What Macs/accessories to get for school/home for $3k?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by iMpathetic, May 18, 2008.

  1. iMpathetic macrumors 68030

    iMpathetic

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    IMBY
    #1
    Hey, all.

    I have gotten permission from my mother to work a job this summer, and I want to start fresh with new computers, because I've learned I'm more satisfied with them if I actually work to pay for them, as opposed to just making a trade on the spot.

    So, it looks like I'll have about $3000 to spend on computer junk. I'd like it to be practical for a high school student (graduating middle school in three weeks, woo!) and I'd like some significant bang for the buck.

    Please let me know what you think of the various configurations I've come up with, and, by all means, suggest one that's not here!

    - base model MBP plus a 24" LCD
    - 24" iMac plus the base MB
    - 1.8GHz MacBook Air, no SSD, plus I'd build a PC with the rest of the money
    - Quad G5 plus MacBook?

    That's all I can think of at the moment. Input?
    Thanks! :D

    (Oh, and for you guys who're directing your mice to the "reply" button to tell me I don't need all this stuff: I don't really care.)
     
  2. Tallest Skil macrumors P6

    Tallest Skil

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    #2
    What do you want to DO? That's fairly important when asking us to pick your computer.
     
  3. Dimwhit macrumors 68000

    Dimwhit

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    Apr 10, 2007
    #3
    Get a pumped-out iMac...top of the line, graphics update, hard drive update (upgrade the RAM yourself to 4GB). Use the extra money to buy some other toys, like external speakers, maybe a printer or digital camera, etc.
     
  4. iMpathetic thread starter macrumors 68030

    iMpathetic

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    #4
    Sorry, should have put that in in the original post. I'd like to use what I get for general student writing, surfing, music, and stuff, but I'd also like to run my side venture where I buy/sell/fix/set up computers from the various items I buy.

    I may be doing a teeny bit of video stuff as well.
     
  5. motoxpress macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2006
    #5
    First of all, the buy/sell/fix up idea is not going to go very far in the Mac world. Even in the PC world, it's hard to make money there.

    However, I would look at the iMac /Macbook combo if you want two machines. A MB is very fast in everything except 3D. The 14" screen is perfect for general computer use as well. If you were going to live with one machine and wanted portability then the MBP is a great desktop-replacement option.

    You could also look into a refurb MacPro but, an iMac 24" with the 8800 in it is a super nice desktop and is right there in the same performance as a MacPro with certain tasks...

    -mx
     
  6. kuebby macrumors 68000

    kuebby

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    #6
    Stick with one computer, 2 or more is a big pain and you'll end up using just one most of the time. I recommend either a MBP or an iMac.
     
  7. EricNau Moderator emeritus

    EricNau

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    #7
    Why not just get the MacBook; it sounds like it can easily do everything you need.

    Speaking as someone who owns an iMac and MacBook, you really don't need both. It just makes life more complicated with little benefit.

    Save the rest for spending money, or better yet, college.
     
  8. Hawkeye411 macrumors 68000

    Hawkeye411

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    #8
    Well .. since your going into high school ... don't you think it's time for you to grow up and make your own decisions?? :rolleyes:
     
  9. xhambonex macrumors 6502a

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    #9
    A bit harsh, give the kid some credit. There are plenty of people 10s of years older than him asking these same question. MBP would be my choice. It's powerful enough to do everything you do now, and down the road. iMac wouldn't be worth it to me because you can't take it to school with you, or anywhere for that matter. Save the extra money, you will want that money for something besides your computer in the coming years.
     
  10. JeffTL macrumors 6502a

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    Dec 18, 2003
    #10
    I'd strongly suggest the MacBook Pro if you can do it. I haven't run into anything that my previous generation one cannot do.
     
  11. iToaster macrumors 68000

    iToaster

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    #11
    Don't get too anxious about making all that money, I've found it's much harder than it seems. I say you aim for a MacBook and upgrade as money allows. If you have enough, look at a MacBook Pro, or perhaps forget that whole deal and just progress up the iMac ladder depending on cash flow. MBA is not a good idea for you due to lack of ports. Trust me on this, do not bring your computer to school unless you need to, I don't know where you are or what school you're going to, but if it's a standard public school, forget it. Anyway, I say aim for a MacBook or iMac, then a MBP, but nothing else would really suit you... but it's your decision to spend the money you make how you want.
     
