what's the best mac notebook for a soon-to-be college student?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by miss monster, Nov 2, 2008.

  1. miss monster macrumors newbie

    miss monster

    Nov 2, 2008
    No Man's Land, NY
    I'm 16, and a junior. Starting this winter, I will be bridging to the local community college for graphic design. The thing is I need a reliable machine that won't crash when I try and make pretty pictures in Photoshop. I'm 16, so I don't have a huge amount of money, plus with the economy the way it is my parents don't want to buy me a new computer. Sample conversation:
    Dad- "Your PC works fine."
    Me- "It's broken."
    Dad- "How is it broken? It looks fine."
    Me- "It's a PC. It was BUILT broken."
    Moving on, they have no money. I have very little money. (I work part time, minimum wage, usually less than 15 hours a week.) I'd like to spend less than $1000 dollars USED, or $2000 NEW. I really don't care if it's used, as long as it can hold all my school stuff and run Photoshop with no snags. This needs to last me for the next 5 1/2 years. Maybe my needs are too lofty.
  2. maccam macrumors 6502a


    Feb 18, 2007

    I don't like suggesting this but...

    Wait for Psystar's laptop, it could be extremely cheap but really nice specs + leopard. Thats what I would do anyway.

  3. zer0tails macrumors 65816


    Mar 23, 2008
    Macbook is the best choice for college students in terms of price and performance ratio.

    But since you'll be doing abit of graphic design and are tight on money, I'll happily recommend you get a refurbished macbook pro from the online apple store.

    Not only will you get the matte option which is great for graphic design, you'll be getting a beast of a machine, and a very good price.

    refurbs the way to buddy, good luck!
  4. gonyr macrumors 6502

    Jul 9, 2006
    Niagara County, NY
    Buy the best refurb you can afford, and don't look back. Refurbs are always the way to go. Good as new, with a significant discount.
  5. T-Stex macrumors 6502

    Jan 15, 2006
    Please don't do this. The last thing that you'll want as a college student with a limited budget is a computer that wouldn't be supported by Apple. This may be fine for someone getting a cheap laptop to play around with, but for a college student that wants a laptop that'll last 5+ years, you'll want something else.

    I don't know anything about Photoshop's performance on a MacBook, but I'd recommend either a new aluminum MacBook, or a refurbished MacBook Pro. Get AppleCare either way, so you won't have as much to worry about for 3 years.
  6. Primejimbo macrumors 68040

    Aug 10, 2008
    refurb is a great way to go, if I didn't luck out and get some extra cash I would (and at the time ready) gotten it. A guy I work with has a refurb and its 4 yrs old now and still runs like new.
  7. blurb23 macrumors 6502a

    Feb 25, 2007
    Refurb'd MBP.

    I just checked, and I saw some for $1349. That's under your budget for new, and only slightly higher than a new high-end MB.

    The matte screen will help, as will the 8600 (vs X3100/9400) in the long run.
  8. brop52 macrumors 68000


    Feb 26, 2007
    If you really do need the power then a refurb MBP would probably be best. If not, then get the low end MB. Since Apple doesn't give much ed discount on the low end you may be better off buying from Amazon for no tax or Macmall. If you use the previous editions you will save a bundle on 4 GB of RAM plus there are a lot of nice hard drives you can buy separately.
  9. SnowLeopard2008 macrumors 604


    Jul 4, 2008
    Silicon Valley
    Wait until the new MBP hits the refurb store. And grab one, upgrade the ram, hdd. etc
  10. Scepticalscribe Contributor


    Jul 29, 2008
    The Far Horizon
    I'm with everyone who has suggested a refurb MBP. It's a terrific machine, has been tested and tried, comes with Apple's warranty and the possibility to upgrade to Applecare, is fast, powerful, has great performance, a superb screen and should easily last you for the five or so years you say you will need from it.

