Off to Uni

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by vintagetobes, May 4, 2007.

  1. vintagetobes macrumors newbie

    May 4, 2007
    Hi, i'm off to Uni in September and i'm trying to work out what would be the best system to be using there. Currently i have a 20" iMac Core 2 Duo with 1.5GB ram. Based on experience i guess, would you say this is a little foolish to take with me? The idea of turning up on the first day clutching a 20" Apple under my arm puts me off, and might let off the wrong impression! Anyway i've been considering my options and i recon i could either keep the iMac, sell the iMac and get a MBP, or keep the imac and get a 12" PB for lectures ect.

    What do you guys recon would be best?
  2. jng macrumors 65816


    Apr 6, 2007
    I think it depends on how much you can get the 12" PB for. The 12" PB is great and I prefer taking that to class than the MBP - because it's big, has shorter battery life, and it's new so I don't want it to get scratched.

    If you have $1000 and I were you, I would keep the iMac (and bring it with me if distance to Uni. is drivable and you have space in the auto) and buy a macbook, to take to class.

    I had thought abotu buying a macbook, but since I'm graduating I went for more power instead.

    As for creating the wrong impression, I don't think that's the case. My friend lugged a 50lb Mac Pro and 23" ACD to college - that might have been the wrong impression or at least impractical, lol.
  3. xfiftyfour macrumors 68030


    Apr 14, 2006
    Clemson, SC
    I dont think it sends the wrong impression. A lot of kids bring desktops to school, and the iMac is probably the most compact one around (because it's an all-in-one).

    But, you will probably want a portable to take around to classes with you. I know every school is different, but I love being able to take notes on a computer rather than by hand (in some classes, it really wouldn't be possible to take adequate notes by hand) and it's also nice to be able to just go anywhere (library, student union, whatever) to do my work from there in between classes or if a roommate is being too loud.

    But, if you keep the iMac, I wouldn't spend the money on a MB, because that just seems silly to me. You have your iMac for any power, and you could buy an older lappy just to take notes on.
  4. RedDragon870503 macrumors 6502


    Sep 6, 2006
    I've got a 20in iMac at school and I wouldn't want anything else.

    At the same time; I attend a small university (4000ish) and our classes are small and typically discussion based. Thus, I've never had a great need for a laptop in class.

    Also, I've never found I needed to bring a laptop to the library because most schools have a comp. lab (w/ pc's... but hey, typing and browsing on a pc isn't the worst thing in the world)

    Thus, that leaves your computer in your room mostly for entertainment, media management, communication etc... that said, it's nice to have a big screen, mouse, and full sized keyboard.

    My two cents. Good luck!
  5. vintagetobes thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 4, 2007
    Thanks guys, this has been really useful. So far i think i have eliminated the just iMac option. I'm pretty keen to get a laptop. Just need to decide whether to ditch the iMac and get a MBP, lose maybe £200-300 in the process, and lose my means of watching films and TV, or keep the iMac, and get a 1-1.5 GHz 12" Powerbook for about £500 (thats how much they seem to go for here in England. The second option is starting to win.
  6. zioxide macrumors 603


    Dec 11, 2006
    I'm in college right now and you'll definitely want the laptop, not a desktop. You'll be taking it to class, the library, and other friends rooms and stuff when you're just hanging out, so a laptop is a must. Plus they take up less room in your dorm, and which is always good because dorm rooms are small.

    Get a Macbook. The 13'' laptop will be nicer and easier to take to class than a 15'' or 17''. Sell the iMac or leave it at your house or something. You won't need it because the Macbook will have the same/more power than it.

    I don't see why buying a laptop would cause you to lose your option to watch tv? Just because of the smaller screen? You can easily get an external monitor for cheaper than getting a Macbook Pro.

    Seems that the best solution would be: Sell iMac and get the Macbook and external monitor for the dorm room if you really need a bigger screen. This would be cheaper than getting the Macbook Pro. Then you can put that money towards books or something, because they are ridiculously expensive.
  7. synth3tik macrumors 68040


    Oct 11, 2006
    Minneapolis, MN
    A 12" powerbook or a MacBook would be the best to bring to school. Just the size mainlt. You can bring your iMac and I know some people who do. I would want the smaller latop though. I am using my MBP for school. A lot of what I do is in Linux and it's nice to sit in a lab and work on my Linux projects along side my other stuff.
  8. ethernet76 macrumors 6502a

    Jul 15, 2003
    Please don't bring your laptop to class unless you like being actively hated by everyone or you're a law student. Typing is just annoying to sit next to when you're trying to take notes.

