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MacBook or PC laptop for college?

by Lee Koo (ADMIN) CNET staff/forum admin / August 8, 2008 3:25 AM PDT

Hi CNET! I'm ready to start college in a couple of months and
I'm shopping for a new laptop. It's an age-old question, but
it's the MacBook versus PC laptop question. I'm not here to
instigate a fight over Mac versus PC and how one is better
than another, but really to get an idea of what will be best
for me while I'm in school. I know that both laptops will do
pretty much the same, music download, word processing,
spreadsheets, digital photos, Internet and e-mailing. I
currently own a PC desktop at home and was thinking about
getting PC laptop, but a few friends suggested that I look
into an Apple MacBook as they do offer great incentive on
campus to buy one. If I get a MacBook now, is there a huge
learning curve switching from a PC to Mac? What makes them
different? Pros and cons for each? Does Mac work out
better for college--because maybe more students use them?
I'm not sure if that true. I'm quite iffy on the whole
MacBook transition, that's why I'm here to ask for advice and
learn from you. And by the way, my father says I have a limit
of $1,500 and no more than that. Thanks in advance for any
advice you can provide me.

--Submitted by Wendee F.

If you have any advice or recommendation for Wendee, click the reply link and submit your answer for her. But please keep your posts on topic, civil, and respect each other opinions and views. Any flaming or personal attack will be removed. Thank you!
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Windows or Macintosh Notebooks Can Work Well in College
by lewisedge / August 8, 2008 12:02 PM PDT

It would be useful to inquire regarding what computer operating systems are supported by your college campus's IT department. If they don't support Macintosh, then your decision has already been made for you.

If you already have a Windows desktop computer running Windows-XP and have purchased good application software with which you're happy and comfortable you may find that many of those licenses will allow you to install it on a second computer. Notebook computers are still available with Windows-XP pre-installed.

If you make the transition to a Macintosh notebook computer you'll need to buy all new software to handle applications that are not included with the Mac OS. Outside college campuses about 90% of the business world is using Windows. There are some business Websites and many applications that do not support the Macintosh operating system. If you can accept that you may, at times, be isolated with your files and applications because you've chosen an operating system that is not used by most businesses and you can get Mac support on the campus the learning curve to make the transition from one operating system to the other is no big deal.

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Macbook v. PC notebook
by aikibro / August 15, 2008 3:59 PM PDT

I don't have a Mac, never had so in that regard I can't offer much help. Just to piggy back on some of the comments... what I can say is that you really should check with your college IT dep't. to see if there are any special requirements at your college that may be incompatible (or more compatible in some instances) than others. At my school for instance we have the option of taking our exams on our laptops, but the software is incompatible with Macs, so all my Mac classmates by default have to hand write their exams... in law school we sit 3-4 hour exams. Yours may not be as long... but still a consideration.

Additionally, as far as student discounts... again the school's IT department can guide you on that, at my school we're offered discounts with both Dell and Apple... through my girlfriend's job I also got an HP discount... and that's the direction in which I went. Check with your parents, see if there jobs (HR dep't may know) offers partner discounts.

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Outdated Information
by thesledman / August 16, 2008 1:09 AM PDT

Please dont take the previous post seriously. These are the words of someone that either has never used a Mac or hasn't used one in 10 years. The only thing you need to be concerned with is IF the classes and school program you take supports Mac. Most schools these days have their materials online, therefore compatible with any computer. In the unlikely event that there is a need for Windows you can easily install windows on your Mac. If you have an old computer with windows XP or Vista on it then you need to buy nothing, just run bootcamp and follow the simple instructions.

As far as the business world is concerned Macs run Microsoft Office just like a Windows PC, so Word , Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook (called Entourage) are all the same, no learning curve. Mac's can run the Firefox web browser and the complete Adobe suite as well as most mainstream programs. You wont be entering the business world for another 4 years and even then it wont matter what computer you use in your personal life as they will issue you a computer. If you must use windows at work thats ok, in 4 years vista will be gone and windows 7, or whatever its final name will be, will be out. Besides if you really wanted to you can sell your now 4 year old Mac for 1/2 what you paid as they retain value unlike a Windows based computer.

