Please rate my proposed set up for school

Discussion in 'iMac' started by prne10, Jul 28, 2010.

  1. prne10 macrumors member

    Jul 27, 2010
    Hey guys, I would really appreciate everyone's constructive and critical input. I am currently running a 08 Macbook + my custom built Core 2 Quad Q6600 Machine for my computing needs. I graduated from college last December and I am attending Law School this fall.

    As much as I hate to admit it, my gaming days are coming to an end. I think the new 27" iMac will be an awesome upgrade, a way to better synchronize my computers and apps, and a way to prioritize on my professional career. Furthermore, I have an iPhone 3G and will probably buy an iPhone 4. When I buy the new iMac, I will turn my current desktop into a file server.

    Long story short: I'm considering buying an iMac 27" to go with my 08 MB and iPhone. I will use my old PC as a file server, and will connect it via a router (possibly an airport extreme)

    How would you rate this set-up in terms of ease of use, functionality, and productivity boosts?

    TYIA for your input!:)
  2. jdechko macrumors 68040

    Jul 1, 2004
    Like the file server idea.

    Unless there is a reason to buy another desktop, maybe consider selling the MB and buying a new laptop. That's just my opinion, though.
  3. prne10 thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 27, 2010
    Vista is driving me nuts, and I really like how easy it is to use OS X. I also figure if all of my operating systems are the same, it will be easier to syncronize my productivity software.
  4. MacInLaw macrumors newbie

    Jul 28, 2010
    First of all, congrats on law school. It's going to require a lot of work over the next few years, but if you work hard it can be really rewarding.

    I used a MacBook Air for my last year of law school, and loved it. You will be carrying around a ton of books. Shaving off as much weight as you can is important. Plus, you will use your laptop every day, and that will likely be your main machine in law school. I rarely used my desktop, because I spent most of my time in the library.

    If you go the iMac route, the 27" is nice, but I'd get a relatively inexpensive one. Keeping your costs down in law school is really important, because you will want to graduate with as little debt as you can. Any of the current iMacs will be fine for writing papers and doing research. The biggest advantage to the 27" is the screen real estate -- it's nice to be able to easily compare two documents or have research on one side and your work on another. But you might be just as well off with a dual-monitor setup.

    I do have two recommendations for software: iWork is well worth the money, and it's sufficiently compatible with Office that you won't have any problems. I wrote all my papers and law review articles in Pages. The only thing you'll need Word for if you need to do tables of authorities in an appellate brief.

    I also can't recommend OmniOutliner enough. I used it for all my class notes in all my classes. It's easy to use, doesn't get in your way, and let's you structure your outlines much easier than Word. It's a great app for law school.

    Oh, and get an external hard drive for Time Machine backup. You don't want to risk losing your class notes in a crash. That would be a disaster.

    Also, check with your law school about exam software. You may need Boot Camp or a Windows laptop if they use dedicated exam software. I had to use Boot Camp to take the bar exam, which was a pain, but doable.
  5. prne10 thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 27, 2010
    Thanks for the advice! I'm not worried about cost at all, I have nearly a full ride and some help from my parents. I also saved about 6k from my current job.

    I'm going to buy MS Office because I am more familiar with it, but also because it is offered for $5 from my school.

    Do you use mobile me at all to help keep things organized?
  6. MacInLaw macrumors newbie

    Jul 28, 2010
    I'd still get iWork, especially since it's only around $50 if you buy it with a Mac. Keynote is worth double that alone. I've done some amazing presentations using Keynote and the Keynote Remote Control App for the iPhone. iWork just seems to be easier to use to me, and it's a huge value for what you get.

    I have Mobile Me and like it. But I'm two minds of it. It does work very well. I can remote into my desktop from my laptop with ease. I can remotely configure my AirPort from anywhere. The contact and calendar syncing keeps my desktop, laptop, iPhone, and iPad all is sync. That being said, it's expensive and some of the stuff isn't so great. Dropbox is nicer than iDisk, IMHO.

    I'd recommend giving it a try with the 60-day trial period and seeing if you use it enough to justify the cost. You also get the Find my iPhone service, which could come in handy if you ever lost your iPhone. Mobile Me is expensive, but if you use it enough it's worth it. It just depends on whether you really need the features.

    Also, I do recommend the iPhone 4. If you're happy with AT&T and don't mind another 2-year commitment the jump in speed between that and the 3G will blow you away. Plus, the Retina Display make the iPhone a great reading device, and you will read TONS of PDFs over the next three years.

    Since you're in good financial shape (not having ridiculous student loan debt out of law school is a VERY good thing), you probably can splurge a little on a larger display and go for the base model 27" iMac. You'll be doing a lot of writing and editing, and having the ability to work on multiple documents might come in handy. You don't really need a great CPU or GPU to run Word and iWork, but a big screen will be nice if you don't mind paying a good amount for it.

    Alternately, consider getting the base model and adding a second monitor. That might be a little cheaper and you get the same benefits. It depends on whether you prefer two monitors or one big one.
  7. jdechko macrumors 68040

    Jul 1, 2004
    Sorry, when I said "new laptop", I really meant "get a MacBook Pro". ;)

    Plus, if you only have 1 computer, you don't have to worry about synchronizing your productivity software. In any case, a dropbox account will keep all of your documents in sync between your laptop, file server and iPhone. In most circumstances, having only 1 computer simplifies things, and is the best way of doing everything.

    On MobileMe, I have it and I love it. There are ways to do everything you can do with MM for free (which usually involves Google).

    I think you're smart going with Office, but you could always supplement Office with iWork if even for Keynote alone (though Pages is a better than Word for page layout-type stuff).
  8. CBAviator macrumors 6502

    Jun 10, 2007
    I would highly recommend iWork, as well. For $50, I also believe it is well worth the price for just Keynote alone.

    On a personal note (that's probably none of my business anyway!) all the money you can. $6000 isn't a ton in the "after-university" world ;) I am currently in grad school and it's amazing how quickly you blow through money with no time for a side job! haha

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