - do it yourself.

    A case of removing the battery, undoing 3 screws, popping the old RAM out and popping the new in. A good place to get it is Crucial.

    As for software, somebody mentioned Office. It is likely you'll need to use the office format but there is NeoOffice available, a port to OS X of OpenOffice and is Office compatible.

    If you still think Office is the option for you, check out RM, you can pick Office up for the mac for £42 - it's still the 2004 version they're offering but I think there is an upgrade path to 2008 for a tiny amount.

    Finally, consider AppleCare in case something breaks in your MacBook - you can pick it up from Apple direct or check on eBay where it is often sold considerably cheaper, (usual caveats apply of course, check the seller's ratings, etc).

    Good luck, I got mine for Christmas and whilst it's sat at home, it's still boxed up and will only be used properly in just under 2-weeks!


    - D
  16. dollystereo macrumors 6502a


    Oct 6, 2004
    -Get the model from apple, the top white macbook is great.
    -Get 2 GB of ram from somewhere else (, 1 dimm of 2Gb.
    -Throw away one of the 512 sticks that come and put the 2Gb dim, TOTAL MEMORY 2.5GB GREAT!!! (dont worry about dual channel, you can get that later with 2x 2GB sitcks) anyway you are not going to see the diference
    -Get a good macbook sleeve (tucano or incase are great)
    -Get microsoft office, i think there are ways to get it ultra cheap, look in the forum.
    -Ready to road out!!
    -Enjoy the best laptop that you have ever had.
    PD: there is a rumor of a new ultra portable computer coming from apple, you may want to wait or buy now and enjoy the super macbook... up to you
  17. TraustiB macrumors member

    Nov 27, 2007
    Reykjavík, Iceland
    MacBook \o/

    There is no confirmation that Apple will introduce an Ultra-portable laptop this January, its just a rumour. But if you can wait for Macworld to see if there might be a product refresh or some updates to the MacBook or MacBook Pro line I'd do that.

    I know its hard to wait :p but if you really want it go get one! You wont be disappointed.

    Criss/cross advice :eek:
  18. deadkenny macrumors regular

    Jun 25, 2006
    Go for the MacBook it will serve you very well. I was (until May) a student of computer science and I had a MacBook myself as my only computer and never ever felt that I have insufficient power. I use an external 24" display with external keyboard + mouse at home.
    However the MacBooks resoultion is even enough for a few lines in Visual Studio or Eclipse (coding environments - nothing uses that much screen real estate).

    I'd suggest to buy the smallest configuration available with dual layer DVD burner and then update the Ram to 2GB or 4GB and if you will use windows with bootcamp then buy the largest 2.5" 9.5mm HD you can get in the after market and install it (possibly 250GB). It's very easy to upgrade these things in a MacBook, the HD comes in some kind of drawer and the RAM sticks have a special leverage to pull them out.

    I prefer Crumpler the Gimp 13" because it will allow you to open the MacBook while it's in the sleeve and the zipper goes all the way around so you don't have so slide the MB in/out (possible cause for scratches).
  19. xUKHCx Administrator emeritus


    Jan 15, 2006
    The Kop
    23 y/o Chemical Engineering Student.

    The Macbook is a great student computer no question. Even if you run across windows only applications that is what Bootcamp/Fusion/Parallels if for.

    If you are buying it for Uni use why not wait until Sept/October this way you get a bigger discount through the Higher Educational Store, a better computer, and possibly a free iPod.
  20. jnc macrumors 68020


    Jan 7, 2007
    Nunya, Business TX
    21 yo Law Student with a MacBook (getting MacBook Pro in January because I'm creative on the side)

    MacBook = updated weeks ago
    MacBook Pro = due for an update, rumoured smaller, lighter model on the way. It would be a PRO machine though, with a PRO pricetag for the portability premium, but maybe worth at least waiting till January to see what's offered, if anything. It's a few weeks.

    If you know someone already at a uni, get them to buy it for you - much bigger discount. (I think it's 14% or so, instead of 7-8% you get with a college discount)

    Personally I prefer the black MacBook over the white. It's not just a matter of the MacBook being dipped in a different vat of paint so to speak, it's a different finish, like the dull finish on the inside of the white MacBook, but all over. You need to go to a store and look at them both to see what I mean.
  21. Degradable thread starter macrumors member

    Dec 12, 2007
    Cheers for the help guys :)

    Iv decided to get a High-end white MacBook with 160GB hard-drive with default ram and buy 2x2GB DDR2 kit from crucial.

    Are there any good, well known cases which I can get too? And I think I'll have to get it for Christmas, I don't think i can wait - plus isn't the new upgrade only for MacBook Pro?

  22. xUKHCx Administrator emeritus


    Jan 15, 2006
    The Kop
    I quite like my booq vyper which is a sleeve and I put it in my normal Uni bag.

    I also bought the Moshi Codex red and am having a hard time deciding between the two, I think the booq is going to win.
  23. Degradable thread starter macrumors member

    Dec 12, 2007
    There not for the UK though :(
  24. xUKHCx Administrator emeritus


    Jan 15, 2006
    The Kop
    Well if you look at my location and my username ...
  25. phjones macrumors newbie

    Dec 12, 2007
    Depends where you're planning to go

    In general, I would always advise going for a Mac. But how pleasant that experience will be will in influenced by where you're planning to go. In my experience, some Universities in the UK (no names) are really anti-Macs. That's not to say Macs can't be used but the support can be a bit hostile. Others, however, (e.g. Liverpool) make a really good effort to support Mac users. So, I would recommend contacting the University you plan to attend to find out their policy on supporting Mac users.

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