what's the better deal for a new programming student?

Discussion in 'Macintosh Computers' started by jefhatfield, Feb 6, 2003.

  1. jefhatfield Retired


    Jul 9, 2000
    i am looking to get a new portable computer for programming and the current class recommends any computer over 500 mhz/P-III and 256 mb of ram

    the three laptops i have been looking at for java, then unix, vb, c++, and dos are the $999 ibook, or the dell 2600 series laptop for $999, or a compaq laptop with similar specs to the dell and also at around $999

    i just need to get a cheap laptop to get thru these classes in a period of two years or so to keep my skills current for my pc repair business

    for my home and my personal leisure use, macs are the best way to go since i am a pc tech...sounds like that switch commercial;)
  2. choppedsui macrumors newbie

    Feb 6, 2003
    Bloomington, IN
    I am of course going to suggest the mac, so I thought I would let you know about the student developer program that apple offers. That $999 ibook you want will cost you $850 if you buy it through the student developer program. It does cost $99 to join (for a year membership) but you get great discounts and all major OS updates for that year are free through monthly mailings. It is a really great program if you a developing and are a student. I bought my Ti G4 through the program and saved about $500. The address to the program is http://developer.apple.com/students/ You can also get to the developer store from there to see the great discounts you get. You should check it out and let me know if you have any questions.
    - Peace - Babak
  3. oldMac macrumors 6502a

    Oct 25, 2001
    Linux on the PC?

    Unless you're planning to put Linux on the PC laptop, then OS X is a no-brainer for satisfying the Unix requirement that you've stated.

    VB is the only tough choice here, but let's be serious, the other things you listed are more important to your professional development than VB.
  4. moby1 macrumors 6502

    Jan 28, 2002
    Sunny San Diego
    VPC + VB

    Running VPC to use VB would be an option too - if you put enough RAM in the iBook.
  5. Wildcat macrumors regular

    Apr 23, 2002
    Eugene, OR
    I just recently changed my major to CS at the U of A. I dont know where you are getting your education at but here I find that it would be usefull to have at least one windows machine sitting around. To turn in my java files without going to the lab I woulld need to use SSHELL. I dont think this is avalable for OS X. right now I am useing JJ Edit to write my programs. I have encountered some trouble with this program ( it is share ware), like for last weeks assignment I hade to read a file with a school suplied class called TextReader. The program compiled but it gave me an error that it was unable to read the file. Now once i took it to the lab and compiled it it worked fine. Just a word to the wise that useing a mac in a programing environment isnt always the easyest. I suppose I could use project builder but from what I have seen of it its kind of like squashing an ant with a sledgehammer (a bit unwieldy ). Pluss you get all the CS geeks makeing fun of you for useing a mac.
  6. oldMac macrumors 6502a

    Oct 25, 2001
    CS Majors and Unix

    Now, I'm not saying anything bad about CS at the U of A, but... most reputable CS departments are almost exclusively Unix, use vi or emacs for editing and run command line compilers and linkers, and no *real* CS geek would *ever* make fun of you for using something with BSD under the hood.

    I'm not saying that it's bad to run Windows, I'm just saying that a good CS department tends to be open to a variety of systems and to embrace all operating systems, if only out of curiosity.

    Besides, Jef, you must have 20 machines running at your house already. :)
  7. eatbacon macrumors regular

    Feb 4, 2003
    a couple of notes from a newcomer. i have a masters in cs. i feel no shame (to say the least) carrying around a 500mhz tibook (yes, bought with the student developer discound while i was in school). wildcat clearly has not discovered the pure joy of developing in os x. i don't know how many years i lived with a windows and linux box side by side to get anywhere close to the power and tools available in a mac. however, i think you need to closely examine how much you need the ability to use vb. virtual pc works great, but on my tibook (and i would guess on a slightly faster ibook) it is far to slow to be really useable.
  8. CrackedButter macrumors 68040


    Jan 15, 2003
    51st State of America
    I seem to be denied access to this page for some strange reason, it won't let me sign up, does it matter that i live in the UK?
  9. benixau macrumors 65816


    Oct 9, 2002
    Sydney, Australia
    hey, VB is slow period.

    you know why, cause it is crap. i know VB, a lil c++ a fair amount of obj-c and i say that VB is crap.

    BUT, if you cant programme, then sure - VB is a sinch :D
  10. mnkeybsness macrumors 68030


    Jun 25, 2001
    Moneyapolis, Minnesota
    Re: CS Majors and Unix

    the university of minnesota is all unix...mostly solaris workstations...but the U totally helps out everyone on windows, linux, os x, os 9, unix with ssh into the terminals to access their accounts...i'm not very far in to the CS classes yet, but right now i've found that we use emacs

    and i do all my homework on my mac! with downloading only one 100kb interpreter! everything else is built in!...i love it
  11. JustAGuy macrumors member

    Jul 22, 2002
    ibook, definately the ibook. If I had had anything even remotely as capable as the ibook during my CS ugrad at UBC things would have been infinitely better for me.

