Need advice for buying MBP 15" for College

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by connfamily, Apr 20, 2010.

  1. connfamily macrumors member

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    Apr 20, 2010
    #1
    We are looking to by a MBP for my daughter who is going to college as a Journalism Major. The Journalism department recommends Macs, so we are trying to learn as much as we can as none of us currently have or know much about Macs.

    We are most likely looking at the MBP 15" 2.4

    The bundles offered by the school for this computer are $2152.95, but I think we will buy it seperately instead. The bundle comes w/ laptop, choice of sholder bag or backpack, microsoft office, 25' ethernet cable, 4gb flash drive, surge protector, notebook lock and 3 year warranty.

    I can get this computer for $1699 w/ the Student discount. I can get Office 2008 for $109.99 from Amazon (saving $40), I can go to the Apple store in Delaware and save the tax on it (roughly saving $101.94 just based on $1699), she doesn't need a bag and we can easily and cheapily buy ethernet cable, flashdrive, surge protector and notebook lock.

    We do not usually buy protection plans, and I'm fairly confident that for $239 for an extra two years of protection, she can use her money better in other places.


    Is my thinking right in how I plan to buy it. Not buying the insurance?

    What kind of external hard drive should she get? Is the Time Capsule something we should consider? Would the Time Capsule conflict with her roommates Mac on saving info and how safe is the data with other kids all running off the school's network system?

    Anything I need to consider or think about?

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #2
    Where did you get that 239$ AppleCare? It's 349$ for 15" and 17" (without edu discount)

    What does she do with it? I would take a look at refurb store as 15" is as low as 1299$ and that's '08 model with dedicated GPU! With that 400$, she can buy the AppleCare (can be bought anytime during the original 1-year warranty) from e.g. LA Computers which gives okay discount. Then a good external HD (not TC, it'll break within 18 months, PSU issue) which can be bought for ~70$

    That's less than 2000$
     
  3. connfamily thread starter macrumors member

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    Apr 20, 2010
    #3
    The Applecare price should be with the discount. It was from Apple's website under the University's student pricing:

    When I went in under the University's website and clicked "buy from apple" it goes directly to the apple website and clicked on the 15". It then lists all the optons you can add or remove. At the very bottom it says:

    AppleCare Protection Plan
    For up to three years from your computer's original purchase date, the AppleCare Protection Plan gives you direct, one-stop access to Apple's award-winning telephone technical support for questions about Apple hardware, Mac OS X, iLife, and iWork. And you get global repair coverage for your Mac — both parts and labor — through convenient service options.

    When you purchase the AppleCare Protection Plan and your computer at the same time, you'll be automatically registered in the plan.

    AppleCare Protection Plan
    None
    AppleCare Protection Plan for MacBook Pro - Auto-enroll [Add $239.00]


    I'm not sure 100% they do with them as far as the program goes, but I know she is looking to possibly do magazine journalism and or/ maybe print journalism. She isn't sure.

    Ok- I was hoping an external NON apple hardrive would be a better and cheaper choice.
     
  4. xpected_one macrumors regular

    xpected_one

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    Texas
    #4
    IMO,
    You should get it the cheapest way possible. I would take a look at the refurb store. You could save some $$. Right now the savings are prob the best they have been due to the fact that Apple has released a newer model. I would assume she wouldnt need the latest i5 or i7 processor. As far as backup I would consider the Time capsule if she needs a router and HDD. If your looking strictly for backup any external HDD would do. Finally I personally really would consider applecare. There are many resellers that can save you some money over apple's price. (just not from ebay) Hope that helps
     
  5. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #5
    Ahh, okay so it was the edu discount price.

    Any idea what apps she is going to use? Mainly some word processing and some photo-editing, am I right?

    I would seriously consider the refurb I linked above, it's enough for her and you save 400$. Only thing I would do is to upgrade the RAM to 4GB (easy to do) and that's ~100$

    Or wait a month for Back to School -promo and get a free iPod Touch
     
  6. connfamily thread starter macrumors member

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    Apr 20, 2010
    #6

    I know they use the Ilife a lot, and since she is still undecided as to what major she will do it's hard to say. I'm assuming she will end up doing photo-editing, formating for magazine (as in layout designs),

    She is getting her schooling completely paid for through her Dad's Post 911 GI Bill and Yellow Ribbon program, so I know that money for the computer is really not that much of an issue, I'm just trying to get what she wants while saving as much as we can and being smart about what we are paying for.