    I prefer to record lectures using my digi camera.

    Also, laptops rarely leave the dorm room. The only time my Powerbook came with me was to the student newspaper where I worked.
  9. dukebound85 macrumors P6


    Jul 17, 2005
    5045 feet above sea level
    i agree. desktops are nice. certainly not worth buying a new computer for the sake of not wanting a desktop imo. i had an emac my first 3 years of college and yea it worked just fine.
  10. jng macrumors 65816


    Apr 6, 2007
    I disagree. As a freshman and even as a sophomore, you're more likely to live in a double and have a roomate which can be a mixed blessing. It was nearly impossible to get work done in my room freshman year and instead I usu. packed my things and parked myself in the library.

    Depends on where you go to school. In my art history class of 60 anywhere between a dozen to 18 kid have laptops (most of which are macs). So you're not going to be "hated," at least not for typing. For playing games maybe. That's why when I know I'm going to play, I sit in the last row.

    I hate recording lectures. I considered doing it when I took lectures in a foreign language. But if you have an hour lecture, you have an hour long media file (or tape) and I don't have the patience to go through it to find a particular reference.

    As for bringing laptops to class, I think it depends on the school, the student and the major.
  11. juanster macrumors 68020


    Mar 2, 2007
    the only reason i got my MB was because i start school next tuesday, well i don t even know if i am going to be using it for notes or what i am going ot be using it in school for we ll see, i ll let you guys know next week...
  12. vintagetobes thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 4, 2007
    Seems to be a lot of contradictory opinions. I'm in England and the uni i'm going to is large, however i do know i shall have my own room. I can't help but thinking, by losing the iMac and getting a macbook i will be downgrading, which seems mindless. Especially as i have gone from ibook to macbook, to this.
  13. notlocust macrumors newbie

    May 5, 2007
    vintagetobes - don't forget that you'll be eligible for the HE discount when you start Uni. That's more than the standard FE discount - around 15% I believe - you can get it online when you log on to the UK Apple store using a computer with an IP address at your University. That discount would put the current entery level 1.83 GHz Macbook close(ish) to your price range - 650 quid or so I believe. And of course if you wait until you start Uni before getting the low end Macbook you might find yourself a Santa Rosa-ed one for the same price....

    I lecture at University in the UK and I'd prob. recommend you keep the iMac at home and get yourself either the Powerbook you mention or the entry level Macbook. That would give you the best of both worlds. And if after your first term/semester you find you can't live without the iMac for any reason you can always transfer it from home to where you're staying.

    Oh, and from my point of view I'd like to see more students with laptops in my class - that would certainly be better than noticing a significant number asleep.....or texting(!).....or maybe I should just work on my presentation technique :)
  14. bigandy macrumors G3


    Apr 30, 2004
    ... or go here to see the same discounts available on the UK-HE store...

    the discount is actually nearer 17.5% for a lot of stuff - note the difference between the normal and HE prices for MBPs etc, and you'll see it's pretty much the same as VAT.
  15. jng macrumors 65816


    Apr 6, 2007
    You are lucky to have your own room! Be careful though, my dorm in general was loud, mostly because my school decided to put ALL the freshman in the dorm on one floor. =/

    It would be going backward if you traded the iMac for a macbook. But like the prof said: get both! (if you can)

  16. Richard Flynn macrumors regular

    Sep 4, 2006
    Which university are you going to? What will you be reading? That is quite an important consideration when coming up with an answer to your questions.
  17. vintagetobes thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 4, 2007
    Cardiff or Sheffield Uni, doing Economics.
  18. Richard Flynn macrumors regular

    Sep 4, 2006
    Well, my impression is that you would do well to have a notebook computer. However, you shouldn’t feel compelled to get one. You would probably be taking notes in lectures, and possibly in seminars later on. This can be done entirely by hand, and some might say that that’s preferable; however, it wouldn’t be out of place to be using a computer for that sort of work.

    My own experience is a bit different. I’m reading for a humanities degree for which I have to write weekly essays and translations. Our essays are all but expected to be typewritten, although with my current tutor he never takes my work in to read it, merely listening to me read it out and commenting during the tutorial discussion. In lectures I never have any need for a computer, since I find it easier to take that sort of note by hand (although I’ve mostly given up on going to lectures for the moment, but that’s another story). In many ways I prefer working in my room than in a library, so most of my work gets done on my desktop machine. I have got a laptop as well, though. If you will be doing lots of work in libraries, either because you can’t check books out, or your room is too noisy, or you get too distracted in your room, then a notebook is a good way to go.