You can rest assured that having a Mac on a College campus will not leave you lonely or isolated (lol) in most cases you will be in the Majority as most college students prefer the stability and ease of use of a Mac. This is a changing of the guard period right now as far as Computer Operating Systems go, and I suspect Lewisedge might be out of a job if there are no broken Windows computers to fix.

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Outdated Opinion
by Luto Lopez / August 16, 2008 5:02 AM PDT
In reply to: Outdated Information

Don't take the previous post too seriously. These are apparently the words of someone who has purchased a Mac. Few who have made the error of paying 2X - 3X what they needed to for anything will face up to their mistake. And I've bought many PCs and several Macs - in fact I bought an Apple computer about the time they (Jobs et al) moved from their parents garage to their first real business location. So I'm no Apple hater - I'm just being honest.

Unless you're going to major in graphic design, photography, fashion design or something similar, you'll be best served by buying a PC. And if you are going into one of these areas of study that are heavily Mac oriented, as others have pointed out, you probably need to come to an understanding with your father that $1500 won't be enough to get you the Mac that you'll need/want to be on equal footing with your peers.

My granddaughter is just starting her second year of college. She used an Apple notebook (school provided) all through high school. When it was time to buy her a notebook to start college, we considered all the options, but for her business major, the choice was really pretty easy. Certainly she could have continued with Mac, but her $700 (with Office Pro) PC notebook does what she needs for about one-third the cost of what it would have cost to go with Mac with comparable features and functionality.

If you're one of the lucky ones going to a $40,000/yr institution, perhaps that $1400 saving wouldn't be all that important. But for my granddaughter at State U., it covers most of a semester's room & board, and means she only needs to work one job instead of two while going to school.

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Point Proven!
by thesledman / August 16, 2008 6:48 AM PDT
In reply to: Outdated Opinion

You are the classic example of what I was writing about. I'm flattered you choose to copy my words instead of think of your own, also thanks for making it clear that you haven't used a mac on over 10 years. OS X is light years beyond what Apple originally developed, kinda how windows vista is different then windows 3.1 .

As far as the "Macs are only useful for the arts" debate, are you serious? This is 2008, Apple is a major player in the personal computer game. They are stealing market share from windows as well as Dell, HP etc. I believe they are now the number 3 computer maufacturer, a far cry from being built in a garage eh? Everyone , including your grandchildren, have an Apple ipod, and if they dont they sure wish they did. Your argument may have been valid 10 years ago, but so far your just showing your age. Macs are used on all walks of life now including science as well as the arts. Sure there are some companies the invested in software many many years ago that cant or wont upgrade but even then you can run windows on a mac!

Part for Part Macs are no more expensive then a windows based PC (Dell, HP etc.) . Let me make it clear, you cannot compare a Macbook to a garbage bargain computer. They are different breeds altogether. The sub $600 notebook is a throw away computer. Its may work great for email and web surfing but thats about it. It will not last you your 4 year stay at college, 1 maybe 2 years tops, and you'll be complaining and fixing it the whole time. You are buying old slow technology. The old adage "you get what you pay for" rings very true here. Macs hold their value, search ebay or craigslist, see for yourself. I'm sorry WDBINTX could not afford a decent computer for his/her granddaughter, I'm sure if he/she had the money he/she would have not forced her to learn windows after being raised on Macs, especially when stating college. Regardless of the cost of the institution you choose to go to, shouldn't you do what you must to ensure that your child/grandchild has the best tools and opportunities? Not saying you needed to buy a mac, but a nice quality sony or hp would certainly give the stability and longevity that a college student needs to survive.

