Major negativity... and I don't understand why.

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by klb028, May 22, 2007.

  1. klb028 macrumors 6502

    Aug 10, 2006
    Hey Macrumors,

    I've been occasionally posting here and there since August of '06 at this forum. :) I've been encountering some weird situations with friends, co-workers and family that are starting to make me question if what I'm about to do is worth it.

    I'm 2 months away from heading to college and I can't wait to get a hold of a brand new Apple laptop for school. For months, I've always thought I'd get an MBP... I prefer the color, screen size (15.4") and keyboard more, and I want just a better machine in general. I've had my PC desktop for well over 5 years now, so I obviously do not go through computers annually. When I talk about the future machine I plan on purchasing, I seem to get more negative feedback than positive. I can't really tell why. The first response I get from someone is usually something along the lines of, "You don't NEED a $1500+ laptop." The second most common response is, "You don't NEED at least 1GB of RAM or that big of a processor." When it really comes down to it, I suppose I honestly won't be doing intense graphic work 24/7 or gaming... BUT, I just can't help but think, "If I'm going to be investing in a new computer AND I have the money to do so, I want it to be something I'M satisfied and happy with - something that will last me a long time."

    Am I right or wrong? I just needed some other kind of advice... and I figured this was the best place to search for some! Thanks in advance, guys! :)
  2. Scarlet Fever macrumors 68040

    Scarlet Fever

    Jul 22, 2005
    find whoever told you that, and stick a knife through their feet. Both Mac OS X and Windows Vista will choke on anything less than 1GB; its a wonder Apple still sell the Mac Mini with 512MB.

    The thing to remember when buy a new computer is to buy too much. Always buy a bigger HDD, a faster processor and more RAM than what you think you need.

    Before I had my MacBook, my family had a G4 iMac with an 80GB drive, which meant we had 20GB for each person in the family. Knowing this, I thought the stock 60GB drive in the MacBook would be heaps, but I filled that, an external 80GB drive and my 30GB iPod up within months. I now have a 120GB drive, much more than i could have ever considered using, and I'm on 40GB left, and my external 80GB drive is still nearly. I'm trying to find a case for my original 60GB drive so I can use that as well.

    For a student, you seriously can't go past the MacBook. Have a look at this thread for a glowing review about the MacBook :)
  3. miloblithe macrumors 68020


    Nov 14, 2003
    Washington, DC
    I think your point about not replacing annually is a good one. Getting a top of the line machine now will, assuming that it doesn't break, mean that machine will be able to handle the majority of what you throw at it for a longer period of time. It may be overkill now, but in 2 years, say, there will be programs that won't run on the MB that will on the MBP that you might want to use. In 3 years, even more so.

    In other words, if you think this machine will last you 4 years instead of 3, that's one good argument in favor of the MBP. On the other hand, Apple's bottom of the line portable in 3 years will be more powerful than its top of the line machine now. And you'd have already saved hundreds of dollars towards that purchase.

    It's also worth considering what else you might want to do with that money right now.
  4. MrSmith macrumors 68040


    Nov 27, 2003
    Getting off the Mac bandwagon for a while...Of course it's a personal opinion what is worth what. As someone with an income I'm in a different position to someone with only savings. Since there's no right or wrong answer this is really a "what would you do in my position" question. In that case, if I was going off to college again, assuming I didn't have rich parents to support me, I certainly wouldn't waste my soon-to-finish earnings/savings on a machine. I'd buy the cheapest Windows machine that looked like it would last until I graduated and spend my savings on having a good time with my new friends (and college fees, texts, etc. if applicable). The computer will be on the scrap heap in a few years but your memories will last until Alzheimer's.