    I'm not sure she would go for refurbished. Are they put in new shells? For instance, they don't look used do they? Sorry - I know probably seems like a dumb question.

    I'd like to know more about why everyone recommends the apple care. My hubby is pretty adament about these types of things being rip-offs and he doesn't believe in them.
     
  7. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #7
    Any decent Mac is able to do that

    Most of them look like brand new, they just come in a brown box instead of the retail box. I've never bought one as no refurbs in Finland but I've heard so many people praising refurbs here. They are individually tested and as I said, are like brand new ones.

    There are two kinds of people. Those who recommends and those who says it's a rip off. IMO it's worth it as it makes sure that it'll last at least three years. It's cheaper to buy it for ~250$ than spending 1000$ for repair as if anything happens, the repair will cost more than the AppleCare
     
  8. xpected_one macrumors regular

    xpected_one

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    #8
    As for as refurbs go they are brought back up to brand new condition. I have never gotten anything from the apple refurb store that didnt look brand new. A lot of times someone could buy a mac open it use it for an hour hate it and return it. Legally apple then cannot sell as new anymore so they are gone thru again and the outer shell is replaced. Now apple care to me is the piece of mind that if anything fails (especially on a notebook since repairs are more difficult and often more expensive) that my investment is covered for 3 years. Not that mac's have a high fail rate but all electronics are subject to failure. Finally it doesnt matter if you buy brand new or from the refurb store with applecare at the end of the 3 years the computer is no longer covered anyways so why not go refurbed and save?? :)
     
  9. mobilehaathi macrumors G3

    mobilehaathi

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    #9
    I would definitely get the Applecare. I've had an instance in the past where the logic board blew out for no obvious reason (no warning), and it was replaced with no hassle and for free under Applecare. It paid for itself (and more) that day. Most of the time extended warranties are a rip-off, but I say this is one of the few exceptions. You can check this out; hopefully it can help you decide.
     
  10. JNickyJJ macrumors member

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    Mar 26, 2010
    #10
    I would definately get applecare, it's not too expensive but worth it [​IMG] just if you have one of those problems! also check out the refurb store, don't be scared by the word refurb, they are usually better condition then the brand new ones!
     
  11. Link2999 macrumors 6502

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    #11
    Don't buy Apple Care from Apple, you can save hundreds by buying from 3rd party sites (ie. eBay).
     
  12. theMaccer macrumors 6502a

    theMaccer

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    #12
    I would wait for the Back to School promotion. You get an iPod free after rebate on top of all the education discounts and free printer.
     
  13. mobilehaathi macrumors G3

    mobilehaathi

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    #13
    This is good advice.
     
  14. bluskale macrumors regular

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    Mar 29, 2010
    #14
    do wait for the back to school promotions, and do consider the applecare.
     
  15. instaxgirl macrumors 65816

    instaxgirl

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    #15
    I'm starting to suspect this is a UK thing since no one else has mentioned it. Over here if you buy from Apple's Higher Education online store you get 3 years free parts and labour included instead of only 1 year. I'm typing this on a Macbook Pro that literally arrived today. If I hadn't got this extended warranty I'd have bought Applecare or some sort of computer insurance to cover it for repairs.
    I don't normally buy insurance or cover for mobiles or anything, but my old laptop lived a busy life, and I expect this one to as well. It's nicer to be covered - 3 years is a long time.

    Hmm. There's a huge thread on here somewhere about that. I wouldn't personally buy from ebay because I don't think it's an entirely risk free process, but it certainly could work out cheaper.
     
  16. connfamily thread starter macrumors member

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    #16
    Thanks everyone. We are definately going to consider Apple Care.

    I mentioned a refurb to her last night and she really turned her nose up - Boy this generation, yet I think I'd be like that if it was for myself.

    She definately wants to wait for the summer for the "free Itouch" promotion. She has an Iphone, but her school heavily uses the Mac & Itouch" in the Journalism program. She was thinking the Itouch would be good to dedicate for taping lectures, interviews and doing stuff for school.

    We may consider more RAM too. Not sure.
     
