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Laptop advice

Started by arcdrag, 2008-02-25T13:23:12-06:00 (Monday)

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So I'm thinking of buying a new laptop with my tax return money.  Now, I was convinced to finally by a macbook until a few days ago.  I have little to no experience with any macs so I would have to learn basically from scratch, although I'm sure it wouldn't take me incredibly long. 

However, macbooks run $1100 which would be stretching my price range and really the only reason I need a new laptop is for college.  It won't be doing anything resource intensive.  That being said, right now I'm looking at something along the lines of this


Not necessarily that exact model or specs but something similar.  I'm just wondering, if I'm just using the laptop for visual studio, openoffice, and internet, is there anything on a macbook that makes it worth an extra $400+. 


I my opinion ( and I know most of you will disagree) a macbook is not worth the extra money. They are a little overpriced. From what I've seen hp's laptops are usually very reasonable especially if you watch for coupons (http://www.cheapstingybargains.com/cheapster/hp-hp-small-business/ and http://www.xpbargains.com/st_deals.php/HP_coupons.htm) Their 14.4 inch is probably a happy medium between cost and portability. anyway, that's just my take on it.


SIU has educational pricing with Dell. So you might want to check out what pricing they have available thru the SIUC 710 Bookstore:


"Make a Little Bird House in Your Soul" - TMBG...

Jarod Luebbert

I would compare the specs a little more and ask yourself how much it means to you to have a mac. I have been using them for quite a while now and I love them. The only reason I would buy a PC again is for gaming, and I'm guessing your not concerned with that since you said this is just for school. Apple's hardware, customer support, and software are all great. I don't think you would be disappointed. If you feel the need to run visual studio you will have to use either bootcamp or parallels, which isn't a big deal. Bootcamp is easy to install, use, and is much faster than using emulation software since windows is actually running by itself. You might find that you like using Xcode better and not need visual studio. I do like to have it for testing though, so it's your choice.

Bandyguy: Why do you think a mac is not worth the extra money? I don't want to try and start an Mac vs PC debate, I just want to know. I could care less what you use, I think it's a matter of personal opinion.

Also, Apple has a student discount. If you are a college student the low-end macbook starts off at $999.
Jarod Luebbert
Computer Science Major


like you said it is a matter of personal opinion.
Macs are defiantly pretty, have good support, good hardware, and a stable OS. In the end it really comes down to cost. I love VS for developing, and that means running windows. Of course there is bootcamp. And you can get xp/vista through msdnaa for free (otherwise that would be a huge $$$ factor).

But all this could be said for a pc depending on what brand you get. hp and dell both have excellent service. Upgrades for PCs are commonly much cheaper. While Mac OS is arguably more stable and secure then windows, windows is the more commonly used system and as such has a larger program base.

.... and then there is the big issue....
games, I don't know if I could stand having a system that I couldn't play games on...

so I guess that is why I like PCs, not necessarily because they are better, but cause they are more economical for my lifestyle.

I feel like I just wrote a book :smartass:


Mark Sands

get a mac

P.S.  Macs are actually very good gaming notebooks, and the compatibility actually exists.  To name a few, World of Warcraft, Call of Duty, Quake, Civilization IV.  And I've never had problems. :)
Mark Sands
Computer Science Major

Jarod Luebbert

Hmm, I can't say anything for HP but Dell's customer support is horrible! Every time myself or a family member has dealt with dell customer support it has been nothing but a bad experience. Even my aunt who has a contract with dell for her medical clinic has had bad support from them, and that is based in the US and is supposed to be their "high quality" support.

As far as program base, every user is different on what programs they need. But even in the past few years, the amount programs available for OS X has increased dramatically.

Gaming isn't as big of a problem as some people think it is on a mac. The only bad thing is the limitations of upgrading if you have a desktop. However, using a macbook pro to game isn't uncommon. Several, if not most, popular games are available for OS X.

The only thing I have to say to the original poster is, don't feel like if you buy a mac you won't be able to complete your CS assignments. Running windows on a mac is really really easy and fast. Just think about what you need in your computer and if spending the extra cash to try out a mac is worth it to you.
Jarod Luebbert
Computer Science Major


CS:S, COD4, TF2, Portal, Supreme Commander, Bioshock, Gears, Crysis
just saying, mac is not a good gaming platform, (unless you use bootcamp???), passable maybe, but not good


I've got a decent homebuilt desktop for gaming and I don't travel so likely the most intensive game that would be played on the laptop often is solitaire.  The only other games I really play are CS:S (occasionally) and WoW (often), which can both be played on pretty much anything on the market now.  Both of them play acceptably on my 3 year old dell so I'm not to worried about it. 

I have no intentions of getting a dell due to customer support issues I've had in the past.  If I find a deal on an HP I might get one but I really like the style and looks of the newer Acer models and they are very similarly priced to HP.  I'll read up on reviews of Acer's customer service later.  For now I gotta go to class.  Thanks for the input guys.  I apologize if I started a mac vs pc war. 


Purchasing any computer comes down to two things.

1) Price range   (both DO supply student discounts if you go mac get ahold of me i personally know SIUE's Mac representative"

2) what you want to do.

Most of the price for a mac isn't hardware. Grant it  they do have nice hardware you can typically get a similarly built machine cheaper. But macs come with great software OS X is wonderful, POWERFUL and easy to use. and you can also dual boot into windows or use a new program called crossover which allows you to run windows programs right in OS X.   I just bought my parents a mac over the weekend because I'm not home to fix their computer all the time.

If you really can't afford one, well then that is all there is to it.  If you can you might want to seriously consider it.

President of CAOS
Software Engineer NASA Nspires/Roses Grant

Peter Motyka

I'm throwing another vote in the ring for a mac book.  I made the switch a couple months ago and have never been happier with a laptop.  Also, for those without financial constraints, I highly recommend the 30 inch cinema monitor.  A match made in heaven!

SIUE CS Alumni 2002
Grad Student, Regis University
Senior Engineer, Ping Identity


ooooo shiny  :D :D :D
I dream of 30" cinimas

Mark Sands

Mark Sands
Computer Science Major


For those that don't have the budget for a 30" from Apple, I would recommend the 24" from Dell.  Monitors are so often overlooked.
Bryan Grubaugh
Quickly aging alumni with too much time on his hands
Business Systems Analyst, Scripps Networks.


Monochrome guys...monchrome

President of CAOS
Software Engineer NASA Nspires/Roses Grant


If you want a full sized laptop and you plan to game and are a real nerd's nerd I recommend the Asus C90S.


You supply the Desktop CPU (read: cheap), the video card (yes, it's upgradeable), RAM, Hard disk, etc.  They are expensive but if someone is really interested I can see about an education hookup through my contacts at Asus.  My brother has one and loves it.  How many of you can say you have (or even know anyone with) a core 2 duo laptop with both cores running over 3.0GHz? (yes, it even overclocks)

Personally, gaming on the road isn't my thing (I like hauling my beast to LAN parties), so I am a UMPC (ultra mobile PC) freak and some really nice ones are coming out later this spring (based on the new intel menlow).  I like my computer to fit in my pants (insert joke here).


monochrome is the only way to rolll !!!!!

:-x [color=000033]TECH ADDICT[/color] :-x