    This opinion is based on the great time I had at college and what it cost me...
  5. iW00t macrumors 68040


    Nov 7, 2006
    Defenders of Apple Guild
    The trouble is getting top of the line results in diminishing returns towards the end of the spectrum, it might be better to get a mid range machine and upgrade as your needs grow rather than to spend that extra 100% on a high end machine.
  6. klb028 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Aug 10, 2006
    I KNOW, right? My manager at work today tried telling me his PC laptop running on 512MB of RAM has worked better than anything he's ever used. I tried arguing with him about the fact that it just can't really be completely true, but he's so stubborn. I really liked your reply though, and I REALLY liked your advice. :) It's just refreshing to hear things like that to remind me that what I'm doing isn't completely bizarre, you know? I checked out the thread you gave me a link for by the way. Thanks for that as well. :)


    Well, I sort of have some kind of income. I've had my current job for over a year and I'm keeping it until i go off to college in the beginning of August. If I buy whatever it is I get, I won't completely be hurting my bank account because I'll have more to put back in as these few weeks and months go by. I'm just someone who's really interested in computers and the computer world in general... possibly something I would like to do as a career in the future. I don't want to regret my purchase in any way, but I know it's hard not to with new refreshments being released as often as they are.
  7. klb028 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Aug 10, 2006
    FYI, I just did a little research at - I put together a white Macbook with a 2.16GHz processor, 2GB of RAM and 160GB hard drive + iWork '06 preinstalled. The total came to $1473 (not including tax) with my educational discount. I don't think that's too bad at all!
  8. tango554 macrumors member

    May 6, 2007
    This is a good enough reason for me! Don't hate, congratulate!
  9. klb028 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Aug 10, 2006
    hahaha... Thanks for your reply. :)
  10. Lovesong macrumors 65816


    Sep 15, 2006
    Stuck beween a rock and a hard place
    Here is a little hint that you might look into. If you wait until you start school you can save about 20% off the price of a computer you get from Apple. How? If you're an university student you can get an Apple Student Developer membership. Yes, it costs $99. But with it comes a one-per-lifetime developer discount (don't worry, you don't have to be in any classes that deal with computers). I got a MBP C2D 2.33, with 2 gigs of RAM, a 160 HD for about $2100 this past fall. Just something you might want to consider.
  11. zioxide macrumors 603


    Dec 11, 2006
    I just finished my first year in college, so here's some advice from a current student.

    You're better off getting a Macbook. I have carried both a 15.4'' and a 12'' laptop back and forth across campus, and I can tell you that the 12'' is way better for that. Additionally, it's smaller so it fits better on the desks in college, which are usually a lot smaller than the one's you've used in high school.

    If I was buying a computer right now for college, I would be getting the Macbook. It's the perfect student computer. The 13.3'' size is great for carrying to class to take notes, doing research in the library, or just hanging around the dorms. The macbook is also going to get you more battery life than the pro. On my iBook, I can get about 4 solid hours, which is a necessity if you have back-to-back-to-back classes (which suck btw).

    You're also going to save probably around $800-$1200 if you buy a Macbook instead of a Macbook Pro, which is always a good thing for a student. Remember, when September rolls around, you're going to be spending $300-$500 on books.

    Some people might tell you not even to bother with a laptop because it never leaves your dorm room, but I highly disagree. I took my iBook and used it for notes in 3 of my 5 classes last semester, because I can type faster than I can write. Additionally, I was hardly ever in my dorm room. I was always hanging out in my friends' rooms, and I would usually take my laptop over there so we could listen to music off of it and I could talk to other people on AIM, facebook, etc.

    So, I'd recommend you get the high model (2.16Ghz) white macbook (or black if you want). The superdrive is good for futureproofing. Additionally, I'd get 2GB of ram and the 160GB 5400rpm hard drive. ($1424 w/ edu discount, $1607 w/ applecare)

    Just out of curiousity, are you in the US? Because US students can purchase using the EDU discount as soon as you're accepted into a school, so make sure you use that when purchasing. Additionally, Apple has been running their back-to-school free iPod nano deal the past few years and it has started in mid-June, so I'd wait for that before purchasing.

