University Computers

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by alley.ted, Feb 10, 2011.

  1. alley.ted macrumors newbie

    Feb 10, 2011
    I am going to be attending university in the fall, and am having trouble deciding what combination of computers to buy:

    1. iMac 27" i7 + MacBook Air 11"
    2. MacBook Pro 15" i5 + 27" display

    I know that option 1 delivers the ultimate in portability, as well as power, but then I have to deal with syncing, etc. Option 2 is great because then I only have one (decently powerful) computer and a great display. I would consider myself a prosumer because I am into some animation and video editing, so I do like having a powerful computer.

    I am currently leaning towards option 1 because then I have an extremely powerful machine for my animation/video, as well as the ultimate in portability (and let's be honest, cool factor as well) for taking to classes, etc. I am however a bit concerned at the horrible CPUs in the MacBook Airs. (Am I correct in assuming that Intel discontinuing the C2Ds means Apple will be forced to switch to Core i series? I know that would kill graphics performance, but what other options does Apple have?)

    I am definitely going to wait until they release new MacBook Pros and iMacs, and I want to get the free iPod too (2 if I go with option 1), so I'm in no rush to decide. The thing is, if Apple removes the OD from their MacBook Pros, the portability may go up quite a bit. This may make me lean more towards option 2.

    Any advice on this would be appreciated. In terms of cost, I'm not too worried about either of these options. (Of course, I'd die for a Mac Pro but that's just out of my price range.)

  2. dmr727 macrumors G3


    Dec 29, 2007
    I'd go with #2. I think it's got all the power you need, without the hassle of dealing with two machines.
  3. aiqw9182 macrumors 65816

    Apr 22, 2010
  4. vistadude macrumors 65816

    Jan 3, 2010
    I'd say go with the notebook and then decide if you need a monitor, and find one that fits well on your desk and has height adjustment. 27 inches is a bit too large for a dorm desk.
  5. brucem91 macrumors 6502

    Dec 9, 2009
    I agree, option 2 with option to get secondary monitor. Their is no "decently powerful", the current gen 15" MBP is pretty powerful. I had a prev gen 15" C2D, and it ran nicely.
  6. tmagman macrumors 6502

    Nov 7, 2010
    Calgary AB
    agree 100%... dont spend so much on the mac monitor- just spend some of that money on upgrading the notebook with RAM and faster hard drive (and the high res anti-glare display- you'll be kicking yourself in lecture halls with fluorescent lights if you dont have that)

    Check out the Samsung 2443BW 24" monitor- its around $300CDN and one of the best monitors on the market. (I have three of them).
  7. canucksfan88 macrumors 6502a


    Oct 28, 2007
    like what everyone has said, i would go with option 2

    27" for a dorm is overkill imo. sucker for damage and theft

    the 15" is good and even at c2d is still fast. i have a 17" with c2d in it, and its fine for me. (although i only do indesign, photoshop, illustrator, and dreamweaver.

    it a single instance i can run 3 without a problem.

    also, dont waste your money on a ACD. you can get a nice Dell Monitor for way less! save your money for books....which cost an arm and a leg =(
  8. chrismacguy macrumors 68000

    Feb 13, 2009
    United Kingdom
    As far as the 27"er goes at uni, I have one, in my uni room, but Id wait till you get there to see if it will actually fit (It is a lot larger in person than it seems in the store) - many unis stick shelves etc above the desk, and you need a good amount of clearance. Id go with option 2 until you really really decide you need more power than the 15" MBP can offer - for what you describe it should do just fine :) - As far as the glossy/ non glossy debate goes, in Lectures I use a Matte TabletPC, and a Glossy MacBook Air 11", both work OK, but the glare on the MacBook can really get annoying if your not right at the back (I find its the only place where the lights dont reflect directly off the screen). Just my 2c.
  9. FluJunkie macrumors 6502a

    Jul 17, 2007
    Three thoughts:

    1. You really haven't discussed what you're intending to do at Uni. You've mentioned animation and video IIRC, but are you doing that as your major, or an interesting side project. Your requirements will be different between that and say, a science or math student.

    2. 27 inches is a really big monitor. Really big. I'd wait and make sure it fits, or go with a more modest say, Dell 23inch ultrasharp.

    3. My instincts are to go with the Macbook Pro and the screen. I don't really care for syncing, the updated MBP should have plenty of power for most tasks, and well, its one less thing to worry about. My MBP served me faithfully and well all through undergrad and graduate school.
  10. tjb1 macrumors 68000

    Aug 26, 2010
    Pennsylvania, USA
    I got a 15" for college this year and I hook it to a 26" Vizio tv when needed and also use the Vizio for my PS3 and cable here so it works great. Two computers would become a bit of a PITA to sync but with aliases you could use dropbox or any other type of cloud storage and keep them synced that way.

    My vote is still #2 and I would stay away from ACD, I dont care how nice it looks no monitor is worth $1000.
  11. talmy macrumors 601


    Oct 26, 2009
    I'm going to be the contrarian and suggest option 1. But what do I know since I graduated 40 years ago? I teach some electrical engineering courses in the evening, using a 13" MacBook to run demonstrations, project Keynote, and do video capturing. Almost all students I've seen with Macs have 13" models. I'd love to have an Air but for the heavy loads I have to place on the system doing demos (typically CAD software under Windows 7 using Parallels). A 15" just means more bulk to carry.

    But nothing beats a desktop system, I've got the 27" 2.8GHz i7, for the display, performance, and good ergonomics. When I've got a lot of work to do the iMac is what I reach for. As long as you have the room. I'd even get the 21.5" over using a MacBook Pro.

    I synchronize with Chronosync. It takes some discipline to remember, but otherwise it is easy to do.
  12. chrismacguy macrumors 68000

    Feb 13, 2009
    United Kingdom
    The monitor is easily worth $1000, if you think it isnt youve never had one that large and that high res on your desk. This is from experience moving from 2x17" and a 19", I moved to a 27" + 19" setup, and I get so much more done, and the built in speakers, iSight, microphone and USB Hub are all nice extras. Comparable screen (Resolution, not size is what matters here) real estate costs that much. Sure you can get a 26" TV Screen/Low-Res model for $500, but the extra real estate (2560*1440) is definitely worth the extra cash.

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