Newbie - What to Buy???

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by akp123, May 13, 2008.

  1. akp123 macrumors newbie

    May 13, 2008
    I have "toyed" with the idea of waiting to see if there is an announcement in June of new MacBooks, but have decided that it is doubtful that even if there is an announcement, they won't be ready to ship until late summer and I am just tired of waiting.

    My basic needs are Internet, email, iTunes and a little word processing. I currently have a 5 year old PC desktop with an external hard drive, which currently stores my music, tvshows and digital pictures. I like the idea of having an external drive to store this information so as to not clutter the hard drive on my computer. Moreover, my current PC hard drive is only 32G and my external is currently sitting at over 100G.

    My first dilema is which MacBook to buy. I was initially considering the basic $1099 model and upgrading the RAM on my own to 4G. I however like the idea of the superdrive to be able to burn DVDs in the future as I may not have the funds to upgrade my PC to an iMac anytime in the near future. While I don't currently burn DVDs, I ponder whether that is something I would like to do if I had the capabilities. Despite the increased hard drive, is this really worth my extra money??

    My second delima is whether to purchase a basic 802.11n router and a new external hard drive to attach to my MacBook for my music, pictures, etc or to purchase the Airport Extreme Base Station and network my existing external hard drive to my MacBook and my PC (does this work!). I also like the idea of using a USB Hub and networking my printer as well, but again question if this truely functions. However, the AEBS definitely has some mixed reviews - it seems that it either works great or it does not work at all. The down side to having a basic router and an external drive is that the drive will always need to be attached if I am on iTunes or working with my pictures.

    My final delima is whether to purchase a copy of Windows XP (I will not go with Vista) to put on my MacBook. I have to use WordPerfect for my work, which is not available for Mac. However, I can work around this by using my PC if I have to, although it would be nice to use the laptop. I could also instead purchase Word for Mac and then convert to Word for Windows and then convert to WordPerfect if I needed to. Part of me also thinks it would be nice to have it for those other instances where there is no Mac version of software or to run my Windows Quicken that I recently purchased. So I guess my question is, is having XP on my machine worth it. Does the configurations of the basic MacBook truely support having XP. The last thing I want to do is slow down my new MacBook as I am currently working on a very slow PC.

    Thanks in advance for your help! I can't wait to get it ordered!
  2. digitalnicotine macrumors 65816


    Jan 11, 2008
    I think it's worth the extra money for 2 reasons:

    If you have a lot of data you want to store and access later, you can archive to DVD-R, and easily create a catalog/backup of music, video, photos, etc.

    Secondly, if you have a CD player in your car, it's easy (and fun) to make custom (burned) CD's from iTunes to listen to while driving/riding. I never have my original music CD's in my car, only burned playlists from iTunes. That way if they are stolen or lost, no biggie, as I can easily burn another, and I can change up my playlist often and easily.

    Since you have 2 computers, and one will be a laptop, getting network attached storage is a good idea. This allows you to have access to your stored files from anywhere you're in range of the router, rather than having to plug in the drive and lug it about. The Airport Extreme base station will allow you to continue using your existing external drive (assuming it's formatted for both Mac and PC), or purchase a new external drive for backups and storage on your network.

    I went through several routers before upgrading to the 802.11n AE base station, and I'm very pleased with it. I no longer have the frustrations of signal drops, and the range is excellent. It works great with my PC laptop, Macbook Pro, PS3, Wii, Tivo, and iPod Touch.

    I'm not network savvy by any stretch, and I was able to set it up and attach an external hard drive without any issues. It was easy, and it just works. ;) I haven't tried using a USB Hub to also connect a printer, so I'm not sure if this works.

    Installing Windows XP on your Macbook is a good idea since you have Windows apps you need to run. Here is a beginners guide to setting up Windows on a Mac. Here is a thread dedicated to this topic. Windows runs better on Macs than it does on PC's, so I wouldn't worry about it being slower than your existing computer.

    You'll definitely benefit by maxing out the ram with a 3rd party vendor, (Apple's ram upgrades are too expensive). As far as which configuration of MB to purchase, go with your budget. They will all perform the tasks you outlined, but if you can afford to get a faster CPU model, or one with a larger hard drive, then go for it.

    Just keep in mind that if you order a custom configuration (built to order), you can't return your Macbook for a full refund (minus 10% restocking fee). If you get a non-functioning unit, of course they will repair or replace regardless, but if it's a matter of your changing your mind, you'll have to sell it on eBay or MR marketplace, etc. If you order a pre-configured model, you have the option of returning within 14 days (minus 10% restocking fee).

    Apple Care is a good idea as well, assuming you intend to use the machine for more than the 1 year warranty it comes with. It's piece of mind in case something goes wrong down the line. You can get better prices for Apple Care on eBay or Amazon (tax free in most states). Good luck to you!
  3. Batt macrumors 65816


    Dec 17, 2007
    Syracuse, NY
  4. nick9191 macrumors 68040

    Feb 17, 2008
    Many people spend the extra for the superdrive model on a just in case scenario, if I could go back I would probably have gotten the £699 model, but nevermind. If you do need a DVD burner you could buy a cheap external one if you did ever need it.

    Mac Office and Windows Office are completely compatible, no conversion needed.

    I would recommend a time capsule, its not much more than an AEBS and you get a 50 0gb hdd aswell, you don't have to use it for time machine, you can use it as network storage as well, or both.

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