    Oh, one more thing. If you want, you can get iWork installed when you order the laptop. But you might also want Microsoft Office for Word and Powerpoint because you might be working on assignments with kids who have Windows computers. However, I would wait until you get to school to buy these, because many schools have a huge discount for students on software in the bookstore. For example, I can get Office 2003 for XP or Office 2004 for Mac for just $6 in the bookstore.
  12. thejadedmonkey macrumors 604


    May 28, 2005
    I 2nd everything zioxide just said, especially the portability parts.
    I also think that the backlit keyboard is amazing. This is one of those times where a 12" Powerbook w/ backlit keyboard would be what you need.
  13. mopppish macrumors 6502

    Nov 27, 2005
    I don't use my MBP for notes in class, but it's portability is definitely a necessity. For me, that's mostly because I'm a music student and have been doing more and more recording and composing away from home.
    I also have this whole ADDish side, so being able to change settings from time to time is beneficial.
    Now, the main reason I went with the MBP was literally because the CPU whine of the the CD MB drove me nuts. I actually owned one of those for two weeks before returning it for a C2D MBP. Luckily, the guy at the Apple Store didn't charge me a restocking fee. Probably because I was upgrading.
    If I had to do it again, I would have:
    #1. waited until the MB was updated to C2D (at the time, that would have only meant another 4 weeks)
    #2. stuck with the mid-level white C2D MB and just dealt with the CPU whine (if there even was one)
    Unless you NEED a graphics card (possibly) or NEED 3GB vs. 2GB of RAM (unlikely), I would highly suggest the MB.
    I've started to get interested in some photo/graphic work, but my main area is audio, which is CPU dependent (as are most tasks for any non-media-related student) , not GPU dependent. I haven't even come close to maxing out my 2.16 C2D, so I certainly wouldn't have maxed out a 2.0.
    I kind of wish I had stuck with the MB, but I am of course happy with my MBP.
    We ALL have to be more realistic sometimes. Would you be any less productive with a MB vs. a MBP? I know I wouldn't.
    Or, you could of course go with a current refurb MBP.
    If your family is ponying up a majority of the dough, then yeah, you kind of have to listen to what they're saying. Believe me, if they can hang an unnecessary purchase over your head, they probably will.
    Sorry for being so long-winded! :D
  14. mags631 Guest

    Mar 6, 2007
    1. Buy your books used if you can -- the resell value is horrible on textbooks. Just make sure that they are the same edition being used in class! There is no shame in saving a +$100/term at this stage in your life!

    2. Your computing needs may evolve over your four years of school. So, unless you have a pretty good idea what you will be doing in two years, then spending your hard-earned money on one machine before you start school, may be a little risky, especially if it needs to last. If you are going to study in something where a computer is really just a secondary tool (word processing, email, etc.) and entertainment for you (itunes), then buy now and get something that you like. If you are going into a field where the computer will be a primary tool (CS, graphics design,...) then you may want to buy something cheap (refurbed macbook?) and save that money for a year or two from now, when you'll want something much more powerful.

    I had two computers in college. The first one barely lasted me through my first two years in school before I had to have something more powerful with a bigger screen.

    3. You are paying a premium for Apple RAM... an easy solution is to start with 1GB and if you need to, buy the RAM later (through newegg for less) and install it yourself.

    4. If you can't afford to replace your laptop if something breaks, then please buy the AppleCare!
  15. klb028 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Aug 10, 2006
    I've never heard about that. So, you have to actually be in school to get this membership? Seems like a good deal... does anything else come with it?

    I highly disagree on that statement as well. Some people travel with their laptops and others just don't. I'm almost positive that I will be someone to take my laptop to class, as I can type faster than I can write as well (even though my writing speed isn't too shabby either, haha).

