Which Mac is right for me?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by tsice19, Feb 21, 2008.

  1. tsice19 macrumors 6502a


    Feb 16, 2008
    Hello MacRumors!

    I'm soon going to be in High School and I'm looking for a computer that will last me a good long time. Currently, I'm on a PC, and here is what I do:

    :apple:Edit and Produce videos on Movie Maker (a god awful program I should note)

    :apple:Burn DVDs of my work (above)

    :apple:Use Audacity to edit *.mp3s

    :apple:Use Office 2003 for Word, PowerPoint, Publisher, and Excel

    And, of course, I use Firefox, AIM, etc;

    I don't play games (including Vista :rolleyes: ) and use XP.

    So, my price range is > $1,100 so I'm looking at the Refurbished in the iMac and MacBook Section.

    What do you think is right for me? I want a computer that will last a good 4 or 5 years.

    Please post what you think I should do...

  2. JSchwage macrumors 6502a


    May 5, 2006
    Rochester, NY
    Well, you're looking in the right place. I'd recommend getting a MacBook if you plan on keeping your Mac for when you go to college. And I'd also highly recommend that you do get a refurbished Mac, because they are almost exactly the same as brand new ones, save the retail boxing and the higher prices.
  3. scr1968 macrumors regular

    Sep 4, 2007
    Either the iMac or MacBook would work for what you listed. It really comes down to...

    Desktop versus Laptop. You'd get more computer for your money probably if you went the Desktop route. But you don't get the portability with a Desktop obviously. The Desktop probably has a better chance of lasting 4-5 years (since it isn't likely to be dropped or bumped around a lot.

  4. tsice19 thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Feb 16, 2008
    Yes... That's the debate.

    In the refurbished store, I can get an iMac or MacBook for almost an identical price. Although I lose some gigs (who cares) of HD and a graphics card, I really like the MacBook (white... I hate how the BlackBook looks). But on the other hand, I could get an awesome iMac. It's so hard to decide.

    I don't know which wins a pro/con war...

    Someone please persuade me one way or the other.
  5. velocityg4 macrumors 601


    Dec 19, 2004
    I would say get the iMac. Since you get a much larger and far faster hard drive, a bigger screen and more expandibility. I would say get that $999 2.0Ghz iMac and buy 2-4GB of RAM for cheap off of newegg.com.

    Only get a laptop if you need absolutely need one. I have both a laptop and desktop and I really only use the laptop in a blackout or to play music since I have not an iPod otherwise I use a desktop 99% of the times. Luckily my current laptop was free my friend did not want to buy repair parts for it so it was given to me. My previous laptop an iBook cost me $1500 and I never used it in college rather I used my back then new G4 tower.
  6. bdj33ranch macrumors regular

    Apr 19, 2005
    Go refurbished. Both good choices but you say you are doing videos. You also say you are 'soon going to high school'. As a high school (vice college) student I would strongly lean towards an iMac recommendation. Anything you need to take back and forth to school you can probably do on a flash drive. Hard drive space WILL become an important factor. Budget for an external USB drive and USE IT to backup those valuable school papers! Since you are doing video I also suggest budgeting for at least a 1Gb RAM upgrade. Budget for the new Student Edition of Office or iWorks. Consider taking advantage of the printer deals offered from the Apple Store at time of purchase. Check to see if your school offers deals to students on software. It's worth asking.
  7. MacFlavor macrumors newbie

    Aug 4, 2007
    In my opinion, editing is best done on a screen larger than 13" so I would lean towards the iMac.

    Unless of course you need to take your computer to school. It's been a few years since I've been in high school and I wouldn't have felt comfortable taking a MacBook to my high school. :)
  8. jdmlight macrumors regular

    Jul 15, 2007
    Chicagoland Suburbs
    First off, I absolutely recommend to go with refurbished. Unless there is some reason not to (like in the case of my aluminum iMac, I bought it the day after they were released so refurbished ones weren't available yet), refurbished is the way to go. Except if you *need* the fancy packaging that comes with a new product...

    Second, as was said before, get some extra RAM from Other World Computing, Newegg, or any other reputable electronics dealer. You'll appreciate it for video editing.

