What is your opinion of this setup? For college. Advice from college students?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by DrJames, Mar 1, 2012.

  1. DrJames macrumors member

    Feb 5, 2012
    1) iMac (21.5" 16GB 2TB) (Power) for Main Tasks
    2) MacBook Air (13" 4GB 256 SSD) (On-The-Go & Class)
    3) iPad 3(Media Hub, General Browsing, & Email)
    (Nothing will be purchased until late summer.)

    What do you think of this setup for college? I'll be majoring in Pre-Med and won't have a roommate so I don't have to worry about the iMac taking up too much space.

    What are you opinions for college setups? Talking to students specifically, what do you use?

    Any advice would be much appreciated!
  2. Tomorrow macrumors 604


    Mar 2, 2008
    Always a day away
    The iMac and MBA make a good combo, you could probably get away with just the MBA and an external KVM setup. Unless something particular about your program will make use of an iPad, I see that as a neat extra, but not at all necessary for school.
  3. Medic278 macrumors 6502a


    Feb 1, 2012
    New York
    Go MacBook Pro and nix the iMac get an external display for the pro. I am in my 3rd year of medical school and since getting my Pro I rarely use my iMac anymore I prefer my pro hands down. I have the iMac Macbook Pro and Air and an iPad and 95% of the time I use my pro. The iPad is not as helpful as your thinking it isn't really great for notes and your not going to write a paper on it either its a device for media consumption and entertainment not a work horse.
  4. aaagat111 macrumors regular


    Sep 12, 2005
    St. Louis, MO
    Just like people are saying, a solid laptop is so much easier than trying to do the MBA/iMac combo. You don't have to deal with file synching (even though dropbox could easily take care of that), and this way all your programs and system files besides documents are always with you.

    A single laptop with an external monitor setup in your room is my recommendation. I have run off an early 2008 mbp for all of college as a CS major and not had any issues - I am currently a senior. I have a 3 monitor setup in my room (2 external + the laptop monitor) one of them is a 30", the other a 20".

    The mbp handles everything I run fine, there is no need for a desktop.

    Also - as you said you are waiting until the end of summer - there is supposed to be a refresh to the pro line/some new MBAs (15") that might come out, so that could definitely be a possibility for you too.
  5. deneenco macrumors member


    Dec 14, 2007
    A2, MI
    my setup

    I'm a returning (late) college student.... I have a similar setup to what you're looking at:

    1. iMac, 27" Quad i7. - Makes a great media server/storage device. I don't use it much for any particular school work however.. it's just not that handy. I'm not home often enough.

    2. 15" MacBook Pro (mid-2010) i7, with hi-res matte screen, 8gb RAM, and a recently upgraded OWC 240gb SSD - This is my main machine. It goes everywhere with me. Yes, it's heavy(er) but the high res display is great. Does everything I need it to, from photoshop work, to web coding, to writing papers, basically I do it all on this machine.

    3. iPad 2 - I purchased it with the intent to start replacing physical books with digital copies.. I tried it for a semester or 2, and it didnt' work as well as I had hoped... I always found myself reverting to a paper copy of the book, it just seemed quicker to look something up with a REAL book. The iPad really doesn't get much use other than playing games. I find typing anything major out on it is a pain, and for quick emails I use my iPhone.

    ... so with that being said.... I have been *THINKING* about trying to replace my 15" MacBook Pro with a 13" MacBook Air... I really like the 1440x900 display on the 13" screen, and the size is AMAZING... would be SO much easier to carry.... I really think the MBA has become enough computer to replace my MBP...

    Thats my 2 cents.:apple:
  6. Identity Fraud macrumors 6502

    Sep 11, 2009
    Stick with the iMac and the iPad. I dont think you'd really need the MBA.
  7. KylePowers macrumors 68000


    Mar 5, 2011
    My recommendations in order:
    1) MBA with external monitor
    2) MBP with external monitor
    3) iMac and MBA (this is what I have)
    4) iMac and iPad (this is what I used to have)

    The best thing I can recommend is having a laptop. You need a full computer on the go, always, bar none. An iPad can't do that for you and carrying around a desktop is silly. I sold my old laptop to get an iMac and tried the iMac+iPad combo for a few months. In the end, it just didn't work out. So I sold the iPad and bought a Macbook Air. Best decision ever.

    For now, I use Dropbox to keep files in sync (I have ~13GB of space, so it's pretty useful). But in hindsight, an MBA with a Thunderbolt display would have been awesome.

    EDIT- Might go up to the 13in MBA and get an iPad 3 just for kicks though.

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