Your entire post says nothing about the quality or performance of a Macbook, all its says is that you cant afford anything better then a bargain low end laptop. You state no facts or reason to choose PC over Mac at all beside perceived price. Although you make your finacial insecurities obvious you contribute nothing to this thread. I think you've make it clear why you stand where you do. Please re-read the original question, its wasn't about money. Also you might want to re-read my post as a reference on how to contribute and make a point.

On a final note I highly suggest you stop by an Apple store and check out the macs on display. Test drive it, kick the tires it doesn't cost anything to look. This way in the future when you decide to chime in on a mac/pc debate you will save yourself the embarrassment of posting Old outdated information out of ignorance.

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You've brought up a very valid point
by rsimanski / August 16, 2008 7:44 AM PDT
In reply to: Point Proven!

You've brought up a very valid point. I've been a computer consultant and troubleshooter for more than 10 years now, and the poor quality of the cheap computers being offered today disgusts me. The ways that the manufacturers cut corners to get the prices down severely compromise the performance and useful lives of these systems. On-board graphics controllers are the worst offenders, but so are poor-quality hard and optical drives and wimpy, underpowered power supplies. Moreover, the ventilation in those small cases is dreadful.

With desktop computers, for years, the rule of thumb has been that you need to spend about $1,200 for a good-quality system, and that doesn't include a monitor or peripherals such as a printer. With laptops, the cost is probably even higher. I build my own desktop systems, and I've only come across one laptop that could outperform them. That laptop, a Lenovo, cost my client $2,500.

I don't own a Mac, but I would consider buying one if I could afford and justify it. If you're going to compare the cost of a Mac with that of a PC, then you should compare it with an equivalent-quality PC.

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get a mac if you can afford it!
by mbamom / August 22, 2008 1:12 PM PDT

I have used a mac for nearly 20 years -- started with strictly business applications needs (exec level) and now edit 18 years of family video into iMovies, use iPhoto, etc. our son preferred PC (Dell) for his first laptop - came with me to apple store and ended up emptying his bank account to buy a MacBook Pro - used computer to do all kinds of school related video and power point presentations for projects - now thinks that "Macs rule!"

macs require some learning but they are soooooooooooo smooth!

check and see what on campus support is available for macs & pc's, get the best computer you can afford -- go to apple store to see what you'd be buying -- free printers and/or ipods available to college students -- also student pricing offered on office '08 for mac which is only software you will need to buy - GOOD LUCK!

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Consumer Report on Best Lap Top/ the Buck
by william4u / August 23, 2008 3:15 AM PDT

Gateway has a superior Lap Top for just over $800, worth checking into.

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Hold on.
by de3strecht / August 16, 2008 9:15 AM PDT
In reply to: Point Proven!

*The sub $600 notebook is a throw away computer. Its may work great for email and web surfing but that's about it.*
I'm a graphic designer and have been for 9 years. I was trained on Macs. However, I just bought a $478 dell, and it's pretty decent. I use it for design, portable documents and video capture. Sure, I probably could have gotten a better one for more money, and don't get me wrong- I love Macs, but your statement that I quoted simply isn't true.

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by thesledman / August 16, 2008 9:40 AM PDT
In reply to: Hold on.

What do you think your getting for $600, honestly. I fully understand that we have to live within our means. If your budget is $600 then yes, you can get a decent laptop for $600. It will serve your needs, although slow and limited in abilities. If that what you have to work with then make it work. Understand the context in which I said that. The person I was replying to basically stated this $600 laptop was to get his granddaughter through college. Now honestly, do you think you'll still be using that computer 4 years from now? As soon as its feasible you will upgrade, regardless of mac or PC, but to a better computer. Your time is valuable and just knowing that a project can get done in 1/2 the time is enough to get you to upgrade. Of course if the money is not there then we must make due, I understand and appreciate that. I didn't mean to upset or offend you in any way just prove a point that you cant compare a macbook with sub $600 notebook, they are not the same.

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Productivity is the name of the game
by rsimanski / August 16, 2008 12:10 PM PDT
In reply to: Understood

If you are in business for yourself and you're competing with others on bids and stuff, productivity is crucial. I have had two-year-old systems that I've built myself that have consistently outperformed brand-new $600 junk piles.

