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the college Mac... imac vs. macbookpro

by speakfree89 / June 12, 2007 12:28 PM PDT

SO i've come to the point in my life where I need to decide what computer i'll be using for the next four years (and beyond) of college. i'm looking for your help on deciding which apple product to purchase.

first of all, i don't want a pc, so don't even bother trying to change my mind. you can't beat a mac right now, especially sicne i can end up with a free printer and ipod along with a superior computer.

secondly, i'm not an engineering, graphic design, or artistic major. i'll be double majoring sociology and environmental science, with an emphasis on law and practical application.

third, i love music, and movies, but DO NOT play games. i was hoping for this to be my main source of entertainment, used as a stereo, tv/dvd player, as well as my computer.

i'll be dorming in college, coming home probably once every month-two months as well as on breaks/summer.

i was considering the 24" iMac and the 15" MacBook Pro. they are comparable in price, and many specs. i'm just looking for what is best. obviously watching movies will be infinitely better on that screen. but carrying that thing home won't be nearly as easy.

how often will i be using a computer in class? i don't plan on taking notes with it (im a paper and pen kinda guy). the library offers many sources online, and i can always check books out and work in the peace and privacy of my own dorm. i'm not sure when i'll be outside using a computer.. or in coffeehouses/cafes/etc. but hey, i guess ya never know.

so what would work bets for me? obviously, im in love with Apple. is the laptop worth it? or should i stick to an imac, suffer the 27 lb weight when driving home, and not be able to move outside my room with it (easily) yet have an amazing viewing experience...

or get the laptop?

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I think
by metanoya / June 15, 2007 12:05 PM PDT

from reading your needs, i think for a college student a laptop would be a better choice. Since you are not doing much gaming, ever considered the macbook? Anyway i belive any computer owner should get a laptop as their first choice unless they need a desktop for specific reason. Their portability is useful and if you like working on a desk of some sort you can do that too

Candice

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MacBook Pro, because...
by electronista / June 16, 2007 6:33 AM PDT

...it's about more than just whether or not you take your computer to class.

As you mentioned, it'll be much more of a hassle to pack up a 24-inch iMac. You may even opt against it if you're just at home for the weekend. The MacBook Pro can follow you just about anywhere.

Plus, there may be times where you may want to work at a coffee shop or somewhere other than your dorm room (including the library - you don't want to have second thoughts about this two years down the road). The MBP gives you that freedom.

But if you do go that route, get AppleCare and get a good protective sleeve or bag (I recommend Tom Bihn and Crumpler, but others are good as well). If it's your only system, you don't want to be ruined by a simple accident.

Also, as a tip true for many notebooks: use something to protect the screen while the notebook is closed, like the thin foam slips that shelter the notebook when it's in the box. If your hands tend to be greasy, you don't want to leave oil marks on the display every time you close it.

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Today, what would I buy?
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / June 16, 2007 6:43 AM PDT

The 15 inch PRO. For 2 reasons.

1. The 3D graphics chipset.
2. The LED backlight.

Why is item 2 here? I'm looking forward to no more complaints of the color skewing off to red in year 2. It also removes a headache area for laptop designs.

As to a BIG DISPLAY? Go get some widescreen LCD and leave on your desk for when you're there.

Bob

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Why not 2?
by VidPro / June 23, 2007 10:18 AM PDT

With an external display, you actually get more screen area than the iMac would give you, as you can use both screens at the same time.

In addition, you can have a display in your dorm room, and another one at home, and have this advantage in both places.

I have used my MBP in all parts of my house, friends and relatives' homes, and even in doctors' waiting rooms, as the time there can be interminable (and the magazines extremely old).

You may think you will only need to use it in one spot, but being portable makes quite a difference in how you work even in the one home or dorm.

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MAC PRO
by meesche / June 22, 2007 2:58 PM PDT

Hello There

I have a Macbook and I love it! I wish I bought the Mac Pro, mainly because it has a few more features on it. It was the first Mac that I have purchased and after doing a lot of research, I thought this was the best one for me and it also cost less.

I love the programs that come with the Mac's. I have a lot of fun with the Photo Booth that is installed. I get people laughing like crazy when they come over and visit and I take instant photos and everyone loves the photos it takes. It is really fun! I also have made a few DVD's for my daughter's school and other fun things.

There may be a lot of times that you may not even realize that it would be great to have your laptop with you, more than I realized too. I take mine with me all the time on trips and use it to write reports, do projects. It has been very helpful on many occasions.

I went through the same decision making process your are going through and I can honestly say, I am so happy I got one. It is really a great benefit to have a laptop, especially for the mobility.

The one thing I don't like about the Macbook is the white laptop, it is hard to clean the handprints on it. I would get a black one and pay the extra for it. The screen is easy to clean with a cleaner that you can purchase in the electronics stores. That is another reason to go with the Mac Pro it comes in silver.

Something else, I would definetly recommend is the service plan. I had a few little problems (mainly because of my own errors) with my Macbook, I called them and they were wonderful! They are a great company with super customer service. I have been very impressed and It is worth every penny! I usually stay away from those plans, but not this time and I made a good choice.

The graphics are awesome! I bought speakers for mine, a definite plus for the music buff. The sound is wonderful with the speakers. I have tiny speakers too and it is great.

The programs are great too the only problems I have seen is it freezes occasionally and the the little rainbow spinner gets stuck. That is easy to remedy. Finding compatible products are sometimes hard, unless you are lucky to have a store near you ( I don't). I go to a larger city and get it or order on line and that is always good too.

I love my computer!!! It is fun, lightweight and worth the money! Good Luck! I am a real Apple Fan. You should go for it!

