Student Buying Question

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by JustLikeYou, Aug 30, 2007.

  1. JustLikeYou macrumors member

    Aug 29, 2007
    Hello. I'm a student with an AA transferring from a community college to a University for my BFA in Graphic Design. I've always loved design. I was the dorky kid in middle school who drew brochures and drew new boxes for Fruit Loops. Anyway, In the few computer-based design classes that I have had in college so far, I've used the computers they have in the labs, and do whatever other work (homework, portfolio stuff, small paid projects) at home. Now, sit down, take a breath, and I'm going to tell you what I've been using the past 4 years at home. A Toshiba 17" notebook with 1.5GHz Intel Celeron processor, 256 megs of ram, 40 gig HD, CD/DVD drive (no re-write, silly!), and bottom-of-the-barrel graphics processor. About a year ago, the screen died, so I've been using various hand-me-down monitors. Yes, I have run Illustrator, Photoshop, Flash, Fireworks, Dreamweaver, Gimp, Inkscape, and have a 1,500 font library on that computer. How do I do it? Simple... very slowly, and only ONE application at a time :)

    Anyway, my point with that is now that I'm entering the upper level courses, which are more computer based and design intensive, I'm definetly going to need a new computer. I don't need the top-of-the-line, nor do I need it. I feel that it's not the computer, its the designer who makes the best of what she has. I have had to support myself through school, my parents can't help, and though I have a scholarship that pays 75% of my tuition, I am responsible for all else. Which means, I do NOT have unlimited funds for a new computer, but I do want to get something that will get me through college and a few years beyond.

    My biggest question is, for those of you who have experienced those upper level courses, what computer set up would be best for me? I like the new iMacs, because I don't like carrying things with me. The laptop I have now always stays home. I'm clumsy anyway, and normally carry just a thumb drive to transfer work. If it's absolutely necessary that I get a MBP, though, I will. If enough people think it is necessary and will be more beneficial overall. I do have a decent external monitor with me that I will be taking, because I LOVE space, and work with 2 monitors whenever I can.

    Also, I DO HAVE TIME. I have until I transfer in January. Which do you think would be more beneficial, buying now, or waiting until later in the year when they start shipping with the new OS and maybe *crosses fingers* fix the color problem on the iMac monitors, and maybe even start shipping them with matte displays? I know, I'm being hopeful with that one. What would be the best option? Mind you, see paragraph 2 of this post, I have worked with CRAP for so long, that I am definetly not snobby about a little glare problem or whatnot on a screen, I just want something that works and works well.

    Anyway, sorry this was so long. Just wanted to be clear :)
  2. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem


    Feb 19, 2005
    If you are clumsy. If you do not like to carry things. If you know you will not need to be portable (I would check with your school). Then I would buy the iMac. If you need to be portable I would buy the MBP. I believe the MP is highly capable, but for your given major I think the MBP is the way to go. 15" and an external display.

    If you do not need it now and you will need it by January then wait until then. At least you're letting technology happen for those few months before buying. If you do not need now but want now then buy now. I don't personally care to chase technology, but that is just me.

    Good luck to you.
  3. Scarlet Fever macrumors 68040

    Scarlet Fever

    Jul 22, 2005
    i've just finished watching that Miss America speech by the Carolina girl, so it's a relief to be able to read proper english again :)
    Sorry, I was off on a different tangent there...
    Any Mac you buy will be a significant upgrade from your current system, so we don't have to cut the Mac Mini or MacBook out of the options yet.

    It looks like the work you are doing is CPU and RAM based, so if you are on a tight budget, you won't loose much by skipping the MBP's graphics card.

    You say you don't want a notebook, so the MacBook is out.

    So the 2 options you have now are the iMacs or Mac Minis. Both will be fast enough to do what you want them to do, although the iMac will have an edge over the Mac Mini. How tight is your budget?
  4. tartsquid macrumors regular


    Jan 21, 2006
    Reston, VA
    Honestly, if you know that you will not want to carry your computer around with you, I would go with a desktop. I had a laptop in college, and while it was nice to be able to take it home with me for the weekend or on trips, I found using it at my desk to be irritating, and was much happier with my iMac when I got it.

    If you're going into graphic design, you will definitely prefer the screen size of an iMac over a MacBook or MBP anyway, and will save money.
  5. clevin macrumors G3


    Aug 6, 2006
    ever thought about a tablet? not sure if you need that type of work (drawing on screen)
  6. JustLikeYou thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 29, 2007
    Well, I'm not TOTALLY against a notebook, it's just that the MBP seem expensive for my budget.