    Actually, in a post of mine somewhere above yours in this thread I made this exact comment. :) I put together the same configurations and used the education discount which I COMPLETELY plan on taking advantage of. And... yes, I am in the US. :) I am waiting for the back-to-school promo to start for sure before I buy anything because I also want an iPod for school, and passing up a free one is something I'm not willing to do! Speaking of this promo, I walked into an Apple store Monday and questioned one of the salesmen over it - asked what he thought the promo would be this year and when it'd start. He actually told me that he wasn't for sure if they were doing the iPod special this year and that Apple might change it up with something new. I found that really weird. He also told me the back-to-school special probably start around mid-June as well.

    When I put my configurations together that I mentioned in my reply above to another quote from yours, I had iWork preinstalled simply because I know I want everything it has to offer and a friend of mine told me I shouldn't pass it up. I've already thought about the major discounts my bookstore might give me for Word or Office (both of which are ones I think I'm almost 100% sure I would like/need). Definitely going to look into that and go about that way with any purchasing on Office if I decide to.


    Thanks so much for your detailed reply, zioxide! I really enjoyed hearing what you had to say considering you were just a first year college student yourself. :)

    Do the Macbooks come with a backlit keyboard now too? I thought the MBPs were the only one with that option? I must've totally missed that update!

    I thought it was really interesting how you said you might prefer a Macbook over a MBP now. My parents actually aren't paying for any of my laptop. :) I've had a job working in retail since last summer so I can save up for things like this that I'll need for school. :) I actually like knowing I'm buying everything myself... I think it makes it feel that much better, you know? No worries on the reply, I love reading long ones! :) It shows you took time out to read my thread and considered all of the advice you had to give me (or anyone else being dependent on this thread) and I really appreciate that! Thanks so much for everything you had to say!

    1. Yes, I was going to buy as many books as I can next semester used. I think it's silly to pay that much for those things too.

    2. Actually, Computer Science is a really big interest of mine. I'm not 100% positive on what I want to major in in college, though. I'm thinking of double-majoring even. Who knows. I think that buying a decent laptop now will serve me good use at least for 3 & 1/2 years. If the time comes to buy a more powerful one, then so be it.

    3. I've debating on what I want to do about the RAM myself. I honestly would not regret doing my 2GB of RAM through Apple, especially if I BTO -- they're doing whatever else, and I believe the extra gig is $157. I'd rather have it all ready at once and I don't think I'd be upset over the extra money I had to use on it.

    4. AppleCare is something that's never crossed my mind, actually. I don't know if it's worth it to buy or not because I'm not sure if I'll ever need it. 3 friends of mine all purchased Macbooks for school without the AppleCare and they haven't had any problems to where they would've needed it yet. I could be different, though. We'll see when the time comes. I might change my mind. :)
  16. iSaint macrumors 603


    May 26, 2004
    South Mississippi y'all, near the water!
    Just to add: I believe you can use your education discount already. Just look up your school on the Apple Store page. The education link is on the bottom right of the page. Have you already been admitted to your university?

    Also, wait on the iPod/Laptop purchase deal that should be coming up soon. ALSO, look into the $100 printer rebate, which turns into a free printer as the choices are all $89 or so. With those savings, you might consider AppleCare, because you never know!

    Good luck, and congrats on saving your own money for your needs! :)
  17. klb028 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Aug 10, 2006
    Yes, you can use the education discount at any time if I'm correct. I'm just waiting on the (hopefully) iPod promo. And thanks! :)
  18. odinsride macrumors 65816


    Apr 11, 2007
    Buy what you want and can afford, other people's opinions shouldn't matter. It's not for them, it's for you.
  19. SMM macrumors 65816


    Sep 22, 2006
    Tiger Mountain - WA State
    Never let others live your life for you. Nothing wrong with listening to what others say. In most cases it is probably meant kindly. Ultimately, make decisions about how you feel, not how you think others will respond.
  20. scienide09 macrumors 65816


    May 5, 2007
    This is a good discussion.