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by jeffhall318 / August 18, 2008 4:13 AM PDT
In reply to: Understood

Are you seriously saying that you believe, in this day and age, that a $600 windows-based laptop won't last more than 2 years? I have a Dell laptop that I bought at the beginning of medical school, and I'm now in my last (4th) year, and still happily using it. I paid a little more than $600 ($658) for a Inspiron 6400 with a T2400 (1.86 ghz), Radeon x1400 (256 mb onboard, upto 756 mb shared, total 1 gb), 100gb 7200 rpm HD, 2 gb RAM.
However, the classmates of mine who bought a Mac at the same time (Fall 2005) got a system that won't run XP (since it's a motorolla RISC set-up), and have, as soon as they were able, either upgraded to an intel-based Mac or a windows-based PC. Office 2007 Ultimate set me back $60 with the Ultimate Steal deal from MS, while my Mac friends had to wait and pay full retail for Office 2008 (those who decided to upgrade).
And those who upgraded to the Macbook when it came out (a year after I got my laptop) got a computer with essentially the same specs as mine, with 2 differences, 1 good, 1 bad - 800 mHz FSB (mine was 600), and Intel GMA950 (built-in graphics card). Yes, after bootcamp finally came out, they could run XP, and thus some PC games, but the built-in graphics card limited the resolution and textures the computer would run.
I have never seen my friends with Macs get anything done more expendiently than me because of their OS. As you pointed out in an earlier post, MS Office runs on both OS's, and many other programs run through web browsers.

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Ask this in our laptop forum.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / August 18, 2008 4:18 AM PDT
In reply to: Understood?

The battery from Dell is rated all of 300 cycles. The fans are using plain SLEEVE bearings and we see these fail in years 2 or 3.

Yes, I'm seeing today's machines are designed to last just beyond a year of heavy use.

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One other thing
by jeffhall318 / August 18, 2008 4:21 AM PDT
In reply to: Understood?

If you are a person who likes to play computer games from time to time, one thing to note is this: if you get a Mac, you'll have to buy a copy of Windows, and a copy of the computer games you want, whereas with PC you've already got Windows. When you want to play a game, you'll have to close all of your programs in the Mac OS, shut down the computer, then reboot into Windows, then play your games, finish playing your games, shut down, reboot, then bring up your work in OSX. On PC, you just launch the game, play for a little while, pause the game, alt+tab over to your Powerpoint/Data tables/Word document/etc, do some more work, make sure the document(s) is(are) saved, bring back up the minimized game, and play some more.

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Bootcamp blues? Bah use the right tool for the job.
by gerthdynn / August 22, 2008 7:27 PM PDT
In reply to: One other thing

Ah heck... I have to chip something in late. I have 2 Vaios (SZ & TZ), an HP tablet, an older Dell notebook (some things aren't compatible with USB serial ports) and yes... a macbook. I'm not counting any of the other equipment, just the notebooks. The HP is snazzy for the money, but stinks in the graphics department for games (barely plays mabinogi). The SZ rocks most games I want to play due to its cool video card switching technology (which is in the shop AGAIN due to spontaneously shutting down now). The TZ is worthless for games but man is it portable. And the macbook? I've found bootcamp is really kinda stupid for playing games. The x3100 graphics card is only slighly better than what my HP came with.

If you were going to ask me how to play games, then I would say Darwine. I've got guild wars working pretty much normally under Darwine and I get to stay in OSX. I can't play some games, but a lot of work is put in by our Linux cousins who want to play games and having a heart of gold (BSD) sure helps things along.

Am I a typical mac user? Probably not. But I can tell you right off that after using Vista and OSX 10.5, that I'd take OSX hands down if given a choice for only one. I've found that the only way to keep me from getting so ticked at UAC that I want to throw my HP tablet against the wall is to completely turn UAC off. Do I think that OSX has it completely right? Heck no. Given my druthers, I think there is a mixture of a sprinkle of Vista with two cups of XP and OSX that should be stirred vigorously to get the ideal operating system.