  12. h0e0h macrumors 6502a

    h0e0h

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    Location:
    West Monroe, Louisiana
    #12
    perspective from a college student:

    Currently I have an iMac and a brand new Black MacBook. I remember the transition to high school and then to college. You will probably NEVER take your macbook to school, its not safe and not very useful in high school. Before I owned this setup I had a 17" MBP hooked to a 20" external monitor. It was a great setup, but when I needed to be mobile it wasn't convenient unhooking all my external drives and monitor to take to and from. If I were you, I would look into a white iMac from the refurb store. Currently the 20" is going for 949. You can add an external monitor for $220. I would then go for the Black Macbook for $1499 because the base white will be scratched like you wouldn't believe. With the rest of the cash I would get a Booq Bag and Vyper Sleeve from Booqbags.com and sleeve and screensavrz from RadTech.us. I love this setup... absolutely love it. I do most of my daily computing on the iMac... MacRumors, email, etc. The MB is strictly for school and work. Also, if you need to hold off a bit for money reasons, hold off on the external display and get a .mac account. I recommend this because of the Back to My Mac feature that allows you to access your home based iMac from any internet connection via the MacBook. A Bluetooth mouse for the MB wouldn't hurt either. I know this may blow your 3k budget, but it'll get you through HS and almost half way through college. The best thing is the macs retain their value much better than PCs do, so if you need to sell one off it won't be that difficult. I sold my 18 month old MBP and only got 700 less than what I paid... much better profits than any PC or other electronic device i've ever sold.
     
  13. xhambonex macrumors 6502a

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    Apr 17, 2008
    #13
    seems funny coming from a college student to spend all that money on a computer, my college experience says save money, buy one computer. Not to mention I doubt what he buys now will last him through 4 years of high school and part of college, he'll want to upgrade to the best from apple for college at least. MB and MBP. Better graphics for games and such in the MBP. Get a 20-22" display instead of 24" since there seems to be a big price jump for 2 extra inches. If you don't take you laptop to school, I bet you will take it somewhere, I am hardly working on my computer at my desk at home.
     
  14. h0e0h macrumors 6502a

    h0e0h

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    #14
    Granted, though, I failed to mention that my iMac is second hand that was purchased for 700 and got the education discount on the MB. total investment is actually less than a new 17" MBP.
     
  15. xhambonex macrumors 6502a

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    Apr 17, 2008
    #15
    you did forget to mention that, in which I would reply to you, smart shopping. True those 17" are expensive and giant to carry around, but as young as he is, he probably wants something shinny new, not necessarily cost efficient. Lets face it, he's got a hypothetical $3k to spend on computer stuff and wants it to be practical for a high school student. Practical would be buying a MB, and a refurb one. Unless your a comp gamer, then you may need to spend some extra money to get performance.
     
  16. h0e0h macrumors 6502a

    h0e0h

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    #16
    reflecting on my post, that may be economical for a college student (my setup that is) especially one that has the ability and actually needs the screen real estate (after all I bought a 17" because it could display 2 excel spreadsheets side by side... hello MBA Degree), but i guess if I were entering high school (to the original poster now) see if you can find a Santa Rosa Black MB (just because they seem to scratch less easily) and save the rest of the money. In a few years a car and chicks will be more important than sittin in your bed room playin on the computer so save that extra money and see if you can find a refurb.
     
  17. airjuggernaut macrumors 6502a

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    Oct 16, 2007
    #17
    Dude take it from me (I'm in High School)

    I've had BOTH the iMac and Macbook, and the iMac was 100x better.
    Just get the top of the line iMac, and maybe an Asus EEE PC along with it, if you really want to take it to school.
     
  18. iJesus macrumors 6502a

    iJesus

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    #18
    Golly.
    Get the cheapest MacBook you can, it'll last you through High School.
    Save the rest of the money. Put it into a college saving's account. Probably one of the ones that has high interest and is not taxable.

    Believe me, start saving for college now.
    You don't need a MBP or High end iMac.

    Believe me.
     
  19. SaSaSushi macrumors 68040

    SaSaSushi

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    #19
    Right on, brother, best advice in this whole thread. ;)
     
  20. iMpathetic thread starter macrumors 68030

    iMpathetic

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    #20
    Hey, guys, just a few thoughts cause my iPod is acting up today!

    I have owned the 2.2GHz blackbook before. For the most part, it was great. Although it ran really hot sometimes. Another concern I have with the MacBook is its WXGA screen, it may end up being too small, as I'm used to WUXGA at home now.

    I would normally leap on the Macbook Pro, but the design is really beginning to look tired. I recall that the next revision with Montevina may change the design, though. How likely is that to happen?

