Need Help Purchasing First MacBook

cjwct

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Hello Friends,

My stepdaughter is going to Salem State Univerity in the Fall and they are "requiring" we buy a $2,000 Dell laptop or a comparable pc. My stepdaughter is a huge Apple fan, so I figure I buy her a MacBook. One probem: I am a Windows guy and am unfamiliar with their products. I visited their site and priced out the following:

11-inch : 128GB
1.6GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor
4GB memory
128GB flash storage
Intel HD Graphics 3000

*Added the MacBook Air SuperDrive, MS Office 2011, and 2 Year Protection Plan

Total price: $1700

Is there anything I am missing? Anything else I need to consider?

Thanks in advance!
Craig
 

rockymtnhigh

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I would not buy her the 11" Air; I had it for a week; it is just too small. The screen is very small, and the resolution is very high, so the text on it is not at all pleasant. I would either get her a 13" Air, OR a 13" MacBook Pro. the Pro comes in lots of versions, and you could purchase it with 2 or 4Gb and then put ram in yourself. While I love my Air, to be useful, it was necessary to get the 256GB SSD model; with a Pro you'll get a much larger (but of course slower) hard drive. I'd probably get her a core-i5 or core-i7 13" MacBook Pro with 4GB of ram, and the 500GB hard drive. Throw in Apple Care to protect it. You can save money by buying from amazon, eliminating the tax. They have the current models available.

Don't buy her Office; Almost every college will have an agreement with Microsoft where students can purchase Office for very cheap - I know my university does; and I can buy a personal copy for under $50, maybe less (I don't remember the actual price as I use the enterprise license and don't buy it at all :) ).
 

Ilya

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My stepdaughter is going to Salem State Univerity in the Fall and they are "requiring" we buy a $2,000 Dell laptop or a comparable pc.

Well, if they do "require" a Dell or a comparable pc, then I wouldn't buy her a Mac! It is very possible that they have some Windows applications that they have standardized on. I would definitly call the University to find out if Macs are recommended or even acceptable, before making a purchase. Also check the recommended specs - this might be important.

If they do confirm that Macs are ok, then as rockymtnhigh mentioned above, do not go with anything less than 13". (If you care about her eyesight!) And I also agree that a MacBook Pro would make a much more practical choice. Not as sexy as the Air, but it has more features, like a DVD drive for example.

Good luck!
 

rockymtnhigh

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Ilya said:
Well, if they do "require" a Dell or a comparable pc, then I wouldn't buy her a Mac! It is very possible that they have some Windows applications that they have standardized on. I would definitly call the University to find out if Macs are recommended or even acceptable, before making a purchase. Also check the recommended specs - this might be important.

If they do confirm that Macs are ok, then as rockymtnhigh mentioned above, do not go with anything less than 13". (If you care about her eyesight!) And I also agree that a MacBook Pro would make a much more practical choice. Not as sexy as the Air, but it has more features, like a DVD drive for example.

Good luck!

Very few schools require PCs to the exclusion of macs. Those days are done. Sure, check, but I would be shocked if they required a windows machine. A good 30 percent or more of college students today use macs. Of course I would confirm this, but I don't see it as a problem.

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Ilya

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Yes, it would be rather unusual to require PCs, but I wouldn't take any chances with such an expensive purchase. It doesn't take too long to confirm.

I am also surprised to hear that they require a $2,000 Dell laptop. At Dell, $2,000 can buy you a top-of-the-line laptop. Why would they require that?
 

rockymtnhigh

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Yes, it would be rather unusual to require PCs, but I wouldn't take any chances with such an expensive purchase. It doesn't take too long to confirm.

I am also surprised to hear that require a $2,000 Dell laptop. At Dell, $2000 can buy you a top-of-the-line laptop. Why would they require that?

