New or refurb-Macbook or Imac

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by natberry, Feb 4, 2009.

  1. natberry macrumors newbie

    Nov 8, 2008
    northern jersey
    Hey people,
    I'm interested in purchasing my first Apple product(actually, it's my first computer ever) and need a little advice to make my final decision. My main tasks for whatever I purchase will be for email, listening & watching music/movies, pictures, word processing and stuff like that, I'm not into gaming. I'll be teaching my mom & myself how to use the system.

    I'm might start graduate school in the fall so maybe I'll need portability. I really wanted a large screen but I'm not interested in the mbp..too expensive. I contacted apple and have a new ($949 tax or applecare not included)MacBook, 13-inch in my saved cart. There is also the refurb'd Macbook on the website at 849 1gb...hmmm. I was also thinking of going with a Refurb'd($999 tax or applecare not included) Imac 20 inch 2.4/250/1gb. I've seen how to upgrade memory so I'd do that myself & I'd buy applecare elsewhere also)

    Questions to you:
    -What would be my best bet between these 3 computers?
    -What things should I be concerned about in reference to these options?
    -If I buy my computer in Delaware would it be tax free for me eventhough I live in NJ?
    -Will my Blackberry curve work with either computer?
    -Can you keep in mind that cost is a concern? I'd prefer to not go over 1100 (including tax)
    -Feel free to throw in any other advice that'd be helpful to me.

    Thanks for reading!
  2. yoppie macrumors 6502a

    Oct 19, 2007
    If you're going to attend grad school, I'd go with the MacBook for the portability factor. In my experience (law student), grad students use their computers in the classroom and library more than undergraduate students. My school and program required us to purchase laptops. You might want to check if there is a laptop requirement for your program.

    As for refurb or new, I don't care either way. It's only a savings of $100 if you choose refurb over the education option. Is $100 more worth getting new? Only you can answer that for yourself.
  3. Scottsdale macrumors 601


    Sep 19, 2008
    You definitely should go notebook. Based on your projected usage, you could go with a MacBook. However, I would strongly encourage you to buy a unibody aluminum MacBook for $1099 via | store | refurbished Mac section. I think the unibody MB at $1099 is the best value of any current Mac.

    The plastic MBs crack. And the refurbished PlasticBooks right now have an extremely inferior graphics card. With the aluminum unibody MacBook, you get:
    a Solid construction
    Beautiful glossy display
    Glass trackpad
    5 times as powerful graphics. Ability to turn into an instant desktop by connecting up to a 30" display.
    70% faster memory

    One other consideration is the MacBook Air. The most portable Mac and really powerful in a new version B MBA. It costs $1799 new. However the original MBA is available refurbished from $999 to $1299. It's less powerful but still powerful enough to do all you need it to do. Additionally, you can buy a refurbished MBA that cost $3099 just eight months ago for only $1299 today. A lot of people buy the refurbished original MBA and love it. Something to consider. You can read all about it by searching the forums.

    Good luck whichever route you go.
  4. Demosthenes X macrumors 68000

    Demosthenes X

    Oct 21, 2008
    If you like the iMac's big screen, you can always connect an external monitor to the MacBook. The original plastic MacBook you're looking at will support pretty well any 20-22" monitor. The unibody MacBook will drive any 30" monitor. I have my MacBook connected to a 22" monitor and it makes for a perfect desktop replacement.

    I would skip over the refurb plastic MacBooks. The new plastic one offers substantially better value: better graphics card, more RAM, better processor, etc. The refurb unibody MacBook is also fantastic value.

    Forget about the refurb MacBook Air. It's a great second computer, but there's too many issues with that generation of Air to be a viable only computer. If you could spring for the new Air it would be a viable soluton, but I wouldn't want to run a first-gen Air as my only system.
  5. velocityg4 macrumors 601


    Dec 19, 2004
    I say get the current White Macbook. It is the same machine as the Aluminum model except it is a couple hundred dollars cheaper and includes Firewire.

    As for it using slower RAM. The speed benefits of DDR3 memory are minimal and I highly doubt you would notice the difference.

    Just think with the $300 saved you could do one of the following
    - Buy a cheap 24" LCD that can double as an HDTV and a Displayport to DVI adapter
    - Buy a Wireless-N router and Network multifunction printer with great photo printing capability
    - Max the RAM (4GB), beef up the hard drive (500GB 7200RPM) and buy an external hard drive (500GB 3.5 inch with Firewire) for backups
  6. Patriks7 macrumors 65816


    Oct 26, 2008
    I got my MacBook connected to a 26" display and it works perfectly!
  7. macrumorsMaster macrumors 6502

    May 20, 2008
    I agree. If speed was such a concern, you'd get a MBP or a MP :p

    You can get the new White MB from Amazon as well for the same price with NO TAX!

    I would get it now, but I'm waiting for the free ipod offer in the Summer :p
  8. econoline06 macrumors 6502


    Aug 20, 2008
    My MacBook (white) works just fine for grad school work. However, the screen is tiny....I also have a 20 inch iMac with a 20 inch ACD attached for my heavy lifting and when I need more real estate. Either way you NEED another monitor. Good luck writing a huge research paper without one. The ability to have 2 docs side by side at full size is crucial.
  9. Demosthenes X macrumors 68000

    Demosthenes X

    Oct 21, 2008
    Plastic MacBook? What resolution is your display? My understanding was that the plastic ones only supported resolutions up to 1900 x 1200, and that most displays larger than 22" were higher res. I know there are some 24" displays with low resolution, though...

    I got through a year of undergrad just fine on my 13.3" MacBook. It's not ideal, but it's certainly serviceable. And if your eyes are good, you can have two docs open side by side. :)

    That said, I bought a 22" external going into my second year. While Word was usable on the 13.3, Excel is a bit of a nightmare.
  10. techound1 macrumors 68000


    Mar 3, 2006

    Get the portable and an external monitor for heavy desk work. If you just need real estate and not unbelievable graphics, there are several cheaper alternatives to the apple display.
  11. natberry thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 8, 2008
    northern jersey
    Thanks for the responses! One more thing!

    Thank you all! I think I might go ahead with the new white macbook.
    I do have a few more questions though:
    -Where is the new Mac on amazon tax free for the same price as the Apple store? I couldn't find it
    -Is the max external screen size for the new Macbook 22inch? What about for the mba?
    -What would I definitely need to connect the macbook to the external monitor or even my hdtv at home?
    -Do you have any knowledge about Blackberry compatability with macs?
    -Can you recommend some other accessories that will make my mac experience great? I know it sounds cheesy but it's late.

    Thanks again,
  12. velocityg4 macrumors 601


    Dec 19, 2004
    -Amazon Listing since you are a student buying with an education discount may be cheaper
    -Both will do 1920x1200 which includes just about all 24" to 26" LCDs and a few larger ones.
    -Blackberry compatibility is spotty at best. Some models are well supported using third party apps others are supported but barely work. When setting up a Blackberry for a customers Mac I found The Missing Sync to be a better program than Blackberry Desktop. Though it does not support as many models. Blackberry desktop freezes often, does not see the Blackberry often and is slow syncing but performance varies on model used.
    - Look at my above post for adapting to a regular DVI monitor. You will need to then get a DVI Male to HDMI Female adapter for your HDTV if it does not have DVI. The last I read there has not been a direct Mini DisplayPort to HDMI adapter though one was in the works.
  13. JBWade macrumors newbie

    Feb 5, 2009
    No Tax

    Delaware has no sales tax, so anything purchased within the state is by definition tax-free. This includes both Delaware residents and non-residents shopping in our fine state.

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