please help

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by maruchan06, Sep 3, 2006.

  1. maruchan06 macrumors newbie

    Sep 3, 2006
    I am a graduate student who is looking for an affordable computer. I have been a PC user, but I am tired of dealing with PCs and want to switch to a mac. Since I'm a grad student, I am kinda poor and cannot afford to buy a brand new top of the line mac. By the way I'm looking for a laptop. I only need the computer for word processing, internet, and listening to music, so I don't need anything too fancy. I have searched online and have found two possibilities. What are the minimum requirements for someone with my needs? Again, I don't need nor do I want anything too fancy.
  2. technicolor macrumors 68000


    Dec 21, 2005
    Get a baseline macbook.

    Or a used iBook.

    But the links you have above are all ovepriced.

    Check the marketplace here, ebay, or
  3. Osarkon macrumors 68020


    Aug 30, 2006
    or the middle spec macbook, for the superdrive. really wish you could get the base-line config with it, it's the only reason i got the middle spec one for Uni. could have spent the difference on a hard drive upgrade then. if you can live without the ability to burn dvds, then go for the basic macbook (in uni you'll probably need windows for something) so the ability to install it is always there, even if you don't use it. Also it might leave you some cash spare to upgrade the ram to a gig and the hard drive if you do consider dual booting (found out the hard way 60gb isn't really enough to dual boot) .
  4. tipdrill407 macrumors 6502

    May 26, 2006
    Get a baseline Macbook with a gig of ram if you can afford it. If not get the 12 inch powerbook that's listed on the link you provided.
  5. AppleIntelRock macrumors 65816


    Aug 14, 2006
    The author says they need a computer for the following:

    "I only need the computer for word processing, internet, and listening to music"

    As a result, even a baseline macbook at about 1000 dollars is over-kill. If you really want to save money I would not get a macbook, you simply don't need the latest in apple technology for what you want to do- especially since your on a budget. In my opinion, both of the computers you linked to are way over-priced. Considering you can get a titanium powerbook with a 15 inch screen now a days for about 500 bucks- with a pretty good hard drive. If I were you, I would try to find a used:

    12 inch powerbook
    w/ 512 MB ram, and a 40-60 GB HD.

    The powerbook you linked to is a little over-priced.
  6. jne381 macrumors regular

    Feb 27, 2006
    Grand Rapids
    First of all, what field will you be studying. If it is something in the humanities that could affect my advice, if it is a science I would probably recommend something with a little more power, and a social science could go either way.

    That being said, I will recommend getting the the 2.0 white MacBook. The processor is a little faster than the base model, but it also comes with the super drive. The DVD burner will come in handy if you need to backup large amounts of information, or if you need to burn stuff for presentations that include video.

    I will also highly recommend getting a stand alone display for your desk, and a regular keyboard and mouse for he same. You will be writing a tremendous amount, and the extra display can give you the space as a second display, I don't believe the iBook gives you that option, and a regular keyboard and mouse will be way more comfortable to use. The extra screen space is a necessity for writing papers, you will want a couple things open as you write on a third.

    The MacBook will also give you the ability to put windows on it, should you need to, and that is better than trying to find time to go to the school computer lab.

    Here is something I will recommend as well, bump up your RAM to 2 GB, and replace the Hard Drive with a large 120 GB or 160 GB. Buy both from an online vendor like OWC. Before you replace your Hard Drive, Format the original with everything that you need, then replace it. If anything happens to the new one, when you send it in you will have a backup that is ready to go, and you will save yourself hours off time when you need to be working on a paper (believe me I know). Make sure to back up all your work and resources as you go along, so you can just drag them into the replacement HD when the time comes.