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MacBook [Pro]
by impala / June 22, 2007 3:04 PM PDT

I work for a state university. Campus culture has totally gone to the notebooks. You will have group projects to collaborate on. You will have presentations to give during class. You may have to work at the reserves area in the library where they DO NOT let you checkout the material. etc etc etc...

GET A NOTEBOOK FIRST!

Are you confident you don't need the 3D chipset of the MacBook Pro?
* No games
* No engineering or calculus (matlab)
* No advanced graphic arts
* No MS Windows Vista Aero Glass

If so and a large screen is important to you, get a MacBook, and use the money you save to buy a Dell UltraSharp 2407WFP @ $600 or an Ultrasharp 2008WFP @ $380. These monitors have built-in USB hubs, vga, dvi, component, s-video, composite inputs. Both rotate to Portrait mode. They feature picture-in-picture and picture-by-picture. They both have an optional speaker soundbar that attaches neatly beneath the screen and gets power from the monitor. The 24" model has outstanding picture quality and adds a media card reader and is greater than 1080P resolution (the 20" is slightly less than 1080P and picture quality is very good).

Avoid the Dell monitor models beginning with the letter E (for economy).

All you need is a $15 mini-DVI - DVI adapter from Apple (not required for the macbook PRO). You might also need the $15 mini-DVI - VGA adapter to use with projectors (free with the macbook PRO).

And for your sake PLEASE get AppleCare! You should also consider getting accident/theft insurance (or adding it to your parent's). Apple is not generous when it comes to repairing accidents under warranty or AppleCare. And computers accidentally die many strange deaths on campus.

Also, get a firewire+USB hard drive for backups, or use the .Mac service.

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(NT) er, that's 2007WFP, not 2008WFP.
by impala / June 22, 2007 3:11 PM PDT
In reply to: MacBook [Pro]
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MacBook Pro with an extra monitor
by URTido / June 22, 2007 3:37 PM PDT

If you're set on either the MacBook Pro or 24 inch iMac, I'd go with the MacBook Pro.

Both machines can do music and video very well, there are a few major differences to weigh in your decision:

1) Portability: In college you have to write papers every now and then, and sometimes you just want to get out of your room to work on them. With an iMac you'll be a slave to the computer lab or your dorm room, but with the MacBook Pro you can take it wherever you want.

2) Storage capacity: The internal hard drives for laptops are more expensive per GB than desktop hard drives. Therefore the iMac will have more internal storage capacity than the MacBook Pro. Both systems can be connected to an external hard drive. With the right card you should be able connect an eSATA drive to a MacBook Pro, but I don't think there is an eSATA connection on the iMac. eSATA is faster than firewire 800, which is about twice as fast as USB2.0

3) Screen Size: The iMac has an obvious screen size advantage, but you could buy a large monitor and run your laptop as a dual monitor system. Once you've used a system with 2 monitors going back to 1 monitor will feel cramped unless you have a huge monitor. A 22" monitor will run about $300 unless you find yourself a really good deal. Dell makes decent monitors and also offers student discounts. The Apple monitors are quite pricey in comparison, and I can't tell the difference in quality between them.

If price is a concern, you could always go for the MacBook to get the portability and buy the large external monitor and an external hard drive. This would run about the same price as a MacBook Pro or a 24" iMac. The MacBook should be enough processing power for you if you max out the ram and don't plan to do lots of video editing or working with professional editing software on a regular basis. The major advantage of the MacBook Pro over the MacBook is the dedicated video card memory instead of an on-board video chip and shared memory. There's also the LED backlight and the new chipset with an 800 MHz bus, allowing you to install 4 GB of ram.

If you'd still prefer an iMac be advised that the iMac line is due for a Major revision in the next couple of months, so if you can wait until August to order your computer I would wait and see what changes Apple has in store for the iMac line. The MacBook Pro line was just updated, so there most likely will not be a change in the MacBook Pro in the near future.

Good luck with your decision

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Road warriors carry notebooks with small screens for good
by NM_Bill / June 22, 2007 4:08 PM PDT

reason. It makes good business sense. I have old eyes, so have the 17" model, but don't lug it on vacation (I'm retired.) As sidekick you bond with, ounces count. Small screen laptop, got that? As predisposed to Mac, the decision is to go low end or high end. Hope you can see your way for the solid MacBook Pro.

Besides accidents that can happen, you must form habits to guard from your baby becoming a target of vanishing. Security department records of student theft are deliberately buried at nearly every educational institution.

A padded backpack or computer specific sleeve or case should become like an appendage. Take theft for granted & it will happen. In your position I would spray paint the nice aluminum case top with something like a big X done in mustard yellow. Yes, I'd want it distinctively ugly. And besides, don't laptops look so very much alike at any distance?

I took paper notes, but I went to college 40 years ago. Here's a worthy Summer pre-school project: Learn to touch type abbreviated notes. It is 2007, fer cripes sake! I am not familiar with todays library online services. Reserved reading materials sure used to be hard to come by. What's 3 copies when a hundred students have to go through the material within a week? And hey, as a defensive move I resorted to mis-filing found books in the shelves where I could retrieve it again.

A generatiion gap, for sure, but spend the Summer force feeding yourself a vital skill - in class touch typing abbreviated notes. With todays software, you can readily re-arrange & supplement it later much faster than transcribing. As much a pain in the *** as all those first two years required courses, but a skill you need.

And make sure you buy it through the college student discount plan. Include software at that nice student/faculty price, too. I'd love to get software for a fraction of general market price.

An old mac guy, I suggest the utilities TechTool Pro 4 & Alsoft DiskWarrior are essentialf or routine maintenance.

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