Macbook vs. IMac. (college)

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by BloodSugar8, May 12, 2008.

  1. BloodSugar8 macrumors newbie

    May 12, 2008
    I'm headed off to college in the fall. and, i need a new computer. (my ibook G4 was sat on...) Now i am debating between getting a IMac and a Black 2.4 ghz Macbook. The macbook is more expensive, but is portable. the IMac has just been updated, is obviously faster and has more storage. My 3 roommates all will have laptops, so thats always available if i am on the go. Cost is a small issue but can be dealt with. what do you guys think?
  2. consumedsoul macrumors regular

    Mar 14, 2008

    Go w/ the portable for mobility.

  3. x86isslow macrumors 6502a

    Aug 10, 2003
    Depends on your major. If your classes involve complex diagrams and mathematical equations, you're better off with a piece of paper and a pen in class, than trying to keep up with the professor on a laptop.

    Personally, I'd try to get your laptop repaired and pick up the iMac, that way you have an iBook for on the road, and a speed demon with a huge screen in your room when you get back.
  4. BloodSugar8 thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 12, 2008
    i dig the idea. i actually may have a guy who can repair my ibook
  5. x86isslow macrumors 6502a

    Aug 10, 2003
    and grab an 8gb flash stick while you're at it. great for keeping your machines in sync.
  6. 1rottenapple macrumors 68020

    Apr 21, 2004
    i vote laptop. You'll thank me when its finals, and you can pack up and study where ever your heart desires and not just your room or dorm
  7. Jack Flash macrumors 65816

    May 8, 2007
    My opinion as I debate the same issue:

    Rarely have I found a laptop productive for taking to class. It's more difficult, in my opinion, to take notes digitally than it is to simply write down the highlights of a lecture on a pad of paper. In fact, a laptop tends to be a large distraction; with IM, FaceBook, Google all at your fingertips, it's hard to think your mind won't wander from Dr. Heavy Accent's intro to Chemistry lecture. While this could just be me, I remember things much better when I write them down. Typing just doesn't do it for me.

    It's my opinion that you cannot 'study' with a laptop. You can write a paper on one, but studying requires reading a text and reviewing notes while making supplemental additions to what you took in class. Most of the time I see people 'studying' with their laptop out, he or she is screwing around.

    Now, having a laptop can be fun, too. You can take it to your friends' dorms or to the library to write a paper. What you may find, though, is that you will want to seperate yourself from the computer when chilling with friends. Why not grab a brew instead of browsing a forum? And that library, well, chances are there are plenty of computer workstations that you can write your paper on.

    Of course, there are times when portability becomes a necessity, and I think the option is a high priority for college students. But, you don't need a $2,000 laptop to be portable. Think about fixing up your iBook or buying a used Eee PC on eBay instead. That way you can take your laptop somewhere and not be a nervous wreck about it being stolen or broken.

    That being said, I still can't decide which to remove from my shopping cart; the MacBook Pro or the iMac.
  8. nidserz macrumors 6502a


    Mar 28, 2008
    Dubai x Toronto
    Well with 2 years of college experience behind my back I can tell you majority of students do indeed have a laptop and in my program (commerce) we are required to have a laptop.

    However, I can tell you now that I agree with the above poster, the laptop is a HUGE distraction. We were told to bring our laptops to each class and I find myself browsing forums, facebook, and using MSN more than flipping through the slides on powerpoint. Laptops are great for sitting around, taking to Starbucks, and watching videos at night in bed, but I realize its not a need anymore.

    Having a laptop is convenient, but I am picking up a 20" iMac for this fall and keeping my HP PC laptop for times when I do feel like I need (more as a want) a portable. I usually sit at my laptop for 6 hours a day, watching tv shows, browsing the net, and using MSN. I used a 14.1" laptop for the last 2 years and ocassionally hooked it up to a 19" external monitor. Since being back home I have been using a desktop and definitely prefer it since I dont have to worry about battery, power, pulling out cords when I want to take my laptop on the go. With my iMac I will be able to sit at a desk properly, enjoy a 20" screen, and enjoy a faster computer while having the ability to just pick up my bag with a laptop if need be.

    With all this being said like others have mentioned it depends on what youw ill be needing your computer for. If I were you and I could have my iBook fixed I would do that and pick up the iMac. You will find you won't need a portable as much as it may seem, but if you no longer have the iBook then for sure go for the MacBook because you never know when you may need the convenience of a portable.
  9. chas0001 macrumors 6502a


    Sep 18, 2006
    Alicante, SPAIN
    How about an iMac and one of these to take notes in class : Looks like they are working on a MAC compatible version but until then there is always Boot Camp and XP.
  10. Play Ultimate macrumors 6502

    Oct 13, 2005
    A couple of thoughts:

    1) Trying to continually synch two computers will drive you nuts unless you use .Mac or something similar.

    2) Depending on your major, using a laptop in class may not be practical. Engineering/Physics/Chem. are all very formula/structured based notes which are difficult to take quickly in class.

    3) If you're doing design work for your major, the extra real estate on an iMac will come in handy.

    4) Finally, due to portability, I would get the MacBook, but save your money and get the white with larger HD option.
  11. nick9191 macrumors 68040

    Feb 17, 2008
    Baseline iMac and max out the RAM yourself, and an Eee PC. Sorted.
  12. Hyde244 macrumors member


    Mar 16, 2008
    Cincinnati, OH
    Get a Macbook.

    Even more recommended a MacBook Pro.

    Without a doubt.