    I know some of the things I recommend will add cost to your purchase, but you will see that they will make great sense as you get to working. You will want as little hassle from your computer as possible when you need to get work done. If you can, buy a second battery and a second power adaptor. Keep them both in your bag, and they will surely come in handy.
  7. AppleIntelRock macrumors 65816


    Aug 14, 2006
    So much for helping a student on a budget...
  8. extraextra macrumors 68000


    Jun 29, 2006
    Seriously! I believe the OP said, "I only need the computer for word processing, internet, and listening to music, so I don't need anything too fancy." All he really needs to do is decide whether or not he needs a superdrive or not. 1GB of RAM is probably necessary, a larger HD can always be upgraded later on if needed.
  9. AppleIntelRock macrumors 65816


    Aug 14, 2006
  10. jne381 macrumors regular

    Feb 27, 2006
    Grand Rapids

    Hey, don't get on my case, I'm only trying to help the guy out. I'm still a student and I know what a budget is. There is ways around money issues in school, but a grad student needs to worry most about TIME and how to manage it.

    Screen real-estate is so important for writing papers, and if you ever had to write 50 pages based on research, you know that an extra display saves you a ton of headaches. And you can't type for hours on a laptop keyboard.

    Perhaps he could get away with 1 gb of RAM, and it is not necessary to upgrade the hard drive, but there will come a point when he wishes he had, especially if he partitions his HD for Windows. If he uses 20 gb for his windows partition he is left with less than 40 for his OSX drive, I hope he doesn't have a large music library. And I hope nothing happens to that drive, guess what, your out of a computer for probably a week.
  11. maruchan06 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 3, 2006
    I am studying history. I don't know if that changes your answer.

    Does anyone know of a site where I can find a powerbook that isn't overpriced?
  12. clevin macrumors G3


    Aug 6, 2006
    #12 has a ibook G4 12" for $900, and your local store might has discount on top of that. I found $650 iBook G4 12" and $714 iBook G4 14" and $1000 powerbook G4 15" today at local CompUSA store
  13. bousozoku Moderator emeritus

    Jun 25, 2002
    Gone but not forgotten.
    Have you checked the refurbished PowerBooks on Apple's online store? They've got machines at better prices.
  14. tristan macrumors 6502a

    Jul 19, 2003
    high-rise in beautiful bethesda
    Yeah, definitely pick up a refurb, and maybe a refurb G4. A refurb Powerbook G4 would probably be perfect for you. FYI tracks deals on refurbs.
  15. FFTT macrumors 68030


    Apr 17, 2004
    A Stoned Throw From Ground Zero
    Your correct choice might depend on how much you plan to use audio video

    You might find yourself doing video presentations or working to edit
    history related documentaries or find it quite handy to video chat with
    a colleague.

    While an iBook or G4 PowerBook might cover basic needs, the MacBook
    refurb would end up being a bit more future resistant especially for any new
    applications and to take full advantage of OSX Leopard.
  16. ph0rk macrumors 6502


    Oct 22, 2003
    If the OP was quantitatively minded, they would have mentioned their statistical package of choice. (And likely lamented that there is no OSX native SAS version. Stata to the rescue.)

    For word/abiword/openoffice and/or endnote, a ~1ghz g4 ibook or powerbook will do you fine I'd think. A standalone display/keyboard/mouse will be hand for home/apt use (though you may have all that from your pc).

    Aha, like I thought :)

    Depending on your focus area, I'd recommend at least 1GB of ram, as original sources are becoming increasingly available via pdf from some collections, and these can be quite huge.

    Don't forget ebay, there are usually some decent refurbs to be found - especially with all the new intel models.

    I wouldn't dream of spending more than $1000 for your machine.
  17. FFTT macrumors 68030


    Apr 17, 2004
    A Stoned Throw From Ground Zero
    Please remember that the iBook G4 and the G4 PowerBooks are single processor
    The two 12" PowerBooks you posted in your links are both single processor 1 GHz models. They may also not come with OSX Tiger or the iLife '06 application suite. ( check the details carefully ) Most likely the two you posted only come equipped
    with OSX Panther. I think both only came with ComboDrives rather than SuperDrives.

    They would cover you for very basic use, but for the price they are asking
    you would certainly be better off with the 1.33 GHz G4 12" iBook, or the 1.83 or even the 2.0 GHz MacBook. both with the Core Duo processors.

    These machines are 5 X faster than the G4's.
    Macbooks also get you the versatility of running ANY application, built in iSight, a larger, clearer and brighter display, the two finger trackpad, mag safe power cord,
    OSX Tiger and Ilife '06 and a full factory warranty.

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