Student Laptop/Notebook - Questions?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Lorelai, Jul 17, 2006.

  1. Lorelai macrumors member

    Jul 16, 2006
    (So glad I found this forum! :) )

    I am a college student (history major). I am going to be buying a new computer sometime around mid-August to mid-September. I would love to get a laptop/notebook, specifically a Macbook. The only reason I am having second thoughts is because of all of the problems I have been reading about with the Macbooks running too hot... burning people or furniture... melting the power cords... etc. Are those problems really affecting all of the computers or just a few? Would there be any benefit to waiting to purchase it after September? I don't want to spend a bunch of money on a computer that will have those kinds of issues.

    I am really just interested in a computer I can take to class or the library and use for papers and websurfing. Would the iBook be a better option?

    Since I don't really use my computer for any serious gaming, is there any reason to upgrade the RAM or the hard drive? If so, how much do you think would be enough for my type of usage?

    Lastly, do I need to get any sort of additional software or a security program to use my school's wireless network?

    Sorry my first post is so long! I appreciate any help or advice you can offer me! :)
  2. trainguy77 macrumors 68040

    Nov 13, 2003
    Those problems from what I have heard are no the norm. Most machines are just fine. For your use 512 MB of RAM should be just fine. However to get the most out of your machine or if your running any PowerPC programs your going to want 1 GB or more. You could get a refurbished ibook if its just going to be some pages, or word documents. Depends if you want new or not. I am typing this on a 1ghz emac and its just fine for what you talking about so a ibook in the 1ghz range should meet your needs. You should try use one to see if its what you want.

    No everything you need will be on your macbook/ibook.(if you go with a ibook make sure the one you get has an airport card)

    No problem at all. Actually I have seen longer..........mad jew:D
  3. xfiftyfour macrumors 68030


    Apr 14, 2006
    Clemson, SC
    I have a week 26 MB and it's completely problem-free. I think Apple has worked out most of the 'quirks' in the earlier MBs, but if you DO buy one and have any issues, you can always call applecare or take it back to the store to have them fix it and/or replace it (depending on the severity).

    As for waiting until September: the general consensus is that while the MBPs are due for a revision here soon, the MBs won't be updated for a while yet. For your usage, I'd say the current rev will have all the power you could need or want.

    Re: RAM upgrade - if you're planning on using Microsoft Office extensively, be aware that it's not yet a UB, so it has to run through rosetta, a memory hog. Because of that, I'd be inclined to suggest a RAM upgrade (plus many will tell you that OS X likes to have at least a gig of RAM to run well).

    The iBook is now pretty outdated, but as a money-saving option, you could consider it. Certainly for just web-surfing and word processing, the iBook would suit your needs.

    No, you shouldn't need any additional software to access your school's wi-fi. You may need the school to get it started though (I know at my uni, unless you purchase a thinkpad from them, you have to take it to our computer technicians to have them enter the password).
  4. dmw007 macrumors G4


    May 26, 2005
    Working for MI-6
    Problems like you asked about are the rare exception. If you need a new laptop for school- don't hesitate to pick up a new MacBook. :)
  5. Abstract macrumors Penryn


    Dec 27, 2002
    Location Location Location
    What you're going to want is the base MacBook, and 1 GB of RAM.

    That is all you'll need for everything you mentioned, and more.
  6. Collin973 macrumors 6502

    Mar 29, 2006
    If you look around, you can find great deals on used iBooks/Powerbooks. I have a used 1ghz powerbook and it's outstanding for everyday use and I got it for $650.

    I know my college requires that you have norton anti-virus running on your system or you wont be able to connect to the network. And they provide norton to all of it's students for free. So, if you need anti-virus to connect, they should provide it for you. (I feel kind of odd running anti-virus software on my mac :confused:)
  7. JosiahPB macrumors regular

    Jun 12, 2004
    Definately go for a laptop...and if you want to spend the money, I would definately look for a brand new one, or very slightly used.
  8. CEAbiscuit macrumors 6502a


    Jun 28, 2006
    The Kitchen
    All the talk about "hot" Macbooks and problems gets overblown a bit. The 1 in in 100 that are bad (and I'm not saying there is an excuse. There were some quality problems in the begining) are far outweighed by the utility and simplicity of a Macbook. Have one (and it gets dailly, all day use) and there have been no problems what-so-ever.

    Oh, and there's a warrantee, don't forget, and if you have a problem, name one other manufacturer that has a store where you can take your machine and get live help and a level of service like apple offers. Both time I had ato take a powerbook in they were very helpfull.

    The extra 512 of ram is a must, As Rocky said, Go for it.
  9. Lorelai thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 16, 2006
    Thanks a bunch! :) I really, really want a Macbook so I'm glad to know the problems are just isolated incidents. :)

    I'll check with my school... they probably aren't even aware they have the WiFi yet! ;) Anytime you call with a problem with their site (registering classes, accessing your account, etc.), it's your computer's fault. Their servers never do anything wrong! I've seen business people on campus using the WiFi network, so I don't think a password is required. If I need Norton, does it (or a trial) come with the MacBook?

    If I increase the RAM, how much time will that add to the shipment? I'll probably use the Apple Store to get the education discount (and the free iPod! ;) ).

