She can't afford a MacBook Pro, what is the best alternative?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by thebassoonist, Aug 2, 2008.

  1. thebassoonist macrumors 6502a

    thebassoonist

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2007
    Location:
    Davis, CA
    #1
    Hello!

    I have a good friend who needs to buy a laptop for college. She is a junior and has made it this far, saving up her money. She's becoming a landscape architect, and will be using AutoCad 2007 and various Adobe software. She loves my MBP and it's her ideal computer, but unfortunately she can only spend around $1000 on the computer.

    You guys will know the most about this, so that's why I'm asking. Here's the laptops I've found that have minimum or slightly higher requirements of AutoCad 2007. Which one would be the best and are there any others that you personally and would recommend, or know of and would recommend.

    The one things that's really important to her is the screen size. She'd like a 15.4". The 17" is too big for her to take around campus (she is quite a small person) and she needs a fairly big screen.

    Dell XPS M1530 (2.0 GHz dual core, 2 GB ram, 160 GB 5400 RPM, 128 MB NVIDIA dedicated graphics)

    Dell Studio 15 (2.16 GHz dual core, 3 GB ram, 320 GB 5400 RPM, 256 MB ATI dedicated graphics)

    HP dv5t (customized: 2.0 GHz dual core, 2 GB ram, 250 GB 5400 RPM, 256 MB NVIDIA dedicated graphics)

    The other thing too, I suppose, is that she could buy an older, used MBP but I don't know if that would actually be cost effective as she'd have to buy Parallels (?) and Vista (or XP?).

    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. MacGeek7 macrumors 6502a

    MacGeek7

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2007
    #2
    Don't forget about the MacBook - then with student discount it'd be around $1,000.
     
  3. MacDawg macrumors P6

    MacDawg

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2004
    Location:
    "Between the Hedges"
    #3
    Doesn't give the screen size the OP wants...

    Woof, Woof - Dawg [​IMG]
     
  4. thebassoonist thread starter macrumors 6502a

    thebassoonist

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2007
    Location:
    Davis, CA
    #4
    Yes, but AutoCad 2009 requires "128 MB open-GL or Direct 3D capable graphics card." At least I think that's what it meant. The specifications had a lot of different options, depending on XP or Vista and if you were doing 3D work, which I think is what people use AutoCad for. But I must say I'm not sure.

    Here is the specs from the AutoCad website:

    For 32-bit AutoCAD 2009:

    * Intel® Pentium® 4 processor or AMD Athlon®, 2.2 GHz or greater
    or
    Intel or AMD Dual Core processor, 1.6 GHz or greater
    * Microsoft® Windows Vista™, Windows® XP SP2 operating systems

    For Microsoft Windows XP SP2:

    * 1 GB RAM
    * 750 MB free disk space for installation
    * 1024x768 VGA with true color
    * Microsoft® Internet Explorer® 6.0 (SP1 or higher)

    For Microsoft Windows Vista or 3D modeling:

    * Intel Pentium 4 processor or AMD Athlon, 3.0 GHz or greater
    or
    Intel or AMD Dual Core processor, 2.0 GHz or greater
    * 2 GB RAM or greater
    * 2 GB free hard disk available not including installation
    * 1,280 x 1,024 32-bit color video display adapter (true color) 128 MB or greater, OpenGL®, or Direct3D® capable workstation class graphics card. For Windows Vista, a Direct3D capable workstation class graphics card with 128 MB or greater is required.

    For 64-bit AutoCAD 2009:

    * Windows XP Professional x64 Edition or Windows Vista 64-bit
    * AMD® 64 or Intel EM64T processor
    * 2 GB RAM
    * 750 MB free disk space for installation
    * AutoCAD 64-bit cannot be installed on a 32-bit Windows operating system
     
  5. MacGeek7 macrumors 6502a

    MacGeek7

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2007
    #5
    Missed that part...
     
  6. iMacmatician macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2008
    #6
    And the MacBook's resolution (1280*800) is lower than that of the others (1440*900 and up). But the HP dv5t has a 1280*800 option.
     
  7. Umbongo macrumors 601

    Umbongo

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2006
    Location:
    England
    #7
    Take a look at Lenovo. A Thinkpad T61 15.4" can be had for under $1000 from the official site. The Quadro NVS 140 graphics card that it comes with should perform like a mobile 8400, likely better as it is suited to CAD work.

    If you ask on http://forum.notebookreview.com you might get directed to some deals on at the moment and some more solutions.
     
  8. thebassoonist thread starter macrumors 6502a

    thebassoonist

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2007
    Location:
    Davis, CA
  9. Techguy172 macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2007
    Location:
    Ontario Canada
    #9
    I would get one of the studio's they have pretty decent build quality.
     
