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Desktop or Laptop? Any recommendations??

post #1 of 42
Thread Starter 
Hello. I'm off to college next year and am in the search for a computer, but I haven't yet decided on getting a desktop or laptop. I originally had my mind set on getting a iMac (by the way, I would prefer a Mac), but Apple's new line of Macbook Pro's is swayin me a little.

I don't know if I'll be runnin around campus with my laptop or keeping it tucked away in my room. And I don't want to pay for the portability if I don't need it.

My budget's no more than $1,300 and I don't need to worry about memory (have portable hard drive), so if there is anyone who has gone through a similar dilemma, that would be great. Thanks for helpin a soon to be poor college student.
post #2 of 42
Well, you could get a quad core HP nowadays for like >$600, and now I'm using an HP G60-230US notebook, which is amazing (Bought for $480 after tax and rebates.... It's not mine though, it's my parents')
post #3 of 42
Thread Starter 
I did consider HP (and pc's in general), but I'll be doing a good amount recording and mixing and Mac is the go to platform for that fun stuff. Thanks though.
post #4 of 42
It's really up to you to determine if you'll need the portability. The new MBP's are really fast machines are for $1249 you get a 13" MBP or 20" iMac, iPod touch and a printer.

The iMac would be the exact same price and you'd get: a 400MHz faster processor, 2X the HDD space, with a faster HDD, and an extra USB port. However, you'd lose portability.

Personally, I'd go with the MacBook Pro 13". You may lose a negligible amount of processing power and some HDD space, but portability is always nice to have. Plus, if you ever want to in the future, you can always attach it to an external display and use your MacBook as a desktop and notebook.

I'd think in college you'd want to take your notebook to all your classes, but if you're not going to use the portability, by all means go for the iMac. You'll love whichever machine you choose.
post #5 of 42
Dare I say it, but if you want a Mac I'm guessing there aren't very many particularly demanding applications you'll be running like video games. That being the case, there is one less benefit to choosing a desktop. I'm on the tail end of college myself and I've had the luxury of a desktop at home and laptop to take to campus and class for note taking (my handwriting is useless). Most students these days have laptops rather than desktops and since most only use them for Facebook and MS Word, it's no problem.

All that said I would recommend you go with the smallest laptop you're comfortable typing on. I've been using a 10'' VAIO (95% size keyboard) for my "college life" and it's worked out fine. Big laptops look rediculous in the classroom. Your professors would surely prefer you can't actually hide behind the screen. Also consider the noise the keyboard makes when you type. Loud, plasticy sounding keyboard pecking is quite annoying in class.

I see you already mentioned an external drive which is great, you definitely want to have things backed up. You may even consider a second backup drive or an online/off site repository of some sort. I would also suggest you operate under the possibility that your laptop could be stolen, an all too common happening. I would suggest you refrain from keeping sensitive information on it such as tax returns.
post #6 of 42
I have a desktop and a laptop. I can't live without a full keyboard, mouse, and decent sized monitor. (24") If I didn't play games, a laptop connected to a large monitor would suffice. The best option imo is to have a desktop for those long computer sessions and a cheap netbook to bring to class for notes. Although my laptop is 14", it weighs almost 8 pounds with a 9 cell battery. Not very fun to carry around a large campus, so if I could do it all over again, I'd definitely grab a netbook. Most can even be hackintoshed to run OSX.
post #7 of 42
I'm with Aaquib, a 13" MacBook Pro fits your budget and lets you take notes in class etc., which IMO is awfully valuable. And you can attach a larger monitor (and/or separate keyboard and mouse) later on when and if you want to.

You could save some money by going with the plastic MacBook, but the MBPro has a few extra features, is lighter, and has a longer-lasting battery. In particular the backlit keyboard of the MBPro is one of those things that doesn't sound like that big a deal, but is great in practice, and once you have it, it's very hard to give it up.

If you can up your budget a little, you can get one of Apple's refurbished MacBook Pro 15" models for $1,350. Significantly more screen real estate, and a more powerful graphics chip. (Go to store.apple.com, scroll down, and look for Refurbished Mac on the left.)

As for gaming, PCs win. But if that's not a driving factor for you right now, you can always get a modestly-priced PC with a hot graphics card when the time comes. The amount of gaming PC you can get for your money just keeps improving anyway, so there's no benefit to buying ahead of need.
post #8 of 42
Unless you think you'll be spending most of your time writing papers and doing homework in your dorm room, I really think that a laptop is the way to go for a college student. I utilize the portability of my laptop whether it's something as simple as bringing it to my bed or a different chair to do work or bringing it to class to take notes or the library/common areas to work.
post #9 of 42
How bout a desktop and a hackintoshed dell mini netbook?

Gizmodo - How To: Hackintosh a Dell Mini 9 Into the Ultimate OS X Netbook - Dell mini 9 hackintosh guide

Dell mini 9s and 10s often go on a sale, so.
post #10 of 42
I had a desktop for years and a MacBook Pro for the last 3 years and the portability
is just to great like when the weather is nice being able to set outside.
post #11 of 42
Just buy a budget PC laptop, if it gets nicked not a big deal. Why is it you need a Mac, what applications are you using that are on Mac OS?

Don't follow the herd.

post #12 of 42
Thread Starter 
Thanks everyone for all the help. It seems like the MBP is the way to go.

And Episiarch, I too love getting refurb, used, and demoed stuff. It saves soo much $, but in this case, I'll prob go new and get the stud discount and free iTouch (that i can sell )

To Kirosia, dell is a swear in my household. My dad is a distributer of HP and a few other stuff and Dell is the competition. So, if you want to buy pc's, not dell though, check out Vectronics - New, used and refurbished Digital Classic, Compaq and Digital Networks and help out a fellow head-fier.

iriverdude, I know I'm conforming, but just don't care. I kinda need a mac because in the future I'll be doing live music performences with ableton or something similar, and pc's just don't do that sort of thing as well.
post #13 of 42
I'd go with the new MBP, too. Actually, I think I'll upgrade to one from the white MacBook I use now.

I have a desktop, but I find that I really prefer WiFi and a laptop to sitting at a desk. The laptop gets a lot more use. Actually, my iPhone is turning more and more into my mobile computer than the laptop is.
post #14 of 42
If the budget permits a new MBP for this fall is in order for our household.
post #15 of 42
I would definately go laptop. Even if you game, as long as you dont want to compete heavily on the newest games my Dell M1330 thats 2 years old plays most new games VERY well. I set it up on my desk and connected to my HDTV via HDMI and can also take it with me on the go. Would never get a desktop again unless its a file server. Or purely for competitive gaming which I quit a year or so ago.
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