    Cheers and good luck
  11. econoline06 macrumors 6502


    Aug 20, 2008
    Suggesting a shoddy hack of a computer??? Get real man. This guy needs a good MacBook...from APPLE.
  12. MatLane macrumors 6502a


    Sep 30, 2008
    England, United Kingdom
    Refurb or macbook white or alu

    I think the refurb models, white ones, alu ones will be ok

    My friend uses a white macbook for photoshop, he said it works really well. No problems

    It's all down to you really, and how much you can afford.

    Perhaps pop into a apple store or reseller and ask them a few questions.

    They may have the solution

    Good luck dude

  13. hogfaninga macrumors 65816


    Aug 16, 2008
    Chestnut Tree Cafe

    I probably wouldn't suggest that one unless the OP can go see it and play with it. Then I probably would be reluctant still. That said, I'm glad Psystar is sticking it to Apple and would love for them to win this lawsuit which might allow other companies to put OS X in their computers. Consumers win this way because it will force Apple to put better quality hardware in their products---example better screens in their Macbooks.
  14. maccam macrumors 6502a


    Feb 18, 2007
    It's a shame Apple can't make a decent firewire laptop that actually looks good.

    Psystar can though, PLUS be a ton cheaper!

  15. bobfitz14 macrumors 65816


    Oct 14, 2008
    same situation

    i'm a junior, 16, debating whether or not to buy a macbook in the somewhat near future, or just to save up until college and get a macbook pro.

    this reminds me of an assignment i had recently, it was about instant gratification.

    but yeah, anyone who has insight/advice please reply. thanks
  16. borjasanz macrumors newbie

    Oct 27, 2008
    LOL, he needs a computer that actually works, not a cheap clone that has no support...

    Get real man! That won't do for 5 and a half years
  17. leighonigar macrumors 6502a

    May 5, 2007
    I would either get a low end refurbed macbook, or, actually a budget PC laptop. It may not last as long, but vista really should run photoshop on a dual core with a good amount of RAM.

    Are you going to take your laptop with you, or leave it at home and use their computers? If the latter a mac mini might do, I have one and it's pretty nice really.

    Incidentally, I'm typing this on my ibook which I bought about this time in 2003 so it's 5 years old, it still works and it's not too slow really. It runs leopard and office and iphoto and such. But it's in very good condition as I haven't used it that much, preferring desktops. I guess my point is, a laptop can last five years and be usable (hell, my dad still uses a G4 400 as his main Mac) but if you use them a lot, and jockey them in bags and such, they may break long before then.
  18. juanster macrumors 68020


    Mar 2, 2007
    i also recommend a refurb MB and if you ar epicky aboutthe screen then get a monitor on the side, tahst really all you need for school...maxed out ram runs photshop nicely...
  19. GMacDaddyTPO macrumors newbie

    Jul 21, 2007
    I'm a current Design student who runs both Photoshop and Illustrator daily with no snags on my Blackbook.

    Save some money, get a refurbished MacBook. You'll run photoshop more than adequately.

  20. bobfitz14 macrumors 65816


    Oct 14, 2008
    when you say "Blackbook" you basically mean the Black version of this, right?
  21. maccam macrumors 6502a


    Feb 18, 2007

    WhiteBook BlackBook = MacBook :D
  22. shen macrumors 6502

    Jun 19, 2003
    years ago i would have said no notebook would last 5 1/2 years. then my ibook died on almost exactly that date.....

    i would say that the new alum macbook or a refurb MBP would both be wonderful choices. you might want to go in and look at the screens, as some question the macbook screens compared to the pro.

    i also, even though it may not be in your budget calculations, recommend an external drive for backing it up.

    i happily use photoshop on a mini, though only with nothing else running, so both of those should be well powered for you.

    good luck!
  23. ucfgrad93 macrumors P6


    Aug 17, 2007
    Like so many have already suggested, I'd go for a refurb from Apple.
  24. Lurchdubious macrumors 65816


    Oct 15, 2008
    refurb 15" MBP. Great machine & sounds perfect for you.
  25. Vulcan macrumors 65816


    Jul 17, 2008
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Get a refurb MacBook from Apple. $850 for the machine, get a free printer, you can max out the RAM for $50 via a third party. It will fly on Photoshop.

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