    Take it from a current college student with a MacBook, you will need the portability at some point or another, regardless of your major or line of study.

    Further, wait until the release of the mid-2008 MacBooks so that you can ensure you are getting the best MacBook before headed off to college.
  13. timsutcliffe macrumors 6502

    Jun 18, 2007

    I'd have to say MacBook as well. I'm just finishing my degree, and although my laptop spent most of its time on my bed, it was useful to be able to take it with to the library/anywhere else i wanted to go.

    Unless you need a 24" screen, the MacBook will be fine and you can just leave it in your room if it's easier to take notes with pen and paper in class.
  14. yoppie macrumors 6502a

    Oct 19, 2007
    If you can get your iBook fixed go with the iMac. If not, definitely go with the MacBook. You will not want to be stuck in your room all the time just to use your personal computer.
  15. j26 macrumors 65832


    Mar 30, 2005
    Go for the macbook.

    Portability wins over power for a student. If you're taking notes in the library, you can have them available easily rather than having piles of paper around the place. In some lectures, laptops are perfect (I've been doing law and it's been ideal).
  16. brn2ski00 macrumors 68020


    Aug 16, 2007
    MB for the lone factor that it is portable and you will not be in your dorm the entire time.
  17. TheRiseofTheFal macrumors regular


    May 9, 2008
    Or you could do what I did, get a decent monitor, hook up your ibook turn it into your desktop, save the money and get the macbook air!! I'm a sophomore in college and highly recommend it, that is if youve got a little bit of money to burn :)
  18. Robbadore64 macrumors regular

    Jan 7, 2008
    Jacksonville, Florida

    You don't want to bumming off your roommates' laptops; dealing with roommates is hard enough :)

    Oh and don't room with a girl you know you'll eventually sleep with, then marry, then divorce ten years down the road.

    Just get the MacBook.
  19. SteveAbootman macrumors 6502a


    May 12, 2008
    Having just graduated from college, i can say that my notebook was a lifesaver (if only it was a MB). As others have said, the portability is essential for a student. As long as you can resist the urge to take it to the lectures with you, your work will be more productive. Typing papers where ever you want, having the ability to bring your computer to team meetings to work on projects, etc. will be a huge upside.
  20. Slayerboym88 macrumors regular

    Jun 9, 2007

    Like many others have said, portability is essential so definitely go for the macbook. I bought a penryn blackbook when they were updated, just maxed out the ram myself for $300 less than apple would have raped me for, and I love this little thing. For what I need it to do, this thing is amazing. I can still convert movies to iPod, and thanks to bootcamp, I have the amazing OneNote for my notes. Hopefully the OfficeMac will wise up and add OneNote the next go around.

    As for the "studying," keep in mind how focused you think you can remain. If you find yourself too distracted for your own good, turn off your WiFi while you're in class. As far as finals go, I definitely agree that this was a lifesaver! (I did get a 4.0 last semester after all! Ha) And remember, you can always print out your notes if you feel you work better that way. Besides, that way you can have more notes per page and not have to carry around a stupid spiral that will pull at things and get bent and tear! Anyway, definitely go for the macbook.
  21. Jozone macrumors 6502

    Jul 24, 2007
    I think it all comes down to what your work habits are like. Are you the kind of person who can just come back from a day of class and sit down to do work at the desk in your room? (Im not! But I've had room mates who could).

    The one trap I find with owning a laptop is that it can serve as a portable distraction box. You take it to the library to work on a paper, and you end up here on MR reading threads till midnight.

    That said, for my first 2 years of school I had both. I had a G4 Mini followed by an Intel iMac for my room.. this served as my "fun" computer -- itunes/movies/facebook etc, my other machine was a Dell 600m which was my workhorse for papers and research. It was actually kinda nice to have a beater laptop that I wasn't concerned about scratching/denting.

    Now I have a MBP -- deffinetly a sweet machine, but honestly probably a little too nice for my purposes at school. I no longer have the desktop, but down the line would love to move back to a sub-notebook (EEE/X Series IBM) and having a nice OSX based desktop at home.
  22. mixmacface macrumors regular


    Jun 8, 2008
    in the 7th layer of hell.
    ahh. . um, ooookie dokie on the second "paragraph". hahahahaa!

    but i would say go for the macbook. if you need to take it places, it will go. an imac will not. i was stuck with this conundrum earlier this spring, but i decided on the macbook due to being portable.

    as with taking notes-- get a pen and paper. although i did have a laptop this past 2 semesters, i never took it to class to take notes. i witnessed too many people sitting around in class on facebook, browsing forums and such. of course on test day, they would bring their laptops only to shut them down 10 minutes into the test because there wasn't any class information (one of my classes had open-book mid-terms and finals).

    but my final 2c says macbook -- ftw.
  23. rockthecasbah macrumors 68020


    Apr 12, 2005
    Moorestown, NJ
    MacBook - the small cost for portability for the freedom to work whenever, where ever, is worth every penny in my book :)
  24. neiltc13 macrumors 68040


    May 27, 2006
    I have now completed three years at University and have never once felt the need to take notes on a laptop. Making notes with paper and a pen is much easier in my opinion and yields far better results. It's much nicer to read your own handwriting when studying than just going through a generic typed notes list which won't look any different to the material provided or the class.
  25. aethelbert macrumors 601

    Jun 1, 2007
    Chicago, IL, USA
    I would also suggest a macbook. Even if you don't take notes with it, just having the ability to travel around campus (or anywhere, actually) with your computer will be virtually essential. Unless you're going to be doing some work which requires power, the macbook will serve you just fine.

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