  10. peapody macrumors 68040

    peapody

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2007
    Location:
    baltimore, md
    #10
    Why not go with a used MBP? You can get a 2.16ghz for around $1200 if you find the right deal. And she is a junior. College is one year away.

    Edit: Ah yes, parallels. Well, she can get away without windows at college. There isn't a real NEED for it, unless the school has specific windoes only programs.
     
  11. winninganthem macrumors 6502a

    winninganthem

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2008
    #11
    A used or refurb MBP is a good idea.

    Either that or I would get the Dell XPS.

    Is your friend going to be doing any 3D Studio Max things? If so, you'll want Windows for that. But yeah, Macs can run Windows too.

    So yeah, I'd say go with the used or refurb MBP since she likes it so much and add more programs and add-ons as you go along.
     
  12. jaduffy108 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2005
    #12
    I second this suggestion....
     
  13. dmw007 macrumors G4

    dmw007

    Joined:
    May 26, 2005
    Location:
    Working for MI-6
    #13
    I agree, I would tell her to look for either a refurbished (Apple Online Store) or used (eBay) MacBook Pro. :) :apple:
     
  14. neiltc13 macrumors 68040

    neiltc13

    Joined:
    May 27, 2006
    #14
    MacBook has that.
     
  15. Cory5412 macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 14, 2004
    Location:
    Arizona
    #15
    I also second the recommendation for a Lenovo ThinkPad -- I've got an R61i and they are very durable machines. A T61 with discrete graphics, or a T61p, will fit the bill very nicely, and the Quadro graphics on the T61p will run autocad very very nicely.
     
  16. thebassoonist thread starter macrumors 6502a

    thebassoonist

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2007
    Location:
    Davis, CA
    #16
    Oops, sorry, a junior in college.
     
  17. noodle654 macrumors 68020

    noodle654

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2005
    Location:
    Never Ender
    #17
    If she cant get the MBP, I would just get a Dell...$1000 cant really buy you a newer MBP. You could find an older used MBP if you watch eBay.
     
  18. donmei macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2007
    #18
    I've got a Lenovo T61 thinkpad. It is my corporate issue notebook. As such I show it little mercy. It is VEry TOUGH.

    Much tougher than any macbook will ever be. But then again, it unfortunately runs XP.

    So I would see if you could get your friend into a refurb MBP 15in.

    But then again if her need is to primarily run 1 app, the PC platform buys you more hardware per dollar.

    I'm torn, but in the end, I think I'd go with the Mac if she knows and loves Mac, and I'd go with a Lenovo that meets the minimum specs if she doesnt really care.
     
  19. peapody macrumors 68040

    peapody

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2007
    Location:
    baltimore, md
  20. MattKanzler macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2008
    Location:
    PA
    #20
    Have her either get the Macbook or look on ebay for an older powerbook or something that you could wipe clean
     
  21. Genghis Khan macrumors 65816

    Genghis Khan

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2007
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    #21
    noone should ever use AutoCAD for 3D, 'tis a terrible feature of a useful program

    also, are you sure she'd be using AutoCAD? from my limited experience of it, it's not that good @ curves, and the reason one uses AutoCAD is for speed...as it produces line drawings (something microsoft paint can do, just not as quickly)

    but if she does have to run autoCAD on her laptop, a keypad (fn key on macbooks doesn't count) is more important than screen size
     
  22. Jakethasnake919 macrumors newbie

    Jakethasnake919

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2008
    Location:
    North Carolina, USA
    #22
    I have used AutoCad a good bit and you could get by without a keypad but i would definitely say that it would help out. I am in Civil Engineering and there are some 3D programs that we use that she may need to use also. Many of these design programs are not Mac compatible. This should be taken into consideration when buying the laptop. I am currently in a position where I am going to have to install Windows on my Mac to be able to run the programs. I was planning on doing that with bootcamp rather than spending money on Parallels. This could be an option also.
     
  23. dollystereo macrumors 6502a

    dollystereo

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2004
    Location:
    France
    #23
    Dont get a Mac if you are architect, because autocad is a Windows only app, so get a nice cheap PC, dont waste money to get a mac if you are using windows.
     
  24. LinMac macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2007
    #24
    External, wireless, connects via bluetooth and is available for around $40. These keypads are available at many online stores. I use mine for a much difference purpose, but I need it while at the same time you can pry my (to be purchased at future refresh) Macbook Pro from my cold dead hands.
     
  25. pinktank macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2005
    #25
    I'd go with the thinkpad as well, serious build quality in a pc
     

Share This Page