What computer for college?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Spartan_aG1, Aug 7, 2009.

  1. Spartan_aG1 macrumors member

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    Jul 20, 2009
    #1
    Ok so I start college this fall and I will be dual majoring in photography and graphic design. I recently got a scholarship for $6000 at out bookstore and since San Jose State is a Apple Authorized school I'll definitely be looking into a Mac.

    I was thinking of getting the 20" iMac with 4GB of RAM for my dorm and the low-end MacBook Air for class and carrying around campus. Would both of those computers be able to run all Adobe software and Aperture without problems?

    Or would it be better to just get a 17" MacBook Pro?

    Any help would be appreciated.
     
  2. thegoldenmackid macrumors 604

    thegoldenmackid

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    #2
    I prefer the singular computer. My biggest reason for not going the route of iMac/MacBook Air was my concern about bringing the iMac home for month long break/it getting left in dorms for weeks/months. However, I am going the MacBook Pro 17"/netbook/pc the school gives me that I cannot hackintosh...
     
  3. Techguy172 macrumors 68000

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    #3
    I would get the 17" MacBook Pro just because you would have one computer with all your stuff on it and it's a lot more powerful then both the iMac and the MacBook air. I have a feeling the air would struggle with the more advanced adobe applications, not only that but Aperture is fairly demanding.

    The iMac could probably handle but it doesn't have a high resolution screen and it's graphics card isn't the greatest. The Pro has a better processor, better graphics, and a higher resolution screen.
     
  4. Spartan_aG1 thread starter macrumors member

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    #4
    Ok the 17" seems like a better choice, 6 pounds shouldn't be a problem to carry around. I think I'll go with a 17" Pro and a external. Would it be better to get a highly upgrade Pro or just like mid-level??
     
  5. highertechnology macrumors 6502

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    Jul 31, 2009
    #5
    Both could run the software without any problem. But one thing to consider is that if your doing digital photography and a SD card reader is valuable they stop at the 15".
     
  6. Spartan_aG1 thread starter macrumors member

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    #6
    Yeah thats true but if I get the 17" I can use the ExpressCard slot right?

    Is there anyone that has had or has a 17" MBP in college? How was the experience?
     
  7. thegoldenmackid macrumors 604

    thegoldenmackid

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    #7
    I am purchasing it stock with the 7200. You are probably going to want the matte display.

    You can get an express card converter. Or a USB one. And who's to say that one is not using CF.
     
  8. Techguy172 macrumors 68000

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    #8
    I would think the stock mid-level MacBook Pro could handle all your stuff just fine, with some extra horsepower left over, so then you can spend the rest of your money elsewhere.
     
  9. applerocks macrumors regular

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    Jun 7, 2005
    #9
    Just a thought here...I've heard a lot of kids complain about 15" MBPs being big to carry around. It's not so much the weight, but the actual physical footprint of the machine. People who buy 15" MBPs want 13-inchers. AKA...that 17" is NOT a portable machine. That's a desktop that's just easier to lug around, but not something you'd want to take class to class.

    What about even a 15" MBP with an external monitor and keyboard. Load her up a bit spec-wise if you want to, but as long as you have 4GB RAM and a dedicated video card, you'll be fine.
     
  10. thegoldenmackid macrumors 604

    thegoldenmackid

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    #10
    After going through high school with a 17" Powerbook/MacBook Pro with me everyday and h.s. books, I'd say you are going to be fine. But there was an entire thread about this yesterday, in which to my last count everyone sided with it is portable.

    With that being said, I got a netbook solely to go to class with, but that's not to say that the 17" isn't portable. I just wanted a machine that I would use solely for taking notes on, but this thing could fit in some of my coats' pockets...
     
  11. applerocks macrumors regular

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    #11
    Well, he could always buy the 17" now and get that iTablet as a little Fall gift! :D

    But, I think that your purchase of a netbook shows that the MBP can, at times, be cumbersome. It's do-able, and not necessarily a pain, but I think from time to time the kids with 17-inchers look over at the 13" MBP with a hint of admiration. Then they look down at the $3000 laptop in front of them and it wears off. ;)
     
  12. thegoldenmackid macrumors 604

    thegoldenmackid

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    #12
    For me that has not been the case. It was like doing crack, once you start with a 17" downsizing seems so impractical. Sure I'm typing on a 9" screen, but I wish the monster was with me now. It's never that it was too big; rather, something smaller is obviously more portable. I could easily go through another four years of the MacBook Pro, my back is used to it and I never experienced the footprint problem, except on planes and that was only not being able to drink and use my computer at the same time. I got the netbook because I could, but I want my primary computer to have the 17" screen, if I have to write a paper it will be on the MacBook Pro.

    If you haven't owned one, I suppose it's hard to really explain and it's different from person to person. For me the 17" is perfect.
     
  13. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    #13
    I'd go with the entry level MacBook or MBP and a 24" iMac. The 20" has a TN display while the 24" has an H-IPS display. Far superior for critical photographic work. Stay away from the 20" iMac for your career.