As for other peoples comments that you can't use it in the "real world". I can't use them where I work, but scientists and engineers from several NASA centers complain when I give them animation files in the WMV format, because they don't have a good way of using them. I guess some people wouldn't consider NASA the real world, but I sure do.

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Macs vs PC's
by rurikbloodaxe / September 21, 2008 5:35 PM PDT
In reply to: One other thing

Ummm... nobody will argue that PC's don't have value, but I can tell you from experience in both worlds, only ONE laptop will give you BOTH WORLDS. Buy a Mac, and you already have a PC.

It's hilarious to still see PC users apologetically defending the PC by saying "macs work better on graphics, etc etc". No, Mac's work better with EVERYTHING the PC does. Mac's run Vista and Windows XP better than PCs.

Playing PC games is one person's argument against Macs -- "oh dear, I have to restart my Mac and load the PC side to play a game". Yes? And what do you do when your computer is constantly attacked by viruses on the PC side and you have to reboot 100 times a month, load virus software, update virus software, blah blah blah.

Macs run both PC and Mac OS. Mac OS is superior to virus/bug infestation while online. I've not seen a virus on my mac for years. Here's how great Mac's are in my world:

Every friend, family member, associate and co worker I know has converted to the Mac after seeing my productivity and ease of use, freedom from viruses, and the fact that I get BOTH PC and MAC operating systems on a Mac.

Even the latest PC ad was designed using a Mac. All those who defend their cheap PC laptop purchases, stop being happy to brag about your support of the "Poor Elites", those who defend chump change laptops. Save your money, get the best. Mac rules.

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by lake Minnetonka Mark / December 5, 2008 3:13 PM PST
In reply to: One other thing

I don't have a $600 PC laptop, I have an $800 HP laptop. But, it's a dual core processor, 3 gigs ram, an upgraded video, and Remote Control! (very nice for music and videos) AND guess what? Lasted more than a year, lasted more than two years, now going on 3 years. If you buy a decent brand of Laptop, there is no reason to believe it will fail in a year. In fact, I'm quite sure it will be running for years to come. My company has issued Dell lap's for years now. we all travel extensively, and they take a beating, but we don't even get a new one for 36 months!! But they are all still working.

So, get a life you goofy high spending MAC Knuckleheads!

Now lets talk about software... If you go into your basic "Big Box" store you might find a half dozen isles of PC software to choose from, but if you are lucky, you might find a single end cap of software for the MAC. About 1000 to 1 ratio. I'm not a gamer, but don't even think about Mac if you want variety.

Or you might be interested in some NEW software that you read about on the net and want to download, but, as is usually the case, it will state that the MAC version is "currently unavailable" Or it may not ever be available.

You do NOT need to spend the kind of money they want for an equivalent MAC. It's just silly to spend more for the same power.

How about if you need help or advice? Since 90% of the your friends and colleagues have PC's, you will probably find a lot more folks that can help.

Finally, I will say that mac heads are just stubborn. They don't like Gates, Microsoft, or anything else PC. There was a time when Mac dominated the graphics world. They were ahead in running programs like PhotoShop, Corel,and other graphic or video intensive programs.

But no longer is true, since PC's have come a long way since the 90's they have caught up and surpassed Mac (from a price point) for equivalent processing power.

Bottom line is: if you want to pay more, get less, have fewer options in both hardware and software, buy a Mac.

ps Mac lovers, I can appreciate why you hate Windows, and why you think Mac is best, but it's time to realize that it's just not the best anymore. So quit pushing it on us. I'm glad you like it, but we don't need any more Mac hype. Your turning into the dreaded bible thumpers out there, the kind that just won't leave folks alone. If your happy that is fine, but we don't need a lecture about your precious Mac's. If Apple ever gets more than lets say 20% market share, (more than double than it is now) Then maybe we will take a look. Do you remember VHS vs Beta?