    It’s very reasonable to worry about making the wrong impression when you show up, however I don’t think that bringing an iMac would necessarily do that. There are various things you should check, though, such as the size of the desks available in your accommodation, and the level of security available. You will almost certainly want to get possessions insurance, such as that provided for students by Endsleigh.

    Hope that helps, and hasn’t just added to the confusion. In some ways, it might be best to try out having the iMac for a term, and see how you go, and then if you feel like you’d do better having a notebook as well or instead, then do that during your first Christmas vacation.
  19. ~~Hello~~ macrumors 6502

    Apr 27, 2007
    I think its great to have a laptop in lecture. Not essential obviously, but its nice, to have all your notes all nice and typed up. Lots of people had them when I was at uni, there was at least one person with a pda with a fold out keyboard as well.

    I'm not sure about people being actively hated for having one, they don't make that much noise, unless you're one of these people who likes to type really loudly, and hit your keys when typing. I did do a computing related degree though.
  20. Dynamyk macrumors 6502a


    Jul 8, 2005
    Word of advice, I NEVER bring my laptop to my Eco classes because of the amount of graphs in most of the classes. Your laptop is not fun when Graph's are involved unless you get a tablet.

    Honestly, I would keep the iMac. At most get an iBook if your only taking notes with it.
  21. Kaiser Phoenix macrumors 6502

    May 12, 2005
    Laptops are easier to get stolen...

    Im not saying desktops dont get stolen but they are 'harder' to steal...

    Good luck in uni!
  22. zioxide macrumors 603


    Dec 11, 2006
    Just buy a laptop lock. They're like 20 bucks.
  23. leighonigar macrumors 6502a

    May 5, 2007
    Personally, and I'm at uni atm, Oxford doing biology, I don't think it makes any real difference what kind of computer you have. I have an iBook (little 12" one) and it's fine, I can type my essays, get the papers I need offline, read my emails and procrastinate (like now). It never leaves my room and so I'd much rather have an iMac with it's bigger screen. Bigger screens make a difference, even for essays which I presume you'll have to write (I don't know any plain economists here, but I know a fair few doing PPE, they do economics essays and type them).

    I do sometimes find myself yearning for the powermac I left at home, but not that much, to be honest I'm too busy either having work crises or enjoying spending time with my friends.

    What I'd do: take the iMac, use it, see if I find myself yearning for a laptop and only then consider getting one. Whoever it was who said a laptop would be no good in lectures seems to be on the money for me, I think it would annoy people and be generally unsuitable. I don't know what the lectures are like at those unis but graphs will feature heavily along with maths you just can't do fast enough on a laptop. Most of my lectures have a handout and it's usual to doodle on that.

    When you get to uni your computer will be the smallest issue in the world, my ibook is years old, it does me fine and I'm quite a heavy user. Some people I know have PC desktops, lots PC laptops, and a few Mac Laptops, some don't have a computer at all, it really doesn't matter all that much.

    Best of luck with your course, have fun, work smart and stay sober...
  24. flopticalcube macrumors G4


    Sep 7, 2006
    In the velcro closure of America's Hat
    I would never buy a new machine until life became unbearable without it. You might want to try out living without a laptop for a while. If you find yourself curled up in a small ball under your duvet sobbing because you have no laptop, then you should buy one.

    There is a time and place for everything, and its called university.
  25. DCBass macrumors 6502

    Jan 23, 2004
    Washington, DC
    This is coming from someone who studied Econ in undergrad and is now completing his masters in Econ.

    Don't get a laptop to take note in class. Economics is predominantly drawing graphs and writing down complicated (sometimes) mathematical formulas, neither of which are easy or quick to do on a laptop. The best thing is to have a paper notebook with a variety of colored pens. In this case, the simplest solution is the best solution.

    Only get a laptop if you want to study with a comp outside of your dorm room. In this case, I would recommend you still keep the imac and get either a macbook or a 12-in powerbook.

    I have never seen anyone attempt to take notes in any Economics course on a laptop. If you did, you would fall behind fast.

    Good luck at University! I hope you enjoy studying Econ as much as I have.


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