Its pretty bizarre. Since most university Dell partnerships have a lot of reasonable priced machines.
 

cjwct

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rockymtnhigh said:
I would not buy her the 11" Air; I had it for a week; it is just too small. The screen is very small, and the resolution is very high, so the text on it is not at all pleasant. I would either get her a 13" Air, OR a 13" MacBook Pro. the Pro comes in lots of versions, and you could purchase it with 2 or 4Gb and then put ram in yourself. While I love my Air, to be useful, it was necessary to get the 256GB SSD model; with a Pro you'll get a much larger (but of course slower) hard drive. I'd probably get her a core-i5 or core-i7 13" MacBook Pro with 4GB of ram, and the 500GB hard drive. Throw in Apple Care to protect it. You can save money by buying from amazon, eliminating the tax. They have the current models available.

Don't buy her Office; Almost every college will have an agreement with Microsoft where students can purchase Office for very cheap - I know my university does; and I can buy a personal copy for under $50, maybe less (I don't remember the actual price as I use the enterprise license and don't buy it at all :) ).

Thank you!!! The college allows Macs as well upon closer look, and I will take your advice; thanks!!!

Latest model looking at:

13-inch: 2.8 GHz MacBook Pro
2.8GHz dual-core
Intel Core i7
4GB 1333MHz
750GB 5400-rpm1
Intel HD Graphics 3000
Built-in battery (7 hours)2

*2 Year Plan added

Looks like $1400- .... Better prce, better machine!!!

Gd I love this site and all of your expert advice!!!
 
Last edited:

rockymtnhigh

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cjwct said:
Thank you!!! The college allows Macs as well upon closer look, and I will take your advice; thanks!!!

Latest model looking at:

13-inch: 2.8 GHz MacBook Pro
2.8GHz dual-core
Intel Core i7
4GB 1333MHz
750GB 5400-rpm1
Intel HD Graphics 3000
Built-in battery (7 hours)2

*2 Year Plan added

Looks like $1400- .... Better prce, better machine!!!

Gd I love this site and all of your expert advice!!!

Great machine ! I have the 2.7ghz version.

Add in $45 for a ram upgrade, Get it from crucial on amazon.

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cjwct

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rockymtnhigh said:
Great machine ! I have the 2.7ghz version.

Add in $45 for a ram upgrade, Get it from crucial on amazon.

Sent from my iPad using SatelliteGuys

Is installing ram as easy as installing it on a PC laptop? Can you send me the link for the memory; thanks!
 

rockymtnhigh

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cjwct

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rockymtnhigh said:
You just need a very small philips head - the smallest they make. The ram upgrade is easy, once you unscrew the back. Takes 5 minutes.

This should work, according to Crucial.com's website: Amazon.com: Crucial 8GB Kit (4GBx2), 204-pin SODIMM, DDR3 PC3-10600 Memory Module (CT2CP51264BC1339): Computers & Accessories

Thanks again so much. Will order in about a month in time for graduation and will let know how it went!

Gets better ... MS 2011 free at her college!
 
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rockymtnhigh

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Thanks again so much. Will order in about a month in time for graduation and will let know how it went!

Gets better ... MS 2011 free at her college!

Cool. She will be in good shape for school with that machine - and it should last her the full four years. That's what is great about Apple hardware, its designed to last.
 

Foxbat

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Also, I recommend you check the Apple Refurbished Store on-line. Here's the link for the MacBook Pro refurbished store: Refurbished MacBook Pro - Apple Store (U.S.)

The 2.8 GHz 13" MBP you quoted above is currently available for $1,269 and comes with the same warranty as a new Apple computer. All you lose is the white box with the picture of the MacBook Pro on it. All but one of my Macs was purchased from the refurbished store and have been great. My refurbished Mac Pro has been on continuously for over five years now and has been rock-solid.

One of my favorite places for Mac accessories and upgrades has been Other World Computing. The specialize in upgrades for Macs and have been reliable when I've ordered from them in the past. http://www.otherworldcomputing.com/
 
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cjwct

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Bought the new Macbook a month ago and she is loving it. Thanks everyone!!!!

Quick q ... Her college wants an Anti-Virus program installed; what's best (and possibly free one) for Macs? Thanks again!
 

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