  17. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #17
    It's easy to choose if daddy is paying :p

    iTouch deal should kick off within a month or so

    As all the current gen models come with 4GB of RAM, I doubt she needs more. The refurb I linked only has 2GB. 8GB is pretty expensive too, around 350$
     
  18. ECUpirate44 macrumors 603

    ECUpirate44

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    #18
    I just bought a Mac for college as well. I used the edu discount and my apple care was 249. I would not recomend buying the Mac without apple care. The computer comes with a 1 year warrante so you dont need to but it now,(if you dont buy now you pay 350 later) but I would recomend buying apple care after that runs up.

    Applecare is deff worth the price tag. It covers everything including logic board failures which could cost over 1k to replace. It doesnt happen often, but for 249, its worth having the protection.
     
  19. connfamily thread starter macrumors member

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    #19
    Haha- I think what we are going to do though is give her money and then she can buy it. This way she has to feel the pinch of how much it costs and she can know that if she went with a lower priced option she could have money left over.

    Yes your right, I did compare the RAM in the refurb to the new one yesterday. Good to know 4GB is good. I'm not worried about the hard drive space either as I'd like her to get an external and get used to backing up all her music and pictures on that -and keeping them off the laptop to keep the computer running faster.
     
  20. connfamily thread starter macrumors member

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    #20
    If we buy it, we will get it now so it will be less expensive. With her being away at college, I can see it falling through the cracks if we wait.
     
  21. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #21
    Sounds fair. Refurbs are like new but they are not included in iTouch deal so may be worth it to get the new one anyway, seeing that refurb is 1299$, then 100$ for RAM and 200$ for iTouch makes it 1600$, 100$ cheaper than the new one which has better CPU and GPU

    I have around 100GB of music and another 100GB of photos and zero slowdowns, just tell her to have at least 10GB of free space in HD, so it'll be fine. Getting an external HD is good though, that way in case of HD failure, she won't lose her school work, music and photos. They are less than 100$ anyway
     
  22. connfamily thread starter macrumors member

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    #22
    Good point - makes me feel better about the new one. I definately think she will get good use from the I-touch. I think they have it so that the kids can download some of the lectures via I-touch, and I think having a dedicated one not filled with music like her I-phone will be good.



    Hmm - now I have to start thinking about getting a MAC. My laptop PC sucks and is so slow I can hardly do anything on it anymore. It's at least 2 if not 3 years old. Hmm......I'd probably do a 13 inch.
     
  23. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #23
    Sounds like you and your family have been bitten by Mac fly :cool:

    I (again) suggest you to take a look at refurbs, it's easy way to save a hundred or few
     
  24. kellen macrumors 68020

    kellen

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    Seattle, WA
    #24
    What I would do would be to skip the assembled package from the school.

    Get a 2.4 15" from apple in delaware with the student discount and free itouch. Also the free printer after rebate. Sell or you keep the ipod touch, she has an iphone and won't need a touch, its the same.

    With the savings from education and no tax and selling or having a free ipod touch, its worth it over a refurb that you will have to pay taxes on and not get the free ipod.

    Thats my plan when the student discount is active.

    Better yet, get her the base 13" and an external monitor. Since she will be lugging it around it may be better and when she needs the larger screen she can plug it in at her dorm.

    Also you have a year to add applecare, so yo can wait if you want.
     
  25. macpluslaptop macrumors 6502

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    #25
    Applecare is a must!

    Your husband is wrong about this. Laptops are more fragile than desktops, and students haul their Macs everywhere - throw them in bookbags, lean their elbows on them on desks, to say nothing of the occasional party or friends-over scenario where who knows what might happen. I'm a college prof and I see how students handle their laptops. They're good kids, but they're kids, and their machines get a lot of wear and tear. I'm also the proud auntie of a 24-year old who has a Macbook. I bought her Applecare when we got the laptop and she's used it a couple of times for repairs that would have cost much more than the $239. Just to be clear, Applecare won't cover accidental damage (that's what insurance is for) but logic boards/batteries/screens/parts can fail over three years, and better safe than really really sorry!

    P.S. Standard insurance also covers theft. One of my students just last week had her laptop stolen. She went for a walk with her roommates for 20 minutes and it was gone when they got back. She didn't do anything overtly irresponsible (no open door) but all it takes is a moment of inattention.
     

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