    Thanks, again! :D
  10. lcseds macrumors 6502a

    Jun 20, 2006
    NC, USA
    Burning people/furniture? Melting cord? I've been reading plenty about the Macbook from various sources and I haven't read anything this bad.
    Some discolorations, some "moo", some shutdowns, but nothing that would send me to the hospital and burn the house down.
  11. Lorelai thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 16, 2006
    #11 MacBook This is the site where I read about the MagSafe melting and people having the computer burn them and their furniture. I'm not sure how accurate or reliable it may be since it is a Wiki format, but I did read about a MacBook that was left plugged in over night ruining a coffee table on another forum.

    Another question I forgot to ask... Would you recommend I buy the AppleCare program? Never had to use it with our other Macs, but I assume a laptop is different.

    Thanks :)
  12. brepublican macrumors 6502a


    Jul 22, 2005
    AppleCare is a must. Definitely.
  13. ricgnzlzcr macrumors 6502a


    Jun 7, 2005
    Yea, Applecare is very crucial. I think you'll have more than enough power with a macbook to hold you over for your 4 years. My powerbook has gotten me through 2 and I expect it to hold over for past my graduation date. I don't think you need ram at all. More is always better, but just buy a 512 stick if you want it. Unless you have a large music and video collection, I'd say the stock HD is just fine for your needs. I hear macbook HD's are easily replaced so if you ever do need to have more storage, it won't be hard. Enjoy your computer!
  14. ericmjl macrumors member

    Jul 3, 2006

    Norton? I doubt you'd need it. Like one other user said, it sounds funny to run Norton with a Mac. Any anti-virus program, for that matter, sounds funny to run on a Mac.

    Then again, like he said, if you need Norton or any other anti-virus program before you can connect to your network, you should be able to get it from your school for free.

    Now, to answer the question...

    No, Norton does not come with the MacBook, and neither does a trial come with it.
  15. Timepass macrumors 65816

    Jan 4, 2005
    I would say up the harddrive size some just because you will be surpised at how fast you burn though hard space.

    A friend of mine was a history major. She went on to grade school 2 years ago but I know she had around 7gigs or so of word files she wrote in papers over her 4 years. Plus she end up wearing down several keys in 1 year on her laptop (lots of use. my laptop 4 years old keyboard has seen less use).

    Now there is a about a 20% chance you going to need some warrenty work on it in the first 90days (laptop stat for you. 1/5 of all laptop sold need work apple as at 17% but they gone up some since then)

    That being said you will enjoy it and I do strongly recomend getting a laptop for school.
  16. squirrelonfire macrumors member

    Sep 14, 2006
    If you buy a macbook, you definitely needs to upgrade Ram

    There r 3 models of the macbook out there right now, the 2nd one from the cheapest one is like $1299 then u get $100 discount as a student or teacher.
    The HD is only 60 GB, and the ram is worse only 512MB.
    Upgrading the ram to 1GB is definitely worth every single penny. My macbook runs so slow when i launch MS word or excel. It seems to me like mac runs non-native software slower than its own.
    If you only run mac installed software, u r fine w/ 512MB. Other than that you are strongly advised to ugprade to 1GIG (about $99 a stick).
    my macbook actually runs quite hot when on AC power, and the fan eventually turned on if it reaches certain degree. But it i snot burning hot like burning your skin hot like some people complain.
    I do recommend you to buy the Apple Care Plan so if something like that happens, u will b covered. The plan is $186 for 3 yrs protection.
  17. SuperSnake2012 macrumors 6502a

    Oct 11, 2005
    I have a week 36 that I received last Friday and I love it and so does everyone else that uses it :D
  18. FFTT macrumors 68030


    Apr 17, 2004
    A Stoned Throw From Ground Zero

    Norton's does nothing but bog down your system looking for Windows viruses.

    If you MUST have a/v for your Windows partition, use McAfee or ClamXav
  19. miles01110 macrumors Core


    Jul 24, 2006
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    MS Office is not going to be UB either- at least according to MS's website. They think it runs fast enough under
  20. Old Smuggler macrumors 6502a

    Old Smuggler

    Sep 8, 2006
    microsoft will do whatever they can to slow apple down
  21. FFTT macrumors 68030


    Apr 17, 2004
    A Stoned Throw From Ground Zero

    Apple is kicking Microsoft butt these days.

    I can't wait to see how things turn out if Apple decides to go for a full blown
    Office killer application.

    I know Googles' CEO joining the Apple Board could lead to some interesting developments in browsers and office applications.

    Even the most militant P/C publications are praising the quality of Mac OSX and they love the new Mac Pro.
  22. miles01110 macrumors Core


    Jul 24, 2006
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    It'll happen sometime soon I'm sure.
  23. vendettabass macrumors 6502a


    Jul 8, 2006
    Wellington, New Zealand
    I'm with you guys!!! I can't wait until I can get a Mac without having to use MS apps!!
  24. FFTT macrumors 68030


    Apr 17, 2004
    A Stoned Throw From Ground Zero
    Microsoft only agreed to support Mac OSX for so long with MS Office.

    It gets really complicated with licensing and software patents when anyone
    attempts to come up with an application that is fully Microsoft Office compatible
    without stepping on any big toes.

    So what is needed, is an iOffice iKiller that can import everything you have in Microsoft Office and still allow you to send data to any Windows user with full
    MS Office compatibility without pi$$ing off Mr. Gates.

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