    As someone who's going back to school in the fall, the computer purchase I recently made hinged on a lot of the same issues you're thinking about. As it is, I went with the middle MBP for a variety of reasons, including the better chance of futureproofing. And while I don't necessarily need the better GPU right now, I wanted it so that I can expand what I do in the future.

    I thought about buying a toss-away windows unit to last me the next two years, but ultimately decided against it (tired of poor platforms and windows products being just one reason). At this point, the extra $$ spent on an excellent Apple product is a great investment, a decision I'm quite happy with. You too should make a purchase that you're happy with. Especially true if it's your money.

    Ultimately, it sounds like you'll be good with the MB. It's a little bit more portable, and a great machine in its own right. The Ed discount helps, and if you're buying a notebook, I would say the AppleCare is a must. You get your Ed discount on that too, a significant savings. As others have mentioned, have a look at your school's store and the online Ed store at to see what you can find.
  21. daze macrumors 6502


    Mar 11, 2006
    San Jose, California
    I think that's excellent advice. I'd take it, if I was starting school in September. :)
  22. semicharmed macrumors regular

    Jul 24, 2005
    New Orleans
    I bought my 15" PB the summer before I went off to school. This was when the iBooks were much less powerful/much thicker than any of the PBs, though, so my decision was pretty easy. I also, thanks to Katrina got a free semester "abroad" at wonderful RPI in upstate NY. Since I didn't evacuate with the PB (they told us it would be a week, max, but that's a whole other story...), I used a loaner Thinkpad for a semster.
    I like the PB much better- the keyboard is nicer to type on, and the size (widescreen vs. not) fits better into my messenger, and since the screen is shorter, it's easier to look over in class when I am taking notes.
    I've never had a problem bringing my laptop to class- compared to an organic chem book, my Stewart calculus or some of the electronics books, the PB weighs nothing.

    So to echo other people's advice, do what will make you happy. Go to the store and play around with what they're offering- the MBP and the MB- type on them, play with the screen brightness, etc. If you have the money now, and want the computer to last for all of your undergrad, get something you'll be satisfied with- even though I see the new MBs and MBPs and want one, I know my PB will let me finish out my undergrad and maybe the first year or two of graduate school.
    Also: buy AppleCare, and see if your parents can put an insurance rider specifically to cover the MBP while you're in school. You never know, and while both are sturdy, accidents do happen.
  23. MacBoobsPro macrumors 603


    Jan 10, 2006
    Buying more than you need is called future proofing. Its very wise to do so.

    When I bought my PMG5 (when they first came out) I bought 2GB RAM, a 256MBVRAM graphics card and a massive HD. At the time it was overkill for what I needed but it still powers through stuff I do today and the HD still has 100GB left on it.

    The specs on it now are probably equivalent to just below a bottom range Mac Pro.

    I plan to upgrade soon and will 'future proof' again with an 8 core Mac Pro and 512mb Graphics card and 500GB HD. Overkill now but I know this will perform extremely well for as long as I have it.
  24. yellow Moderator emeritus


    Oct 21, 2003
    Portland, OR
    You are correct.. and they are (I suspect) ignorant of the Mac world.
    If you want it, and you can afford it, get it. Just promise me you'll get AppleCare. ;)
  25. uaaerospace macrumors 6502

    Feb 15, 2005
    I can only concur with those who recommend the MB for college. I just graduated last week and have loved my MB in school. The size is great to carry around. I bike to campus most days, so weight and size are important to me. It slides right in my backpack. If it was any larger (ie MBP), it would not fit. The battery life is better than the MBP which will come in handy on long days. As mentioned above, you can't go wrong with 2 GB of RAM and the 160 GB HD. If you decide to install windows later (via bootcamp or parallels), you'll have the space and memory to do so. Honestly, unless you plan on gaming, save the money and get a MB. If you take care of it (and don't take 6 years to graduate :p), it will last you through college.

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