    Yes, all the current Macs run the Adobe software very well to excellent. A non-issue in your case.

    I wouldn't waste my money on a 17" for college. Its not cost-effective.
     
  14. TRAG macrumors 6502

    TRAG

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    Louisiana, USA
    #14
    I've had a chance to carry all of those around a campus for months at a time on a campus. A 17" is just HUGE to carry around. Doesn't weigh much compared to even most 15" non-Apple laptops. Even after so long, 15" seems too big for a footprint. But the 13" is perfect.

    If you would have considered an air, why not an entry level MacBook? Doesn't have to be a MacBook Pro because you'd have a 24" iMac back in your room for the real work.

    Couldn't have been said better. ExpressCard/34 slot and matte screen doesn't justify the extreme price.
     
  15. AppleIntelRock macrumors 65816

    AppleIntelRock

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    #15
    My opinion is fairly different from the general consensus on the forums. It's my opinion that people tend to over-estimate their needs, and not under-estimate them. The power-users we think we're going to be when considering a purchase, simply aren't the users we actually are. Although I think the state of the economy is over-exaggerated, if it teaches us something, its that we might consider conserving a little more then we did before. Take your time to find the best deal possible, keeping in mind that a VERY small amount of users actually need the highest end of computer technology.
     
  16. thegoldenmackid macrumors 604

    thegoldenmackid

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    #16
    I know that I will never use all the features or power of my computer. However, there are things that I do feel that are "needed" that come along with the 17"
     
  17. AppleIntelRock macrumors 65816

    AppleIntelRock

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    #17
    Elaborate
     
  18. thegoldenmackid macrumors 604

    thegoldenmackid

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    #18
    I feel that I need a 17 inch screen, sure, if Apple didn't make a 17 inch I would get the largest and upgrade somethings, but I realize that I probably will not ever "need" the processor for what I do. But it's a nice addition. The hard drive size that is standard on the 17 inch is another reason as to why I am purchasing another 17 inch computer. I don't need any of it, I could survive college with a $300 notebook probably, but, when we get beside the question of what is necessary to get the job done, there are things that I believe my computer "needs to have." I agree with you whole-heartedly that there is a belief that I need x, when the reality is you don't. But, the reality is, most people buy an Apple out of desire, not because they need one. For most people, a PC or Linux computer could suit all of their needs.
     
  19. Spartan_aG1 thread starter macrumors member

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    Jul 20, 2009
    #19
    After reading these great responses I'm either going to go for a 13" MBP and a low end 24" iMac or just get a upgraded 15" MBP with dedicated graphics and a nice external display.
     
  20. theMaccer macrumors 6502a

    theMaccer

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    #20
    One vote for the !5''MBP and an external. Save your money for beers and stuff.:D
     
  21. omarjk macrumors regular

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    London, UK
    #21
    I say good choice Spartan. I agree with some of what AppleIntelRocks says. It's not just with Apple products that we overestimate the features and capacity that we will eventually use. I have convinced myself I 'need' a BlackBerry, but in reality I just want the luxury of web browsing on the go, which can be achieved with simpler phones, and push email, whereas I could log into my email account with the Walkman phone I had stolen last weekend.

    That being said I never thought I would need FireWire or 4GB RAM. Now that I have an external drive the former is very handy, and since running Parallels the latter is a must.

    However, what I tend to do when researching a major purchase is to gaze to a hazy future, where I imagine all of the things that I could be doing with this latest technological product in a few years' time because of advances in my life and IT know-how. I think this is a false economy, as a couple of years down the line I will be in need of an upgrade in any case. With Macs the upgrade is made easier by how well they hold value, meaning that on resell an upgrade may only cost half the price of a new machine.
     
  22. JhamCT macrumors newbie

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    Aug 6, 2009
    #22
    Get the 15" MBP. It's all you need, it's portable, and it has a great screen.

    *Any* of Apples machines will be sufficient for most graphic/audio/video work you're planning on doing.
     
  23. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    #23
    Not for photographic work. It has the same crappy TN panel that virtually all notebooks have.
     
  24. Eidorian macrumors Penryn

    Eidorian

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    Indianapolis
    #24
    WhiteBook 9400M G + Dell Ultrasharp

    Something portable and a great monitor when you need it.
     
  25. JhamCT macrumors newbie

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    Aug 6, 2009
    #25
    If you're about to go to college, you would be well served by a MBP. Simply put, you'll learn what you need to, and you'll have a great machine. There's nothing wrong with any of Apples machines for a college student. Key word: student. I had a 133mhz Presario notebook in college. I can't imagine how lucky you would be to be able to use a new MBP during your college tenure.

    The MBP has a great display. It's not the same as virtually all other notebooks. If you're a graphics pro, I can understand why you would want an external monitor. However, this thread was about iMac/MBA vs. another choice.
     

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