    As for bringing my stuff to school, you'd actually be surprised at how lenient my district is about that sort of thing.
     
  21. Brianstorm91 macrumors 65816

    Brianstorm91

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    Cambridge, UK
    #21
    I'm getting a 20" iMac, and a macbook once it's lost the plastic - until then my PB will do just fine, and this is for university.
    Any of your choices should do fine, but I'd say an iMac and macbook, or just 1 and keep the £.
     
  22. neiltc13 macrumors 68040

    neiltc13

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    May 27, 2006
    #22
    When I went to high school I had no computer whatsoever. A couple of years in, my parents decided to get our first machine. It was a 750MHz Packard Bell with 64MB RAM and a 16MB Riva TNT2.

    You don't need a computer for high school. Even back in 1999 my school provided plenty of computers to use and nowadays schools have more computers than they know what to do with. Taking your own is a massive excess in my opinion and at least at our school, we had no lockers or place to store our bags so if we went outside to play football or things during break times, bags would be thrown around or dropped. It's just not worth the money.

    I'd love to have been in the position when I was 12 to raise $3000 over the course of a few months, but UK employment law prevents anyone under 16 from having a "proper" job.
     
  23. dollystereo macrumors 6502a

    dollystereo

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    France
    #23
    For hes needs a macbook is more than enough, a MBP is a professional computer. Maybe the low end imac.
    Dont go a throw away 3kk!! wtf. get the MB and a PS3.
    How old are you?
     
  24. SaSaSushi macrumors 68040

    SaSaSushi

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    Takamatsu, Japan
    #24
    Well, when I entered high school in 1979 personal computers were in their infancy. We did have a computer science class with a PDP-8 minicomputer and Decwriter terminals (these printed to giant sheets of paper - no monitors) on which we learned FORTRAN.

    A friend of mine had an Apple II at home which I thought was the coolest thing I'd ever seen.

    But yes, you can actually survive high school without a computer. Believe it or not I've heard of some ancient creatures even older than I who went through school before there were any computers period!

    Actually, regarding this thread I'm sort of scratching my head and wondering how a kid who says he's just now graduating junior high school has owned multiple Macs over the course of his young life and thinks the Macbook Pro design looks "tired". lol

    Kids today...
     
  25. paduck macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2007
    #25
    I wouldn't count on taking home $3000 this summer. There is a nasty little surprise called taxes that eats away at even the smallest paycheck ("whose FICA and what's he doing with my money?")

    That said, you probably want to get a computer that will last you through high school. The best bet is going to be one of the mid-range iMacs, probably the 2.66GHz 20-inch ($1500). It ought to be good for most purposes, including games. Buy the option with a larger hard drive. You will appreciate that in a couple of years. When you go to college you can replace this computer with a new one. This one might be dragging a little bit senior year of high school, but that's ok. It's character-building and you will have another computer to look forward to when you graduate.

    As for accessories. Where to begin?

    - Applecare - just in case....($170)
    - Do you have Internet? Wireless already at home? If not, consider getting a 500GB Time Capsule ($300) and a cable modem/DSL ($50). That solves your backup problem very simply and gets you online. You should be able to convince your parents to pay for the Internet. If you are just going online, go with the cheapest deal possible - you can always add speed later - if you need it.
    - iPod? The nanos are probably pretty good for you right now ($200).
    - Printer? I have a Brother laser printer that we got 5 years ago. It isn't perfect, but it gets the job done. Apple has specials on color printers with FAX and scanner. You might want to go with one of those and just bundle it. Of note though, the cheaper printers cost more in the long run with ink charges. Be careful there ($200).
    - Firewire/USB external hard drive? For backup and only if you don't get the Time Capsule. ($150)
    - Software. Microsoft Office or some equivalent (see other threads on must have software). Don't pirate, make sure your home has at least one legal copy of everything you are running. It just isn't worth the hassle. ($250+)
    - You can add more memory later if 2GB turns out to be insufficient. Crucial.com has good deals ($110 for 4GB - less what you can sell the existing 2GB for). Don't get the memory from Apple.

    That's going to burn through most of your after-tax $3000 (the above is going to run you in the neighborhood of $2500 without the memory or software). Put what is left into the bank and save it for the next computer, a car, college, whatever. Speaking from experience (except 20 years ago, you could make money piecing together computers and reselling them), you can burn through money fast on higher-end computers whose feature sets you don't really need. You can burn through money fast period. You are better off banking it and having a long-term replacement plan for your computer.
     

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