    And, when I say clumsy, I mean that the laptop goes in the backpack with everything else and gets tossed around like a normal backpack does. I am not mobile-friendly. Heck, even my cell phone is in a thick leather case because I drop it all the time. I guess I could learn to change my ways...

    I was considering the Mini, but it's pretty much on its way out, isn't it? I don't want to be stuck with something that won't exist anymore in a year.

    My budget isn't super tight, but what I'm working with is $10,000 in the bank account that I saved up over the past 3 years, so that finishing my final two years, I wouldn't have to work. My scholarship covers 75% of my tuition, but I'm trying to do the best I can with my money to stretch it out over 2 years. Buying a base model MBP with 2 megs of ram and the protection plan would be the limit, taking a $2100 chunk out of that savings. I would be hurting with the purchase of CS3 on top of that. Would maybe a refurb MBP be worth it instead?

    I liked the look and feel of the iMac when I played with it at the apple store, but I don't know how practical it would be for my needs. Also, it's more friendly on the bank. Like I said, I don't know how portable I need to be, and I was hoping someone who has gone through those courses, etc. would be able to give me a heads up.

    Sorry if these questions seem stupid or reduntant :\ I just wanna make my first mac purchase a great one.
  7. sblasl macrumors 6502a


    Apr 25, 2004
    Heber Springs, AR
    Actually, it is refreshing that we have a "Newbie" asking intelligent, thoughtful questions that are purposeful. We don't mind these at all.:cool:

    Not that I want to spend your money but you would be an ideal candidate for a refurb MBP. Don't limit yourself, think big picture of what you see yourself doing in 2-3 years. You most likely will be putting a portfolio together that you will want to share ultimately with a recruiter, etc. No better platform/system than a MacBook Pro.

    Good luck and thanks for stopping by!:cool:

  8. skunk macrumors G4


    Jun 29, 2002
    Republic of Ukistan
    I prefer to rent students rather than buy them.
  9. epiphany macrumors regular

    Jan 8, 2004
    I'd buy an iMac for the screen real estate and hard drive size. It's a good value and will do plenty. I'd wait to buy it until Thanksgiving, when Apple customarily has a 10% off sale, and you will have the new OS. In addition, any screen color calibration fixes they decide to put in place will be out there.

    You can get by fine w/o portability (although as Jessica said, check w/the school), and I don't see 'learning to change your ways' or your nature as likely.
  10. vicki2314 macrumors member

    Jun 1, 2006
    I'm a graphic design student too and I just ordered the 2.0GH iMac along with CS3, an iPod and a printer. I really would have loved to get the 24" for the better screen but my budget did not allow for it and I thought it would be better to just buy a 2GB stick of ram to add. Even though I was disappointed by the glossy screen, no new mouse, black border, etc. I really needed the upgrade and an iMac was my best option. I figure that once I graduate in another 2 years I'd probably just upgrade again to something more professional anyways.
  11. thecritix macrumors 6502

    Dec 11, 2006
    West London, England
    10k huh?

    why not go for the mbp and skimp on beer?
  12. JustLikeYou thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 29, 2007
    vicki - I keep forgetting about the Ipod promo. I could sell off the ipod, since I already have one, and that would put about $150 back in my pocket.

    critix - that would be a great idea, but unfortunately, that 10k has to pay for my housing, food, books and classes for the next year or so, when the scholarships run out. And whenever it runs out, THEN I have to get a job again. So that means no beer parties for me, either. 'sides, I don't drink beer :)

    I love macs. I would spend all my time in the lab at school until closing because they had G5 power setups that were amazing. The school bought out the most high-end, maxed out computers with huge screens. They had to be at least $5,000 per computer, and there were 30 of them! And they had 4 labs, one at each campus! Gahhhhh.*wipes up the drool*
  13. joeybagadonutz macrumors member

    Aug 18, 2007
    Save an extra $250?

    CS3 design premium is reduced from the $599.95 academic price to $349.95 when purchased with a new Mac. I think the Adobe promotion expires with the ipod promotion on September 16th. I suggest you also check your schools CS3 pricing. Good luck!
  14. tartsquid macrumors regular


    Jan 21, 2006
    Reston, VA
    I definitely think that if you're trying to save money, you should go with the iMac. As far as portability goes, having a thumb drive will be about all you need. I had a laptop for college, but usually ended up taking my thumb drive to use on campus if necessary, rather than lugging around the PowerBook.

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