Have a nice day!

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I Agree
by coolihigh / August 18, 2008 2:17 PM PDT
In reply to: Understood?

I agree with you that a Mac costs far too much for an irresponsible teenager (or adult for that matter). Unless you have money to burn, I think a Mac is only a good option for those who rely heavily on Mac only programs (that's what people are really referring to when they say graphic design and such), those who want a nice reliable computer that they can take care of, or those who are tired of the blue screen of death (among other things). I like the cost of PCs (I just bought a UMPC for traveling), but I also like the stability and interface of a Mac. I would admit to being an Apple fanboy (I have an iMac, 2 Minis, a Mackbook Pro, an iPhone, iPod touch, and 3 iPods) but I would never buy my son or daughter a Mac for college unless he or she has proven that he or she can take care of it. I bought my wife a PC because she is the careless type, and although she loves to use my Macs at home, I could never justify buying her a Mac and watching it deteriorate. As many others have stated before, Macs and PCs both run the most educationally essential programs, but there may be certain programs needed that are only supported in Windows. That being the case, you must weigh your options and choose either the BootCamp method or a PC. Here's a simple scenario: If you plug a new mouse into a PC, watch how long it takes for it to "install" before it works. On a Mac, there is no wait. The same goes for flash drives. This is an example of how things "just work" on a Mac. On the other hand, if you have a MacBook that doesn't have a built-in webcam (early 2007 and prior), you have very limited options for the addition of one. My point with this argument is that we can go back and forth all day with pros and cons with regard to the same issue. Until 2007, I was an avid PC user and swore by it. I did everything I could to avoid an iPod (I bought every MP3 player on the market in search of the best). I think, in the end, it comes down to three major things (not the only things, just what I can think of at the moment). How willing are you to take a chance on something new and not so very different, how much is too much money, and should you switch, what route will you take to ensure you have all the necessary software (although I'm not encouraging illegal downloads, that is a factor some people consider).

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Jumping In (#1)
by Zayniac / August 22, 2008 2:29 PM PDT
In reply to: I Agree

Sorry, I just had to jump in for a moment...
Though you correctly say the argument can go back and forth (and then give some pro-Mac advice, but that's OK,) you did give some incorrect info - you said to see how long a mouse takes to "install" on a PC, whereas it "just works" on a Mac...
It would take all of ten seconds, while Windows recognizes the mouse.
I don't think that's even mentionable.

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by Quargar / August 23, 2008 3:36 AM PDT
In reply to: Understood

ahem...not trying to argue here, but, on the subject of those $600 laptops... I was pricing some HP laptops the other day, and there was a refurbished presario for $450 that had a 1.9 GHZ AMD processor, 256MB nVidia GeForce graphics card, 15.4in widescreen, 2GB RAM.....if you want a cheap laptop, look into used and refurbished, really.

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Agree to a point
by mikedgolf40505 / August 25, 2008 9:10 AM PDT
In reply to: Understood

I bought my wife a MacBook Pro which I also use and I have a high end HP DV9000t loaded. I will be buying a new MacBook Pro for myself when the new OS comes out next year. I must admit that I like both systems. Yes I have the dreaded Vista; but I have found that when you by it loaded it is a joy and very fast. I like the Apple better for two reasons only. First no viruses. That will change if Apple continues to gain market share. Second I love having the hardware and software integrated. It is a great experience. The one thing I hate is the attitude of most Mac users. You are not going to change minds by attacking the competition so personally. Mac users need to acknowledge that there are some very good PCs. I also agree that if you buy a PC you need to spend a minimum of $1,000; I spent about $2,000 on my HP and am very pleased with it. Anything under that is a throw away. I spent about $3,000 on my wife's MacBook Pro and will probably spend a little more on mine.

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by nmmgb / August 16, 2008 7:18 PM PDT
In reply to: Point Proven!