    What I did have was a PII-400 running freeBSD and Windows, and I got to enjoy the glory of constant rebooting to get to all the apps I needed for my various courses.

    Now-a-days I use my cube and X11 for virtually all of my academic computing needs (well, until my dp1.25 arrives ;). The only higher-ed hold-up I can see, especially for U of A, is OSX compatibility w/ WebCT. It isn't as good as it should be right now, but we're working on it (I work there, so trust me...)
  12. Anticipat3 macrumors regular

    Jan 30, 2003
    Madison, Wisconsin
    Most Certainly an iBook, for the following reasons:

    1. UNIX. Any reputable CS department and any programmer worth his salt punches code in a UNIX environment, and for good reason: It's rock stable, very fast, secure, and portable. If you've learned to use the terminal in OSX, you can use UNIX in the CS lab, and vice versa.

    2. Durability. I at one time owned a Dell Inspiron 4150 laptop... and let me tell you, you don't appreciate how nice it is to have a laptop as durable as an iBook until you've had to deal with something less. Between breaking latches, getting dings all over, having a W key stop working, and having the plastic housing on the screen split in half, It went back to Dell many a time. It's not like I abused it either -- kept it in its padded case whenever it moved, and it really didnt move a whole lot, once a week at the most. iBook has no hinges or latches, can get scratched to hell without looking ****ty, and it's also really small and light to carry around.

    3. Price. For what you get in an iBook, you can't get a cheap PC that works anywhere near as well. $1000 (with student discount) will get you a decent setup with enough memory to get by, and with a PC, $1000 will get you a slow, slow p4 and 128 megs of RAM.

    4. Connectivity. 2 USB, Firewire, Airport are all options, and are all very nice to have. many, many laptop users find themselves having spare Firewire hard drives, and having 2 usb ports is also nice. Most low end pc laptops don't have firewire or even an option for an internal wireless card, and believe me, you don't want to use a PCMIA one, the reception you'll get will be horrid, and the damned thing sticks out of the side of the machine, which is a pain too.

    5. Battery. iBooks actually do get about 5 hours on one battery, and the sleep mode actually works -- well. you can close the top, and put it in your backpack, and it'll be fine. If you want to know what happens if you try that with a dell, go look for some pictures.... the screen melts to the keyboard... even if you put it in "standby." My inspiron got about 4 hours of battery life out of TWO batteries.

    6. Etc... even beyond coding purposes, the iBook is a wonderfully handy device to have around for the rest of your computing needs too... all the iLife apps and integrated address book are also godsends, with no PC equivilant to match them. The iBook ain't gonna play games very well, but neither is any $1000 PC Laptop. You can play Warcraft III on it if you have enough RAM, which is better than the PC laptop would do at that price, anyhow, most cheap ones have crappy 8mb integrated graphics, and the iBook has radeon 7500.

    Anyhow, I think I've made the case... I'm a CS Student at the University of Wisconsin, and I love the OSX Project Builder, and I also like having the option to use eMacs or vi to code with as well. OSX has it all: Unix development power and stability, but it's still not a pain in the ass to use to do your normal multimedia things, and the Hardware has it all together too, it's Extremely durable, connectable, and the battery life is also superb.
  13. iShater macrumors 604


    Aug 13, 2002
    Get your iBook for Java and C++, etc.

    Get a second hand PC to run VB. I had no issues running and coding in it in 400Mhz PII and even my own PPro 200.

    Just make sure that the C++ classes you are taking are not planning cover Microsoft Foundation Classes (Windows Programming) because then you will need your PC for C++ as well.
  14. cubist macrumors 68020

    Jul 4, 2002
    Muncie, Indiana
    You know, when I was in college, my physics electronics class was about vacuum tubes - while in my spare time I was building a microprocessor-based computer.

    Any college class that features VB is just like that class - by the time you graduate, VB will be dead and gone. You might as well learn Pascal or Smalltalk.

    Don't use Project Builder, use Terminal and the command line utilities vi, make, javac, etc. They all work fine. In fact, if you build Java .jar files using the Swing GUI, you can run them from the command line or double-click them from Aqua.
  15. Nipsy macrumors 65816


    Jan 19, 2002
    Unless you intend to learn Windows specific programming (not featured when I did the CIS degree), get the iBook.

    You can do all your programming on OS X, save for VB, and you can do it in a common environment to that from which you're being taught (UNIX).

    You can also run a Dual boot Wintel machine, or even try to work inside of cygwin, but neither will be as elegant of a solution!
  16. lmalave macrumors 68000


    Nov 8, 2002
    Chinatown NYC
    Re: what's the better deal for a new programming student?

    The iBook is great for Java and Unix. I use it for work all the time. All you need is Emacs and Ant to do Java programming, man. The iBook is exactly the machine that I wanted: all the Unix tools I need for work PLUS a great little Digital Hub for home use.
  17. JonD macrumors member

    Jul 16, 2002
    Get a new PowerBook. Both my CS professors here at Princeton both have PowerBooks, and one is even making his lectures from Keynote already!

    Then install the developer tools and you're set...

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