    Between an iMac and a MacBook, it's difficult to say. I have a brand-new aluminum iMac and love having the large screen, fast processor, and bigger hard drive of a desktop. However, that said, I also own an iBook (it's a G3, but it runs Tiger, Safari, and MS Office quite well). It's really nice to have to take notes in class, make graphs for science, use Maple for math (amazing software, btw), type and research essays for English...

    But I don't know that I would be happy having a laptop as my main computer. I enjoy the portability of my laptop, but I enjoy the large screen of my iMac more (and 17" or larger laptops don't make sense if you're carrying your laptop around with you constantly). Seeing that you'll be doing video, you'll appreciate the larger screen and faster processor of an iMac.

    I'd probably recommend the iMac, but here's an option to consider: buy the iMac, then buy an older laptop for less money. My G3 (including costs to repair what was broken) was about $200. This is great for high school where it may get broken/stolen/whatever easily. It's much better to lose $200 than $1000 (and not to mention, you'll still have a computer at home to use).

    That's my opinion. This is what works for me, and YMMV.
  9. aaronw1986 macrumors 68030

    Oct 31, 2006
    I'd say go with the iMac. You don't really need to take a laptop to school in high school. The iMac should last you. If you decide portability would've been nice, get a laptop if you go off to college.
  10. AndyK macrumors 65816


    Jan 10, 2008
    Refurbished macbook wins for me.

    Portability = :cool:
  11. juanm macrumors 65816


    May 1, 2006
    Fury 161
    I've had a MB, a MBP, and an iMac. Get a low level 20" iMac, and then add as much RAM as you can afford. With the money saved over a high level iMac, you can, eventually, pay a good part of a refurbished MacBook.
  12. digitalnicotine macrumors 65816


    Jan 11, 2008
    I'm advising you get the iMac as well. Have you looked into educational discounts? Since you need it to last a few years, I highly recommend getting Apple Care either on Amazon or eBay (it's cheaper than Apple sells it for) around the time your free year warranty is about to expire.

    Also, keep in mind that if for some reason you change your mind after having purchased one or the other, you can always sell or trade, and get what you found you needed afterall.

    Good luck!
  13. tuxtpenguin macrumors regular

    May 19, 2007
    I agree with the iMac route and save up for a portable for down the road.
  14. timsutcliffe macrumors 6502

    Jun 18, 2007

    I'm going to go against the majority opinion and say Macbook, because you can't beat a bit of portability.

    I use my laptop as my main computer, and most of the time it's in my room. But when i need to take it out of the house or i fancy going to sit in the living room, i can, because i'm not stuck to a wall.

    Bigger screen is nice, but you can save up for an external display. And definitely go refurbished.
  15. Rhinestorm macrumors member

    Feb 4, 2008
  16. canucks-17 macrumors regular


    Jan 8, 2008
    I would either wait for the new Macbooks (Whenever they come), or if you must buy now, seeing as you're in elementary school get the Macbook. You can never really have too much power but the Macbook has more than enough for your needs, I'm in Grade 10 and the Macbook makes all the difference than just writing stuff down. Just my $.02
  17. tsice19 thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Feb 16, 2008

    Hey guys... Thanks for all your replies! I probably should have mentioned it, but I have a beautiful 20" Dell LCD that I'll use a secondary display for either. It's still a tough call, but I think I can justify getting the MacBook as I can't stand being attached to a wall. Of course, I'll need to by the Mini-DVI to VGA if I want to use, but who cares it's $20.

    As far as the MacBook goes, I see that the base $950.00 one on the Refurb Store has everything I need for now (except RAM, but I'll up that later). One thing it doesn't have, that I only partially need, is a SuperDrive for burning DVDs. I was wondering, can you use the MBA software on the MB to remotly burn DVDs by utilizing the drive in your PC? If so, I know have enough info to justify getting the MacBook. My friend just got the iMac for HS, and loves it, but I would rather get to do my homework while crashing on the couch than sitting up at my desk for 4 hours typing crappy papers for Humanities :cool:.

  18. Consultant macrumors G5


    Jun 27, 2007
    Get an external full sized firewire burner, much faster than laptop burners.

    You can buy enclosure for about $30-$40 shipped
    You can buy DVD burner for about $20.

    For example, $66 shipped (every few months they might be a few dollars less)
  19. Crossbone macrumors regular

    Jan 12, 2008

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