I know what it's like to be called a fanboy (girl?), annoying. The internet makes it hard to figure out the other persons tone and things can come off wrong. After what I just read, I'm willing to call you a fanboy, but I won't label you one. And, well, not everyone has an iPod, and not everyone wants one. I didn't, I still don't. You know that, I'm just bugging you now. But to the man who asked this question, it depends. I know everyone says this, in everything else, both are fine, but not with art. I recommend a PC Tablet, I use the HP TX2000, and it's fantastic for my Art Classes, I use it to make any graphics I need.

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Funny that I got the TX2000 too
by 7aji88 / August 22, 2008 12:17 PM PDT
In reply to: Wow.

I was looking for a new decent laptop (not for games because gaming laptops are such a rip of). At one point I was looking at Macbook when I saw that the cheapest one doesn't even BURN A DVD!!! What's wrong with Apple? It's 2008 and they are still selling such a thing. I like OS X more than Vista (I use XP for games) So I found the TX2000 and it works great with Photoshop CS3 since I do some graphic designs often, and it comes with Corel painter X essentials. The answer for the question "Mac or PC" lies in your pocket Happy

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by gerthdynn / August 23, 2008 6:31 PM PDT
In reply to: Wow.

Mine is just a TX1000. It struggles with even attempting to play mabinogi much less doing graphics intensive stuff. Attempting to even turn a moderately sophisticated Lightwave model on this makes me wish my Vaio were back already.

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by smittydw43 / August 17, 2008 12:32 AM PDT
In reply to: Point Proven!

My wife and I told our son last year that we were giving him a computer to take to college, and he chose a Macbook against my better judgment, as knew that you get a "bigger bang for your buck" buying a PC, and I knew that Macbooks were more expensive than comparable PC laptops, but have you ever known a college freshman today using common sense? His logic was "you get a free iPod with the Macbook". Naturally, he won as my wife reminded me that I told him it was his choice. Since then, he broke his iPod, spilled liquid on his keyboard and heat-warped the plastic case of his Macbook enough that the CD drive won't accept a disc and needs to be replaced. OK, so that can happen with even a PC notebook. However, it doesn't cost "an arm and a leg" to replace those things on a PC laptop like it does with a Macbook. Apple wanted $800 to take care of the liquid spill (PC insurance covered that but not the heat warped case), and Apple wanted another $900 to replace the case. The Macbook and free iPod initally cost $1,000. So, forget about the stupid argument about which is better for a college student, Macbook or PC. Cheaper is better. People, we are talking about 18 year-olds--not responsible, practical adults earning a living

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Sold me
by dnorman288 / August 18, 2008 5:14 AM PDT
In reply to: MAC or PC

I am getting a lap top for my daughter who is accident proned. Thought about the Mac because I thought it may be more user friendly. However after reading your post I am convinced a PC would be the better way to go. Crossing my fingers that is will last her freshman year without too much damage.

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MacBook or PC laptop for college?
by rriko / August 18, 2008 6:30 AM PDT
In reply to: MAC or PC

totally agree. your son needs some growing up to do to understand how hard is to earn money and respect what he is given compared to a lot of kids out there. from my end, when i was doing undergrad and post graduate degrees in math, comp science and business, pc laptop worked well for me and didn't need mac. I don't really need the latest and greatest, just what works well so that i can deliver my work on time.
I had my share of misfortune with mac due to my poor knowledge of the system since i am in essence a pc user. my non power apple users asked me numerous times for help with itunes playlists and synhronization when you have more than one apple machine, replacing an existing apple with a new one, printer setup, linux dual boot etc... so i learned a few things about mac setup and definitely there are some great features if you know what to do with them.
there is also an issue of customer support when you get stuck and i have found out through experience that dell, compaq and even mac support is not great ( a lot of times i knew more than support staff and on the phone it is harder to troubleshoot someone's machine).
i would definitely ask second or third years in your program what they found sufficient for their work before you shell money for anything.

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You find a sub $600 Mac
by pegreenb / August 17, 2008 6:19 AM PDT
In reply to: Point Proven!

These people slamming the sub $600 laptop are pure Mac people. Yes you won't be able to play the hottest game on a sub $600 laptop, but find me a place where I can buy a Mac Desktop let alone a laptop for under $600. I still use a PIII Laptop that I have had for almost 10 years now. It is my spare that just does word proccesing and spreadsheets, and yes I play games on it, just not anything new. If you are used to the PC world, then why should you spend so much more on something that has no major advantage to you? Don't buy into the hype of Apple. As for software, look at it this way: 99.9% of software you may use is Windows compatable, but only 80% is available for the Mac. The bottom line is 85% of the bussiness world uses Windows, therefore software developers are going to concentrate their efforts on Windows.

My suggestion, Skip the College BookStore, they may have a 30% discount, but that's after their 20% markup. Look around at your local electronic stores, and find the best deal on a sub $600 laptop with a good return policy.

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Uh, found your sub-$600 computer
by willzone1 / August 17, 2008 11:02 AM PDT

Hey, uh, pegreenb, you can get a Mac Mini for $599. Yeah, it's not a laptop, but you said to "find me a place where I can buy a Mac Desktop let alone a laptop for under $600." And that place is the apple store. I'd go for the Macbook because it's hassle-free. You could call me a Mac "fanbboy" or whatever, but after dealing with windows, Macs are 20X better at being maintenance-free...

Oh, and just reading through this thread, GROW UP, EVERYONE! You guys are fighting like obnoxious 5th graders. Honestly.

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Here we go again
by thesledman / August 17, 2008 2:52 PM PDT

Ok, This thread is not about sub $600 laptops. The Original poster claimed to have a budget of $1500. That easily will get you a good Windows based laptop or any of the Macbook line of Apple laptops(MacbookPro is a different line) . Apple does not make bargain PC's. Apple does not compete in that market, period. If you are looking for a sub $600 laptop then bypass Apple all together because they have nothing to offer you. That doesn't make apple suck it just means they only sell high end computers that compete part for part with higher end offerings from Dell, HP Sony etc. Many times when pricing an equivalent you will find Apple +- $100 of the competition. It is unfair to compare a sub $600 PC with the lowest end Apple laptop. Pardon the pun, but you need to compare apples to apples.

My point was exactly what you wrote in your post. You are buying old slow technology. You are buying a computer that has a very limited shelflife and no resale value. Sure it runs things but runs them slowly. If your time is valuable then that is a HUGE thing. Typically a High End Windows based PC or Apple product will retain value. Apple products in particular do very well in retaining value, simply check ebay or craigslist.

As far as software. I have yet to find a piece of software that does not have a mac equivelant. Maybe there is not as much choice but do I really need to choose between 40 different programs just to edit my MP3 tags? Now sure there are custom apps that companies or even friends have written that are windows only, in that case if you chose to go Mac you can always run windows on your mac. If you need to spend more then %50 of your time in windows then you shouldn't get a mac. Thats just common sense. But the majority of programs that average user needs are available in both platforms. I just dont see the "Software" issues valid anymore, maybe 10 years ago but not today.

I have been called an Apple fanboy on the thread and to that I say "sticks and stones". In every post I make it clear, Buy what is within your means. If $600 is your budget you can get a great Windows based laptop that will serve most of your needs. I don't own Apple stock or Apple laptop or even an iPod. I own, and use daily,a dell 9400 Laptop, its awesome and a workhorse. I have never declared my love for Apple or Steve Jobs. I have only pointed out misconceptions and misinformation that people have about Macs, especially the people that remember Mac from the old days. Most of the Apple haters have never even used a modern mac. I Absolutely agree, in the past software, price, support and proprietary hardware were all major issues with Macs. I, until recently, was a very vocal anti Mac person. Being in the computer field many come to me for purchasing advice and I used to steer them clear of Macs altogether. I purchased an iMac for the home in October of 07, It happens to be the best computer (in terms of stability and ease of use) that I have ever owned. If I come across fanboy its because using a stable, quality product has made me one.

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